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What videogames have you been playing recently?

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Not much of a video game player, but I've been enjoying the Android versions of "Settlers of Catan" and "Carcassonne" lately, and my new favorite (though interest is already waning) is Fantasy Flight's app version of their game "Elder Sign: Omens," an absorbing Lovecraft-themed dice game. Has great art (scanned, I assume directly from their physical game) and a detailed, atmospheric interface.

I haven't played the cardboard version of Elder Signs, but I picked up the Android app a month or so ago. Your assessment is pretty spot-on, Doug. Played it a ton, now I'm getting a little board bored (that slip makes sense). I've heard the "real" version has the same problem.

Edited by Jason Panella

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Doug C   

Truthfully, I'm getting bored with a lot of app games. More and more it's clear to me that I really play games for their social component, and no amount of cool graphics and sound effects or appealing interfaces can sustain my interest in the long term.

Played a game of Wasabi! with some friends the other night, and combined it with a Japanese potluck, roll-your-own sushi theme. Eventually wrapped and went home, only to stare in amazement at the clock, which said it was nearly 1 a.m.--where did the time go???

Edited by Doug C

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Well, it's not really video game, but I've discovered Madden football on facebook and am open to games.

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METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE.

Fine gameplay (aside from a wonky camera), but the lack of Hideo Kojima's contribution is very apparent. Individual moments feel very right (a comic touch with Raiden wearing a sombrero and poncho as a disguise seems quite Kojima-esque), but the story, which is usually the driving force in these games, seems like an afterthought here.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Still playing the Secret World a lot. I'm currently playing a group of quests released as an expansion of sorts for the game, and man are they fantastic. Very Lovecraftian, very immersive, very well-written. You have to find a blogger who went missing in the mists that surround a creepy coastal town in Maine. The writing is actually better than a lot of movies I've seen this year. 

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Well, my PS3 went belly up last weekend, so I had to replace it...so all my gameplay is gone...so I started Infamous from scratch.

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I'm kinda okay with that. Certainly won't get it at full price, though.

Smart man. It's fun enough. It's just not in the same league as its predecessors.

The contribution of writer Paul Dini is sorely missed.

Edited by Ryan H.

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I recently (finally) finished Papa Y Yo, and it was the one game I've played in years that re-kindled the spirit of awe that Myst and Riven had. The sense of mystery that the boy faces as he rearranges Rio in his imagination is spectacular.

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Tyler   

Gone Home was on sale for $5 on the Humble Bundle Store yesterday (it's $10 today). I'd heard lots of good things about it but wasn't sure it would be worth the full price, and even though I liked it a lot, I'd still say $20 is a lot for a game that lasts around 3 hours.

 

I downloaded it yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning (yay Christmas break), and I was surprised several times at how emotional I got while playing it. Part of that has to do with the story, but just as much comes from the setting and the care they put into designing the house and populating it with objects that make it feel like it lived-in space. It's a major nostalgia trip for anyone who grew up in the 90s.

 

Most story/exploration games I've played veer into sci-fi or horror plots (like Maniac Mansion or the Virtue's Last Reward games), so I kept waiting for the crazy hammer to drop in Gone Home, and I think the fact that it ends up being "just" a coming of age story made the unexpected ordinariness more poignant in the end.

 

This Game Spot review captures a lot of what makes the game effective, although Gone Home is the kind of experience that's better the less you know going in, and the review gives away or hints at several plot points.

Edited by Tyler

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is on sale at Steam for 18 more hours. I've heard rumors that it's one sale for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 as well-I'm not sure how to check that.

 

I just finished playing, and it is a great game. Not perfect, but great. Emotionally resonant in ways that only the player can understand--my wife was watching me play and I was explaining to her what I was doing--in the sense of what buttons I was pushing on the controller--so that she would understand the meaning of what was taking place on screen. Highly, highly recommended.
 

Game reviewer "TotalBiscuit" has it exactly right.

Edited by David Smedberg

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Kinch   

Been reliving some memories with Morrowind. A couple things:

- The color palette at points reminds me of Tarkovsky's Nostalghia.

- Had a dream last night in which I found a secret cave and had to duel Nietzsche to the death. He'd had some...upgrades that made him look like someone out of Metal Gear Solid. I got his ridiculously enchanted rapier.

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Morrowind is a great game. I love the aesthetic of that world.

 

Right now I'm playing though Dark Souls for the third time. This time around I'm doing a soul level 1 run where I don't level up the entire game. We'll see how this goes.

 

Also, I picked up a PS3 and I started playing The Last of Us. The opening minutes are great at setting up the story, but the hour after that feels pretty stale and channeled. We'll see how the game progresses. Hope it gets better soon.

