Last Week’s Gaming – March 23rd, 2020

Ticket To Ride

So my first week of working from home is complete. Gearing up for week 2.

Hi everyone.

Rabbit and I have been pretty sick this week, so we both worked from home while resting up and getting better. All up we are both fine, but with the current issues, it’s better to be safe and isolate ourselves.

There are prices to pay. Mainly I didn’t get to play board games with Alpal again this week like I was looking forward to doing. At least I know she got some Steam game inspiration from last week’s article. 😀

On the plus side, I have had time to sit and start tinkering with my recording/streaming setup! This has me excited for sharing my reactions to video games and stepping up the Talking Tech articles as well. I will share some more thoughts about all this below. 😀

Potion Explosion – Android/Steam

Writing my digital board game article, I realised I hadn’t played Potion Explosion for a while. So I took the opportunity to fix that. 🙂

I still only play against AI opponents, because I don’t have to wait on people on the internet. I can get many games in with the AI compared to a single game online. If that is your biggest complaint about a game, you know something is going right with the gameplay. 🙂

Next week if I play again, I have set myself a challenge to start playing with the potion/Professor combinations more. I have one single combo (basically the default settings) that I tend to play with. I feel like I am limiting myself with the possibilities by doing this.

I will let you know how that little experiment goes next week. 🙂

Potion Explosion
I need to give to give other potions a good run. I have played the same combo for a couple of years now!

Ticket to Ride – Xbox/Steam

While I have played the digital version of Ticket to Ride recently, I realised I had to play it again to grab some screenshots.

Oh no, what an awful position to find myself in!

Also talked about in last week’s digital board game article, all of my thoughts on Ticket to Ride hold true. Want a game you can sit back and enjoy? Ticket to Ride should be on most people’s short lists.

Eventually, pattern recognition will kick in and people will be battling for routes at a cutthroat pace. This is where the expansions come in – for very little money, you can almost get a new game!

Ticket To Ride
I came so close! This is fairly typical of my 5 player scoring though 🙂

One Deck Dungeon – Steam

Like I wasn’t going to give this little dungeon run another go. 🙂

I am getting to the point I am thinking of buying the expansion to play on PC. I have the stand-alone expansion Forest of Shadows physically. Still, as I have said, I love the quick play digitally.

There is a new poison mechanic introduced in Forest of Shadows, as well as new potions, rooms and monsters. There are also new heroes to play with. As I said, you can play Forest of Shadows stand alone, but you can also bring across your powered up original heroes as well.

That’s another one we will have to wait and see what I do next week. 🙂

One Deck Dungeon
Now you know why the Yeti hides from me :p

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore – Switch

I didn’t get too into Tokyo Mirage this week. That said, my Switch is sitting next to the bed for a quick round or two anytime.

The combat so far is relatively repetitive, and the pacing is throwing me off quite a bit. Exploration feels awkward in Tokyo, as you have many small areas to explore but fixed camera angles. That, coupled with the Japanese Pop Idol subplot, has me skipping text more than I thought I would.

That said, the bite-sized nature of the adventure makes for a great break between the more action-heavy games I am playing. I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing days later with the objective and Topic system.

Hopefully, I will get more into it again when I have finished the extra stuff I am doing at the moment.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Flashy moves are great, but like Summons in Final Fantasy get a bit boring

Control – PS4 Pro

I played this a lot early in the week, but hope to pick it back up Sunday. The uneasy feeling that the start of the game me has passed, and I am pretty sure that’s because I haven’t been subjected to more Threshold Kids videos! 😀

Power-wise I am doing pretty well. I have now unlocked levitating and started claiming more Objects of Power. The game is excellent, and now I want to spend a couple of hours backtracking and tackling side missions.

Now that I have gotten into the game, I am 99% certain that this will be my next Platinum Trophy run. The same locations in the Oldest House are a bit repetitive, but combat has been nicely ramping up. Now I am getting into the exploration and collectable aspects as well.

I just need to make time to finish Control before the full release of the next game. 🙂

Control
Having a chill time turning enemies into friends 🙂

Resident Evil 3: Racoon City Demo – Xbox One S, PC

Resident Evil 2 last year was a game I basically inhaled. I didn’t Platinum it, and I probably never will. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because some of the requirements just seem a little out of reach for my skill level.

I can dedicate time and get better at the game, but I have so many other games I want to play it will feel like work.

In a couple of weeks, the remake of Resident Evil 3 comes out, and I can’t wait to play it! So it was with glee on Friday I downloaded the demo on every platform I can play it on. 🙂

But this takes me into a side project I have been playing with the last couple of days…

Resident Evil 3 Racoon City Demo
No scary screens here. But even on the Xbox One X, I love the reflections the devs managed to get working in this engine!

Coming Soon – DOOM Eternal!

I preordered and even preloaded Doom Eternal in preparation for last Friday’s release.

Usually, I don’t play first-person shooters. Destiny and Doom are two notable exceptions to this, and I have given away Destiny 2. But Doom 2016 bought back great memories of the original games, and I am looking forward to playing this reboot/remake going forward.

And then I thought about it. What if I recorded my initial reactions for a game I have been looking forward to? So I have been tweaking my setup using the Resident Evil 3 Demo as my test setup!

