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  1. already got enough for another LIST UPDATE DARK SOULS 2: SCHOLAR OF THE FIRST SIN- IRON KEEP In my last session I encountered two of the most powerful feelings souls games can offer you. On the upswing, I defeated The Duke's Dear Freja- a boss that has a long and arduous trek to withstand on the way there- on my first try. I felt fuckin' so sick and strong. Then I went to the last of area of the first half of the game, the Iron Keep, and have so far died to one mandatory phantom 25 times. This may take a while. GEARS OF WAR JUDGMENT- FINISHED I left the campaign my friend and I started last year to beat all the Gears games off my list cuz I haven't been counting multiplayer games. Judgment is the best game in the series and it isn't even close. It's the gameplay peak, it's got big stupid action movie pacing, and only really stumbles with the final boss, which has been the problem of every Gears game aside from Gears 1. Strongest possible recommendation. GEARS OF WAR 4- PLAYED ACT 1 A great first twenty minute flashback that's so far been followed with a pretty annoying game. So the main observation I took from Gears 3 is that is from a group of devs that shat their pants at Uncharted 2. The main observation so far in 4, a game from a studio that was founded to keep making Gears games, is that it is made by people who respect the Uncharted games so much, they made their main character half-an-uncharted. The title screen is literally just his face. The dev effort went into making moving feel better, and every part of it does. However, since Judgment is the black sheep, every single improvement Judgment made to the gameplay is now gone. I feel a great sense of dread about finishing this. THE ANACRUSIS- HOLY SHIT IT'S A CATASTROPHE Tried through the gamepass free trial thing. I know it's a game preview, but like... is this going to help? Is there any chance this helps this game? It is performance wise a mess, but it's worse to play and it's grating to boot. Like ok, Shatner Star Trek Left4Dead sounds great, but when it's just people talking in those outfits and then you are playing the grossest feeling action game? It's not going to do enough to cover the gap there. I hope there's so much ground covered between now and release, because the state it's in on consoles is completely unacceptable. DRAGON QUEST XI S - I'M PLAYING IT RIGHT NOW It's proven: the best way to play any Dragon Quest game is before bed. Just play until you reach the next save point!
  2. LIST UPDATE CRUELTY SQUAD- FINISHED I opted for the first ending here as the process towards the true ending- which a friend already showed me anyways- requires me to go headlong against a major phobia and maybe some day but not right now! This is still the unquestionable 2021 Game of the Year and any conversation that doesn't include it isn't worth hearing out! Play Cruelty Squad! DARK SOULS 2: SCHOLAR OF THE FIRST SIN- BRIGHTSTONE COVE TSELDORA Running a Cleric Miracle build, Primary is the Blacksmith Hammer +4 (it's fun), offhand is the Disc Chime, aspiring to get Sunlight Weapon. I've done two of the four great souls (or whatever they're called?) and it's honestly the furthest I've ever been in a souls game. I'm aspiring to beat this before Elden Ring comes out, especially now that I know Kirby is out a fuckin Month Later. I've made it to the Iron Keep, but there's an invader by the front door that is just kicking my fuckin ass so I'm doing everything else I have available. I'm skipping a lot of optional bosses, and just trying to get down the main line as fast as possible. DRAGON QUEST XI S- JUST GOT TO GONDOLIA This is a major landmark for me, as my first playthrough ended shortly after here on account of my primary PS4 had this cool thing where it would spit discs out all the time. So I'm almost done dragging my feet through stuff I've already done! I imagine the pace will pick up much faster after I'm done here. HOLLOW KNIGHT- DRAGGING MY FEET The Soul Master is my next obvious boss, and I don't want to do it, so I made progress in all these other games instead lol
  3. Alright, time to stop running. "Ultrapop" by The Armed "The Powers That Be" by Pharoah "Jubilee" by Japanese Breakfast "Inside (The Songs)" by Bo Burnham I am not known as a great appreciator of stand-up comedy, or musical comedy, or musical theater, or pianos. I know who Bo Burnham is. I had no intention of watching Inside. So, my approach here is going to be kind of academic: can I get the same thing out of just engaging with the soundtrack? Whether I want to do this or not, I'm a man of my word, so it's time to find out.
