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    Avatar photoRhoderic

    So I’m thinking this could be a running thread for talking about what we’re up to on the video game front, whenever anyone has something to say on the subject but feels it’s maybe a tad too casual/unimportant to warrant its own thread. Not saying that different video game topics couldn’t have their own, separate threads anymore – it’s just that I tend to flit between games so much that I’d be spamming the forum with threads about them if I couldn’t just tie them all into a more general, running conversation.

    Here are some games I’ve been playing, or watching on YouTube/Twitch lately:

    Death Stranding. The last major game of the 2010s. So far I’m just watching a playthrough of it on YouTube (far from ideal because it has a soundtrack of licensed music in it, so sections of the videos are muted by copyright necessity) but I’m considering buying it. TBH I’m not a big fan of Hideo Kojima and his whole deal. I just don’t have much patience for all the pretentious-yet-juvenile weirdness he brings to his projects, even if I do respect him for the impact that the Metal Gear series have had on gaming culture. But there’s a specific reason I’m interested in Death Stranding: the striking landscapes, very much inspired by places like Iceland, Tierra del Fuego and the ice-free parts of Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula. I’d like to do a hobby project for that sort of milieus at some point. I’m also hearing that the gameplay is better than most people expected, though I’ll reserve my own judgement for now as I don’t really understand half of what I’m seeing in the YouTube playthrough. FWIW I do like “walking simulators”.

    Far Cry Primal. Kind of a random choice, this one. I was just in the mood for something with a savage tribal feel, to tie in with various hobby projects, so I started watching a YouTube playthrough of this game. It’s enjoyable enough, as a casual experience. I always get terrain-building inspiration from seeing how they modelled the natural world in games like this. It’s also giving me some ideas for a potential stone age project. Even if I don’t go through with it I can still use those ideas for various primitive tribes in fantasy and pulp settings.

    The Division: Funny… I didn’t think I would enjoy an aging Tom Clancy-branded military shooter that looks like a virus outbreak film this much. The realistic(-ish) portrayal of a disaster-struck New York City in the dead of winter is immersive and weirdly mesmerising. The gameworld feels eminently explorable with a decent number of accessible alleys, rooftops, subterranean tunnels, building interiors, courtyards and other places of that sort. While I do enjoy the actual “shoot-and-loot” gameplay and the variety of missions as well, the thing that really draws me in is just walking around looking at the world they modelled. It has me angsting over what a major project it would be in the miniatures gaming hobby to model a modern-day urban milieu for skirmish gaming. Maybe one day…

    Life is Strange. There’s really no hobby connection here so I’ll keep it brief. I just finished the first game, and… wow. Powerful experience, as far as interactive entertainment goes. The only other game that ever gave me the feels like this was The Last Of Us. The Life is Strange series has a lot of cred in the social circles and cultural scene that I’m part of, and now finally I understand why. I intend to start Life is Strange: Before the Storm imminently, and move on to Life is Strange 2 while it’s still new-ish.

    Well, that’s me done rambling for now. Hopefully inviting other people to ramble. I really do find video games a wonderful source of inspiration for miniatures gaming, and I’m increasingly starting to think of the two as going hand-in-hand, at least for my own hobby endeavours.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Have you ever played/checked out Ghost Recon Wildlands? Much larger and diverse world than many of the above. Shooting is much less spongy compared to The Division and has several modes of travel. It might be the only game I play consistently, mostly to walk around and play dress up. I fire it up now and again when I need terrain inspiration.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Have you ever played/checked out Ghost Recon Wildlands? Much larger and diverse world than many of the above. Shooting is much less spongy compared to The Division and has several modes of travel. It might be the only game I play consistently, mostly to walk around and play dress up. I fire it up now and again when I need terrain inspiration.

    I was going to say I’ve seen gameplay of it, but I realised I was thinking of Ghost Recon Breakpoint. I do know of Wildlands but haven’t experienced any of it. Breakpoint does have some nice-looking environments and interesting near-future military technology, so if Wildlands is much the same, I might check it out. It seems to have gotten better reviews than Breakpoint, anyway.

    In any case, I’m no stranger to these multi-biome open-world games. I love the general concept of them, especially because of all the terrain-building inspiration I can absorb. I’m in awe of the work and expertise that must have gone into building the gameworlds, simulating the deep detail of the real world. Part of me is regretting not having gone into video game design. I’d definitely be one of the people making the 3D models of plants, rock formations, structures, furniture and whatnot. Then again I did intend to get into video game design but realised during upper secondary education that I was one of the worst people in my class at programming 😐

    Avatar photoMike

    Sea of Thieves for me at the moment, good as a short burst of play with no real consequences for rushing off into battle like a berserker.
    (plus the water looks way cool)

    Waiting for Conan Chop Chop.

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    The only games I have been playing recently are:

    SQUAD.  Modern online shooter. I play with a clan of really good dudes at least once a week.  I love the teamwork aspect, and when a squad is running well you can really pull of some great tactics.  Still in alpha but the updates have been great, though gameplay has gotten a little less hardcore and more arcady recently.

    POST SCRIPTUM.  Same as squad (and derived from it) but WW2.  Fun but not realistic.

    KINGDOM COME DELIVERANCE.  I still fire this up occasionally when I want to hack and slash around a bit.  Waiting on new DLC or something, it’s quite and excellent game.  May start it over on a more difficult level and take a different path.

    INSURGENCY SANDSTORM.  Modern shooter that I’ll play coop if I need to blow things up but don’t have time to get deep into something.

    ESCAPE FROM TARKOV.  Modern competitive shoot and loot. My new fav.  It is both rewarding and frustrating to me.  My computer and monitors aren’t quite up to spec to face really good players, but I do like to sneak around and shoot-and-loot.  The gun play is awesome.


    Now, I don’t get a lot of time to game, and I wish I did.  I love open world type games and would love to spend time just wandering around and looking and discovering little hidden things, which is one thing I love about Kingdom Come.  I will have to give some of the above titles a try.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Sea of Thieves for me at the moment, good as a short burst of play with no real consequences for rushing off into battle like a berserker. (plus the water looks way cool)

    I have strong feelings about Sea of Thieves. Most of the players who really stick to this game seem to be the ones who have a razor-sharp instinct for PvP. I, meanwhile, seem to be worthless at PvP (empirical evidence bears that out), so when playing SoT I often feel like other people’s useful idiot, sacrificing my time and effort so I can provide convenient sport for the proper, bloodthirsty hunters.

    I don’t really agree about the “no real consequences” thing. While it’s true that there’s no having to worry about what level you are relative to enemy players (the only levelling up in the game is for cosmetic purposes and gaining access to new PvE mission types), I still feel that being aggressed against, dominated and humiliated by other players is a form of emotional labour. All too often I walk away from a session of SoT feeling agitated and emotionally off-balance. I don’t need that grief in my life. Additionally, being buffeted by inopportune PvE forces (storms, sea monsters, the undead) while trying to avoid predatory enemy players and get treasure to a safe port is too frequent of a complicating factor.

    In particular, I hate playing as a one-player crew. As far as I can tell, the game does nothing to scale the difficulty according to crew size, other than providing an appropriately-sized ship. Strength in numbers is a brutal arithmetic; one-player crews get bullied. Everything in the game, PvP and PvE alike, feels much more dangerous without co-op players. Joining a random, open co-op crew is dysfunctional chaos in its purest form, so not really an option. SoT demands to be played with friends who can communicate and work together effectively. This, then, requires everyone in a crew to be after the same kind of experience from the game, which is far from given. Some people see the game as one big PvP arena and like to focus on the emergent gameplay. Others just want to do story quests and experience the PvE content, especially now that the developers have gradually added a fair bit of such content to what originally felt like a very bare-bones arena kind of game. And of course, everyone in the crew needs to know how to play the game in the first place, which is another thing the universe does not just kindly provide.

    All in all, I’m starting to feel that the “perfect” session of SoT is something I can only experience vicariously on YouTube or Twitch (or Mixer?), watching players who have somehow managed to get all the pieces in place. I want to enjoy SoT. I love the general style of it. I love the idea of it. But I get the feeling it just doesn’t like me very much…

    But yes, the way they’ve modelled the water surface is impressive. It’s a cartoonish game otherwise (which I also like), but the waves look mesmerisingly real.

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