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  1.  (10948.1)
    First quarter of the New Year, new thread.

    What are you playing, what are you looking forward to playing, what are you working on (if you can say)?

    There are four more days going on the Steam Holiday Sale, for those who play on computers and still have some holiday money to burn.

    Join the Freakangles Steam Group Here (not much is done with this, as offtandiscord is the admin and hasn't been online in 276 days).

    I picked up Sleeping Dogs in the Steam sale and have found it to be pretty addictive, though I'm a little disappointed that not much seems to have been done with the weird dating sub-plot things. Why cast Emma Stone only to use her for about 20 minutes of gameplay?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2013
    Started playing Crusader Kings II and loving it. It's my new drama, people always trying to backstab and usurp each others' titles. Recently I've managed to create the Kingdom of Ireland and make myself King. woohoo!

    Also started playing Anna today, cos it was like $3 ons steam. So far it's been appropriately creepy.

    Edgar got me Awesomenauts so will probably be doing some of that later.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    I'm playing Dishonored at the moment, catching up on the handful of big 2012 titles I missed (Journey on PS3 is almost certainly next, although I don't have a credit card associated with my PS3 so I might have to pick up a pre-paid card from a shop instead...)

    Dishonored is decent, but to me it feels like it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a shooter or a stealth game. It's a little like Deus Ex Human Revolution in that regards. But like Deus Ex the slighty muddled gameplay is rescued by an interesting plot and setting.

    I have Crimson Shroud on the 3DS which I'll get to at some point this month, and there's a decent chance I'll start Xenoblade as well.

    There's thankfully a bit of a gap before the next round of big titles start to appear, which is good as I intend to try and learn the basics of iPad development this month.
  2.  (10948.4)
    Started on Halo 4, L.A. Noire and Dishonoured, liking them all so far and catching up on some games i'd set aside to play at some point ( lego star wars and portal 2 )

    Gamertag is: vandalhandle if anyone wants some xbox live fun lacking seriousness
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    Just got a laptop capable of running games, so I got Steam. My whole world opened up.

    I currently have Amnesia, Dawn of War, Titan Quest, Portal 1 and 2, Lord of the Rings Online, and The Binding of Isaac.

    Username is Fauxhammer, should anybody be inclined.

    Also started Assassin's Creed 2, which I love as much as I did not love the first one.
    • CommentAuthorDarkest
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    Started playing X-Com, that game is my favourite logistical nightmare.
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    Like Flabyo, I though Dishonored was good, but not great. I actually think that it hit the stealth mark pretty well - unlike Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it didn't bog me down too much with too many weapons that I never used, and it didn't suffer from awful and inconsistent boss fights. Quite the opposite - it didn't have any boss fights period, and it likely could have used some to break up the gameplay.

    The setting and character design was pretty amazing. It felt much like running around in New Crobuzon from China Mieville's Bas Lag books, which is pretty high praise in my book. I also loved the very stylized look to the characters. Photo-realism is a trend that I have long disliked in games. Why look like reality when we can easily accentuate and modify?

    The level design was also pretty amazing. I had a great time exploring all of the nooks and crannies that the designers put in. I could easily play through the game and take a completely different approach to all of the puzzles, while still feeling that it matched my playstyle. That's pretty rare. Often, a game will provide one route per playstyle, with little interleaving. You can either do Option A, which requires Skill 1, or Option B, which requires Skill 2. Dishonored lets you shift from option to option, and doesn't lock you out based on skill choices, while still feeling having it feel like you are making interesting and varied choices.

    Where the game really falls flat for me is the plot, and even more so the characters. The big twist is easy to spot if you do even preliminary poking around, and none of the characters undergo any sort of interesting change or development. In fact, I can only think of two characters that actually change at all, and even then it's a pretty cliched development. This led me to not getting nearly as drawn in to the world as I would have liked. I felt a distinct lack of emotional resonance, and no attachment to the characters. Coupled with the complete lack of boss fights, this left the ending of the game fairly unsatisfying. The game makes it pretty clear that your actions will affect the outcome of the game, but without the emotional connection I am unlikely to play through it again to find out what changes, even though the gameplay itself could warrant it.

    Still, excellent level design and worldbuilding. This is a game that could really use a sequel to expand and improve upon the foundation that the developers have me. Easily earns its stamp of recommendation.

    I've also played through about half of the first Darksiders to prep me for playing Darksiders 2. Not much to say here that hasn't been said by many critics. This is another game that I like the worldbuilding and character design from, but suffers from many other flaws. The story is a cool concept, but vast chunks of this game are busywork that doesn't develop the plot in any way, meaningful or otherwise. I guess at least it doesn't suffer from a needlessly complicated or unintelligible plot, but there is so much of this game where nothing happens that it completely ruins any sort of non-immediate tension.

    The combat is fun, if a little repetitive, but I didn't get bored of it, so there's that. The level design is good, but mechanical and straightforward. I rarely felt challenged, and a lot of it felt like level design just for level design's sake. Whereas in Dishonored, all of the bits of the level design fit into the world around them, in Darksiders there was no reason for the level to be designed that way other than because some guy wanted a spinning-bridge puzzle.

    Overall, I wouldn't recommend it, but I did like parts of it enough that I am hoping the sequel can improve on the parts I didn't like.

    I also played some Endless Space, which is pretty much Civilization in space. There are some fairly mechanical differences, but there really isn't enough to keep me interested for more play. I might come back to it, but I have a fancy new add-on for Civilization 5 that seems much more tempting.

    I sunk a few hours into Dark Souls as well, which I have heard quite good things about. It hasn't grabbed me yet, though. It feels like banging my head into a wall repeatedly for no good reason. Difficult and unforgiving, which is definitely its primary selling point, but ultimately I don't give enough of a shit about what I am doing to slowly grind my way over the same area for hours on end.

    I played a little bit of Hotline: Miami, which is the current indie game darling of the industry. It's good, but I'm not quite feeling it yet. Certainly no Binding of Isaac or FTL in my books (the latter of which consumes much of my time). Also invariably playing Minecraft, but that's a given.

    A few parts have arrived for my new computer, and once that is built I'll dive into some more of the AAA titles in my library, like Hitman: Absolution and Spec Ops: The Line (the latter of which I am very intrigued by). I'll also likely play through Batman: Arkham City again, this time hitting up the DLC.

    Wow, this post turned out a lot longer than I had planned. Maybe I'll give it a good working over and turn it into a proper writeup.
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    Just finished two play-throughs of Borderlands 2 as the assassin, then the mechromancer (including the two available DLC the second time) and now I'm trying to get back to games I missed or stopped playing for various reasons: Fallout 3, BioShock 2, etc. This is being made difficult by my friend who keeps giving me games to play with him. I can't even look at Steam because I'm scared there will be a new game that I can't resist there.

    I'm looking forward to playing Dishonored, so it was nice to hear Flabyo and Morac's reviews of it.

    I've mostly been playing on my Xbox 360, but , I funded the Ouya kickstarter, so I've been watching the videos that people who were sent the dev consoles have made. I think they're looking at sending out the consoles to the rest of us in March. Should be interesting to see what people do with them as it's completely open source.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    Almost finished with Borderlands 2 and I have an Amazon gift card that I'll be turning into the new XCOM game. Also picked up the THQ Humble Bundle and Cthulhu Saves the World off of Steam so I need to finish those.
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    I'm still just making my way through Mass Effect 3, but it's slow going. Things you've done waaaaay back in ME1 are starting to have absolutely huge consequences, and so I have to take a moment to reflect on things now and again. Hooboy.

    I also love looking at that War Terminal and its analysis of the current situation: "Chances of success are poor."
  3.  (10948.11)
    I loved Dishonored. Just recently finished a High Chaos murderman playthrough, and the differences between Low Chaos and High Chaos are pretty significant both in general world atmosphere and how the ending plays out (and there are actually two different High Chaos endings, which surprised me). There are actually two boss fights, but both can be avoided SPOILER:
    Daud and Granny Rags. You can backstab Daud or just sneak around him, but if he becomes aware of you there's a fairly epic super powered boss fight (he has slow time and blink). I actually did that fight in my Low Chaos playthrough because I tried to choke him out and he blinked out of it. Granny Rags is slightly harder to avoid as you have to go see her to get the sewer key. You can avoid killing her by killing Slackjaw for her stew, and she'll just give you the key, or you can pickpocket the key away from her and run like hell. Fighting her is more of a puzzle than Daud, and she has blink and rat swarm.