This means I can start also planning videos for my Talking Tech articles, hopefully making them a bit easier for you. It also means I can finally get into the video projects I have been sitting on, like taking you through old games I loved back in the day. 🙂

Streaming Test
Getting the setup sorted. It's close!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – March 16th, 2020

Control

Games played, and one title for ‘work’ with the site

Hi everyone!

I didn’t get much gaming in this week, between work and preparation for a few pieces with Talking Tech. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get to play anaything! Hopefully next week I will get more board games in with Alpal, but we will see how everything goes.

Enough retrospection, onto what I did play this week!

I have cracked. I got One Deck Dungeon on my phone. I can play it whenever and whereever I like.

And I don’t like it on my phone.

The gameplay is solid, that hasn’t changed. The problem is the amount of screen size you get on your phone. Playing One Deck Dungeon on PC, I can see everything that is happening. The worst I have to do is scroll through some skills.

On my phone, I have to flip between 4 screens. Reviewing status, skills and using items means flipping between screens. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.

If you don’t have the PC version to compare it to, One Deck Dungeon on mobile is fine. But after this experience, I would have to say play on a tablet. You need th extra screen space.

Oh, and I finished a gauntlet run on Steam. I did lose one round though! I will have to try for my perfect run again. What a pity 🙂

One Deck Dungon Mobile
I can see everything happening for this encounter, but I need to change screens to see my characters

Control – PS4 and PC

I am being a little cagey about my time with Control. I know people raved about it when it was released late last year, and after a few hours I can see why.

It is very different, and doesn’t even try to apologise for it. The opening voiceover even warns you this is going to be a different experience.

While not what I would call scary, enough of the opening story and videos had me unnerved. You think the game and/or story is going one way, and I was usually wrong.

It has some issues for me so far. The action is solid, but the discover the story narrative style is very slow. Puzzles haven’t been overly taxing or out of place, but there is a lot of timed side missions that feel like a way of padding out the experience rather than fun experiences on their own.

You will be seeing a lot of Control in the next few weeks, both in Last Week’s Gaming and Talking Tech. Yep, I am using it for some of my upcoming tech articles over the next few weeks – I hope you look forward to that 🙂

Control
Somehow, the story is crazier than the gameplay. What do you expect in a world with true paranormal events?

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore – Switch

During the week, I had to go and spend some time waiting for Rabbit. I thought this would be a great time to try this Persona/Shin Megami Tensei cross Fire Emblem release.

Everything on paper has me interested. I haven’t played Persona 5 yet (I know, but I told you my backlog was impressive). That said, I have played enough Persona 4 Golden to know that this portable version would be right at home on the Switch.

The narrative has me on the back foot a bit. You discover that you can use Mirages (spirits?) in combay on another plane, and these helpful Mirages are from Fire Emblem. But in the ‘real’ world, you start on the path of becoming Idols – Japanese Pop Stars is the quickest summary I can give.

It has me intrigued, but largely because I can just save and put it down after a fight or two. And I have Control waiting in the wings. This is the problem with playing multiple attention grabbing games 🙂

Tokyo Sessions Mirage FE Encore
It's a strange premise, but so for I am enjoying it. For an RPG though, I will say it's not for everyone.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – March 9th, 2020

Kung Fu Panda Feature

A week of weird milestones

Another game light week, and a lot of sleep required to get through it. But a lot of fun was still had, and that’s the main thing, right?

Enough of what I have had to do – on to what I have been playing!

Another Alpal Kickstarter, Kung Fu Panda surprised me in a lot of different ways.

The minis all come with a light wash on them. Not enough to say they are painted, but plenty to show off the amazing detail on all of the pieces. When I looked at the Kickstarter, I thought it would be a simplified Zombicide type of game.

I was kind of right, but wrong in all the best ways. Playing simultaneously, you progress through varioius missions and fight your way through hordes of enemies. It only took about 20-25 minutes to power through two missions, and was a blast to play.

When my games nights start soon, I hope to convince Alpal to bring this along and have a solid run through many missions.

Kung Fu Panda
Heaps of enemies, but incredibly fast and fun gameplay!

Alpal got a copy of this recently, and we had a great time. Dragon Market is a strange game to describe. Basically you have to collect three orders of different items. Sounds simple.

The catch is that the items are all on floating boats, and you need to move the boats in such a way to let you collect what you need.

The rules are very simple, and then you need to solve a shifting puzzle as you play. Dragon Market is engaging enough to keep you satisified gameplay wise, while not taking a long time to learn.

I hope to have a few more rounds of this so I can do a proper review soon.

Dragon Market
It's hard to quickly sum up Dragon Market, but if you like puzzles, this is a great game

Time to jump back into an old favourite. Alpal had even gotten an expansion that allows more options (for a cost) during your play.

And I got my butt handed to me again 🙂 I am just too kind with monster placement on Alpal’s map. I keep putting them against the sides, blocking penalties to her score.

Ah well, one day I will learn 🙂

One day I will grab a copy of Cartographers for my library and enjoy a few solo rounds, similar to One Deck Dungeon. But until then, the occasional thrashing from Alpal is always worth looking forwared to.

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
Played on the mat with the new expansion cards. So pretty!

Halo – Xbox

Finally got around to finishing this classic. Oh man, that last level drove me nuts!

