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I just want to hug (your FACE)!
I'm currently playing Diablo 2, and I'm at the end of chapter 2. I tried that mercenary tank strategy, and Duriel is still unbeatable. Any tips?
I'm an offense-focused cleric with 4 points sunk into vengeance
I loved D2 when I played it. I believe it made my top 10 list a couple of years back. I don't remember much, but I mostly played Assassin. Traps were my thing. Just dropping traps left and right while running around avoid everything as best I could. Looking back, that might have been a bit over powered.

I loved the mood of that game. The voice acting, soundtrack, lighting, and random level design. So great! GAH I want to play that now....

Good luck with the fight. I'd enjoy reading your progress and thoughts as you get deeper.
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there's a frog in my snake oil
Offensive virtual reality outreach

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Virtual Reality chatter on a movie site? Got endless amounts of it here. Reviews over here



there's a frog in my snake oil
I'm not sure if I'd still be playing this in classic form, as it's a bit of a slow-starter. (It gains an added gung ho edge in VR when it's 'you' being blown around by wind tunnels to solve puzzles...). Having glided through to the more tricksy puzzles I'm actively liking it now though

First Look: The Talos Principle VR



I'm enjoying this so far, even if the 'bypass the lines of defence' gameplay feels more-ish rather than super-challenging to date. It's a really consummate port though, with a great spread of options, locations that look near photo-realistic from certain angles, and a pleasingly kinetic implementation of the puzzle tools. Some of the levels almost feel 'run and gun' when timing or jumping are part of the execution. I've gone zero-nausea protection and blitzing through it like that is keeping me engaged. (Although teleporting and a sedate take would totally work too).

Enjoying the storified timeline in the main too, with its scrambled archives of ancient philosophy and geeky AI ponderings. The personality test to gain admin rights was a particularly nice touch...

I can see why the devs were slightly grumpy that it didn't sell like hot cakes initially. They've obviously taken their time to get it right. (Even if I could pick up a whitewash brush but not paint the abandoned sculptures of Rome. What the hell devs? )

EDIT: Have had some 'hands in the air' moments now after figuring out some of the trickier puzzle combos. They've got a nice line in misdirection at points, so the puzzle solutions can be a mixture of stepping back, reassessing your assumptions (conceptual flip), and then executing. Works well

(Although on a few I found I could also just brute force the puzzle, due to a bit of flex in the toolkit physics and designs. This feels like it's down to the sheer number of puzzle rooms they've crammed in. At least 28 in the first quarter alone it seems. They do all feel like they've been thought-through and tested well, but a few gaps and glitch-potentials are always going to present themselves with that much ground to cover).



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
I restarted World of Warcraft Classic this week. Again. I always enjoyed this game, mostly as a solo player but groups can be fun with higher level quests. I've forgotten a lot (again), but feel I'm slowly picking things back up. The game's interface can customized to your liking what your class' action bars, custom macros, custom key bindings, etc., so it's great fun for the obsessive. I mean, I could spend hours just screwing around with my settings and enjoy that as much as the open world environment.

I've subbed, so hopefully this will last longer than a month as it did last night. Years back I dedicated several years to this game through several expansions at the time. I doubt I want to get that sucked in, but it has been a nice change of pace.



...currently editing a post 🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩
I read an article about Blizzard's Superman game. I still care



Some hardworking folks have uncovered a most delicious morsel. Finally, we get some game footage from FG's upcoming game. It's not much, but it's enough for me to say with confidence that this is gon'be good.

Skip to 3:47 for the actual footage.




there's a frog in my snake oil
In 5 years, when we can all eat a VR pill, this will be y'all too



Reminded me of an old fighting game like final fight or golden axe, a little bit, except with a much larger expenditure of energy.
Bring an aspirin too...

(You know how sometimes a Steam review just makes up your mind? I'm totally getting that game at some point now )

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^^this looks biiiiiiiiig in VRrrrrr^^

In other news, Talos is still good, although I'm now trolling the troll-ish AI with beliefs about animal sentience, and I'm not sure who's winning this battle of the meta-narratives. I can say that playing a digitised entity via a headset gives it a whole extra spin though



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
WoW

I'm roughly two weeks in and things have started to return as to the more nuanced controls and mechanics. I'm still clodding my way through though, and I am constantly reminded that I remember less than I did years back by my ever-ignorant steps. I have paired off with an old friend that I used to play with back in the day, which is both cool and frustrating. Time passes much faster during the grind with a companion, but being told often not to do X or do Y for actions of preferences wears me down at times. We all have style and approach. Just know your role's responsibility and hope the group knows theirs.

I usually play rogue-type classes when I can. This time I went druid. This will be my third druid and they, at times, play better rogue roles than the rogue class. Go figure. Plus you gain heals and a tank option. What's not to love? This is Warcraft Classic, so I do not have access to my main to siphon money off of, which kinda hurts in progression having to take more time to save up for gear and skills but whatever. It's a relatively slow go at the game this time around so it's all good.

It is nice to see the main Alliance cities (Stormwind and Iron Forge) teaming with players again. I believe the last time I subbed for a period of time was post-Cataclysm, and the story line kinda wonked things up there, if I remember. Maybe that was Legion? I can't remember. I do know that I had a Panda at one point, so there's that. Well. I think I did....

