Wednesday Action Log 9-6-23

By Issac Young Posted Wednesday Sep 6, 2023

Filed under: Epilogue, Action Log 21 comments

This week I am playing Raft with Bay, Elliot, and Charlie, which is pretty fun. I have some (many) issues with how the machines are supposed to work or how we get the parts, but the gameplay is good. I am also still playing Slay the Spire at every moment of spare time.

What are you guys up to?


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21 thoughts on “Wednesday Action Log 9-6-23

  1. Cozzer says:

    Still going through Baldur’s Gate 3, which is still very good.

    After I finish it (in at least a month or so, I guess), I’ve got my eyes on Sea of Stars, and after that I’ll see whether my PC can run Armored Core 6 on decent settings. Also, I’ve just bought a bundle of the Trine series to play in local co-op with my girlfriend (we’re currently playing Rayman Origins and Overcooked 2).

    1. sheer_falacy says:

      I’ve been playing a lot of Sea of Stars and I have some mixed opinions on it. It’s beautiful and it has some good twists in the story and the occasional very funny moment, but the 2 main characters are aggressively bland. The timed button presses for the combat abilities are interesting when I know where they are but for some moves, particularly aoe moves, I have no idea when I’m supposed to be pressing or even if there is a right time – at least it’s not usually a huge impact on the numbers.

      The leveling feels a bit weird because you get the option to pick a stat for each character but there’s not actually a serious way to specialize characters – almost everyone uses both physical attack and magical attack, and there aren’t tank mechanics so you can’t focus defense or hp on a specific character so they can take the hits.

      The between combat resource management also feels a little odd, mechanically – your hp and mana don’t get refilled after fights, but you can almost always go back to a campfire and rest to full, and enemies don’t respawn until you leave a whole area, so all that costs you is player time, which is both the least and most valuable currency. It’s a weird contrast to how the resource management works within fights, which can be a lot more interesting.

  2. Syal says:

    Finished Cassette Beasts. Was wondering if it would have a New Game+; instead it has a randomizer, where you can randomize the beasts’ starting locations and/or base element and/or move list. So, a very different playthrough. Still, think I’m done with Cassette Beasts for a while.

    Back to Stranger of Paradise, which had a very steep reacquaintance penalty, the second encounter killed me about a dozen times. Then I figured out it was because I had White Mage equipped, and remembering to use spells made the battle easy. Still in a sweet spot where the game kills me routinely but doesn’t frustrate me. Heard it compared to Nioh, which I never played; it’s definitely more fun than Bloodborne.

    Restarted Triangle Strategy, a game I wish I liked. The story’s is good in the broad strokes; it’s successfully sold me that the hero is badly on the back foot and struggling to stay upright. But the storytelling is horribly bloated. There’s a scene where your father tells you he’s going to name you his successor, and it takes five minutes. And then the very next scene opens with a character telling you he heard you were going to be the successor. And then the scene after that is your father telling his butler that he’s thinking about how you’re going to be his successor. And then the next scene is him announcing that you’re his successor. And this is the pace of nearly every beat; endless repetition, tell and then tell again and then show. And the combat has some whoppers in it too, like the time we scouted out a battle location and apparently DECIDED to take the low ground and let the enemy surround us.

    Played the Demo to Hymn to the Earless God, the follow-up project to Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Seems solid, but I always wanted JatPM to have some more lighthearted sidequests, and from the demo of this one it looks like there will be no lightheartedness at all.

    Slay the Spire continues to be easy to play while Youtube videos are going.

    Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a supremely easy game; characters gain full health and mana when they level up, and one character has a near-screenwide attack spell that kills everything in one hit, and they level up before they run out of mana. They make up for that by making every dungeon a maze of copy-pasted hallways with some very long dead-ends. Like, up three screens, then up a flight of stairs, then over three screens, to find it’s a dead end, not even any treasure. I don’t like mazes.

    Honorable mention to Goodbye Volcano High, a visual novel which I’ve only watched other people play. I remember hating the trailer after a single sentence, but the game itself looks to be quite fun; it’s got good teen-drama stakes and every character is likable. Still not going to buy it but I’ll remind people it exists.

    1. Sartharina says:

      Another Stranger of Paradise enjoyer out in the wild! I’ve been playing that game off and on., but I got really frustrated because I’m at the point where the itemization is the worst. Too much garbage, gotta get my ilvl higher (But can’t afford to raise it on my gear), need to be looking at my affinities and substats (While trying to upgrade gear)… I should grind out more level breaks and levels. Gilgamesh is filtering me hard.

  3. Lars says:

    I’m most playing Craftopia with a friend. A sandbox science-fantasy-anime rpg with BOTW movement, crafting, farming, fighting, automation and monster taming. Sooo – t’s all over the place, buggy in a lot of minor areas but still fun.
    On my own I’m occupied with Genshin Impact now at the end of the desert with some gorgeous landscapes and new kind of fun mechanics, new enemy types and some stupid egomanic npcs.
    Also eating my time away are Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and Master Duel Trying to get the cards for a Stellarknight and an Adventure-Deck.