The latest update came through this week, also allowing me to play the first Halo on PC! They did seem to fix my main complaint of the music being louder than the action, but that may be just the last level anyway.

Overall I enjoyed this bit of catch up to a past classic, but I have no real urge to play through it again. Not even for some achievements. I played it, and I am happy I did.

What else do I have to say about Halo? Well you will have to wait until Friday and my review 🙂

Halo
That's another game finished!

Halo 2 – Xbox

So I am not very far into the second chapter of the Halo series. Well, third if you consider Reach the first game, but I am playing them in release order.

I will tell you something though – the cutscenes in the Anniversery edition are amazing! Rabbit walked in and thought I was watching a movie!

The first update from Halo I am really enjoying is dual wielding weapons. A covenant weapon in one hand, SMG in the other, ripping through elites is awesome!

It might be a couple of weeks before I jump back into Halo 2. I am thinking of starting a bigger RPG again, and using Halo as a regular palette cleanse seems appropriate. Expect to hear more in spurts.

Halo 2
The cut scenes in the Master Chief Collection are amazing. But dual wielding wins!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – March 2nd, 2020

Roomba Feature

You know those weekends when everything catches up with you?

I have had a lot on this week, culminating in not too many games being played 🙁

Honestly though the downtime was needed, and I had a great time on the couch and pottering. I even started watching Altered Carbon Resleeved, the second season. While we are only a couple of episodes in, it is grabbing me just like the first season.

I also started watching Picard. I stopped watching the first episode about 2/3rds of the way in, because I really want to watch it with Rabbit.

But you aren’t here to find out what I think about TV shows – on to the games!

One Deck Dungeon – Steam

Look, I made no secret how much I have been playing this lately 🙂 I only played a couple of times this week, and I ‘lost’ my gauntlet run 🙁 For no good reason other than the challenge, I want to get through all five bosses in one run. I am nowhere near that level yet 🙂

But I am still having fun with it, and that is what counts. It was only timing that stopped me from playing any more this week. Well, that, and a little game I have had in my ‘To Play’ list for a while called Thronebreaker…

One Deck Dungeon
A quick run, and my first dungeon complete with the mage 🙂 Look at all those progression points 😀

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales – GoG.com

I love the Witcher, my hesitancy on playing The Witcher 3 notwithstanding. However, I am pretty sure I worked out why I am hesitant – more about that later this week 😀

The idea behind Thronebreaker is pretty good. It’s an isometric open world(ish) adventure game where you play as Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia. There is a story that unfolds (avoiding spoilers, not trying to be coy) and you resolve combat with Gwent, the side game introduced in The Witcher 3.

Just like The Witcher games, there are decisions to be made and consequences for all of those choices. There is a good chance Thronebreaker might become my ‘I want a break’ game at lunch at work, but we will see.

I might not talk more about Thronebreaker quickly, but it has been bumped up on my ‘I want to finish this’ list.

Thronebreaker
An adventure roll playing game that uses Gwent for comabt

PC Building Simulator

I have known about PC Building Simulator for a while, and even talked about it in Early Access. Initially I thought it was just a cheap way to safely play with building different PC builds and things like overclocking.

I was kind of right, but there is more to it. After watching some people talk about it, and getting ready to write up some tech pieces soon, I thought I would give it a go.

And I got REALLY sucked into the story mode. Basically you take over a failing PC repair shop that has been run into the ground. You start with basic jobs like cleaning PCs and removing viruses, but soon you get to fix and build new dream machines. While not 100% accurate, the process of diagnosis and building is surprising spot on.

PC Building Simulator
I was surprised how much I got into the story mode

And the best part? For me, it was just a kick back and relax experience for the first couple of hours. I wasn’t challenged until I got a few weeks in, and the AMD mix with vague customer wishes actually made me look up what was compatible with what. And not game walkthroughs – I was looking at AM4 motherboard spech sheets for the info!

Not for everyone, but I will play more of this in a couple of weeks just to see how far I can go in the story.

Roomba: First Blood

I almost didn’t put this on the list today, because I was not in a fit frame of mind to play games. I did go through the eStore sale and buy a few games, and Roomba for $6 was on the list.

A game I had seen a bit at PAX at the Samurai Punk booth, so much about the premise just amuses me. You play a Roomba that defends your house from intruders. Yes, you read that correctly 🙂

You can pick up weapons and ram into robbers, or hack different appliances around the home to trap them. When you defeat them all, you have to clean as much of the house as you can before your humans get home.

I played the first level, and I enjoyed it. I will play it more when I am a bit more with it, maybe next week.

Roomba
Stealth action from a perspective I would never have seriously considered

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – February 17th, 2020

One Deck Dungeon Game Start

Well one game got me really suckered in this week

It looks like another Video Game heavy week, but I played about 9-10 hours of One Deck Dungeon this week! It definitely helped with my ‘Play 250 games’ progress this week! Just look to the right for how that is tracking 🙂

Enough of all that though, on to what I have been playing!

One Deck Dungeon

I have been meaning to get to One Deck Dungeon for a long time. A lot of people have told me how great a solo game it is, but I always had something else to play. Well I fixed that this week, and I played it a lot. Fifteen times, to be exact.

It’s a solo dungeon crawl experience that plays with some tokens and a deck of cards. I played a few times with the physical version, and a few times on the Steam copy I have had for a while.

Now that I know how to play it properly, I will probably solo it on PC. There is a lot of shuffling and turn order things to keep straight, and the digital version handles all that. But beware – the first few run throughs are tough. Expect a full review soon.

One Deck Dungeon - Dragon run complete!
This was a hard slog, but my two adventurers won through

Onitama – Android

As usual, I played some Onitama again when I had a bit of downtime during the day at work. Against the hard AI, I usually win about one third of the time. Last week I was dreaming for a win at all.

This week went much smoother – three games, two wins. Vindication!

I love Onitama as a game. You will see this pop-up in games played pretty consistantly because of this. Onirim is another favourite, but I didn’t get around to it this week.

Why do I love Onitama? Check out my review for more info!

Onitama
VINDICATION! After last week's whooping, getting a couple of wins was great

Halo – Xbox

I am running a bit of a tight rope this week. One of the reason I have trouble finishing video games is switching between games. And this week, I started two other games!

That didn’t stop me from making some progress in Halo this week, but I need to keep old habits in mind. I have gotten up to the Flood, so I’m in the ‘real’ game now I guess?

One thing that did strike me is how little Bungie level design has changed. Halo is almost 20 years old now, and yet I saw a lot of empty areas for loading like I did in Destiny 2. That’s not a bad thing as such, but it’s interesting to see how much some developers stick to what they know.

Halo
I didn't get much further in this week, but I am aiming to finish Halo before any of the other games I started

Marvel’s Spider-Man – PS4

So this week I picked up my DualShock 4 back button attachment. I was going to test it with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. I didn’t, as I was worried about getting sucked into it and ignoring Halo.

Ooops. Instead, I got sucked into Spider-Man. The first thing that hit me is that the official Marvel games are not using any of the MCU actors faces. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does ruin some of the immersion for me. I don’t feel like I am playing in the Marvel universe at all.

Another thing that works for Spider-Man but also against it for me is that combat. It plays like the Batman Arkham games, and I spent way too long hitting triangle to counter. This is not a move in Spider-Man!

I think I can finish Halo in a dedicated weekend, so once that is done I will be returning to Spider-Man straight away.

Marvel's Spider-Man
The photo mode is a lot of fun. How could I resist?

Resident Evil 0 – Switch

With the various eShop sales, I have been slowly building my Resident Evil collection on my Switch. Obviously it will be missing the new remakes, but for historical plays I like the idea of taking the collection with me.

Story wise, it takes place before the original Resident Evil, hence the 0 numbering. I have heard lots of mixed reviews about the game, and wanted to check it out for myself.

It has a lot of game innovations that I already appreciate, such as controlling two characters at once. That said, I am early into the game so that may be a negative later.

I don’t intend to hit Resident Evil 0 hard, but it’s a different enough game to the others that I shouldn’t get genre burn out. A couple of hours a week means this will take a long time to get through, but the puzzles so far have been challenging enough that should be enough.

Resident Evil 0
So I beat the first boss. And I did it with a knife! Out of necessity, not skill 😛

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – February 10th, 2020

Blight Chronicles Agent Decker

You know those weeks you feel like you got nothing done, then you look back?

That was me this week. A couple of work projects just hammered me. I am still tired almost all the time, but at least it’s just tired not sick.

And then I looked at my plays for the week. I got a lot more games in than I thought! What did I play? Well thank you for asking 🙂

I backed this solo narrative deck builder on Kickstarter, and it finally arrived a couple of weeks ago.

My first experience was a rulebook that seemed straightforward but ended up being a little too vague on the finer points. A couple of ‘how to play’ videos later, and I felt ready to play.

And while close, I lost. A bit of bad planning and not understanding the end game timing on my part. But that has been corrected now, so time to start again and play through all 7 stages before the review!

Blight Chronicles Agent Decker
It was close, but the first run through beat me in the end. Time to try again!

I have played Villainous before, and spoken about how I enjoyed it. This week I got to play another round, which is always fun. But Alpal and I got to play three players!

Playing with a new player, it was part teaching game but mostly just a social afternoon. I played Prince John for the first time, and some of his cards revealed we had been playing it wrong. It happens to the best of us. 🙂

Alpal and I had been keeping our Allies when ‘vanquishing’ heroes. This is wrong – we should have been removing all cards involved in the scuffle. At least we know going into future games!

Villainous
I was so close to a win! But it was a great afternoon playing this quick favorite

Alpal showed me another new game this week. Similo is a series of games with each version focusing on a different theme. We played Similo: History.

Similo is basically a cooperative Guess Who. The clue giver randomly draws a card for the others to guess. They then lay out 11 random cards with the target, and draw 5 other cards as their hand.

Each round, they will lay out a card which will be ‘different’ or ‘similar’ to the target card, and the guessers try and remove cards that aren’t the target.

Now this description sounds pretty dry, but I am describing it this way because I didn’t take any pictures of the game. This means I have to describe the game more than normal. What I can say is in about 10 minutes we knocked over two games, and next time we catch up I can’t wait to give it another go or three!

Similo History
This is why I should never leave my phone in the car! At least you can see the cover 🙂

Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Switch

Another game finished! I decided to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 after the RPG grind of Final Fantasy XV, and I was glad I did.