    I didn't feel any confusion about whether it was a stealth game or a shooter. It's a stealth game through and through. There are two projectile weapons, but if you're going to kill people backstabbing is infinitely more effective.
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2013
    In response to David:

    I did completely forget about those. Mostly because of the skipability that you mentioned (I stole from Daud, and figured out Granny quick enough that it didn't register as much of a fight for me). Neither of them are in places you would usually have a boss fight, either. Kind of oddly in the middle of things, speedbumps to elsewhere. Thinking back on it, Daud is a really forgettable character. I had actually completely forgotten he was even in the game until you mentioned it. Granny is pretty great, though, and more than makes up for it. Crazy old lady all the kids are scared of is actually supernaturally evil. Awesome.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2013
    Maybe it's because after playing 'Mark of the Ninja', all other stealth games seem somewhat lacking...
  4.  (10948.14)
    Been playing Arkham City for a few hours, and I simply had to decide to stop playing it. As awesome as the game is, it gives me motion sickness (or more precisely, simulation sickness). I had the same problem with Arkham Asylum to some degree, but somehow Arkham City is even worse. I wind up nauseous and with a minor headache after playing the game, and with all the other games I've yet to play, it's just not worth it.

    Which annoys me. Because it IS an awesome game. It's just way too... swervy.
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2013
    @Flabyo: That is entirely possible. Mark of the Ninja is a pretty great game. I regret purchasing it on the XBox a little, because I am playing less and less of my games there, and I have yet to finish it.

    @twentythoughts: This is a long shot, and you've probably already thought of it, but have you tried going into the graphical settings and disabling motion blur? Or some other settings? It's entirely possible that it is just the camera programming, though, which would suck because Arkham City is a great game.

    Also, I know that feel, at least a little. One of my characters in City of Heroes (rest in peace) was a Warshade, which had this wacky purple and black colour-scheme to his powers that for whatever reason gave me a headache and minor nausea every time I played him.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2013
    There really needs to be some research done into videogames causing motion sickness, cause if we can figure out why certain games cause it and others don't, we can eliminate it.

    Hmm, if I knew more about neural research it might make a decent PhD thesis.
  5.  (10948.17)
    @Morac, @Flabyo: I've had this problem since the PS1 generation, and I'm pretty good at recognizing what it is that does it to me: Sweepy camera motions and perspective shifts.

    It really is the same problem that Arkham Asylum had: A crapton of quick, swervy camera shifts every time Batman does ANYTHING, combined with the shifts between Detective Mode and regular mode. I can play it for short stretches at a time without much trouble, and mostly just flying around the city doesn't do much. Hell, the combat bits aren't any trouble at all. But once I start to poke at details, or if try to explore an indoor location, the camera becomes a real issue.

    It's not like I have this problem with all videogames. I can play Dark Souls or DC Universe Online for hours on end without any trouble. But that's because those games don't insist on changing the camera position with every little thing that happens. Arkham City, on the other hand, wants to position the camera differently for almost every single different action you do, sometimes even skewing the camera. Looks cool, sure, but something like walking up to a wall, turning towards it and applying explosive gel to it causes the camera to act like it's held by the Cloverfield camera operators. Go into an air vent, the camera switches to first person, and then quickly back again, and in the middle of all this you're switching Detective Mode on and off again to see where everything is. While the camera also responds to where the nearby walls are, making it swerve around even more.

    I remember having trouble with the first Ratchet & Clank game, because of the slow and sweepy camera motions. There I went into the settings, and set the camera to move faster, and all of a sudden I had no issue whatsoever except in certain areas.

    And oh... This is also why I avoid FPS-type games like the plague. Because it's a crapshoot whether or not I'm going to be able to play those, and it's VERY likely that I won't be able to. When I was younger and had fewer games, I'd suffer through'em. I played through Metroid Primes 1 and 2 despite both of them making me sick as hell after an hour. No more, though. I'll stick to games that DON'T leave me feeling physically ill.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2013
    @20 - interesting stuff, do you have the same issue with 3D movies?
  6.  (10948.19)
    @Flabyo: Not with 3D in particular. The depth-of-field thing doesn't matter. It's more about the camerawork.

    Most movies I have no issue with. Cloverfield, though? I gave up half an hour into the movie.

    It's all about how much the camerawork can disorient my brain into thinking that there's a disconnect between what I'm seeing and what I'm feeling. Seeing it in 3D doesn't seem to affect this. I was just fine with Avatar, for instance. I assume that if I already had a problem with a movie, the 3D might theoretically make that worse still. But 3D itself isn't the issue.
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2013
    Interesting stuff about the motion sickness.

    It's only happened to me in three games: the "sand skiff" part of Borderland 2's Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC, the airboat part of Half-Life 2 and (funny enough) a game Morac worked on, Red Chasm. As far as I can tell, it seems to be tied to slow, smooth movements where I'm "looking" in a different direction than I'm moving. I was able to mostly avoid it by looking at a fixed location in the distance during the vehicle parts of two of the games, but just can't play Red Chasm at all, which is a shame because I was enjoying it.