Hot Takes, a 10 year work

Crims

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For a long time I was avoidant of gaming, and incredibly focused on maximising my creative output. Over this Christmas period, I've actually downloaded Playstation Plus and will (whenever I feel is appropriate) put hot takes of games from the past 10-14 years. For a exercise in criticism and succinct writing I'll be talking about the more nuanced parts of a game.

Sifu:
Sifu is a combat centric 3rd person fighting game focused mainly on martial arts, Bruce Lee's fighting style included.
Sifu evokes 09 game design, which I suspect will be a reoccuring issue. The games of that year were "post-'good game'" where games opt more for realism than not pussyfooting around and letting you kill the bad or accomplish the objective easily. Sifu takes an approach of most merc movies where he runs into random brawls with random places, essentially meaningless both narratively and with the way the game presents itself. For a contrast, you might like my earlier review for Fights in Tight Spaces (although Sifu has some weapons, and that helps it be less soft). A lot of the trial was ripoffs of asian movies, the gameplay however was solid for the above things I mentioned (and sorry for coming in late to say that I wouldn't write if the gameplay wasn't good to begin with). You can freeform fight with some environmental objects... though for the most part it's all fists, and barring the mediocre levels Sifu has gameplay that is great if you're looking for a game to unwind to.

Super Crazy Rhythm Castle:
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle is a music game featuring minigames that primarily use the GH game formula.
I liked the trailer and how much the game centered around the Guitar Hero formula, though after playing it for a half hour the impression I got was a snide music game that's centered around a King character you have to depose in a toxic as hell way. From the beginning, all games you enter into get interrupted from the starting tutorial to the end... If you like playing the Guitar Hero 3 boss battles, this is a entire game based around that. Personally I preferred the idea of some uninterrupted music, so you can acclimate and engross yourself before the King character showed up, though for what it is I enjoyed the core loop even though for a music game it is very much irrelevant to the players input, and abandoning a song 60% doesn't change the result a lot of the game. Indie as ever.
Another bingo - after '10s indie game mimics a formula, is half baked, and subverts for a narrative.

Next up is the music game where you play as a pigeon methinks.
 
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Crims

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Post 1337 ? We'll see.

(Hotline Miami) Gods Trigger:
Arcade bullet-dodge 2d game in the style of Hotline Miami, Call of Juarez.
I found this game to be particularly grandiose in its ambition, moreso than Hotline Miami and more linear and approachable on PS4 with its use of character abilities. All in all it is strong simply for the fact it lacks all the noteworthy problems for games especially with Roguelikes gain in popularity after the turn of 2010. Basic gameplay is fun, and while it's punishing unlike roguelikes of other types the draw to return and play more is solid and fun. Doesn't affect how much I can't beat the second boss, but whatever that's a given.
 

Crims

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Evil West:
Linear Western style Mad World or God Hand
I was disappointed when coming into Evil West, after watching the Gears of War style gameplay. From the start the game is a roguelike like the linear isometric ones like Hades, with some of - if at all - the style of Gears. The game revolves around melee combat with guns being a secondary, subverting the genre (sigh) to Mad World or God Hand. Guns like the pistol don't feel like they have as much emphasis as melee, and aspects from Gears that improve gunplay are absent. Evil West could be fun if played like Resident Evil or like those games, though as I don't and as the rest of the game is western roguelike (a genre that's overdone) I don't have any noteworthy additional critique. Between this and SCRC I might need to invent a name for these parrot genre games that essentially Rio Ferdinand their goals, oh and multiplayer hasn't worked for me so I'm reviewing purely for newcomers.
 
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Crims

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Featurette:
Moto GP 2023:
Motorbike race game
Realism or gameplay? ARMA has introduced to me the idea of fun simulation games, and recently I've been playing Destiny 2 like a milsim. So when Moto GP asked if I would like the Classic or Competitive options, I dabbled in both.
From A to B reviewed: all in all if you choose realistic you have more control and on the average it's more fun. The old way is more fun, giving up a lot of control per sec for smoothness, and I have a feeling this'll be the future of gamedev. I enjoyed racing with it, though ultimately there's better experiences to be had elsewhere. Highlight for me was falling off the bike, which brings to mind memories of the previous motorbike racing game I played, PGR4. Both arcadey and weightless, though with MotoGP being on a race track with further back boundaries it's a lot more fun to watch your player do a flip as they skid off their bike. The cynic in me is thinking PGR4 shouldn't be the epitome of racing a bike, though nonetheless MotoGP does it well, hence to me, Moto GP is still at the end of the day a fun if not depthy game for non motorcycle fans.
 