I have only played the first one on DS, with plans to go and play the second at some point. What I can say is that the third instalment is everything I remember, and then some!

Puzzles were great, but not too stressful. I collected all of the gems and boos, but I am not going to try and Complete it. It was fun, and that is what counts. Expect a full review soon!

Luigi's Mansion 3
Can't complain with a run like that 🙂

Onirim – Android

Last week I decided to try the score mode. It took me most of the week, but I finally got around to trying it out.

And just as I feared, playing for points put me in sub-optimal play mode as I chased points. It’s not that I think the score mode is terrible, it’s a flaw in how I approach the game.

I only played it a couple of times, but I still enjoyed them! A close loss followed two wins is still a reasonable ratio. 🙂

Again, if you want a great mobile implementation of a solo board game, check out my review and give Onirim a try.

Onirim
There are plenty of people that scored better, but I still had a blast

Onitama – Android

I love playing Onitima. The elegant simplicity, the quick gameplay, and always needing to adapt to new play conditions make compelling challenges.

Regular playing on my phone is against hard AI. I am yet to win more than about 30% of the time. This was demonstrated beautifully this week when I lost every single game.

Is playing against the AI as fun as playing the board game version? Not quite. There is none of the banter and socialising you do in person. But it is better than not playing at all! I have tried playing online, but the opponents tend to drift off at strange times. This makes sense when playing on mobile, but when you are on the other end with no idea what is happening, it’s frustrating.

Speaking of playing against the AI…

Onitama
It didn't matter what I did this week, I kept being blindsided by obvious plays

Splendor – Steam

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you would have seen a couple of ‘What do I do now?’ results during the week. To help with this downtime, I have moved to my gaming laptop for work as it can just handle more.

But I still have downtime, and lunchtime is always a thing. I took advantage of this during the week with a quick round of Splendor!

Playing at lunch was a bit distracting, as I was interrupted with work conversations that kept derailing my concentration. But I went down swinging, and was a welcome distraction during the day!

I have to avoid making it a habit while I am work, but the quick play against the AI made for an excellent mental refresh. Never played Splendor? Check out my review!

Splendor
I could have made a lot better plays, but the chance to stop and change to non-work thoughts was great

Doom – Xbox

I struggled if I should include Doom in this weeks summary. After fixing some internet issues at home, I jumped on the Xbox for the first time in ages. And what was showing on Game Pass? Good old Doom!

When it was released in 2016, I finished Doom in record time. The remake was just as fun as when I played the original back in the day. One level of quick demon shooting action was enough for the time I had, and that is part of Doom’s beauty. Want to play for hours? Please do! Want a quick round? Just as satisfying.

I am not going to play Doom as one of my ‘To Finish’ games of 2019, but the quick round did make me think about finally getting around to Halo…

Doom
How you going there little guy?

Halo – Xbox

A late Saturday night work night coupled with a few hours waiting for propogation meant I got to start one of the games I bought the Xbox for.

I finally started playing Halo.

Even non-gamers know about this series. I know a fair bit of the lore already, and back in the day someone actually gave me their Xbox to play it. I didn’t really get the chance though, as it died on me not long after.

I have put in a few hours and gotten a fair way into the campaign. If you are curious, I have completed The Silent Cartographer. The most annoying thing so far is I have died more from other Marines driving into me than Covenant forces!

Halo is the next of my games to finish. Eventually, I hope to finish all five games. Just not at once. Expect to see this one come up for a couple of weeks.

Halo
It's really hard not to make a "All hail the chief" joke right now

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – February 3rd, 2020

20200203 Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale

Another week light on quantity, but what quality!

It was another great week for games. Unfortunately I didn’t make much headway in number of titles played. But it’s not how many you play, it’s how much you enjoyed playing it.

And enjoy it I did!

I am still feeling a bit run down, but at least I am not sick anymore. Enough of that, onto what I did get played this week!

I was hoping to play this game, and thanks to Alpal I got to play it!

A competitive Roll and Write, a lot of people will instantly compare it to the likes of Tiny Towns. This isn’t altogether unfair, but I am enjoying Cartographers more!

My first game I was not thinking and got absolutely punished for it. And I wanted to play again. I didn’t fare much better, but I had a great time playing it!

On Saturday, Alpal nailed why I enjoy the Roll Player games so much. They are light and easy to get into, but really reward longer term planning. As soon as she said it, the connection was obvious. But somehow I had missed it. Expect to see a full review after a few more games!

20200203 Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
All the equipment you need - Cards, Pen, Paper. Scores hidden as Anna Bel destroyed us :p

Onirim – Android

I had a few minutes, and I came back to an old favourite.

One thing got me thinking this week though. I always play in Classic mode. I stay away from Score Attack. I don’t know why.

I played The Game with a score. I mentioned last week how I tend to make some strategically bad plays for short term points.

As such, I have made a short term challenge for myself that I will play a scored game or three this week. I will let you know how it plays.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already checked out my Onirim review check it out!

20200203 Onirim
One loss, one win, one not finished due to human error. Maybe it is time to try and see what scores I can get.

198X – Switch

So this one came out last week on the Switch. It was cheap and has had some fairly positive reviews, so I thought I would check it out.

