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Dufniall

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Posts posted by Dufniall


  1. Update time! Finished quite a few books since my last post:

    Haruki Murakami - Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Not my favourite from Murakami, but still a great read. Again, the story tells the tale of two interwoven worlds (as is pretty common in Murakami books). It's as vague as always and I won't even try to explain, but it's a great read and how the story slowly unfolds and the two stories come together in typical Murakami fashion is well executed.

    The Fork, the Witch and the Worm - Christopher Paolini. A book with three short stories set in the world of Alagaesia (the world from the Inheritance series). For those not familiar, it's the tale of Eragon the dragon rider, I really enjoyed the 4 books from the main series. This has two pretty good side stories and one lesser one (which is written by Christopher's sister but it just misses the point). A quick and decent read if you want more Alagaesia.

    Face It - Debbie Harry. The biography of Debbie Harry, singer of Blondie but also solo artist, and actress. It's always great to read about the start of popular bands, rock and punk music, and this does a good job highlighting the early Blondie days, and the New York City vibe of the 70s/80s. There are some dark bits in there as well, about sexual assault and criminality that fell on her, those were some heavy bits to read. It's a bit less structured than other bios I've read, so it goes a bit all over the place sometimes. Difficult to recommend if you're not into Blondie or the punk from the early days, but if that is your cup of tea it paints an interesting picture. It's also the first bio I read from a female artist.

    Godendrank - Ilja Gort. A Dutch book from a guy who owns a winery in France (his wines are pretty nice!). The book is also about a hippie who sells his record shop in Amsterdam to buy a winery estate. Naturally, it's not all fun and games so he has to go through quite some hoops to make his winery work (such as starting a cannabis plantation in his vineyard). Very tongue in cheek, not literary at all and it's more like watching a comedy movie than reading a book. Perfect for a quick summer read.

    And now I've started The Subtle Knife, book 2 in the His Dark Materials series.


  2. After a good 10 hours credits have rolled on Axiom Verge 2. I'm going to throw it into spoiler tags just to be safe. Won't spoiler too much,but will mention some of the upgrades and if you want to go in completely blind better not read the next part. Conclusion: Good game, not as good as the first one, but with plenty of interesting moments, plays well and sounds well, and a bold move to take quite a different approach compared to the first game.
     

    Spoiler

     

    Compared to Axiom Verge 1, there are quite some different choices made. First of all, out with the guns and in with melee weaponry. Combat is much more focused on melee, but overall the game focuses less on combat (you can bypass most enemies if you want), and it's more about (vertical) exploration. Unfortunately this also means the departure of the room-filling bosses from the first game, which is a shame.

    The biggest twist is a hacking mechanism you pick up quite soon, which lets you hack enemies, gates and the likes. You can choose to slow enemies, make them your allies, blow them up, giving combat a more tactical approach. With all your other Metroidvania powerups, you can feel that the dev wanted to avoid reusing abilities from the first game, so your moveset in the end is quite different from the one in Axiom Verge.

    The story is a bit vague and all over the place. The main storyline is kind of clear, but the lore you find underway is vague, unclear and makes it unnecessary complicated.

    The game looks and sounds great. The main world has the same pixely vibe as Axiom Verge 1, but the Breach (a parallel world you can enter as a drone) has a very bright, even more pixely look. Soundtrack is fitting too, it's not only chiptunes but there are some chanted parts as well which gave me goosebumps the first time.

    Would give it a solid 8/10. Love the different approach, although I do prefer guns over melee. Also I miss the big bosses. The world is more interesting though, and the parallel world you can go through works great too.

     

     

    • Like 1

  3. 28 minutes long apparently, that's hefty! Wonder if they'll show anything else outside of the remakes and Arceus. Or maybe another Pokémon 25 years reel or something.

    Also, Pokemon in the topic title, that hurts almost as much as people saying Pokémons! Plus, Pokemon somehow sounds dirty.


  4. Perfect timing for this one. Just finished Immortals Fenyx Rising, and I was considering what to play next, and then the Indie Direct was shown, and then Axiom Verge 2 dropped. So yeah, picked it up, only a 450Mb download, and played about an hour. Plays super smooth, vague stuff happening, soundtrack sounds great. This is going to be good!

    @Sméagol: Limited Run pre-orders for the physical start October 1st. Don't know how long they usual take between pre-orders and actual shipping but October is already quite soon.

    • Like 1

  5. Great showing yesterday. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk looks cool, a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio. TOEM looks interesting as well, the black and white photography one. Really happy that Metal Slug Tactics is coming to the Switch, prefer to play it there instead of on the PC. Tetris Effect is a nice addition, although I had my share of Tetris games.