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Tiffany

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Nice gaming reviews, opinions and experiences. Your critiques will be very helpful to other gamers. I think I'd like the Sifu game as we are real Bruce Lee fans.
 

Crims

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Nice gaming reviews, opinions and experiences. Your critiques will be very helpful to other gamers. I think I'd like the Sifu game as we are real Bruce Lee fans.
Thanks very much. I'm a fan of Sifu, as discerning as the review is. It's more that when you are able to say "I get it" for most ideas, Sifu has a lot of potential for gamers. It's a question of does the game work? As for Bruce Lee, sadly he doesn't appear outside of Tekken 7 lol

Rhythm Royale (the pigeon game) is overpriced, so I'll be buying a game and reviewing it, olde style.
 
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Tiffany

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I'm going to take a closer look at Sifu. Too bad the game didn't fully immerse Bruce Lee. Thanks for the background info!
 

Crims

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Destiny 2
First person shooter/MMO
I'm a fan of Halo, and kept track of Destiny up until now, where Destiny 2 is now available on PS4 for the cost of £0 (yep, I'm a cheapskate). Instead of going into detail about its excellent array of guns (it's been 10+ years of dev time, and Bungie are a good studio), I'll talk about Destiny as a MMO.
Destiny fails as a MMO. From the bizarre choices of presentation - fan favourites like Slayer are presented by a distinguished major general, and the multiplayer modes character who looks like he sells meth in his spare time, there's apparency throughout Destiny that it lacks the confidence of prior game entries by the same staff. I'm also reluctant with criticising AI design, though the AI hasn't changed since the 2000s era of games, and they should do more than do a knockoff of Halo. I'm level 6 and I've been playing just about to the point I can compete in the dungeons, and despite the amount of fantastic maps there's almost nothing of note for me as a player. To put a little critique in hyperbole: The game itself fails on numerous levels re what the players like, with the main features locked behind Playstation Plus membership and a lack of incentive to partner up compared to their previous works. Destiny 2 is a shooting gallery for Call of Duty + Halo weapons, with a sprinkle of milsim.
 
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Crims

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Hitman World of Assassination
3rd person linear action thriller
Years ago when I began playing Hitman I was browsing the Playstation Store bored, and even curious as this has always been a fairly popular game, and it'd been a year or so from the release date. I'd never played Hitman and definitely had no clue when Blood Money was a thing how it should work, so here I am - I can now, in 2024, give a fairly accurate review for the game in all respects. For newcomers - the game is free to play, is fairly fun when it's not unnaturally busy at all times and is a niche of puzzle games. The majority of reviews for this game are largely too kind IMHO - NPCs are lazy at the best of times, levels are often artificially populated, and the explosives/guns never allow for anything "fun" action-wise ala Blood Money. This is more about completing a 5/5 mission, which sounds more sociopathic than dumb action, and definitely doesn't compliment the more improv-type gamers like me. So - instead, the main interest is my speciality - the map themselves.
So why should I like it? For the more experienced player: From the offset, Hitman lacks a clear vision. Most games since the start of this gen have been fairly purposelessly tending toward open world, however Hitman in comparison sheds its highlights of its past - Paris, Hokkaido etc. and ends up trending towards linear gameplay entirely. I'm learning the feel for Hitman 3's more open-ended design though suspect Hitman 2 will end up being the best part, combining the realistic boring version with much more gusto. To add, Hitman 2's the only game I ignore i3's missions and opt for fan creations every time, because it's not as deliberately low quality for no reason. That's still not a knock on the end game, though a warning for those who are swayed to the game by Paris and Hokkaido and hope for a continuation of good maps - there's no money in decent challenge.
 
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Crims

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Featurette:
Roguelikes are extremely cynical game design
I'll flatly put it out: Roguelikes are cynical game design that often undersells everything of value that a game should offer so as to deliver the blandest game possible. Even to the wreckless optimist.
Recently I've been playing Overwatch, it's not a particularly well reviewed game and it's not a bastion of quality, but this analogue will suffice. I like on average how I get a better session if I play Overwatch than Destiny because I tend to play multiplayer on OW and it's good enough to be worth playing. In the same vein, Roguelikes, even from Dark Souls' release, are about that low experience - that average enjoyment that you improve and slowly enjoy more often with more play. If I put my feelings in a succinct statement, it would say that fun isn't allowed in its' most literal sense - the chemical reaction of enjoyment - in lieu of something more sadistic or odious.
I enjoyed Bloodborne and Nier, and some of the many other roguelikes of this past decade, though I wouldn't ever say I really respect the idea that is presented by them. At their most cynical, it's a anti capitalist-style view on game design: 1 you don't own any item, 2 throwing lives at the game to earn peacemeal weapon unlocks and 3 it's pretty much linear RPGs done with more effort for fans of that genre. (and card games etc)
This previously often shared view was more common, though the point here is are we better than darwinistic game dev? Remaking the same game with no change for the past decade much the same as Marvel fans which eventually tanked their genre? That was my main observation with Elden Ring and Lies of P, and it's many clones.
 
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Crims

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Minecraft:
Open world building game
I'm using terms from prior to Minecraft's conception, instead of the newfangled genres Roguelike, survival sim, crafting, etc, and taking a gander at Minecraft's legacy. When MC started, it was originally a Youtube trend for a handful of people, and eventually found it's way to millions, and then billions as the internet became more acquainted with this novel experience.
For me, the core of Minecraft is the ability to build. Creative mode. Personally, I'd like it without any mining/grinding in the mines when it's mostly to accelerate the rate of work you can do, and that's already offered with the game. That's my sole complaint and comment - there's not enough tree/wood centered pieces ;) oh and mobs aren't great for large builders.

Minecraft's - overall - a niche, fun experience, and the ubiquitousness of it has clearly endured for the several years that Microsoft have been the owners of it.
 

Crims

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I tend to play devils advocate from the soapbox and every once in a while I think my views are far and away not the average, only then I notice that often (almost always) these days my opinion corresponds to sales figures, so ha ha ha :) at least the "objectivist" mega capitalist view is accurate and a good barometer for freedom of speech.
Kotaku recently published a piece including user comments on Roguelikes.


Fixed link unfurling. :) Retro
 
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Crims

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Very short and simple hot takes:
A bunch of new demos went out this week

Prince of Persia Lost Crown:
Side scroller ala the original Prince of Persia
PoP is one of the few examples of 'Rio Ferdinand'ing that works, compared to mimicry of old franchises (Evil Within vs Resident Evil). They bring new life into their franchise by choosing one of the 4 or 5 game types that works in modern game dev - Endless Runner, and combine Prince of Persia with it. Exploration feels fun and gives rewards, and barring complaints with the Roguelike-style AI combat, the challenge of the maps and the interactions are overall very good. Puzzles require some extra effort though compared to other games of this genre. Not a 9/10, IMHO though a strong choice in general.

Granblue Fantasy (Adventure RPG, 3d) is a fantastic RPG game, with intuitive combat, working combo systems and rewarding player feedback whenever you do well in a mission or encounter. For fans of this style of game, Granblue is set to be one of the highlights of this year.
 
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Crims

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Overwatch as a Playstation 4 player:
Like PC games, autoaim doesn't exist on PS4, so I specifically designed each character after Halo's core aiming mechanics. Sometime in the past year Overwatch edited every character, nullifying character-specific tweaks on my main characters. So tonight, returning to the game I'm going to finally draw a few conclusions from my experience with the game.