  4. Here is my 2022 Gaming Resolution. I have a list of games I wanted to beat last year that I didn't get around to, and honestly there's not a lot of games coming out this year I'm expecting to hold my attention. So! Here is the list of games I am aspiring to finish in the year 2022. Cruelty Squad (at a point I stopped playing it and started watching it, so now I'm going back to it to actually complete it) Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin Demons of Asteborg Disco Elysium (second full playthrough, physical build) Dragon Quest XI S Final Fantasy 7 (started a playthrough because there's been a lot of AI Upres procedures done on the prerendered maps and I want to see that) The rest of the Gears of War franchise (currently playing Judgment. short: best game in the series) Hollow Knight (started over on PC with a less latent display) Hitman 3 L.A. Noire (timed with the Action Button review) One full game of Old World Tres-Bashers ULTRAKILL (this one is the one that worries me) Yakuza Like A Dragon Now, I'm allowing myself leeway because there are some new games I am 100% getting (Elden Ring, Kirby, probably Splatoon?) and some indie games that are in various states of "when it's done" that if they say When I'm running full speed to (Radio The Universe, UFO 50, Skin Deep, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, and Dread Delusion most notably). So for most of the year when I post a review of something, if I reviewed it once before, I'm going to specify that I just beat it and these are my final thoughts with it. WIsh me luck lol
  5. Disco Elysium works like Fallout in that it's a point and click RPG, but there is absolutely no combat. As simply as possible, it's a large variety of different skill checks and dialog. However, it's exceptionally well thought out (dialog decisions can play into other dialog down the line, and your character build makes completely different avenues of the story available) and it's all exceptionally written dialog. I think it is the best work of fiction available in games, and there is no close contender. Strongest possible recommendation. That being said, DO NOT SHOW DISCO ELYSIUM TO A CHILD. It is, subject matter wise, EXTREMELY intense.
  6. A reminder that submissions close on New Year's day! "Ultrapop" by The Armed "The Powers That Be" by Pharoah "Jubilee" by Japanese Breakfast I have heard of Japanese Breakfast but couldn't name a song. A cursory google search reveals that they're not Japanese, but instead Korean. I also think they did the soundtrack for the video game Sable? What a great sentence for anyone from the 90s. "The Sable game has a soundtrack by Japanese Breakfast." The wikipedia genre pile lists "indie rock" and what are basically five synonyms. I think that's about as much as I can get out of this part of the review.
  7. Some reviews, starting with a re-score! SOLAR ASH [2] I quit it when it introduced a mechanic I had no interest in dealing with, in a section where I hated the narrative angle and experienced the second most frustrating dialog exchange in the game. I'm beginning to feel like the narrative direction is the fault of the publisher, because Annapurna's brand is like NPR Devolver Digital and it cant just put out a cool action game. So between this, 12 Minutes, and Last Exit, Annapurna has burned all its good will and has nothing really to show for it. I used to take note of games they were putting out and now it's going to be an uphill battle to get me to check out anything they release. GEARS OF WAR [3] GEARS OF WAR 2 [4] GEARS OF WAR 3 [2] A friend of mine have been replaying the Gears of War series kinda just to do it. Well, not "kinda just to do it." I've hit this crisis point with game design where I am finished with more genres than not. I don't want to aim down sights anymore, I don't like open world games, I don't like battle royales, I don't want to compare numbers on items, and I don't want anything runbased or procedural. You may notice that's 90% of video games now! Yeah! I'm in trouble! I just want to play a game with some levels in it! Levels were cool! So from that we talked each other into playing all the Gears games. -Gears 1 in my mind was A Classic but there's so many quality of life things they added in 2 that I forgot were not in 1 that I can't regard it the same way anymore. At the same time, Gears 1 is also the game that gave us the camera for Every Modern Video Game. From Sony Prestige Games to those awful Batman games, to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Gears of War is the fundamental building block. How it swings its camera when your in control to point out the next spectacle is how every single game works now. It's easy to shit on Gears for being monochromatic, but remember that among the people singing the praises of Gears' camera usage was Hironobu Sakaguchi, which he adopted for Lost Odyssey to showcase how to map that dynamic camera usage onto a JRPG. Gears of War is phenominally important to every extant video game, but it's not the easiest thing to go back to. -Gears 2 is a for real action game masterpiece. It doesn't push anything forward with camera usage or anything (which will bite it in the ass later) but what it does do is fix up the engine of the actual gameplay. It is a gameplay focused sequel. Plus, Horde Mode. I would suggest Gears 2 Horde Mode, if standalone, is the unquestionable best game of that whole decade. -Gears 3 is bad. When we started playing it my friend and I kept remarking "wow I remember none of this but I remember beating it!" It turns out that if you make two cool games about firefights in heavy cover, and then make game 3 a game where you run around and fight monsters in open areas all the time, it's kind of a drag! It's like you got this sports car and use it mainly to go get groceries. It's also weirdly prescient of the direction games were going in. In the intervening time between Gears 2 and 3, Uncharted 2 happened. Uncharted 2 ate Gears' lunch as a spectacle delivery system and started touching on the idea of using Gears' camera tech to play at dramatic gravitas. As a result, Gears 3 tries to go for dramatic moments and uncomfortable moments more heavily. It fails. It fails really hard. All the time. It fails so bad that Epic ends up going "well shit, maybe we can compete with minecraft" and stops making single player games. POLYBIUS [4] From the Steam Page: "The inspiration for POLYBIUS was an old urban legend about a strange, abstract, psychedelic arcade game that was supposedly released for a brief time in the 1980s. According to the legend people who played the game experienced strange and rather unpleasant psychological reactions after becoming addicted to it. There was talk of the CIA and Men in Black. Of course the legendary game has never actually been found but - especially with the advent of VR - we thought it might be fun to make a game inspired by the old legend. Our version is intended only to have positive effects on the minds of its users though!" It works. It's also not for people with epilepsy. It's also from the Space Giraffe guy. TETR.IO [4] This is one of those experiences where it really puts into perspective how far behind 90% of the game industry is with the internet and how to use it. This is a Browser Based Tetris, with amazing netcode, unlimited size player lobbies, multiple leaderboards for either Ranked Competitive, 40 Line sprints, or High Score runs, and easily accessible replays for everything where all you have to do is copy a link and look at it. Setting up a lobby lets you customize everything from how the pieces are randomly seeded (there's like six different algorithms) to exact decimal points on how gravity accelerates over time. It also has serverwide events that you can watch unfold on their official twitch account if you don't think you're a big enough tetris badass to compete. This is all by one person. Oh and the music's great. Like literally everything about this package is one of the best games I've ever seen in my life, and it's a free browserbased game by one person. Lord, they're running behind. = = = btw just a reminder but Play Cruelty Squad. I am watching a lot of game of the year stuff come up where Cruelty Squad isn't even being mentioned and its starting to drive me insane because the gap between it and every other video game released in the last few years runs the risk of endangering the entire industry. I could scream about it for another five hours here but I will stop and just say Play Cruelty Squad, It's The Real Game of the Year.