    Axiom Verge 2 drop was the highlight, I don't remember when the last time was that I picked up a new indiegame instead of waiting for a sale, but for this I made an exception. Put about an hour into it and I feel it's going to be good!

    @S.C.G: The first game has been on sale numerous times, with discounts of at least 50% (maybe more). So if you are interested I'd say wait a bit longer for a bigger sale. Part 2 is also 10% off now.

    • Thanks 1

  6. Well, this is a pickle. The poll closed (set it to close at midnight) and I forgot to vote myself haha.

    Four titles ended with two votes; Ninja Gaiden got zero. My favourite game from the list is Elite Beat Agents, but I played through it already quite recently. So I'm going to vote for Kirby: Power Paintbrush. It's Kirby, it's touch, it's not too long. It's available on WiiU and Nintendo DS. These are my arguments.

    SI_NDS_KirbyPowerPaintbrush_enGB.jpg

    How long did we usually reserve for playing the game? A month or so?


  7. 11 hours ago, Jonnas said:

    Well, well, this is the first time we decide this via forum poll, I believe! Intriguing selection of games we landed on, and we can't change votes...

    I was kind of hesitant if I should do a fixed poll or keep it open for politics, but let's see how this goes. In case of a draw we can always do a second vote between the winners.

    11 hours ago, nekunando said:

    If you'd went with Phantom Hourglass ahead of Spirit Tracks and its slow, laborious dungeons, my vote may have went a different direction but I've went for the one I'd love an excuse to blast through again..

    To be honest I would have picked Phantom Hourglass over Spirit Tracks as well (because it is less fresh in my memory, and it is the first Zelda DS game so the order would be more correct), but because @Jonnas preferred ST I went for that one. 

    It's an interesting list, that's for sure! I don't know yet who will get my vote, as a couple of games would be fun to revisit. I'll... think about it a bit longer.

    • Thanks 1

  8. A couple of Dutch outlets had a hands-on session and they put some previews up online. They all kind of noted the same things:

    • The colours of the OLED are a lot more vibrant than those of the original Switch. Higher contrast and colourful games like Mario Kart really pop.
    • The screen can go a bit darker than the OG Switch, but also a bit brighter. If this is enough to make it playable outside can't be said.
    • Viewing angles from the side are also a lot better, so if you look at it from an angle visibility is better. Useful in tabletop mode.
    • The device looks a lot more modern thanks to the bezel-less design. The extra 0,7 inch is very noticeable. And although pixels are a bit more visible, it isn't disturbing.
    • Speaker upgrade was not very noticeable during the hands-on for some, others thought it was a decent improvement.
    • Kickstand is a big improvement. Much more stable, and the Switch can be set in any position from almost flat to almost upright.
    • Buttons are different, the cartridge slot is a bit more difficult to open.
    • Thanks 2

  9. "Touch the bottom rectangle, you might like it!"

    ***For a general introduction to what the N-E Game Club is about click here. If you are unable to participate this round, but want to join in the future, then go ahead and post your ideas in that thread as well.***

    For the glorious return of the N-E Game Club, it's time to dust of your good old Nintendo DS Phat/Lite and start scratching that bottom screen, because the theme for this round is touch-heavy Nintendo DS games. The dawn of the Nintendo DS led to two major things. First, the trend for publishers to come up with game titles that had DS in it (Deadly Silence, Dawn of Sorrow, Dual Strike...), and second, heavy reliance of the touch screen.

    Plenty of games went for a touch-only, or mostly touch approach and these are the games that will star in this month's poll. The biggest problem here is that a bunch of these titles are not widely available, so I hope we can still get some participants.

    Anyway, here is the shortlist:

    • Elite Beat Agents (available on Nintendo DS) 2 votes
    • Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (available on Nintendo DS, Apple iOS) 2 votes
    • Kirby: Power Paintbrush (available on Nintendo DS, WiiU virtual console) 3 votes
    • Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (available on Nintendo DS) 0 votes
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (available on Nintendo DS, WiiU virtual console) 2 votes

    Get your votes up, I'll leave the poll open for a week so we can decide the winner on Monday August 9. Be sure to vote and declare yourself in or out!

    UPDATE:

    The game that rolled out as the winner is Kirby: Power Paintbrush. Let us know below if you are going to join in. Let's aim for September 1st to round this off and give your opinions if Kirby touched your heart (again).

