What Game Are You Currently Playing?

Toby Frost

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I've been playing Mordheim: City of the Damned. I loved this as a tabletop game and really wanted to like the game. Unfortunately, it's not only extremely difficult and unintuitive, but it killed most of my team in a completely arbitrary fashion, so I deleted it. A real shame.

I think there's an interesting point here. As it is, Mordheim isn't enjoyable. It's too difficult and much too arbitrary, but in ways that would have been obvious in playtesting. This could very easily have been rectified by the designers or, like Skyrim, options could have been included to make it easier in a few small ways and therefore less irritating. So I wonder if the hope was that, instead of concluding that it was an annoying waste of time, players would keep coming back. Or maybe there was a sort of prestige in making a very punishing game, a kind of notoriety?

That balance between interesting challenge and irritation is an interesting one. I've played a few games now that seem to deliberately make themselves less fun, either by punishing the player or introducing time-wasting busywork - almost as if people buy games to fill up time, rather than to be a pleasant experience.
 
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Foxbat

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I’ve just heard some good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s been an update on the expansion of my current favourite game (Rule The Waves 2). There’s so much improvement in the expansion that the coders have decided just to keep going and release Rule The Waves 3. The bad news is that it’s not released until October and I want it now.

Currently struggling to make headway in RTW2 as head of the Austro-Hungarian navy and warring with Italy for control of the Adriatic.
 

Indoril Nerevar

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I've been playing Mordheim: City of the Damned. I loved this as a tabletop game and really wanted to like the game. Unfortunately, it's not only extremely difficult and unintuitive, but it killed most of my team in a completely arbitrary fashion, so I deleted it. A real shame.

I think there's an interesting point here. As it is, Mordheim isn't enjoyable. It's too difficult and much too arbitrary, but in ways that would have been obvious in playtesting. This could very easily have been rectified by the designers or, like Skyrim, options could have been included to make it easier in a few small ways and therefore less irritating. So I wonder if the hope was that, instead of concluding that it was an annoying waste of time, players would keep coming back. Or maybe there was a sort of prestige in making a very punishing game, a kind of notoriety?

That balance between interesting challenge and irritation is an interesting one. I've played a few games now that seem to deliberately make themselves less fun, either by punishing the player or introducing time-wasting busywork - almost as if people buy games to fill up time, rather than to be a pleasant experience.
generally, i find the best test to see if a video game is meaningfully and compellingly challenging rather than poorly designed tedium is the following question: if i beat this game once, would it be non-trivially easier for me to beat it again? in other words, is there some form of required mastery over the systems that creates difficulty or is it merely bullet spongy enemies and/or, as you aptly put it, "time-wasting busywork" that makes it hard? in the former, once i beat the game, i have attained a level of skill that benefits me in subsequent playthroughs and makes its challenges easier to conquer. in the latter case, any sort of skill obtained from prior playthroughs will not matter in any substantive way as the player is forced to hit a bullet sponge X times until they die or collect fifty Y items or grind levels as the busy work required to beat it. moreover, in the case of a truly challenging title the interactivity of the medium is being fully tapped into as the players problem solving, reflexes, and overall skill is being tested and not just the amount of time they can sink into the game. with this mind, you can tell from two very difficult games which is a well designed one and which isn't.
 

Toby Frost

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That's a good point. Playing a game ought to involve learning how to get better at it. It shouldn't just be down to sheer dogged persistence.

Back in the days when I played World of Warcraft, it occurred to me that a lot of it was designed just to make me play more World of Warcraft, not to have more fun or get better at the game. No offence intended to WoW players, but it was as if the designers thought that people would put up with a mediocre experience if they got a lot of it. That was weird, because if I paid my monthly subscription, why would it matter how many times I played that month provided that the money got to Blizzard? I do find the way that games work really interesting.

In the case of Mordheim, it's missing one obvious addition that would make it vastly more appealing: a "replay last level" option. Given that is not only arbitrary and quite hard to understand, but also punishes players very hard for making small mistakes, having that option would probably make a large number of people want to stick with it. I would.
 

Foxbat

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This is a very unusual occurence….after a few years of playing it on and off, I’ve finally finished Fallout 3. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected (if you find the alien blaster, taking down enemies is fairly straightforward but save your limited ammo for the final stage). I enjoyed it immensely, despite the time it took me to finish it.

