Star Trek with Bloodborne Cartographers to map The Devil in Me

I had a very mixed week. On the one hand, Rabbit and I had a board game night, which was fun as always. On the other hand, I got to play a bit of Bloodborne during the day. This might sound good, but that means I was waiting for others to start working. So some extra nights to make up for others’ delays. So frustrating!

But I did get to smash through the solo run of The Devil in Me, the season 1 finale of the Dark Pictures Anthology. I was also hoping to start playing Pokemon Scarlet or Violet (I still haven’t made up my mind!). From what I hear of Pokemon and what I played of The Devil in Me – both need a patch but are fun when they work.

Enough of that – let’s talk about what got played!

Cartographers Heroes

I played a lot of Cartographers and Cartogpraphers Heroes last week. There were a couple of rounds on the table, but then I tried out the digital version. And frankly, it worked better than I thought it would!

The base game on the Google Play Store was only AU$6.50. Add another $2.50 for Cartographers Heroes and the Underworld expansion, and you are set. Especially for solo play! You can choose to change many options and which cards to use, and be playing a round in seconds.

20221121 - Cartogrpahers Heroes - And we found out the blue whiteboard marker is hard to wash off
The laminated boards worked pretty well. The blue marker, not so much.

I will get some gripes out of the way first. I set my username on my tablet, thinking the bigger screen would be better to play on. I then tried on my mobile and was surprised at how well it worked. Well, how well Cartographers solo worked on mobile. I can’t use my username, as it’s “Already Taken”.

The app prompts you to then sign in with your email address. I tried every email that is on my phone that the app could have used behind the scenes, and none work. This is only important if you want to play online – solo random setup isn’t affected.

If you want to play Cartographers against other players or the weekly challenges, beware. Pick the device you want to play on, and be prepared to lose your username if you upgrade your device in the future.

20221121 - Cartogrpahers Heroes - On the tablet the layout feels more natural
Playing on a tablet felt good

That quibble aside, Cartographers on mobile is a heap of fun. If you have seen Cartographers and wanted to see if it’s for you, it’s a cheap way to try it out.

And I would only recommend the app for trying out the game. None of the expansion packs you can buy for the physical game are available. So if you get hooked, you have to go to the physical copy for more challenges.

20221121 - Cartogrpahers Heroes - But the layout works well on the phone overall
Playing on the phone was a little squished, but worked well and far more portable

But for now, I have enjoyed playing Cartographers Heroes on my phone. I say Heroes more because I play with ruins off like my physical copy, but I am mixing up the cards from both games where possible.

It’s been great kicking back on the couch and playing a couple of games in less time than a single round on the table. Cartographers is not a long setup at all, but having the app do everything in the background is always quicker.

Star Trek Super-Skill Pinball

So I got to test if Rabbit would enjoy Star Trek Super Skill Pinball last week. The results were a little mixed. On the one hand, she was more tired than either of us thought. Tired Rabbit and math don’t mix.

But that was the downside, and it’s not a reflection on Star Trek Pinball. Other than that, she had fun. A bit of something different, unlike many other games we tend to play. It was a game she said she would play again as she enjoyed it. Maybe not at the end of the night though.

20221121 - Star Trek Pinball - Rabbit caught up
Took a game to catch on to how the table works

We did get a surprise player during our game though. Enzo likes to get involved and will occasionally jump into the middle of the table. Well, Star Trek Pinball has dice to chase, and shiny discs that slide nicely!

We had a small Catzilla moment during Pinball, but he definitely seemed to enjoy himself. 😉

20221121 - