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Slag

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@bobafettjm: makes a lot of sense. So almost like your own person game tasting event! I got some buddies who get together once a month and basically do that as a group. The "host" brings 6-10 games and as a group they play each one for 30minutes to an hour, taking turns on who plays.

I'm sure you've played enough stuff by this point in your gaming career that you can get a pretty good idea of what a game's about just from a single play session anyway.

Hope the work situation change for you is something you consider to be a positive for your life though!

Hunh I thought Sword Art was a turn based JRPG franchise. Shows you what I know about the series

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Holy moly! That's a lot of games! I take it a lot of these you bounce off of right away? Or you just want to taste them a bit (like you own personal quick looks?) How much playtime do you generally put into these before switching and what prompts you to switch what you are playing?

Not judging (imo there's no wrong way to game), just curious because your play style very different than mine in an intriguing way.

for comparison sake I've touched ~13 game this year so far that I can recall

PUBG

multiplayer game of the moment

New Super Mario Bros Ustarted and finished
Luigi Ustarted and finished
Phoenix Wright vs Professor LaytonStarted, in progress 25% or so
Utawarerumono: Mask of DeceptionStarted, in progress 25% or so
Thronebreakerstarted, may abandon
Tetris EffectStarted, retired most likely. Didn't like it
Mindustryplayed some multiplayer
Wreckfestplayed at a Lan Party
Splitgate: Arena Warfareplayed at a Lan Party
CounterStrike: Sourceplayed at a Lan Party
Rainbow 6: Siegeplayed at a Lan Party
Rocket Leagueplayed at a Lan Party

That's actually really high for me due to the LAN party. A normal high month for me is roughly 1-2 multiplayer games per month and about 4-5 single player games. Of the above probably only 6-7 of them have been for more than an hour.

How was Sword Art? I've always wondered about that franchise

oh and re: Street Fighter V- I feel like that's a game that wasn't criticized harshly enough at launch, but now doesn't get nearly enough credit for much better thae game has gotten. Really even by Season 2 the game had gotten very good. So I'm with ya on that

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@majormitch:

yeah I dunno if I'm truly lukewarm on ITB or just was in the wrong headspace.

I've gotten oddly more finicky in some ways about games these days. If I'm in the wrong mood or if I'm playing it perhaps in the wrong venue , it sometimes won't click and I'll drop it. Sometimes I come back later and it really works. I suspect that may be my issue with Into the Breach. I think if I played on phone or handheld in short bursts it would have grabbed me, but I tried on Mouse and Keyboard. I might just not be interested in playing this game sitting at a desk in long sessions.

Do you ever get like this? I never used to as a kid, but back then it was console or nuthin and I didn't have as many options on what to play. So maybe I've always been this way and didn't know it.

You are making me feel better about not playing any Pokémon game! That late game does sound super neat but probably not worth my time to get there. I have a feeling the "kids game" aspect you mentioned wouldn't jive with me long enough to make it that deep. That being said I'm glad that it sounds like the series is legit with that kind of depth. Kids (and adult fans) deserve good kids games. I honestly feel like there aren't as many of those as there used to be.

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and wow at Dragon Age: Inquisition at #133. Has there ever been a game where critics and fans diverged as sharply as that one?

I believe it was the critical consensus GotY pick of 2014...

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Holy moly! You did take this to the Nth degree!

very impressive work duder, very curious to see what the final result will be!

Also happy to now know what the color coded columns symbolize

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Awesome list @majormitch! Honestly this whole list is full of absolute best in class bangers. I think that's what stands out me about your list. Everything in this list are all things that were novel, very smartly designed, had a lot of polish and very few flaws.

NGL, had no idea Into the Breach resonated with you so strongly. I probably ought to give that one another go, it just didn't hook me for some reason and I'm not sure why. Especially since I typically really like puzzle solving

I guess the other stunner to me would be Pokémon X/Y, might be an Age thing but that's a franchise that's never had much appeal to me. So it's interesting to see it alongside these other immaculately designed games. Makes me curious to see what I might think of one coming to the franchise without any prior knowledge or nostalgia as an adult.

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@majormitch: Thanks man!

2000-2006 really were some bangin years in games. There's a decent argument to be made that Gen 6 is the peak of traditional 3d Singleplayer game design. So while they were formative years for you, speaking as someone from whom those years weren't ...uhhh... formative haha, I think even taking sentimentality out of it that's a reasonable assessment of the era. The sheer volume and variety of quality titles is still pretty unparalleled even in today's 3k+ new title era.

"In many ways I think we're still riding a lot of the same design trends in today's games."

I agree, but I also suspect these kinds of good practices and norms are only discovered one time and then are more or less only refined in future years. So that's more or less what I would have expected that era to do.

I'd say Gen 4 was that period of discovery/refinement for 2d console games and Gen 6 was that for 3d. I imagine the next areas where this cycle happens is with companion/enemy Ai (which still feels largely unchanged over the last few decades but maybe no will change that there's so much commercial research into AI in general) and or VR/AR.

fwiw RE4's is definitely one of the biggest glaring gaps in my gaming knowledge, so while I'm well aware of its historical impact and beloved stature, I just lack the experience with it to properly consider it. Horror/Zombies and me just have never mixed well.

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@majormitch: gotcha man, that makes a ton of sense the way you boil it down

The moving on part is big necessary maneuver for sure. I still try to see through anything I feel is 3Star + in terms of quality, but tbh I'll drift on from games anymore if real life intercedes and I don't get to play them for more than a week or so. I just emotionally disconnect if the gap is too long, even if I think the game is amazing.

I definitely prioritize shorter games over longer ones most of the time. That's certainly how I was able to crank through 50+ (think I only cleared 3-4 games over 30 hours this year) Totally understand you not wanting to drop 100 hours on a RPG when you gotta maximize the time you have.

I think where we probably differ significantly is purchasing behavior. I have a very hard time rationalizing to myself buying new games at full price in the launch window given how they quickly and steeply depreciate, how many games I still have in my backlog and knowing my own willingness to play old stuff.

So what I end doing a lot of times is taking that $60 a new game would cost and buying 3-6 older games instead. Which ofc only exacerbates the backlog aspect of the problem, but I tend to at least feel better that I didn't overpay or feel pressure to play it immediately or in many cases even feel pressure to play everything I bought. Your approach is probably smarter tho, since you probably don't have the backlog issue and you get the benefit of being more in the Zeitgeist. Not sure I can get myself back to doing that now that I'm so acclimated to cheap games.

Yeah scheduling is honestly the single worst thing about MP games. The good thing about Remnant is I found it isn't too awful to have a wide disparity in levels between players if you decide to play ahead a little. The leveling system in that game is very strange. Game's probably a lot shorter than you think, I think my crew smashed through it in like a 5-6 decent length sessions before doing post-game cleanup runs.

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@majormitch:

Thanks man, I'm definitely very fortunate!

the time factor is a big reason I keep gravitating to PUBG over previous MP fascinations of mine that are still readily available out there rn. I don't feel punished if I don't play, not punished that badly if I have to bail before a match is over and there's not much down time when I do. Good for spontaneous play really.

The time thing is a funny thing tho.

From talking to a lot of gamers in our age bracket, it's a lot easier for them cognitively and scheduling wise to just mono-game. There's no setup friction, no learning curve friction, no trying to remember what you were doing 2 weeks ago when you last played friction etc. So for a lot of them especially the ones with kids, long commutes and busy jobs things like Destiny 2 are a pretty low stakes/ no fuss/ no muss way to scratch the gaming itch.

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Most of us play more than 10 games a year, so what happened to the others?

I definitely play more than 10, managed to hit 52 finished out of maybe 65 ishthat were substantively played. But the vast majority of what I play anymore seems to be anywhere from 1-4 years at any given time.

That's definitely a factor in why I don't make current GotY lists anymore, just hard to feel like I know what my real top 10 is if I've only put real time into 7-9 before the year ends. I don't feel that comfortable with even making a top 10 for 2018 yet, so now I'm really behind.

Frankly I'm always envious of how many current releases you manage to play! I once was like that haha, but then I took a hiatus for a few years from games at the beginning of Gen 7, and then indie floodgates opened up, and now it's impossible to catch back up haha. I thought GamePass would help get me more current, but it hasn't seemed to work out that way yet.

Awesome list as always @majormitch ! I always look at yours before making mine as I know our tastes track similarly and you've got a knack for succinctly articulating things I've noticed but can't distill as well.

I've barely touched Slay the Spire and won't get back to it for a while since I accidentally wiped my save, but I think one hangup I had with it was the music aspect of the game just wasn't there for me. One constant theme that doesn't change contextually (it never did even once in my 3 hours, I assume it might for final boss fights etc) just isn't close to enough. Didn't help that the game is kinda no frills in the other veneer aspects too (look, story etc). I need more of a carrot to run and rerun games over and over.

I liked Control a lot more than you did, I see all the same issues you do the game's strengths just suited my tastes a little better I think. I definitely feel like it setup a bunch of neat ideas for conflicts in the story that didn't materialize, which was pretty disappointing. As far as the combat goes, I felt the same way you did at first, but once I started experimenting with Jesse's kit more and played it more like Half-life 2 or Gravity Rush, it got a lot more fun imo.

fwiw I think you aren't going to have your opinion of Remnant:ftA change much if you finish it.

I really liked the feel of that. The souls roll plus shooting was enough to keep me pretty engaged. But you're absolutely right a lot about is very mediocre in that typical B game way. it's p much game that feels good to play and that's about it.

The one really novel thing I felt the game did that it doesn't get adequate credit for imo, is that it kinda inverts the shlooter norms. Instead of the loot being random, it's the world that is. Fixed loot, random worlds is a weird idea that I'm not sure entirely works (since your whole party ends up with exactly the same kit when maxxed out), but at least it's interesting to consider.

Also in light of that, playing that game on console has to be miserable. At least on PC there's a fan-made parser you can run that will tell you if your world roll has the gear pieces you are making. That's 100% the only reason I was willing to 100% that game.