Not much to say about WoW as I'm sure most everyone is familiar enough with it. I'm surprised it still plays very well considering its age. Sure, models and textures feel dated, but they are still quite charming by design given their cartoonish styles. This game is massive and great fun for casual exploration. I'm not sure I have it in me to keep up as I did years back. It seems to expect more attention than I've gotten comfortable providing with recent PS4 title choices. We'll see.



there's a frog in my snake oil
This works as a classic version review too. Just close your eyes for the VR bits

Review: The Talos Principle VR




After some slightly uninspired opening hours, this turned out to be pretty ace


To VR Or Not To VR?:

VR elevates a bunch of the existing qualities here. The hand-held devices, physics interactions, and 'jungle gym' puzzle solving put you right in the centre of the action. It makes for a fun mix of cerebral tinkering followed by active enacting. (And occasionally combines the two. There's something to be said for soaring 20ft up on a column of air to get a bird's eye view of the puzzle )

The Cryengine locations form a lovely expansive backdrop (even if the 'photo realistic' style can't always survive you nosing right up to its more budget bump-maps). And the whole 'ghost in the machine' / 'simulated world' story gains some extra vibe when you're actually injected into those digital spaces




It's A Laser Trap:

The five core tools that you unlock aren't the only way they keep things fresh, with further twists arriving downstream. There are a few moments were they over-rely on the core techniques though. (Oh, more laser-round-an-impossible-corner conundrums?). But just as frequently they'll surprise you by making a novel physical interaction the crux of the next map, or add a new use for an environmental hazard instead.

As a puzzle game, the key thing for me was: I frequently stood in the middle of these breezy virtual spaces, hands on hips, and said: 'That's impossible'. And then worked it out anyway. Sometimes multiple times in one map . They've got the 'make you feel smart' thing pretty nailed down, with only perhaps one or two maps that bordered on feeling unfair / frustrating.




If A Story Is Trapped In A Box, Is It Really There?

The primarily text-based story is almost entirely optional, but I found myself welcoming the dips into the computer terminals in every realm. It does help if you like ancient philosophy, arguing theology, AI ethics, and pondering the nature of 'self' though

Not that their archive of mythical excerpts and a 'chose from these answers' interface can really encompass this spread of dialectic disagreements and contemporary mysteries. But they have a damn good go



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Too Long Didn't Read Your Metaphysical Treatise:

Positives:
  • Tons of content, scaling over time, with various flavours of twists to the trickiness.
  • A playful nested story that taps into themes of consciousness, free will, ethics and theology. And then occasionally sticks its tongue out at you
  • Lovely settings and audio work.

Negatives:
  • Slow, slightly insipid, start.
  • A couple of unintuitive story twists can leave you locked out of further progression, having to restart from a few saves back. It's clunky. (Hint: If you 'exit' from a story terminal you often can't turn it back on...)

Motion Comfort:
  • Despite the consummate control options, you may need your VR legs to deal with some of the shunts and jumps involved when boxes misplace or airstreams propel you sideways through the air...

Postscript

And I'm still going with the free DLC content, which has kept the difficulty fiendishly ramped up, and given the story some new fun twists


+ [nausea possible]



H&K MP5 deserves more praise.




Two games I'm excited for. Currently playing Escape from Tarkov, practicing more DMC5 and about to begin Metro EXODUS.
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Get Mario Maker 2.

Maybe because I didn't grow up with Nintendo or Zelda but I thought BoTW was a beautiful game that did absolutely nothing I hadn't seen before (done as well or significantly better) in other recent open world action/RPG games. It's very very good, don't get me wrong, but it's not that good.

Mario is solid, I guess, but I'm a fan of 3D platformers even less than I am of 2D ones.

EDIT - But what do I know. Tony Hawk 5 has literally just dropped through my letterbox.
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You ready? You look ready.
I ended up buying Super Mario Odyssey, and then I regretted it immediately after I launched it. Like...it's Mario. Nothing really new since 64, and 64 is still the best.

I might be bad and pick up a copy of BoTW on the way home today.

I will say that Pokemon Sword/Shield is awesome.

All in all I don't regret the purchase of the Switch.
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there's a frog in my snake oil
Bit OT, but I'm sharing my first ever PCMasterRace link...

Coronavirus specific GPU projects are now available at folding@home

Giving it a go

(The software seems pretty neat. Have had no real issues using similar systems for climate model crunching [aside from the odd borked project :/]. Seems worth a shot...)



The People's Republic of Clogher

I will say that Pokemon Sword/Shield is awesome.

All in all I don't regret the purchase of the Switch.
It is.

After a few months wondering if I'd made the right choice, I love my Switch. It's the first place I look for Indie games now and the E Shop has some decent sales.

Sooo much shovelware though.



You ready? You look ready.
Ok, so I was bad after work and picked up BoTW and Everspace. I almost bought Lugi’s Mansion 3, as well. But I stopped myself. for now

And I really regret Everspace.



there's a frog in my snake oil
This too has classical appeal...

The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna



Great that this came free with the VR release (where penny pinching and content curtailing is by far the norm)

Really rounded it out nicely. Kept the difficulty up at a challenging level but never really became super frustrating. Each sub-world normally contains around 4 puzzles, so if one has you totally stumped you can always go and try another on for size for a bit. (It meant I had that overnight 'Aha!' moment for one or two of them that made them more pleasure than pain )

Definitely more hand-on-hips ‘this is impossible’ moments with these ones, but generally you poke some physics or step back and reassess and something usually clicked. Some great locations in the mix too, with more use of open spaces and puzzles being built into the environments themselves. (Lots more fan-based flying through the air too. Woo )



The narrative this time is based around an online forum of trapped AIs, which works surprisingly well. You tap into their online world of creative malcontents as you in turn attempt to free them from their individual prisons. It has the trick of ‘humanising’ the robotic NPC forms that you'll finally set loose as you get to know them. It's all good, so long as you don't mind reading terrible AI fanfic

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Definitely bumps the original review up at least about (+). (I'm still only being hesitant on the scoring because the opening 1-2hrs really are that dry, and the core puzzle tools are just... well they're just not quite Portal . Robust and tricksy as they end up being )