On the surface, it looks like a bunch of retro game clones. The opening level is called Burning Heart, and plays like a Final Fight or Streets of Rage clone.

But it is also more than that. There is a narrative that is tying these mini games together. The entire game is a narrative driven retro romp, that I have enjoyed so far. But I am not very far in yet, and it might be a while before I finish it.

If you enjoy retro gaming and are looking for something new to play, maybe check out 198X.

20200203 198X
What does a space bullet hell shooter have to do with the story? I am going to find out!

Tetris 99 – Switch

It has been too long since I fired up Tetris 99. Not becuase I have stopped enjoying it, just because I tended to look at something else.

This weekend was the latest Nintendo Grand Prix. It wasn’t a game theme tie in this round, this time it was for almost $10 on the eStore!

And after a long day Friday, I came home to glitching internet. Of course. It got sorted late Saturday, but it basically cost me two days of Tetris.

Still, I earned the 100 points bare minimum pretty quickly, and had a fun hour playing more Tetris 🙂

20200203 Tetris 99
First game late Saturday night in bed, hadn't played for maybe 3 months? Can't complain about results!

Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Switch

Another of my anticipated games, I have started getting into Luigi’s Mansion 3. And I am loving it 🙂

I didn’t think I would do more than just play through the game, but the simple yet challenging collectibles are starting to pull me in. I caught myself spending a couple of hours trying to collect all the gems on each level I have access to.

Bringing myself back to reality, I have decided to just play through the game until I get to the top floor, then go back and collect everything if I still feel like it. Stay tuned for how that works out!

20200203 Luigi's Mansion 3
That's right Luigi. Let the nice ghost play the music. Just slowly walk away...

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – January 27th, 2020

20200127 Final Fantasy XV

Well this was a video game heavy week

The last entry for January 2020! I can’t believe how quickly January has come and gone. Between work, sick and Final Fantasy XV, I haven’t gotten as many board games in as I was hoping. Still, thanks to a long weekend I will be fixing that with Alpal while you are reading this, all going as planned!

The Game – Android

I enjoy Onirim for a quick mental challenge. But I was thinking this week that I hadn’t played The Game for ages, so I decided to fix that 🙂

For those that haven’t played The Game, you have four piles of cards. Two are for ascending cards, and the others descending. You place randomly drawn cards from your hands onto the piles, and you win by playing all of your cards.

On mobile, I usually play The Game – Lift Up. Lift Up includes the base game and the On Fire expansion, with points. The points help give you another goal to aim for solo but aren’t what I call essential for playing.

Says the guy that finally beat this mode! It wasn’t my best score ever, but I have never ‘beaten’ this mode, so that made me happy 🙂

20200127 The Game
It's strange how the score has stopped me from finishing this before. Not now!

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Last week, I wrote about how I had finished Final Fantasy XV. Well, I finished the main story. Playing it more is something I have been wrestling with, but this week not feeling well, I decided to stick with it.

Final Fantasy games are generally easy to play, and while I wanted to relax and take my mind off things, it was great for this week. It also didn’t hurt that I was only four trophies off earning the Platinum.

And I earned it! For the first time, I have a Platinum trophy for a Final Fantasy game. And it marks my first Platinum for 2020! Why is that important? Check out my 2020 Gaming Goals tomorrow to find out more 🙂

20200127 Final Fantasy XV
This was not an easy fight. The adamantoise is HUGE!

Last week, I talked about Brain Training on the Switch. You may notice it’s not here. I haven’t fired up the Switch all week. It was one of those kinds of week. Hopefully I will start it again soon!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Let me know in the comments, shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – January 20th, 2020

Silver Amulet

I can’t wait for my board game nights to start again!

Not that I am short of things to play. Even with a bit of a week last week, I have had a ball with the games I have played.

I even starting learning a couple of games that I can hopefully get a group together for in the next couple of weeks!

But I talked enough about the future last week. Let’s have a look at what I did get to play!

Werewolf is one of my favourite social deduction games. You need a larger group to play it, but that’s one of the great things about it. Want to play a game with 12 people? Werewolf should be on the list!

Playing with lower numbers can be done with the One Night series, but it’s not the same game. One Night isn’t bad – it just isn’t Werewolf.

Silver falls into this category as well. It isn’t Werewolf, even with shared characters. But that doesn’t make it a bad game, and I can’t wait to play it again.

It’s basically set collection with a trick-taking edge. Once the vote is called, you want to have the lowest score. It really is that simple, and it’s fast to teach and play! I can’t wait to play this once my game nights recommence 🙂

Silver Amulet
A card game that only needs the cards - rare these days!

Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch – Switch

OK, so if this is a game or not is debatable. I had heard people enjoying Brain Training on the DS ages ago, but it’s not a title I ever picked up.

But now that it’s on Switch, I thought why not? First thing – I am actually regretting buying the physical copy. It does come with a stylus, but I didn’t consider one important factor. You only play a mini-game for a couple of minutes each day, and swapping carts can be a pain.

On my first day, I got a Brain Age of 65. Learning how to write and have the Switch interpret it correctly meant a lot of mistakes and lots of penalties.

One week later, I can write 4 and 5 correctly about 95% of the time, and I scored a brain age of 27! The tests were much easier for me this time, but I wouldn’t claim it was because of training. I just randomly got activities that I usually enjoy as diversions.

Each day you play, you earn a stamp that unlocks other activities. I have enjoyed a couple of games, like Rock-Paper-Scissors with random “Try to Win/Try to Lose” conditions. Doing basic arithmetic is also strangely calming, much more than the Germs mini-game. There is nothing wrong with Germs, but using the stylus to control Dr Mario isn’t great.

I will keep playing this for a couple of weeks, then give a review and progress report after a few weeks.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

One great thing about the holidays was the chance to get into one of my backlog games. As I said last week, I have finally gotten the opportunity to jump into Final Fantasy XV. And now I have not only been playing, but I finished it!

So while I have finished Final Fantasy XV, I am not sure if I am finished with it. I have only 4 tasks before earning the platinum, and only one of those tasks will require level grinding – the Adamantoise fight.

I also have the Season Pass content, but a reveal during the game means I really want to see Prompto’s story. If I play one of the episodes, I will probably want to play them all.

Will I play it or not? Next week I have an article talking about just such temptation 🙂

Final Fantasy XV
Not bad. I would have picked a different picture but I got impatient at night.

Onirim – Android

A game I always enjoy pulling out for a diversion is Onirim. I have talked about it in depth in my review.

Onirim is a game that even after hundreds of plays, I can lose easily. And yet a loss is not frustrating, and playing on the phone is a quick reset.

I have spoken about this before, but it’s amazing how I can completely miss playing on my phone as ‘gaming’. True, I tend to play solo games on the phone, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Onirim
It's a nice feeling when you can't lose! Wait, there is one more nightmare....

Onitama – Android

Another game that I have reviewed, Onitima is a game I pick up now and then. Not as much as Onirim, but it has the same sense of comfort playing it.

I am still playing with the base cards on the app, but the hard AI mode is still giving me a challenge. I can technically play online, but a quick round now and then is always my preference. Waiting for my opponent online isn’t always a smooth experience.

But while waiting at work for a few things like code to compile, jumping on my phone and playing a quick round is always a bit of fun.

Onitama
This did not end well for me. But it was still fun!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – January 13th, 2020

Pokemon Shield

MORE GAMES PLEASE 2020!

So it’s been a big 5-6 weeks here. Rabbit and I have moved, end of year work crunch, all the fun stuff has been happening.

That said, I did get some gaming in – including finishing a couple of video games! I even got a platinum. Yay!

So considering the huge welcome back article earlier today, let’s jump straight into what I played.

The Tokyo Series (and indeed most Jordan Draper games I back) are games I love, but always have trouble pitching to others why they excite me. The come in plain boxes, have small components, and usually can be multiple games in one box.

Michael Fox (no, not that one) and Jordan Draper have collaborated on expanding Tokyo Jutaku, a dexterity game in the Tokyo Series. The fruits of this collaboration is MegaCity: Oceania. It also doesn’t hurt that thematically it’s played just off the Gold Coast 😀

MegaCity: Oceania
Combining stategy with dexterity sounds strange, but this was so fun to play!

There is a dexterity component of building up your city on a tile according to a random plan. Then, you have to move your completed section into the central MegaCity, all while trying to maximise points.

It sounds like two genres that shouldn’t work together, but it did. MegaCity: Oceania was fun while having deep stratagies hidden away. Building your city is fun, and you can take your time to a degree. Moving your city without anything collapsing is tense, without being frustrating. Give it a look if you get the chance.

I think this will be a great way to get people to look at other Jordan Draper games I own

Deep Blue

Days of Wonder knows how to present games well. Best known for the Ticket to Ride series, Days of Wonder publishes a staggering amount of well-known games. For example, Memoir 44, one of the most popular tabletop war games, is also a Days of Wonder game.

Deep Blue is a push your luck game crossed with hand management/deck building. That can sound daunting, but like Ticket to Ride a wide range of gamers can jump straight in.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but on reflection I definitely got a ‘Quacks of Quedlinburg lite’ feeling about Deep Blue. I think the games are different enough, but a lot of those base ‘do I or don’t I?’ moments dominate both games.

What can I say? I am just going to have to pull more people in for some more games and really give Deep Blue a workout 🙂

Deep Blue
Deep Blue is a Days of Wonder game. The components are so fun to play with!

I have talked about Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time before. You can see my review of it here. A puzzle in a board game, with a lot of replayability – sounds good to me!

While taking a break from starting to catalogue the library, Alpal and I sat down for a game. And for some reason, absolutely smashed it. I can’t see anything we did wrong, and we didn’t use an optimised team – we just did really well.

So now I suppose I am just going to have to track down the expansion. Professor Evil and the Architects of Magic adds new characters, powers and objectives. It even adds time portals, meaning the Professor himself can take multiple turns in a row if you aren’t careful!

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
It's been too long since I played this. And an expansion is coming!

I didn’t know what to expect when Alpal showed me Atlantis Rising. I had heard mostly good things about it in the past, but I didn’t realise it had a revised edition.

Playing three players, we dove into the cooperative worker placement game. The idea is simple – Atlantis is sinking, and the players must work together to build a cosmic gate (cough stargate) to escape.

During setup, I joked that we should pay on Forbidden Island to get used to it. Turns out, I was kinda right. The board sections get flipped when they sink, and player powers can bring them back.