  8. Well. 0-day serverside java exploit that allows easy remote code execution. Entirely serverside, no way to fix it on your end, no way to even know what you might be using that uses it. This is the Big One. https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-lifestyle-software-apple-inc-aed3cc628fc602079b100757974c8f01 I want to scream, but not in like an angry or stressed way? It's like finding out a river was actually an Old God, and your town is about to undergo the most incredible changes. Your foolish need for water has scarred thy DNA, and when the agents come all they have to do is hum a little tune and your flesh and bones will stretch and cancer, and open a little hatch to your mind. It is about that bad of an exploit. Good luck, and get baked goods for your IT people because they're gonna have a rotten December.
  9. at the same time that is devon larratt and it's frankly a miracle more people haven't swung on him
  10. Artist Lingua Ignota has released a detailed timeline of her abuse at the hands of Daughters lead singer Alexis Marshall from 2019-2021. I'm posting this here because I know there's a few fans of Daughters around these parts and I figured they would want to know.
  11. I wrote some big reviews and then deleted them like a dope so you get tiny ones. SOLAR ASH [3] Love playing it, writing is bad enough to make me struggle to recommend it, hope you like hams saying hammy sci-fi shit MONCAGE [4] Clever, somewhere between Gorogoa and The Room (in puzzle construction only, not a horror game) PANZER DRAGOON ON SWITCH [2] My fault, didn't notice a Performance Mode until after I beat it ARREST OF A STONE BUDDHA [3] Genuinely not sure how you're supposed to play this on normal difficulty. Good moody sad gritty action-adventure game DARK SOULS 2 SCHOLAR OF THE FIRST SIN [4] I'm sick also just a reminder in the run up to the game awards and people thinking about their game of the year; you all need to play Cruelty Squad. I would buy copies if I weren't so broke, that's how serious I am.
  12. I need a distraction! 4AM reviews! "Ultrapop" by The Armed "The Powers That Be" by Pharoah So! The Armed! This'll be my fifth time listening to this this year I think? After the first time I listened to it I was kind of bothered by the cover for reasons that aren't worth getting into, and then I went and talked to some friends of mine and heard theories and evidence of things that this band might actually be- namely the idea that this is all the brainchild of Kurt Ballou, Converge guitarist and probably the best rock producer alive. However we got there, I like a bunch of songs on here already, but this'll be the first time I sit down and do nothing but listen to it. That'll be fun! Oh uh it's good workout music btw, that is what I mean by that.
  13. El Hijo Del Santo Akira Hokuto Stan Hansen Eddie Guerrero The Destroyer Shin'ya Hashimoto Yumiko Hotta Jushin Thunder Liger Bryan Danielson Fit Finlay it fucking kills me to not be able to put any battlarts people on here but I can't justify putting Ishikawa over anyone here.
  14. One of my friends released an album that got a glowing 8.0 review on Pitchfork today that it absolutely deserves. You can find it here however you'd like to find it: https://dearlaika.nnatapes.com/pluperfect-mind
  15. I posted this in the Wrestling Machine thread because I had that open but meant to put it here! Oops! ==== So first, let's explain how I found this. A friend of mine asks a quasi-joke question, where they ask who's the best wrestler from Italy. I then realize I dont know anything about Italian wrestling. So I go on wikipedia to look up italian wrestlers, and the name Ted Boy Marino catches my eye. Turns out he is Italian, but he was a big star in Brazil in the 60s and 70s. And from that Wikipedia, I learn the name for wrestling shows in Brazil, which is Telecatch. I was waiting until I found a match I thought had majority good things about it before I shared this discovery of Brazilian Wrestling, and here it is. This youtube account has a lot of videos from the personal archive of one of the participants, Renato Dias (the beanpole in yellow). Belo is the man in the incredible screenshot. Please also take note of the canvas and apron of this show, which is called Gigantes do Ringue, which I will be digging through for the rest of the year.
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