  4. Rain King says:

    After more than a decade, I’ve finally replaced my desktop’s ancient graphics card. In the process of tinkering, I figured it was also time to finally switch over to Linux as my daily operating system. While I was still rocking Windows 7 a couple of years ago, Shamus was kind enough to answer a question I’d sent the Diecast about the the dilemma between upgrading to Windows 10 or switching to Linux. I can’t help but wonder what he would have made of the state of Linux, particularly gaming, today, given his well-documented frustration with Microsoft’s shenanigans.

    All that is a long preamble to reporting that I am happily chipping away at the very beefy “Metro: Exodus” using Lutris these days. Possibly looking to flex my GPU’s muscles some more afterwards by finally playing “Elden Ring”. :)

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Welcome to the penguin side! I switched from Windows 7 way back in 2014.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      I put Linux on the latest gaming laptop I bought (still using Windows on desktop, at least until they try to make me upgrade to Windows 11). Last time I tried out Linux gaming was almost 10 years ago, and I found it amazing how much of it just works these days!

  5. MikhailBorg says:

    I made my partner her very own VR foxgirl avatar using VRoid Studio. She absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to try the avatar out in Pistol Whip:

    VixenRanger • Good News by Apashe • Pistol Whip

    She can’t keep up with me in Beat Saber but she smokes me in Pistol Whip every time.

  6. beleester says:

    I finished Stray Gods. It was only about 6 hours long, but I definitely want to play again and see other routes.

    There are a couple of standout songs (“Everybody Wants to See You Fall in Love” rocks, the “battle” with Orpheus was pretty cool), and a couple that were mostly forgettable. The way it changes the music to match your dialog choices is pretty clever – usually your first few choices set up a chorus or a recurring theme for the song, and then if you change things up later on it’ll still come back to that chorus, which makes the song feel coherent no matter what you pick. There were a few places where the transitions were a little clunky (Medusa’s song felt all over the place), but for the most part, it succeeds at what it was trying to do.

    But beyond the music, I really got invested in the world and the characters. The story has a pretty interesting answer to “how did all these Greek gods end up living in secret in America?”, which ties into the story’s themes. Almost all of the gods are stuck in a rut somehow, and since you have the power to reveal people’s inner desires through song, you have the ability to kick them out of their rut and change things for the better.

    Also, while I normally play a friendly, charming character in RPGs, I actually found myself enjoying the “kickass” choices a lot – firstly because a lot of the gods could use a swift kick in the pants, and secondly because the Charming route in songs tends to be soft and crooning, and the Kickass route leans more towards rock, and I think it just sounds a lot better.

  7. Grey Rook says:

    Zortch, or to give it its full title, Zortch Maxinum versus the Alien Brainsuckers, is a retro FPS released on Steam a few months ago for five Euros or your local equivalent. The plot is fairly brief: Zortch Maxinum is a lazy and not terribly competent engineer who spots a vacation ad and decides that she deserves some time off. Ignoring the reports of growing numbers of disappearances and the shadiness of the company, she ends up abducted to an alien world by evil aliens who want to suck out her brains and eat them. A convenient power malfunction disables the forcefield keeping her cell closed, enabling her escape. Urged on by a mysterious voice in her head, she makes good her escape.

    The first weapon you get is a pipe wrench… which can be thrown like a boomerang. The second is a double-barreled pump-action shotgun which can fire both at once or one at a time. The pistol has homing bullets and can put down a shield which you can shoot through, but the baddies can’t. The sub-machine gun has a scope, can shoot a fly out of the air, and empties its fifty round magazine in a couple of seconds. The grenade launcher doubles as a rocket launcher. The command-detonated dynamite bundles aren’t terribly remarkable, but serve as hand-thrown explosives and are great against crowds.

    Speaking of baddies, the generic, ubiquitous mooks are weird jelly creatures wrapped around artificial skeletons, and will keep getting up unless you either blow their heads off or strip all the flesh from their bones (gibbing also works). They carry a wide variety of weapons, from pistols and shotguns to machine guns, plasma cannons, rocket launchers, and even flamethrowers, and can leap dozens of meters into the air or clear across a room to get to you or reposition. Other enemies include tiny robots with machine guns or buzzsaws or explosive warheads, weird cyborg monstrosities, bizarre alien creatures and then some. One of the things I like about this game is that it’s not afraid to be weird. The aliens are less Star Wars and more old comic book fare; not many humanoids around.

    Also, the skyboxes occasionally feature giant magnets, which are presumably how the aliens capture ships for looting. Just that kind of attention to detail is pretty amazing. And, again, it’s five Euros and has a free demo. If you like shooters, you have no excuse to not check this out.

    Aside from that I’ve been working my way through Amid Evil, another retro FPS which runs with a high fantasy theme. It is absolutely gorgeous and really well done; all the weapons fill different niches and are good against different enemies, the enemies themselves are highly distinct and fun to fight, and the differing themes of each episode makes for a nice change of pace after each one. There’s also an expansion out which adds another episode, themed as a prequel.

    Lastly, Warhammer 40.000: Gladius: Relics of War is a turn-based strategy game based on the popular 40K franchise. It’s pretty light on plot, but basically Gladius Prime was a prosperous Imperial colony which was doing about as well as one might expect, when suddenly the Orks invaded. Then the system was struck by a Warp storm, which woke up the Necrons sleeping in the planet’s core. A Chaos warband decided to take advantage of the disorder and invade, a Tau colony ship that got lost in the storm crashed on the planet, a pack of Tyranids that the AdMech was using for illegal research escaped in the chaos and started breeding in the wilderness, the Eldar found that there was something really special about this planet and joined in…

    And before you know it, almost every major faction in the galaxy is slugging it out over this tiny mudball. You, as the player, takes the role of the leader of one of these factions, then battle it out over a randomly generated map with conditions, resources, number of factions and so on being set beforehand.

    It might be compared to the later Civilization games; the map is hex-based, and there can only be one unit in any hex, adding special resources to your cities buffs them… It’s pretty neat, though it is really tough early on due to your lack of resources and units combined with the vast hordes of barbarians populating the wilderness around you. Exploration and expansion are thus slow and difficult until you can start unlocking tanks and heavier infantry. Fliers come later. Often much later.

    Unlike Civ, there is no diplomacy system in Gladius. You either set hard teams before the game, or it’s everyone against everyone. Well, it is 40K. It’s quite an absorbing game IMO, it’s not hard to lose hours to maneuvering your armies, building up cities, and battling your enemies. It’s pretty expensive, though, and has one of the more nakedly exploitative DLC models I’ve seen. New factions and new units are sold separately, as in, you buy one DLC for one more unit per faction. Worse is that they’re often quite handy, and of course the additional factions serve to fill out the roster and add variation, since the game only comes with Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks, and Necrons out of the box.

  8. Dreadjaws says:

    Well, I finished Oxenfree II. I liked it, though not as much as the first one. This is mostly because a lot of the mystery is gone. It’s the nature of the sequels, though it clearly affects more games that are based on mystery. Still, I had a good time with it and I will revisit it in the near future to try out some different choices.

    Not strictly a game, but I played the Holstin demo, and I was absolutely wowed by it. Part graphic adventure part survival horror it has this impressive neat mechanic where the game is usually played in isometric perspective but it smoothly transitions into third-person over-the-shoulder perspective for combat. Great stuff, can’t wait for the full release.

    Started to play Gris for the first time. Still not sure how to feel about it. The graphics are beautiful but I hope the gameplay gets a bit more interesting later. Edit: I remember Shamus liking it, but he famously hated platformers.

  9. Sartharina says:

    I have two D&D games to prep and run while my main group is on hiatus. Baldur’s Gate 3 came for us all.

    Age of Wonders keeps calling to me. I love my kitty empires.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Age of Wonders is on my list as well. It and Disciples II are strategy games that can be played like RPGs in some sense, and so are a lot of fun.

  10. Philadelphus says:

    Primarily been finishing up crew tales in Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. Now that I’ve finished the main game and can see the “badges” for each mission (challenges to try, like avoiding climbing ladders in a mission, or not killing any guards, that sort of thing) I’ve been having fun going for those.

    Also felt like playing some Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition this week, finishing up a few campaigns from the Dynasties of India expansion.

    Played a 4-player game of Slay the Spire over the weekend with my two brothers and a friend, which was incredibly fun. We each took a different character, and traded all our starting Strike cards to the Ironclad player so he could boost his Perfected Strike to insane levels (I think it was doing something like 70 damage, base). He traded me an Unceasing Top since I was regularly boosting my energy (as the Defect) to something like 14 or 15 a turn at least once a combat, allowing me to just keep drawing…and drawing…and drawing cards. The Silent player got a Corpse Explosion (deals the max health damage of an enemy to all other enemies when killed) which was the gift that kept on giving, and the Watcher player kept getting off an Omega that did 50 damage to all enemies (among other powerful plays). We were absolutely melting every one we came up against, including finishing several elite combats (including the Stone Head!) in like three turns.

    Then we got the Time Eater for the Act III boss, and he destroyed us. Great fun, 4/4 characters, would recommend!

  11. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I played Raft in co-op with a friend it was pretty fun and just the righ side of forgiving for me*. You can see how during the early access they pivoted away from the progression through layered material for better tools into some exploration and I think that made it fun for me. I’d love to hear more detail and maybe some screenshots of your Rafty shenanigans if everyone playing is okay with that.

    I’m nominally playing BG3 but it’s been very slow going because practically for the last week and a bit outside of working I’ve been busy with being anxious over deciding to buy a new PC, researching parts for the new PC, ordering the PC, waiting for the PC, setting up the PC. It is now ready (or at least ready enough) and tomorrow I can hopefully jump back into the game. I’ve already tested it real quick and it seems to work smoothly on all the fancy details and the most noticeable difference is not having to wait for 2 minutes after loading the game for all the assets to pop in. I’m also being offered a free trial month of Gamepass, and Starfield is out, and this PC could run it no problem…

    *My friend really likes survivocraft games but I tend to bounce off a lot of the harder ones like Don’t Starve Together.

  12. Daimbert says:

    I did manage to get in another run of The Old Republic, generating content for my text Let’s Play Diaries on the game.

    Other than that, I managed to get further into Act 3 in Dragon Age 2, and from that and the discussions here I realized that a lot of things do seem to depend on your own reaction to them. If you go along with Anders from the start, you’d never get to the part where he accuses you of not wanting to help the mages just because you don’t do what he wants without question, and so might not have as negative reaction to him as I did. And if you don’t press the Keeper about what she told the others about Merrill, you might not notice that the Keeper’s claims are a bit off.

    Also, in Aveline’s character quest in Act 3, you can let her handle it and she gives a big speech that settles her issues, and in Varric’s, if you don’t let him have the relic he apologizes to you afterwards and doesn’t know what got into him. So the game, as more of a personal story, does tie the personal stuff into the companion stories as well.

  13. Glide says:

    Quick run through Orwell, a narrative game that sits somewhere in the space between Papers, Please and Her Story. You snoop through people’s digital communications gathering information to try to stop a terrorist. It ultimately comes down on the conclusion you would suspect it would based on the title: far-reaching government surveillance is bad! And while I generally agree with that, I do appreciate that it put you in a nuanced situation where there is a real terrorist who is okay with killing innocents if you don’t catch them through surveillance. You have to balance giving your bosses the right info to solve the case while minimizing how much pretext you give them for harassing and arresting innocents who simply happen to know the bad guy (and they’ll take absolutely any pretext). I enjoyed it as a brief story-based game.

    I fell into an absolute time vortex over my four-day weekend as I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown for the first time and was utterly hooked, playing almost 25 hours over the holiday weekend. The difficulty kind of irked me, it isn’t very beginner-friendly. After a while I shrugged and went to Easy and from there I was hooked. It’s such a sweet blend of tactical combat and management sim, alternating back and forth as one builds on the other. I’d been sitting on that series for a while, a little intimidated to get into it because I’m not a big strategy game guy. But I’m glad I finally did, I enjoyed it a ton.

    1. Syal says:

      So now I guess I jump in and say Enemy Unknown serves as a pretty great tutorial for X-Com: UFO Defense, the original game. I’d say I preferred the original, but I never finished it and did finish Enemy Unknown, so…

    2. Philadelphus says:

      The (Firaxis) XCOM games also have a bit of a reverse difficulty curve. Not that it gets trivial at the end or anything, but you just have more options for how to deal with things with top-level soldiers and gear.

      I think it was XCOM 2 where I went in at Veteran difficulty as I had over a hundred hours of Enemy Within experience (on
      Veteran, mostly), and got about three or four missions in and couldn’t manage to beat the mission. I’ve since gotten better, but it was an interesting lesson in the changes between the two and how the winning tactics were a bit different!

  14. RFS-81 says:

    Metroid Prime 2 So the reason why I got stuck last time was that I somehow overlooked the second half pipe you encounter after getting the boost ball. Now I’m right before the final boss, I think. It’s the same pattern as Metroid Prime in the end, where you collect all upgrades, and then it makes you do a tour over the entire map to collect the keys to the final area. It’s a neat way to pick up more upgrades that you couldn’t get to earlier, but it makes backtracking on your own in the middle of the game feel less rewarding because you’ll have to come back anyway. Like let’s say you pick up power bombs, and you find a shortcut to an earlier area, that looks like a nice opportunity to collect some upgrades, but what’s the point if the game makes you go back there a third time anyway?

    Also, the screw attack is so clunky in 3D, no wonder they didn’t have it in the first game! I’m complaining about minor things because this is the complaining about video games website, but it’s a good game!

    Still Street Fighter 6, also a bit of Guilty Gear Strive again now that it got a giant balance patch.

    I very briefly tried out King of Fighters XV because it was on sale during EVO. I picked King because of aesthetics, but I have no clue how to pick a team, so I just went with her default teammates. They’re all some flavor of shoto I guess, so that seems easy enough…

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