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Everything posted by Cube

  1. At 00:03 today, I finished Donkey Kong 64 for the first time, with 101% completion and everything found. Incidentally, the single most frustrating part in terms of camera and platforming was in the first level, so a lot of the rest of the game was a lot more enjoyable.
  2. A port of sorts of 3, Vice City and San Andreas.
  3. What Have You Bought?

    CEX are currently offering £120 cash (well, PayPal/bank transfer) for the headphones.
  4. What Have You Bought?

    My Bose 700 headphones arrived today! They're off to CEX tomorrow. (Reminder: if you got a Pixel, don't forget to redeem your headphones).
  5. Forza Horizon 5 didn't get nominated because the date for the full game of the year category ended earlier than the other categories. It doesn't deserve a nomination in the slightest, anyway, it's just a decent game, nothing more, with some pretty horrible progression because of "live service" nonsense (personally, I don't think "live service" games should be eligible for awards until after a year anyway, as it needs to show how it's handling that element of the game).
  6. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    Apparently my most played game last year is one I played for 3 minutes, which consisted of the Xbox app for Windows failing to launch it. I wonder why it ignored all the other PC games played through the Xbox app on Windows.
  7. House buying is the worst

    When I was looking, places had multiple offers before their first week on the market. We're still waiting for the chain. Looking like it will probably be January now.
  8. Coop has been further delayed until May 2022 at the earliest, with forge a few months after that.
  9. Monster Hunter Rise

    Oh no! Now I have to add this to my list!
  10. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    The Gardens Between The Gardens Between is a short but sweet puzzle game all about manipulating time, while living through the memories of two children as one is about to move away. You don’t control the characters directly, you control the flow of time itself. As you advance time, the two characters will follow a set route. You can move time forwards or backwards, then activate actions if a character is near something they can interact with. These interactions can be grabbing “light” in order to progress through the level, or manipulating objects that keep their positions outside of your “flow of time”, meaning you can rewind and interact with them in a different location. While the game is short (about an hour long), and the levels don’t get too complicated, it’s filled with some really neat ideas and lots of creativity. AI: The Somnium Files This really took me by surprise in quite a few ways. I went in only knowing that it was some kind of detective game and was extremely impressed with it by the end…well, mostly. You play Date (pronounced something like “Dah-Tae”). He’s part of a special investigations team with extremely special tech that can dive into someone’s subconscious. Date is a “psyncher”, which means he is one of the people who explore people’s peoples minds to try and decipher the meaning to gain valuable clues to cases. He’s also accompanied by Aiba, an AI that lives in his prosthetic eye, an extremely useful asset. It’s a “visual novel” game, where you pick dialogue options and ask questions, moving between different locations. It does a good job at making it feel like you’re doing the detective work and figuring out the mysteries. The sections where you are in people’s mind has you control Aiba in a “human avatar” form, as you try to figure out the twisted logic of the dream and solve the puzzles. You can only spend six minutes in a dream. Standing still will move time significantly, while interacting with objects will cost a set amount of time, but also unlock modifiers which can reduce this time (or in some cases, increase it). If you fail, you can restart from a checkpoint or the beginning. With the handy fast forward feature (which speeds you past cutscenes and dialogue), I found myself just starting these from the beginning when I failed, as you can pick the correct options without taking too much of your (real) time. The game begins with a mysterious death, someone who is an old friend of Date’s, and the mother of the 12 year old girl that he’s unofficially adopted. The investigation will take you to meet a rather colorful cast of fun characters, as more deaths happen. I won’t go into many more details on the story (it’s best to find out for yourself), but there are a lot of shocking twists, turns and character moments. There’s a lot of silly stuff, but also some really deep, depressing and emotional moments. As you play, you’ll either reach a “bad” ending or a “locked” route. The Somnium File features different choices, these send your investigation going off in different directions. This isn’t used to force you to play the game multiple times, as you simply go back to where the story branched. Instead, it leads to very different outcomes, all with different surprises and revelations. The mechanic becomes a really great way to keep the mystery flowing, while revealing information in different ways. This all then boils down to the “proper” ending. I found the mysteries to all make sense in the end, everything fit pretty nicely and was explained well. One thing I did dislike about the game is one aspect of Date’s personality: he is very pervy. It ranges from amusing instances (such as the over the top nature of his excitement for porno mags being used in QTE combat moments, a trait which all the goons share), to hitting on receptionists, to making outright disturbing comments about girls much younger than he is. The worst moment of this is right at the very end of the “proper” ending, and gives the same a sour note to end on (although there is an amusing and over the credits sequence after that). Forza Horizon 5 One of Microsoft’s big games for this holiday season, Forza Horizon 5 keeps the strengths of its predecessor: some brilliant driving mechanics and a great map design, while also retaining most of its weaknesses. The Mexico map in Horizon 5 is gorgeous. It features some quite diverse areas like jungle, desert, city and mountain (well, technically a volcano). There’s a lot to explore and do, including the main story of setting up different Horizon outposts. These “story” events are great, and are much more tied into the game than the ones in Horizon 4. It created a much improved sense of progression in terms of playing through the singleplayer content, and features some spectacular moments like driving by an active volcano and driving in some impressive dust storms. Sometimes the spectacle of these events can make the freeroam mode feel a bit…static. These amazing storms only seem to happen during the story events, and the lava in the caldera is just a lake of water outside of that one mission. It could be that this changes based on season, but unfortunately the seasons are locked to real-world time, and it changes by a weekly basis. This was frustrating in the last time, and is still frustrating here, although playing about with the custom events (where you can set them in different seasons), the different seasons aren’t as different as in the previous game. In terms of the stories, there are quite a few. The initial ones for each region are nice introductions to each area and the style of racing they focus on, while there are more specific ones like being a stunt driver, Mexican wrestling inspired car events (although there’s no car fighting), and helping test out a restored Beetle. The dialogue isn’t great, but it’s not awful and does the job well enough. If you don’t like stories, you can focus on the different races instead: road races, dirt races, cross country (a mixture of both) and stunt races. There are also stunts such as beating speed cameras, drifting or maintaining a high speed along a stretch of road or getting a long distance on a jump. One new type for FH5 is trailblazing. Once you pass the starting gate, your goal is to get to the end point as quickly as possible, ideally going in a straight line. I think it would have been an interesting race type, but I feel it was not done as a race as the AI wouldn’t have coped with it (messing with the route creator, the AI is useless when they’re not on a road). On the subject of AI, FH5 brings back the rather creepy drivatars, where unrealistic AI racers pretend to be your friends (as in they use the names of people on your friends list). I really wish Playground would add an option to have generic names instead, as giving them names you know just makes the races feel fake, as you know it isn’t them. The reward system once again relies on a slot machine style system, giving you random rewards. You gain money very quickly and the cars just feel like they have no value, and once I bought the houses and had a few cars I liked, I didn’t feel like there was much use for the large amounts of money I had, and getting new cars just felt empty. Oddly, there are some customisation options which are exclusive in the “wheelspin” slot machine, such as different horns for the car. I would have easily spent the millions of credits I had on the one I really wanted, but grinding for the wheelspins and getting lucky is the only way (I was unsuccessful in getting it). FH5 also has a fair few bugs (which may get sorted in future updates), such as the wheelspin itself not being given to you after most level ups, even though the game informs you that you have unlocked one. One persistent one was your car randomly halting for no reason, which would also cancel any stunt chains you currently have going. I fell though the map a few times, experienced a few crashes and there were lots of disconnections to the server (which personally for me was great, as it meant there were no other players, but it hadn’t activated “Solo” mode where AI drivatars would get in your way). I had a few problems with the UI as it feels unintuitive at times. I love browsing for designs for the cars, but the browser makes it a pain to reset choices after you’ve changed cars. If you’re looking for a certain design, there’s a great search tool…but once you’ve found a design you like, the only way to know what car it is for is if you actually recognise the specific model. I found myself opening and closing the wrong menus quite a lot, too. Forza Horizon 5 has some great accessibility features, but unfortunately not in the main area that affects me: colourblindness. It features the “filters” (which have never helped me out) and that’s it. I often didn’t know if I had set a waypoint on the map because the trail towards the marker was different to distinguish from the regular road colour, and the design tools don’t feature colour names, so I had to ask for help in picking the colour I wanted. Forza Horizon 5 has some amazing gameplay, but features a lot of annoyances that hinder it.
  11. Star Trek Masturbatathon