Overwatch 2 has been a very PC-centered experience from the f2p console version. Mei is a easy example - charger with a ice mechanic that controls the flow of battle. I'd say that most of the time I play Mei it's a mad charge to the other team, and then the rest is dancing around attackers. It's much easier to be at the ideal level of character skill on PC, and def not via controller. As a result, my play is usually power centric vs tactic. Mei I use primarily as a defence instead of offense.
From early on Overwatch 2 has been a shooter between TF2 and other shooters, and in some ways lacking any clear identity of its own. The game has recently modified every character, perhaps to boost player count, though it's shown these cracks early as a result.
Even more than the characters, the maps are the main part of Overwatch. At the core of the game is the same flow of Call of Duty's 3-lane map mechanics, essentially corridors or arenas. The main cart mode differs from TF2 as it feels much more imbalanced, like a moving KotH game where the points are skewed against the defense. This is where the player meets Blizzards way of mechanics. Another example is matchmaking: I don't know how Overwatch works, though I'm usually only matched up with the losing team, who are AIs in my experience. I've once lost 28 games in a row on console, and when I win I don't feel like it was the result of my playing, and that feels part of the way the game tries to balance out teams.
To make fun from that, Ana is my main character, and I've seen every Ana main generally plays 2 or more characters to counterbalance how unfairly weak the character is. A sniper without a pistol, and who is basically more of a healer than a sniper. Special is a fully S&M version of TF2's Uber, fully support oriented, compared to Moira who is basically a fully working combat medic. I'm using this as a example of Blizzard's strengths in gameplay put in the wrong place.
That brings me to the main point: The game isn't about the team, or competitive. Oh it tries, though what I found is that Overwatch is the rock paper scissors aspect of gameplay. That is the main focal point not offensive play Blizzard try to center the game around, and ultimately at best for one or two games at a time.
 
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Crims

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I was thinking that this should be titled 'Avowed and the silent majority of RPG gamers', though rather than grand stand it's better to be more fluid about this:

Avowed has recently shown off gameplay at a Xbox conference, and I'm ho-hum about it. It seems centralised on combat. There's no mention of things that are worth doing! When I played Skyrim I played 3 or 4 quests and spent my time exploring, and ignoring the main part. 30% of gamers, by a loose estimate, play RPGs unconventionally - they use cheats and walkthroughs, or ignore the main quest. It's around the amount of gamers who later play RPGs hardcore. Avowed seems to be a good albeit quick RPG just from the shown content. So, I have no real interest in Avowed when comparing to ESS by Bethesda. I'm almost usually correct, which is annoying so instead:

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Here's a fun trivia: Hogwarts Legacy was the first game since 2008 (barring Rockstar) that wasn't CoD that was GotY!
2008 Rock Band, 4 years of CoD, GTA V, 4 years of CoD, Red Dead Redemption 2, 4 years of CoD and now here :)

And Subsistence is going for £8 on Steam btw
 
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Tiffany

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Great reviews, Crims! Just had a conversation about Minecraft this morning with my dd. She plays with a group and they are always starting a new challenge together in Minecraft.
 

Crims

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Great reviews, Crims! Just had a conversation about Minecraft this morning with my dd. She plays with a group and they are always starting a new challenge together in Minecraft.
Really good to hear :D I'm enjoying sharing thoughts on Minecraft, it's definitely had a journey getting to now. That's the best way to play, by far IMHO

A little off topic, the other game most people play is Roblox - I just so happened to read that one of the best games this past year was made by a Roblox player.
 

Crims

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FTSOW - for the sake of writing
Games often arrive as memes without assessment by the press. I like to cover these, even if I haven't played a FTSOW game.

Palworld
Open world creature capturing game
I have a few theories as for why Palworld is taking off. Palworld, is a funny take on all the modern games of the past decade - another derivative of 2009's lore that Pokemon is actually slavery, here Pokemon meets Breath of the Wild, with crafting. Typically this is a game a normal person would never play, and now suddenly everyone is incredibly interested in for no suspicious reasons. Set on a island which guns were quick to meet the natives, the guns here alleviate the open world-ness found in recent Pokemon games, and forms a cohesive whole when you add the smarter systems. I'm holding out on more depthy review until multiplayer is available on console.