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I liked the first Bioshock, but people I trust say this one has a really trite, dumb story so I think I'll skip it. Once I heard about the religious themes, I had a lot of trepidation, especially when Levine said one of his artists found what they were working on offensive. Given how irreverent the videogame development community is, I figured they had to go pretty far to do that.

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Its critique of American religion isn't very well thought-out. The ending, with all its implications, is potentially very provocative, but it feels less like a considered exclamation mark on its critique of religion than it feels like an awkward attempt to manufacture a big plot twist for the sake of having a big plot twist.

But the biggest problem with the game is that its gameplay is kinda repetitive. BioShock Infinite probably shouldn't have been a shooter.

Edited by Ryan H.

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As someone who's not a big fan of FPS games, Infinite definitely sounds like a game I should skip.

 

I finished my run of Dark Souls last night. I plan on moving to Demon's Souls next and getting through that before Dark Souls II arrives.

 

I played another hour of The Last of Us and I found it frustrating and uninteresting. I'm done with the game for now. Whatever magic other people see in it is not revealing itself to me.

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I've been hitting the Xbox 360 pretty hard for the better part of a year now. Been catching up on a lot of games I missed throughout the generation. Most recently, I just poured hundreds of hours into Borderlands 2 (and honestly feel like I could pour hundreds more into it, leveling characters up up up) but that'll have to wait a bit since I just got Titanfall. I've never been a huge Call of Duty guy but I enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops 2 somewhat. Titanfall leaves all those games in the dust. It gives the player choices to make and really seems to balance the playing field. Playing as a Titan or a pilot is incredibly balanced and it's crazy how easy they've made it to switch back and forth between the two in a match. The addition of NPC grunts in the matches makes it feel wonderfully chaotic. I'm loving it.

 

Update:

 

I've also been super addicted to FTL and Hearthstone on the iPad. Both have crushed me over and over but I just keep coming back.

Edited by Gavin Breeden

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Been playing a lot of WoW lately. Trying to get my paladin to level 90. I also have been replaying Starcraft 2. One of my favorite games of all time. The campaigns are engaging, both of the protagonist's character development is solid, and I just love the universe.

I'm working on mastering Hearthstone, but my Rogue deck isn't strong enough.

(I've only recently fell in love with Blizzard Entertainment.)

Edited by chris_journo

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Tyler   

Shovel Knight is terrific (I'm playing it on 3DS). If you grew up playing NES platformers, like I did, it's a big shot of nostalgia--especially for Duck Tales, Zelda 2, and Mega Man--but the game stands up on its own merits, too. It's just a really well-made game.

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Anyone here played The Banner Saga?

 

Picked it up on a Steam sale awhile back, but only got around to playing it recently. Absolutely beautiful art design; at times feeling like an Tomm Moore movie, or Sleeping Beauty. A fantastical Viking themed world in which the sun is suspended in the sky without ever setting, on the brink of an apocalypse, you play as a few groups of survivors of men and giants retreating from an ancient race known as the Dredge (not to be confused with the Titan A.E's phonetically similar villians, the Drej). There's a whole lot of history/backstory untapped by the main storyline, but available for the player to delve into if they wish, which is fun, but the writing is sub par, featuring anachronistic dialogue and speech patterns which take away from the authenticity of the world they've created. I don't have much experience with tactical RPGs, but the combat strikes a good balance between being difficult enough to provide a challenge, yet not so hard as to discourage you from playing. It's also got an Oregon Trail vibe that works really well: showcasing the hand painted scenery. Oh, and the soundtrack is gorgeous too.

 

I've also been trying my hand at Dark Souls.

 

Playing on PC, without a controller, stuck with virtually no progress for a very, very long time, but I'm finally getting the hang of it. Love the art design here too - it's a bit too dark at times, but I'm a sucker for anything with creative medieval imagery. It's not only terrifying to go up against some of these things because they're creepy though, but because this game refuses to give you a break; I'm scared to go around any corner for fear of an ambush or sudden onslaught. What really makes me happy, though, is the level design. The inter-connectivity of the various locations; the shortcuts, hidden passageways, etc, is incredibly impressive. I'm more of a casual gamer, so it may not mean much, but it's not often I've been this immersed in a game's world before. And I'm still less than halfway (I think...), so I can only imagine how much more there is to discover.

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NBooth   

Leeroy Jenkins is 10 years old.

 

 

[NSFW: language. But you knew that.]

 

I've actually been playing a bit of DOTA 2 lately. I'm...not a gamer, to be honest, so the whole multitasking-while-fighting thing is still giving me fits.

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