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Everything posted by Hewson

  1. It’s a really interesting topic. As I get older and my time is harder and harder to secure for gaming, the main thing I value is concision in storytelling. I really enjoyed the Horizon games, but the absolutely endless dialogue trees - all beautifully acted and technically amazing - had to be skipped 90% of the time. Playing Elden Ring and Breath of the Wild afterwards made me really appreciate games with simple stories and judicious cut scenes.
  2. Hi all - haven't posted in here before but have been an interested lurker for some time. I love seeing your work. I've been getting back into photography recently and trying to improve my landscape work. I'm no expert and I really struggle with composition but was fairly pleased with these after I carved out a rare couple of hours to go out on my own and just focus on taking some pictures last week.
  3. Yeah, I’m not saying I can’t get to grips with the concept of an inventory. It’s just that the UI is abysmal, when you start out it’s completely overwhelming in terms of the sheer volume of things you’re picking up, and there are whole features unexplained at that point like disassembly and so on. The game clearly has some merits but the start and lack of onboarding very nearly saw me drop it. Glad I didn’t but it’s really off putting.
  4. I was really not enjoying this to begin with because I felt the story was advancing a lot without me having a clue about how the game systems worked and finding the inventory completely overwhelming. So I stepped off the main arc, finally worked out what gigs were and how to find them and it’s starting to really click. It’s such an odd game. It has so much going for it but it also seems deliberately perverse at times in the way it just expects you to work out what’s going on.
  5. Gwent has so much to answer for. Games within games is one of my most-hated tropes these days. Every time I sense a tie-in with the game I resent it, especially when you end up in a huge, lengthy open-world game having to listen to every third person go on about how they love playing it. I end up wondering how much effort went in to creating an entire in-game-game and the associated boring meta games and collectathons around it, how much better the main game could have been with that effort put elsewhere and how much I'm missing out on by ignoring it. I realise this is a huge over-reaction and very personal but god I hate it.
  6. 1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Super Mario World 3. Halo: Combat Evolved 4. Resident Evil 4 5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 6. Mario Kart 8 7. Returnal (video game) 8. Super Mario Galaxy 9. Bioshock 10. Hades (video game) 11. X-COM: UFO Defense 12. Half-Life 2 13. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 14. The Last of Us 15. Elden Ring 16. Metroid Prime 17. Red Dead Redemption 18. Wave Race 64 19. Crackdown (video game) 20. Minecraft Not a lot to say about my list, except my favourite game of each of the last three years breaking in. Oh and my irrational irritation at having to call the original UFO: Enemy Unknown by its US name thanks to the (perfectly sensible) Wikipedia rule.
  7. I'm actually quite jealous of people who are able to do this. Especially with big, chunky control schemes my muscle memory nowadays makes it really hard for me to juggle two games like this
  8. I've been playing and loving Elden Ring solidly recently but there's no doubt it can get a bit relentless and grim. Normally I stick to one game at a time, but I picked up Switch Sports 'for the kids' this week and it struck me what a brilliant pair of games they are to play alternately. The simplicity and sunny vibe make it such a brilliant tonic for those moments when I'm stuck or frustrated in ER and I just need something to break it all up a bit. So do you guys have similar pairs of games that work really well together?
  9. Before I ask my specific thing, just wanted to say thanks to all the people answering questions in this thread - it's been really enjoyable to read and I've learned a lot. My questions a bit woolly, I guess. I'm doing STR/DEX and I've been using the Twinblade since I got it. I am now just past Godric. I've upgraded it to +7 and I like using it but also just keep wondering if I'm missing out on something else great. I really struggle to know how to experiment meaningfully with other weapons - not just using them but upgrading them. I tend to get paralysed by the options and it never feels a good moment to go into a scrap with an unknown weapon. Do you guys just keep trying different things? Should I stick to my trusty Twinblade or have I wasted resource upgrading it? Any tips welcome!
  10. I am really, really enjoying it but I'm increasingly certain that I won't see it through. That's fine - I'll still get a lot of enjoyment from it compared to many other games. I think the thing that distinguishes it for me from the example of Elder Scrolls above is that in those games whenever I wander into an area that seems really tough I'm basically pretty sure that it's because I'm underpowered and I can usually go and find somewhere more friendly to persist with. But in ER there's always the strong chance that it's just me being terrible at the combat or - more worryingly for me - that I've levelled myself up in ways that make life really difficult. Because my gaming time is limited that lack of certainty tends to drive me to guides and then it all starts to feel a bit mechanical and you lose the thrill of discovering things for yourself.
  11. VRR finally confirmed... though still a while to wait.
  12. I've said before that £70 is a really bad price point from Sony, but I also struggle to think of a game that I've got more value from than Returnal. And it seems like there's a lot more to come here.
  13. It's a really interesting one because I think it's well scripted, well acted and the character models and animation are out of this world... But I just don't have the time to invest. It's a real shame, but also a real lesson in respecting the player's time. I just wish the cutscenes were all a lot more concise. I also struggle with how some conversations can be sped up and some can't. Invariably now I'm completely skipping the latter. Having said all that, I'm still loving it as a whole.
  14. Yep, this IS one of those tropes across too many games that really needs cutting out. I understand that it helps create spatial puzzles but it's very hard not to sigh when you see them coming.
  15. I'd definitely bump it up. Going from Normal to Hard really forces you to exploit more of the tools at your disposal.
  16. Totally agree with first part of this, but the second part is unfair. It's not the same game. Almost every game magpies from others and innovation isn't everything. The blend here is really well judged. For me the story and delivery is more than enough to give the game impetus and keep me engaged. It might not be to your taste, but that doesn't mean all the things you list are objectively true. There's surely enough people in this thread enjoying it for that to be clear. And that whole 'endpoint of graphics' thing is always being said and is never true. Again, it kind of smacks of the graphics not being to your taste, which is fine but doesn't mean anything more than that. Also interesting that length is an issue here, but you don't mention Elden Ring which by all accounts is so big that most reviewers won't have played it all. I'm all for respecting the time of the player, but it seems like its not always applied to all games.
  17. There's a setting which allows you to see, like the first game, things you can interact with. And the latter point is subjective. I love the look of the game. As someone said upthread it has a really bright, Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic that's consistent with the story and the characters. I'd hate it if everything looked like Elden Ring, for example, even though I really enjoy that approach too. It's obviously horses for courses, but this game is beautifully put together, with really likeable characters and really fun systems. It's unfair to claim it's soulless or just a technical achievement.
  18. Add me to the group of people enjoying this too much to post about it til now. I was always surprised by how sniffy some people were about the first game and it seems there’s still quite a lot of it about. So far this looks like a great sequel to one of the best games of last gen. It’s not perfect but it’s so polished, generous and just plain enjoyable. Climbing is still a weakness but it has absolutely impeccable combat mechanics (especially on hard or above) with the robots and the tasks so far are set up to force you to mix up your approach and target specific components. The more I play the more baffled I am by the Eurogamer review. This is easily the best game I’ve played since Returnal.
  19. itch.io have waded in in entertaining fashion. Very hard to disagree: "A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the we ask that please reevaluate your life choices."
  20. Not exactly a 'dark side' but there are definitely times in my life where I feel I could have been more creative and productive and I've spent time on games that I didn't really love instead. That's the one thing I genuinely worry about. But having said that it's also true that games have enriched my life and my experience of them has definitely helped me in my career too, even though I'm not in the industry.
  21. So pleased Returnal won and also that it did so with so many votes. It really is just so far ahead of anything else this year.
  22. In my early torturous days of being absolutely shit I wouldn't go near the Spitmaw, but then I read about people saying being more aggressive worked better and I forced myself to pick it up whenever I saw it. It was one of the key things that made me better at the game.
  23. I spent a comical amount of hours falling to Phrike and sometimes getting nowhere near him. But when I started to get more aggressive the whole game opened up to me. I’ve never played anything I was so bad at and yet still enjoyed for that long!
  24. I'm just doing my third play through - this time with my kids calling the shots about where we go and how we tackle it - and it's just so, so great. It's hardly news, but it's incredible how far ahead of everything else this remains. I'm excited for BOTW2 but also have fingers crossed that this is the year that we start to see some of the lessons of the game built into other projects like Elden Ring.
  25. Game of the Year A1. Returnal - Should it have launched with a working save state? Definitely. Was it head and shoulders above anything else launched last year even then? No question. This is a brilliant, unique and beautifully presented experience with incredible mechanics. I can’t think of a game that feels better to play from minute to minute in the last few years. It was frustrating that it bore the brunt of Sony’s ludicrous £70 pricing and gutting that this, more than any other game this year, seemed to be the subject of debate around its value for money. That’s particularly true because I probably played this as much as I played everything else put together this year. In a generally disappointing year for new games this was a glorious outlier and I poured hours into it. A2. Death’s Door - This was a really sweet surprise. It had a really clear sense of what it was aiming for and a really lovely aesthetic and style. The fact that it’s second in my list despite being quite simple in many ways speaks to the dearth of really outstanding games this year, but it was charming and fun from start to finish. A3. Deathloop - This is a flawed game whose flaws become more apparent the longer it goes on. But it makes a fantastic first impression and I really loved the fact that it’s trying to pull off a really distinct structure even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing. A4. Hitman 3- More of the same in some ways, but with a few really clever twists that demonstrate how well IO understand what they’re doing. It’s not a series I completely adore, but it’s hard not to admire the craft and the love that goes into it. A5. Guardians of the Galaxy - In any other year this wouldn’t have made my list, mainly because the mechanics are poorly lifted from other, better games. But it’s got real panache, a real understanding of the source material and simply wins you over with sheer enthusiasm and great writing. Biggest Disappointment of the Year Z1. Overall quality - It might have been Covid biting, but this year was one of the least inspiring for me in a long, long time. The excitement of last year’s console launches seemed to fizzle out with only one really outstanding game and I ended up spending a lot of time trawling through older stuff or trying and quickly ditching lots of Gamepass fodder. Z2. Halo Infinite - I’d assumed, even with the well-documented development issues, that this would be a meaty end-of-year treat. But the campaign spent two hours flattering to deceive, the open world was pointless, empty and uniform, the story was bad even by Halo standards and the linear levels and boss fights were genuinely awful. In a year of disappointments, this one stood out. Z3. Psychonauts 2 - This probably says more about me than the game considering the general reception. But like the first one I found it slow, ugly, unfunny and mechanically dull. Sound Design of the Year S1. Returnal S2. Resident Evil Village S3. Guardians of the Galaxy Visual Design of the Year V1. Returnal V2. Ratchet and Clank V3. Forza Horizon 5 Writing of the Year W1. Unpacking W2. Guardians of the Galaxy W3. Deathloop Format of the Year F1. Playstation 5 - a really tough one to choose, with no platform excelling this year. Sony take it by virtue of having by far the best game of the year, and it being a surprisingly eccentric thing to back. Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Housemarque - unlike platform, this was an easy choice. They made the best game of the year by miles and did it moving from two to three dimensions - an incredibly risky thing to pull off for Housemarque’s very particular form of bullet hell. It was always readable and, within the parameters of a rogue like, always fair. They also built a really atmospheric narrative to tie it all together. A stone cold classic and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
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