To celebrate, I began the Dead Money dlc for Fallout New Vegas. Big mistake. Bored out of my skull with this exercise in tedious nonsense and, thankfully, I saved before going there so I’ll be restarting from just before entering the Sierra Madre.
 

Bugg

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I've struggled so much to settle into any game since I finished NieR:Automata. Since then I've flitted between various titles: Wasteland 3, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Gears Tactics, Phoenix Point, XCOM Chimera Squad.

They all led me back in one direction. So, after all that, I'm back on XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, settled into it, and enjoying the hell out of it once again. It's about 4 years since I last played it so it feels really fresh and I'm quite surprised by how good it still looks, six years on since the base game's initial release, in comparison to those other, more recent titles mentioned.

I actually really like Phoenix Point (I know it gets a lot of hate) but I found it quite a dry experience in comparison, and it's just not as fun or as exciting to play. I do think any future XCOM games should look at PP's ballistics/targeting system, though. Being able to target and disable particular parts of an enemy is fantastic. Got a fast-moving enemy coming your way? Shoot it in the leg etc etc. Great stuff.
 

alexvss

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Resident Evil 4 Remake just announced at State of Play:

Mixed feelings about this. The original is not just one of the best games ever made, but it's still great today, 17 years later. Graphics and everything. I'm sure going to play the remake, no question about that; but I'm just not sure if it's really that "necessary". The first trilogy was outdated in terms of graphics and gameplay, so the remakes came in handy.
 

Bugg

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I groaned when I saw that last night. I'll just play the original again instead. It's one of my favourite games.
 

thaddeus6th

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Bugg, I recently replayed XCOM 2, and you're right that it's still fantastic.

Still slightly irked that Larian Studios shifted from making Divinity Original Sin 2 meets XCOM to Baldur's Gate 3, but I'm hoping the former project is merely suspended rather than cancelled.

I've been playing a little of Crusader Kings III. I've conquered all of Lemon Isle (formerly known as Ireland) and will soon set my sights on creating the Lemon Empire...
 

Toby Frost

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I finished Rage, which is quite short (and repetitive), and gets pretty easy by the end. It's a strange game, as some aspects are extremely polished, and others are very basic and uninspired. I suspect that it was made to showcase the graphics of the time: I think Jesse plays it in Breaking Bad, presumably as some kind of tie-in promotion.

Having seen that they're remaking Resident Evil 4, I bought the original in a sale on Steam. I was never really into these games, which seemed like someone remembering a holiday to America they'd had a long time ago, but with zombies and blob-monsters. But I've heard good things about this one. We shall see!
 

Toby Frost

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Well I played Resident Evil 4 and all I can say is that I'm glad I bought it in a sale! It was absolutely terrible! Rubbish dialogue, wonky controls, uninteresting action, and the guy I was controlling moved as if he was trying to fight off sedatives. It was almost comically bad. Think I'll play something else. Anything else.
 

alexvss

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Well I played Resident Evil 4 and all I can say is that I'm glad I bought it in a sale! It was absolutely terrible! Rubbish dialogue, wonky controls, uninteresting action, and the guy I was controlling moved as if he was trying to fight off sedatives. It was almost comically bad. Think I'll play something else. Anything else.
I see the gameplay didn't age well for you. Well, the game is seventeen already, almost an adult. I'm sure they'll make it all better in the remake.

As for the dialogue and plot, there are reasons for their being trashy believe it or not. RE is based on B movies. It's B movie plot with B movie characters, made by Japanese creators who have stereotypical views about American culture. It's part of the fun, and I don't think that will ever change in this franchise!
 

Toby Frost

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I'm quite happy with really old games like Thief 2 and Deus Ex (I'm a massive fan of the 2000 Alien v Predator) but I guess RE4 just dated badly. It just felt so clunky and slow. Turning the guy was like moving a container ship.

That said, I played quite a lot of the remake of RE2 and thought that was pretty good. And the old Silent Hill was excellent.
 

thaddeus6th

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I'm flitting through games a bit but one I'm playing is Kingdoms of Amalur. Very interesting gameplay and levelling setup for a lot of versatility. I think I probably prefer Dragon's Dogma, but it's certainly well put together.
 

thaddeus6th

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I know what you ought to do :D

The combat's fantastic. First time out I played a mage and I loved the way the higher spells actually felt as powerful as they should. Not just an effect, if you cast a tornado it will flung your foes into the air and ruin most of them. Or you can make meteors rain from the sky.

I think they're working on a proper sequel, at last.
 

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