I have my doubts though I reckon Palworld is analogous to using a whiteboard while sitting on a toilet, and will probably be treated as the best thing ever. The mining aspect reminded me of my original complaints with Minecraft (see above). Players manually farm resources before playing catch-a-slave, (not a 'new genre' in my books) so I like the almost-criticism of Palworld of modern mechanics; Farming, mining and animal husbandry world game doesn't sound as catchy when you put it in context.
 
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Crims

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FTSOW
My internet went down, so God's Trigger was my game of choice for the past week.

Much like running for a long period, God's Trigger is difficult only in the sense that you can't go further until you have the momentum and energy. I beat the second boss, and I'm further along, where they start to emulate Hotline Miami somewhat decently: I'm saying this with the context of me, a guy that virilently dislikes roguelikes though doesn't have any real aversion. I couldn't for the life of me truly adapt to this game, it's unfair and pointlessly so. GT specific - I find small checkpoint game design anethema to my baby console FPS experience. GT is a fascinating show for every roguelike in the past 10 years - it manages to seemlessly transition from slow and underpowered to hyperspec and having upgrades not unlike the many powers of Neon White. Many have the same view and interestingly, the lowest score for this is on PS4, the platform I'm playing on. With my main asterix being ignoring the bosses, the main gunplay doesn't function - and that's inhibited moreso by the close camera. VS Hong Kong Massacre, HKM does it better though that's not available on this console. A Xbox 360 era God's Trigger would only be a little better.

I am at a crossroad with this game. GT tries to have a Quentin Tarantino type vibe, and that would be best accomplished with better characters. To delve into the modern issue, Quentin's writing style is that he embraces the chaos, and this game doesn't. It pathologically avoids it. Stealth is a highlight because you can disappear enemies with a button press, and with no actual consequence my mind's reminding me of roguelikes - get more power over the course of GT consequenceless gameplay and writing is thrown around.

Specifically because the game has been done and is more 'unique' than it's competitors, it just doesn't use all the flair that they have. Like CoJ was a plain shooter with no frills, GT is a 'if I admit that this is unfun then I admit that the majority of gaming is not fun', and 'this part is fun, I can't point it out due to the first point'. Way back Demon Souls didn't reach the bar, Elden Ring is only a mix of the same elements, the RPG framework poured concrete on a garden. When GT isn't deploying trap 103+ the game is at its best - mindless fun that works. I'm declaring this new dilemma 'The Jesus Complex': labrinthine traps, NPC position games and humdrum dialogue and moment to moment challenge. If I persuade anyone of that I'd be Jesus.
 
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Crims

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FTSOW
Hobby Gaming

I'll play anything, good and bad as long as I have the ability to. Except for roguelikes. And I find that it's actually changed my gameplay style. God I hate the way that I play Hitman. If the only reasonable way to live nowadays is to balance a good lifestyle with a mediocre game for relaxation, it doesn't feel like a game. And when you're in the mood for play, a AAA game is necessary. I'll play Overwatch 2 with XX music in the background, playing with CorvoRude and Ganjalf and do the dumbest contracts for Hitman, because the alternative, well sucks.

With that being said, I'm not a hardcore player... I could theoretically get competitive, though that isn't my preference. I couldn't possibly get better at these games bar actually learning strategies, though the point isn't min maxing and strategy. It's responding in the right style. Those guys are the better type of teammates, and the rest generally drag on each and every game, so it's hard playing amazingly when my teammates as said above may make me lose 28 matches in a row. The win rate, whenever it comes back around, is way too uneven and unforgiving at the best of times.
 
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Retro

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You must have played Unreal Tournament, any version and Half-Life, any version? Two of the best games ever released in my opinion. I finished HL2 three times over, across the years, it was that good. Best atmosphere ever.

I've played quite a few CoD games (not bothered with the WW2 ones) campaign and online with my mates and especially with Rainbow 6 | Siege online with my mates. It's not a game I'd bother with on my own, but with them it transforms it. It's bloody hard though! :ROFLMAO: I bought a PS4 Pro specifically so I could play with them, I'm talking that kind of investment. I don't use it for anything else.
 

Crims

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You must have played Unreal Tournament, any version and Half-Life, any version? Two of the best games ever released in my opinion. I finished HL2 three times over, across the years, it was that good. Best atmosphere ever.

I've played quite a few CoD games (not bothered with the WW2 ones) campaign and online with my mates and especially with Rainbow 6 | Siege online with my mates. It's not a game I'd bother with on my own, but with them it transforms it. It's bloody hard though! :ROFLMAO: I bought a PS4 Pro specifically so I could play with them, I'm talking that kind of investment. I don't use it for anything else.
Yeah, I played UT2k4 for like 1 day at Butlins. I'm not a huge PC gamer lol, I didn't play HL2 until 2014. Though I liked making Half Life 2 maps from waaaay before that. Call of Duty uses the exact same engine, so no wonder you have the same idea in mind. I feel the PS4 is the best console for a while, with friends I couldn't play hard from way back playing Halo 2 on Xbox. I've found my niche on Xbox 360
 

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Current indie games are tonally distinct from old indie

It's surprising how many indie games I usually try to play weekly. I used to play Xbox 360 indie titles a lot, to the distinct opposite of current indie games. they'd be genuine off time activities, whereas it's different. I'd actually equate the games I play (PS4 - haven't upgraded) to Facebook games from a looong time ago. It's all thanks to the Playstation store I've found a lot of indie games of which I've played much much much more than God of War and my game library.
To move past the boring stuff, I'd say that indie games regardless of platform have a demographic and style of their own - somewhere in the Playstation 1 era of PC and console games. But what I want this to focus on is the way that games are providing play, rather than entertainment. When I play a indie game, fun is a byproduct of the game, and the main aim is a sort of rote vacation. The games I'm thinking particularly are Blasphemous and Skatebird. Both treat the gameplay as like a game I have Neodori Forever - start by racing from a beach to a place that looks like Tron, and the game it usually copies becomes irrelevant and the fun is the momentum more than anything. It's funny that Neodori Forever looks as far from Tron Legacy as Blasphemous and yet has more to offer than God of War to me.

It stands on its own then. Skatebird frustrated me ever since the vent level, though I can't find the heart to quit. That's saying something, for sure. I'd be better off with a real board though as a game I have no interest getting a PS5 despite GTA 6 and by comparison technically Facebook indie was a flash in the pan, so current indie games deserve recognition. And devs will keep them low res lol.

I know I'm being brief, this topic particularly gathers lukewarm at most interest. If anyone reads my profile posts, my username derives from a Miniclip web game sooo this is my wheelhouse :D
 
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Crims

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Half Life 2 as a european

I was recently thinking about Half Life 2. This is uncommon - I play free games, often due to the way the modern games industry pushes F2P and makes free viable against AAA. Half-Life 2 was born from following classic FPS titles: military rebels, aliens and being the right man when aliens arrive. Now, with good games hopefully in the future, I'm comparing to the classics.

Including the recent VR, Half Life never appealed to me - its main strengths are the guiding narrative and physics, and having played Gears of War, Halo 2 etc enjoying ease of use and arena combat I wasn't keen. Half Life, contrary to the status quo, requires a fair amount of suspended disbelief especially by the end when you have at least 3 sci fi weapons. Perhaps somewhat like a crusader though I couldn't acclimate to its aesthetic, even if I could tell there was guiding principle each beat. This is the main thread - Half Life never landed for me.

Half Life 2 follows a highly specific set of design decisions that are largely zigzagged (like the EDZ areas designed by Bungie) and feels congruent regardless. People prefer HL2 even though it feels like a arcade game shunted into a campaign sometimes. Would gamers prefer realism? European style game design? We'll see when gamedevs begin exploring the idea. I never had an affinity for the game, however it's come up incredibly frequently with my PC playing clan.

I mean either way, I'll be enjoying Gmod gametypes and Half Life 2 mods, so it'll be good as a gateway if nothing else.

It sounds cruel though my gist is that, the future of games, particularly if you like Half Life would likely stray from classics.Putting them in focus is a alternative, what with sci fi being what it is at the moment.
 
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Crims

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I keep playing indie games. Idk why, I just don't feel like buying any of the games that are more than £50. I suppose I just feel like games aren't enough to justify that price tag. Years of whaling aside, the actual price of games should be super low. There's a bubble where games are overpriced.
 
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