    Pretty bad for them to announce this so close to the air date. I guess that means that instead of signing up for Netflix I'll instead have to wait (or just watch it starting this week anyway).
  12. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy

    The lazy part is not taking care in what does and doesn't get the treatment. Some things look odd due to it, but on top of that, doing it too much also has a big impact on performance.
  13. Some great games in the game of the year nominations, like It Takes Two and Psychonauts 2. Forza Horizon 5 really should be on next year's nominations, not this (well, more that The Game Awards should be late Jan/Early Feb). It's literally not even possible to see all of what the game has to offer, due to the seasons being locked to particular weeks (still stupid concept). The indie game selection including Twelve Minutes is a massive insult to so many amazing indie games. It's an absolutely atrocious game. The debut indie games is a bit better, with The Forgotten City, which is a million times better than Twelve Minutes.
  14. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy

    I still have nightmares. My only solace is that i played it to see if it was so bad, I didn't buy it when it came out and put it in the console full of excitement. Also, that ridiculously smoothed nut photo (that sounds wrong) is pretty amusing.
  15. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    Also FPS boost on some games, like Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Generations and Sonic Racing Transformed. Oddly, EA announced today that Skate 2 servers are being turned off.
  16. Forza Horizon 5

    I don't think there is, it's a bit odd really. I had a look at some designs I liked then realised I have no idea what car they're for. All I can identify is "it's a car".
  17. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy

    The main glitches being shown off on twitter were due to very quickly changing between levels in different worlds. It definitely shouldn't have been there due to the chance of seizures, but it was something that extremely few people would encounter naturally. A lot of the footage was from people trying to trigger it.
  18. I always see characters as someone else's story. When a game lets you create a character, I'll create someone I think is interesting, rather than trying to make "me". I'll often play games as female characters, and in games with multiple species, I generally don't choose a human character. I quite like the "underdog" trope, so often will choose the most oppressed species (like city elf in Dragon Age). I do find that in some first person games where you create a character (such as Elder Scrolls), I often just forget who my character is because there's so little in the way of defining traits for the character and the dialogue is always fairly generic to cater to all choices. In those, I fell more like the character is just a blank featureless slate more than me inserting myself into the character.
  19. Star Trek Masturbatathon

    Episodes 3/4 (the first was 2 episodes) were also great, and loses a lot of the "Star Wars" vibe. I think a lot of it is due to the pilot having lots of non-humanoid species speaking theory own language, in a grimy mine setting. One thing that does sound concerning is that after the next episode, there will be a break until January, when there will be five more episodes. Then the remaining 10 episodes of season 1 will air at an even later date. A 20-episode season 2 has also been confirmed. One interesting thing about the latest episode is that it potentially had a lot of backstory for a certain species seen in Voyager, although it's just speculation. It does make a lot of sense, though.
  20. Beyond Good and Evil 2

    Hopefully it eventually gets reworked and becomes something that resembles the original game, instead of the online coop looter shooter Destiny clone that was planned.
  21. bad stuff thread.

    I've just been informed by my fiancee that Tails is not green. My entire life is a lie.
  22. Forza Horizon 5

    Definitely the kind of anti-consumer thing that I expect Microsoft to do more of in the future, especially for multiplayer games so they can rely on peer pressure to push sales.
  23. Forza Horizon 5

    Played it for a few hours. Graphically, it looks amazing, but it has the same issues that 4 has. Drivatars are still creepy, and they still punish you in offline mode by making them crash into you and get in your way (it's bizarre how you have to go online if you want to drive peacefully). Getting cars is still down by roulette wheel, making it feel like you don't earn a single car, it's more like you're being given access to someone else's cars. Unlocking the Horizon outposts is slightly more progression than the previous one, although the prologue itself is really short compared to 4, which had lots of cool events and the fancy season changing as you went though it (it was easily the best part of 4). I'll probably carry on unlocking the outposts and playing the stories (I hope they've returned), as the core gameplay is great, it's just a shame that it still feels like a mobile phone game in terms of progression.
  24. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    The Forgotten City Release date: 28th July 2021 Platform Played: Xbox Series S Completion: All four endings The Forgotten City starts off with the worst part of the game, with some poor writing which includes a really dumb Karen joke. It gives a sour taste to the start of the game but thankfully the choice of name actually ends up becoming an interesting twist, but it’s a bad way to date your game at the very start. This Karen has saved you from a river, and asks you to find someone called Al. Coming across some ruins, you fall down a large drop into a hidden ancient city, filled with gold statues of people, except these statues look like people frozen in time. Entering a portal, you end up hurled back in time around 2000 years into a mysterious ancient city. The city has what the inhabitants call “The Golden Rule”. If any one person commits a sin, everyone will be wiped out (by some kind of god, the people there disagree on which one). Some inhabitants think this is just a way for the magistrate to control the people. The Magistrate knows (based on your appearance) that someone will break The Golden Rule within the next day, as he’s discovered a ritual that allows him to reset time. In order to return to your own timeline, you are told that you have to stop this sin from being committed. While there is some combat in this game, the majority of the game is talking to people, discovering their history, motives and plans, as well as figuring out the puzzle of how the city works. If you fail, you have to rush back to the portal and start the day again, regaining your knowledge and any items you have collected. Unlike The Outer Wilds, another time loop game, The Forgotten City doesn’t run on a clock, events happen by you triggering them (often by walking to the location where they happen), which gives the game a very relaxed feel for the most part, as you don’t need to rush around. One other thing which is extremely handy is that as you complete tasks, you can tell the first person you meet each day to do a load of stuff for you, so you aren’t constantly repeating the same things and can focus entirely on unravelling more of the mystery. The writing (other than the one section at the start) is great, the 23 residents are mostly interesting (there are a couple that don’t do much) and it’s very satisfying learning how to manipulate events. I recently played Twelve Minutes, which is another dialogue-heavy time loop game, and in that it was a constant frustration that I couldn’t try any ideas or ask the questions I wanted due to the game’s limitations, but in The Forgotten City it seemed like most things I wanted to ask were there, and one crazy idea I had actually led to one of the game’s endings (there are four in total, although you really should aim to discover them all). The Forgotten City has a very interesting mystery, with lots of great revelations and discoveries throughout, and a conclusion I was very satisfied with. Unpacking Release date: 2nd November 2021 Version Played: Xbox Series S Completion: Finished game Unpacking is a game where you simply unpack boxes as someone moves house. The unpacking isn’t a challenge to overcome, but rather how you experience the game’s story, as it’s told through the items you unpack. You start off with some boxes in a child’s bedroom, you learn about their hobbies and interests as you go through each item and choose where to place it. You can be as neat or as messy as you want, you can take the time to make nice displays or just find somewhere for it to go. Once all items are out, some items will flash because they’re not in a “correct” spot. As long as you’ve been somewhat sensible and not just thrown everything on the floor, this will only be a few items, some are requirements like kitchen utensils doing in drawers or cupboards, but sometimes items simply need to be hidden out of view, representing an aspect of this person’s life. As you complete each level, you’ll move to the next house or apartment that this person lived in, deducing their life’s story through the items that follow to the next house, the ones that are hidden and the state of the house to begin with. The items tell stuff about the person and their current state, and if like me you’ll waste a lot of time analysing the games and DVDs, trying to work out what game or film the pixels are supposed to represent. There’s not a lot to actually say about Unpacking, it’s a very relaxing and calm game that tells a simple story in a unique way. It’s short (around 3 hours), but definitely worth experiencing. Kill It With Fire Release date: 13th August 2020 Version Played: Xbox Series S Completion: All objectives and challenges Kill it with Fire is an absurd and over the top game about killing spiders. It starts off nice and simple, before descending into complete madness. One interesting thing about Kill it with Fire is that the spiders are just spiders – there are some different types such as ones that jump, or queen ones that release young when killed and some that shoot webs, but there’s no venomous spiders, they can’t hurt you at all. I personally love this about the game, as it delves into one key aspect of arachnophobia, which is an illogical fear as spiders can’t hurt you (fearing venomous spiders isn’t a phobia, as there’s a valid reason to fear them). Each level will have a list of objectives such as killing certain kinds of spiders, killing them in specific ways, destroying or moving specific objects. You have to discover these objectives by finding them through the level, but if you happen to complete the objective before finding it, then it will be revealed and marked as completed. Weapons start from a clipboard, hairspray (with lighter) and a pistol, and throughout the levels you will find assault rifles, C4, hedge trimmers, frying pans and more. There are a few non-aggressive items such as cheese puffs (which serves as a lure but can also change spider type), energy drinks and flashbangs. The game is short, which works for a game like this as it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It doesn’t do anything mind blowing, but is simply entertaining and amusing. Backbone Release Date: 8th Jun 2021 Version Played: Xbox Series S Completion: Story completed A detective game featuring anthropomorphic animals, with a beautiful pixelated visual style, Backbone definitely starts out on the right foot. The game opens with you, a racoon detective, taking on a case involving a cheating husband. The club he’s suspected to be in doesn’t allow racoons, so you have to find ways into it. You have dialogue options which won’t alter the plot, but will alter how people will react to you, along with what options are available to you. You will also encounter a few puzzles, including one where you have to move objects around to work out a code. Everything about the opening act is wonderful, the characters you talk to are interesting, everything looks fantastic and the feeling of a detective is spot-on. There’s no “fail state” but it feels like you’re solving a case. It’s a brilliant start to a game, and showed a ton of potential. If only it kept it up. I get the impression that there was a lot more planned for Backbone, and that this first section was carefully crafted to show its potential, then when it came to developing the rest, they simply didn’t have the budget for it. The next few chapters are still good, held together by some great characters and good writing, as well as the mystery of what you discovered from the first case being interesting, however it feels more like a visual novel as you just move on to the next location, have a conversation and move on. Everything feels more scripted and it doesn’t feel like you, the player, is actually working out anything, just following instructions, although at least it feels like your conversation choices matter and affect how people perceive you, even if it does have no impact. Then, just as it seems like things are getting interesting and the mystery is starting to unravel, the game gives you another big twist, only this one really does not land. I won’t spoil what it is, but it feels like the game is derailed at this point, and from this point, it feels like your conversation options matter even less than they did before. There’s also no more exploring of new areas, it’s pretty much “press A to continue” at this point. Then the game just seems to…stop. The big twist itself would have worked, if it were the halfway point of a story, as it feels like there should be a lot more. There’s some new things set up right at and some aspects of the original mystery are just forgotten about. It further solidifies the idea that the developers ran out of money, as the game ends. It’s a shame, because the early stuff is fantastic, and the visuals, music and songs throughout remain a treat for the senses. There are some segments that let you sit back and enjoy the spectacle, and the story definitely seemed like it was going somewhere…it just never did.
  25. 66. Sonic Advance 2 Original Platform: Game Boy Advance Where to get: Second hand Sonic Advance 2 looks absolutely fantastic, the animations are wonderful and everything moves around extremely smoothly. The sound effects and music are also top notch, too. It’s definitely a treat to the senses as you play through the game. You can also see DIMPs starting to do their own thing with Sonic games, as you can see the beginnings of the Rush games in Advance 2. There’s a focus on speed as if you go fast enough for a long period (made shorter if you have more rings), you will enter a “turbo speed mode” where Sonic will go even faster, except that it’s much harder to stop. This focus on speed also comes alongside one of the main flaws that cropped up in the Rush series, with unseen bottomless pits and obstacles that are impossible to dodge. The high speed mode makes it even worse as it feels quite unresponsive, and can activate when you don’t want it to. Another new system is the trick system, mainly used for an extra jump. If you’re going fast, you really don’t have time to react when you see a platform slightly above you that you need to use it for. This wouldn’t be an issue if it was solely for extra routes, but sometimes you’ll end up falling down a pit because you didn’t react to something before it appeared on screen. The level design also doesn’t seem to match the focus on speed well, as the later levels are much more enjoyable to play at a slower pace. There doesn’t seem to be any sections to just enjoy the speed for a moment. The entrances to the special stages are also really well hidden, meaning you’ll have to slowly explore the levels if you want to collect them. You also need to collect them as the four main characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Cream) to unlock Amy – 28 in total, it goes a bit too far. Visually, Sonic Advance 2 is great. I just think it’s a step down from the first Advance in terms of gameplay. 67. Sonic R Original Platform: Saturn Version Played: PC (with fan patch) Where to get: Second hand This is definitely as bad as I was expecting it to be. It’s a Sonic racing game with bad controls, very little content, poor level design and an extremely awesome soundtrack. A racing game where Sonic actually runs (instead of using a car) does make a lot of sense, but the movement in this just feels off, it’s unresponsive and sluggish. Simply coming in first is trivially easy, as you can jump past huge sections of track while the AI tries to run along it, sometimes getting stuck. The main challenge comes from the collectibles. Hidden in each track are 5 coins and 1-2 chaos emeralds .To unlock the chaos emeralds, you’ll need to collect rings and open a “ring gate”, then collect the emerald and finish in first place (for levels that have two, you can do them individually). Collecting all coins and finishing in the top 3 will let you race a character to unlock them. There are a total of 5 levels, although the final one doesn’t have any coins or emeralds. The characters are a bit odd. Even when this was made, there were a few additional characters they could have picked. We have the main characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy (who drives a really slow car) and Dr Robotnik. Metal Sonic makes sense, then it shoves in a creepy Tails doll, metal Knuckles and a random egg robot. You can also unlock Super Sonic to make the game even easier. While Sonic R is an awful game, I think it’s worth just seeing it for yourself. There’s not much to see so you’ll get through the levels finally quickly. 68. Sonic the Hedgehog: Dice Rush Original Platform: Board Game Where to get: Some new copies still available in USA/UK (as of Nov 2011) This board game is sort of like a speed Yhatzee. There is a pile of cards, each worth different numbers of points and all with a dice requirement such as a pair, four of a kind, 4 straight or even just free (these are negative points). A number of cards are drawn at the start of a round equal to the number of players and everyone starts rolling. You have to reroll your dice as quickly as possible (you can re-roll all or just a couple) until you get the needed result and then put your character card on top of the card you want to claim, you need to be the first to do so as once it has been claimed, nobody else can do so. After everyone has claimed a card, they all check to see if they can afford it and place them in their level. If they didn’t have the required dice, they must place it face down and not score it (free cards must always be added face up). Some enemies had badniks on them, which are worth negative points. If you have any leftover 6 dice after claiming a card, you can use them to kill them, adding a flicky token which is worth one point. After all cards have been claimed, you count up the points and the highest score wins. It’s a basic game, but surprisingly entertaining, and a pretty fun fuller game that takes less than 20 minutes. The Green Hill Zone artwork is nice, and it’s nice to see classic artwork in use for a more modern product.