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1

  10. I've been toying with the idea of choosing a Nintendo DS game with the theme:

    "Touch the bottom rectangle, you might like it!"

    Basically, games from classic series that went all-out with touch controls on the Nintendo DS. Think stuff like Yoshi Touch&Go, The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks, Kirby: Power Paintbrush, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword.

    The biggest issue with these games is that they are not that widely available; most are only on DS, and some are on the WiiU virtual console. Still, I would like to test the waters for this theme. So let me hear your yays or nays, and suggestions for other titles if yay so we can get a poll going.

    • Thanks 1

  11. 11 hours ago, S.C.G said:

    Out of all the games which would seemingly be relatively easy to update for, this one stood out.

    At the time when it was released, it looked like a solid sequel, but it felt like it could do with more areas, or past areas and creatures from the previous game.

    This looks to be something like that? Some parts of the new areas remind me of the first game a bit, and who knows, maybe there will be more updates in the future?

    Definitely great to see Nintendo releasing some more free updates for certain games, in any case, rather than another title with a season pass.

    The area which features a smaller scale vehicle, with Pokémon which appear larger, is also an interesting spin on the formula.

    Joe from serebii seems to suggest that (some of the) DLC was supposed to be in the base game, as fragments of it were already present in the first trailer but not in the game when it came out:

    If so it might mean they kind of had to get it out of the door, but it's great they are offering the extra content for free so nothing to complain about there.

    • Thanks 1

  12. I haven't been very consequent lately, so time to pick up this thread! I played quite some games on and off, but haven't finished many. Still, got some stuff to talk about. First:

    Rocksmith+ beta (PC)

    rsp-home-promo-get_started-bg.jpg

    After the Ubisoft E3 show, I asked for access to the Rocksmith+ beta program, and a couple of weeks I got an email that I could try it out. So installed it and gave it a try. Very short introduction, the Rocksmith series is a rhythm game where you use a real guitar or bass guitar. It's more of an education tool than a game, although the previous title (Rocksmith 2014) had more game elements than the new Rocksmith+.

    Being a beta the song list was not that extensive, but I'm guessing that will be fixed in the long run. It looks a lot less like a game than Rocksmith 2014, with more focus on tutorials, and less on fluff like arcade games (which is bad cause I liked the fluff). Overall presentation is pretty good though and looks modern. There are some good new functions like a guitar tab view, the ability to not only use the Ubisoft cable, but use an app or your own audio interface as well.

    A bunch of niggles were encountered, like my cable freaking out on occasion while tuning, and an empty menu where I could only get out by hard quitting. There was a support/feedback forum but that was only people shouting complaints, and none of the devs responding so pretty useless.

    The big difference with Rockstar 2014 is the payment model. Where the first one was a one time purchase plus DLC songs, Rocksmith+ will have a monthly/yearly subscription fee. I can see why they are going for a subscription service. First of all, no hassle with buying separate songs. Also it will probably mean they have more budget for educational videos and the likes. But I think the most obvious reason was that via an exploit, it was pretty easy to add all DLC to Rocksmith 2014 for "free", so I'm guessing they missed a lot of DLC purchases that way.

    The suggested prices are pretty steep (I think I saw something like €14,99 a month), for what is in it now I don't think it will justify the price and I'll stick to Rocksmith 2014.

    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered (Nintendo Switch)

    Tony-Hawks-Pro-Skater-1-2.jpg

    So here I am, doing everything I can, Holding on to what I am, Pretending I'm a superman!

    What a game this is! I've always loved the Tony series, and this remaster is hitting all the right notes. It feels like I'm playing the old games so job well done on the physics, and they put in a couple of skills from the later games (like wall plants and spine transfers) to give you a bit more options to extend your combos.

    From the intro movie to returning to classic levels such as School II and Venice, accompanied with a great soundtrack, it all just feels right. The Switch version runs pretty adequate at 30FPS and looks good enough. I'm glad I waited for this and not went for the PC version as it's a great game to pick up and play a couple of runs in handheld.

    New are the different challenges, an extensive build-a-park mode and new skaters of course, as well as more custom options for your custom skater. But the biggest fun is still going through all the levels with the different skaters. It baffles me how true they stayed to the old games with the objectives etc, I'm curious how newer players will experience it as it feels pretty old-school. Can also imagine it being pretty hard for newcomers, but my muscle memory did serve me well. Roll on THPS3+4 Remastered please!

    Castlevania: Bloodlines (Castlevania Collection, Nintendo Switch)

     

    Another title done from the Castlevania Collection, this time it's Bloodlines. While @Jonnas started out as John with the whip (as can be read a few pages back), I felt more like playing as Eric and use the spear for a change of pace. It is definitely one of the better 2D Castlevanias that I've played, although it still has the classic niggles (such as knockback after being hit, often resulting in me falling in a pit). Needless to say I used the save state option aplenty...

    Level design is good, quite varied as you visit multiple locations in Europe. One thing that I noted though was the sheer lack of recovery items. Either I didn't find any (bar during the final boss fight) or they are just not there. I'm guessing it's probably the first. Playing as Eric feels good, he has quite a range with the spear and a funky pole-vaulting high jump. Some quirky bosses and enemies keep it interesting.

    Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure DLC (Nintendo Switch)

     

    After the announcement of Mario+Rabbids 2 during E3, I knew this was the time to finally play the Donkey Kong DLC. The playable cast here is Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Cranky and Donkey Kong, so your team is the same during the whole adventure. Donkey Kong is a beast, great range and a very cool moveset as he can pick up and throw enemies/friends, lure foes in with his bongos and groundpound them, and has a multi-hitting boomerang. Cranky is a bit more straightforward with a shotgun and a grenade, and Rabbid Peach plays the same as in the main game.

    The battles are great, with a couple of fun twists that are not in the main game. The game still looks gorgeous as ever and the humour and cutscenes are there as well. The only minus would be the abundance of block sliding puzzles, not my favourite and they are found aplenty. Mostly to find collectibles though, so you can bypass most if you don't like them.

    All in all it's a great bit of DLC, I think it's even on discount now (and is pretty often) so if you liked the main game don't sit on this, as it's an amazing continuation of the game and well worth the +/- €10 it is while on sale.

    League Of Legends: Wild Rift (mobile)

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    So, time to shatter all my accumulated scene points in one go. :grin: But I have been playing League Of Legends: Wild Rift quite a bit on my phone. It is the mobile adaptation of the PC version of LoL, and as such has had some changes to the main game. Items work a bit different, matches are a dash shorter (about 15 minutes on average while on PC it's more towards 20-25) and obviously touch controls.

    But I can't believe how well it plays. It doesn't feel like a compromise at all. The touch controls have been implemented pretty intuitive, and the game runs smooth and looks good on the mobile screen. It does help if you know how the game works, but I think for newcomers this is a lot more friendly to step into than the PC game due to the easier use of items, and the lack of runes et cetera you need to pay attention to in the PC game.

    It does have the obvious niggles that every online game has (people AFK or not playing cooperative), but luckily typing on mobile is more difficult than on keyboard so there is a lot less flaming and harassment than on PC. :grin: All in all a fun game to play in a lost 15 minutes or during a boring meeting. :grin:

    Resident Evil 6 - Jake and Sherry's campaign (PC)

     

    Finally I finished Resident Evil 6 a while ago. I've talked a couple of times about it already so I won't go into it again. Time for Resi 7!

    • Thanks 3

  13. I'm in the mood to do another round of Video Game Club, just to play something retro or left wing and because I've kind of stopped posting longer posts in the gaming threads and the Gaming Diary. So getting together with you guys might get my writing mojo back!

    Anyone here who wants to come up with a theme and 5 or so games to vote on? So we can get this baby back on the road.

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 3

  14. Some battle royale games on the Switch are:

    • Fortnite
    • Spellbreak
    • Realm Royale
    • Apex Legends

    Then you also have titles that are a bit of a twist on the battle royale such as Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 (both included in the Nintendo Online service), and Worms Rumble.

    And on other platforms (PC, XBox, Playstation) you have titles like:

    • PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
    • Call of Duty: Blackout
    • Call of Duty: Warzone

    ...just to name a few. And a lot of smaller titles.

    • Like 1

  15. 14 hours ago, Sheikah said:

    I don't know, I just can't quite see this having anywhere near the uptake of the Switch. It doesn't have exclusive games and I get the impression that people generally prefer to play full fat AAA games on their PC monitor or TV using their main system. And it's really expensive.

    They mentioned in one of the interviews with IGN that they are going to share the specs and the OS as free license for other manufacturers. So everyone who wants to can make their own Steam Deck, and that will probably increase interest and decrease pricing. And the obvious reason is a new product that sells games for them. Same way as Microsoft tries to create new markets every now and then, first with the Surface leading to detachable and the Surface Neo that should lead to dual touch screen devices. Not that they want to shift hardware but create more platforms and form factors to sell software for.

    11 hours ago, Cube said:

    But so far, Valve hasn't expressed any plans on making the Steam Deck available to the mass market.

    Same comment as above goes for this. It's more of a showcase, same as with the VR. Show how to make a VR platform, hope other brands pick up, sell more VR software. Again Microsoft did it as well with their Mixed Reality. And the reservation system is a great system, creates plenty of buzz while keeping scalpers out.

    11 hours ago, Cube said:

    You also need to buy the dock and an extra controller if you want to swap between the handheld and a screen. If you don't care about that, then it's more comparable to the cheaper Switch Lite.

    You don't need an official dock, any USB-C dock will do. And every controller will work so it's quite cheap to go full screen.

    Anyway, still on the fence about getting one. I don't need one but I do want one. The one thing that holds me back for playing more pc games is that I would have to sit upstairs and the misses is downstairs, so that's not really a fun way to spend evenings. That's why I play my Switch 90% handheld, we can both sit on the couch and do our own things.

    But, my PC is upstairs so I would be much cheaper off investing in a good controller for the smartphone and just stream all my games from my upstairs PC. I don't see me using it out of the house. So for now I'll just hold, let's see if I can stay strong haha.

    • Like 1

  16. Going to paste in the specs just for convenience:

    eRCDCbBUzZepHsgvzAJHOUFb.jpg?f=user_larg

    It looks to be an impressive piece of kit, and I'm glad they chose to go for a 1280x800 resolution and not force a higher resolution on the 7 inch, probably would have been bad for the battery time. It's on the heavy side, about double the weight of a Switch so train up those muscles :grin:

    12 hours ago, Dcubed said:

    Ahh… THERE’S the Switch Pro!

    Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought that :laughing:

    I’ll probably get this.  It’s crazy cheap!  Can’t believe that it’s less than £50 more than an OLED Switch, for a handheld system that’s roughly half as powerful as an Xbox Series S!! :o 

    Take into account that the base model only has 64GB eMMC memory. Plenty of PC games already go over the 64GB, plus eMMC is slow compared to the other options (256-512GB NVMe SSD). So I wouldn't even consider the base model. There is quite a price gap to the middle one though, and the most expensive option also comes with a non-glare screen.

    12 hours ago, Ganepark32 said:

    Nice to see Valve announcing the Switch Pro for Nintendo :laughing:

    It looks like a Game Gear, so ugly as sin) but with it supposedly having a chip that's modelled on the PS5 then at that price its an absolute bargain. Or at least I think so. Its essentially a portable PC that you can take your entire Steam library with you then plug in to a monitor and when you get home and continue playing there. Don't know how the track pads will work as they were supposedly awful on the Steam controller.

    Nice that they've thought about scalpers with the caveat that you need to have bought something prior to June 2021 on Steam to be in with a chance to reserve a unit. Should help a bit but this will still be another piece of hardware thats hard to get hold of.

    Very tempted to put in a reservation if I can as that entry price is too good not to miss out on. Don't have a gaming PC and this is a great way to do it and be able to play your PC games from the couch. Hmmm, doubt I'd be able to nab one anyway but something I'll keep me eye on. The savings on PC games would be a nice upside as I've not bought many PC games so plenty of discounts still to be had by me that most will have already taken advantage of.

    Also immediately thought about the Game Gear :grin: I have the Steam controller, and while the track pads are a clever invention, I find it really tricky to work with them. I can see the right one here working though as a more accurate option for FPS games instead of the stick, but it'll never be a mouse.

    The thing does look crammed though. Buttons pretty close to the edge, and the sticks are very close to the buttons as well. Wonder if it's ergonomic, combined with the weight. Rear buttons are great though!

    I'm curious if this will be a hit. There have been Windows-based handhelds before, but I don't think they ever took off. Valve and Steam are well-known so that may help, but I wonder if PC gamers are interested in a handheld, and running games on a lower resolution. And if you're going to stream a game to it from your PC, a phone+controller is the cheaper option.

    I think would it have been Microsoft or Sony releasing it, there would have been more leverage behind it. I can imagine a handheld XBox with GamePass would be the dream. But Microsoft is focussing on streaming so you wouldn't need these specs. And Sony, well, games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Death Stranding are already on Steam so basically this is already an unofficial Sony handheld. :grin:

    • Like 1

  17. Oh, didn't know there was a Monster Hunter animated series on the way! The kid is annoying, but the rest looks entertaining enough.

    I finished Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness this week, and the last episode was the weakest. Without spoiling anything, it was a bit of an anticlimax.

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