Atlantis Rising
Atlantis Rising was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be!

The other similarity is that lovely ‘have your turn, now deal with bad things’ mechanic. If you don’t like games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island, Atlantis Rising won’t be for you.

If you are a fan of these sorts of games though, give Atlantis Rising a try. I will need to try it at different player counts, but I can feel a full review coming at a later stage.

Pyramid of Pengqueen

On paper, Pyramid of Pengqueen sounds like a lot of fun. One player takes the role of the Pengqueen/Mummy, and the other players have to steal the treasures.

This plays out on a two-sided magnetic board, with the Pengqueen on one side and everyone else on the other. The Pengqueen can’t see where the player pieces are, but the players can all see where the Pengqueen is.

It’s cute, and the theming with the Icecool isn’t terrible. Feels a little like a wannabe Ducktales comparison, but that might be my age talking.

Pyramid of Pengqueen
An entry level one vs all, but a little lacking in gameplay

While this is aimed at younger players, I would say to the older person watching the young ones play to be prepared for fights. The Pengqueen has most of the advantages, and there is going to be inadvertent cheating by everyone.

I am going to review Pyramid of Pengqueen very soon, watch out next week to get my full thoughts.

Pokemon Shield – Switch

I FINISHED POKEMON SHIELD! I AM CHAMPION!

And that’s about as far as I think I am going to take it. I am not really interested in the usual post-game cleanup to fill my Pokedex. The battle system sounds interesting, but I am not really invested in that either.

What I did have was a fun time playing through the story. There is a lot of love and hate for the new entry in the series. Like any opinion, both sides have fair points. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say one side is right.

Pokemon Shield
I beat the unbeatable Champion! OK, almost everyone will. But it is where I call the story ended.

Pokemon has excelled for me as a light RPG experience. Pokemon Shield lived up to this for me. Yes, I would have liked some story holes filled in, but I can say that for any of game in the series. Bottom line is I had fun, I enjoyed the experience, and you will see my full thoughts in a couple of weeks 🙂

And, since I wrote all this, it looks like I’m not done with Shield. Friday, Nintendo and Game Freak announced the first ever Pokemon DLC – there will be more story later this year!

Terminator: Resistance – PS4

My first Platinum trophy since Kingdom Hearts III in February 2019. Well, that’s not technically true. I finished Access Denied in March, but I don’t count that Platinum Trophy. Why not? You will have to wait a couple of weeks for that tidbit 😀

Enough teasing, I finished Terminator: Resistance. The two and a bit weeks of no gaming with the move didn’t diminish the experience a jot.

Now, Terminator: Resistance is not what I call a shooter – at least at easy or normal difficulties. You shoot at things sure, but this isn’t a twitch shooter like Call of Duty. Conversely, while there are stealth elements, this isn’t a Metal Gear Solid either. You have a lot of freedoms when it comes to the machines recognising you.

The story itself isn’t exactly groundbreaking either. But it did make me want to keep playing it and explore the world. Terminator: Resistance is fan service done well, in my opinion. Set characters, set events, but a unique story that enhances the whole.

For more, you will have to wait until Friday for my review.

Terminator Resistance
Exploring the post-Judgement Day world shows the love this game was developed with.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Oh, I have wanted to play this for years now. Open-world RPGs are games I love to play when I can really sit back and take my time with them. Hence, a massive backlog of 80+ hour games waiting to be played!

I started a while ago not too long after the initial release, then had a bad thing happen during my first play. It took almost four years for that annoyance to stop creeping in as I loaded the game! But now I am happily working my way through it.

I have probably spent almost 10 of the 30ish hours played just letting the Regalia drive me around. This doesn’t sound very good, but it is how I have been playing. When I could lie back on the couch, do a few hunts or explore an area, then kick back and relax and watch AP build up – why not? The point of a break is to have a break after all. Final Fantasy XV has let me do that.

Final Fantasy XV
It's not news anymore, but just watching how beautiful the world is bringing me much joy.

I am only up to Chapter 7 for people that have already played through it. Seriously, I am taking my time. So this will probably pop up as my video game for the next few weeks, especially on PlayStation. So sorry in advance for lots of pictures of bros in a car 😀

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – PS4

So one of my favourite YouTubers is Jirard Khalil, aka The Completionist. I had already heard mostly good things about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but his review convinced me to get it that night.

And I had fun with it. Playing on easy, I died multiple times in the start/tutorial section of the game. This didn’t put me off playing though, as I loved the world and the pace of the story setup.

I finished the beginning section, then played long enough to open up flying to another world of my choice. By now, most of the controls were in muscle memory. I had a feel for the rhythm of the gameplay. I wanted to sit and really get into it. Only one thing stopped me.

I am one of those gamers that hates significant actions being assigned to L3/R3. Clicking a stick does not come naturally to me, and R3 all but replaces X in Fallen Order.

I have a plan though. I have already preordered one of the newly announced Dualshock 4 Back Button attachments. Come mid-February, I will be able to play Fallen Order and use those buttons mapped to L3 and R3.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
Umm, hello. Nothing to see here. Well, that's not true. This isn't a cut scene, so it gives you an idea of how beautiful the world is.

Victory is Mine! Well, hopefully it will be :p

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?

Let me know!  Shout out in the comments below, on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD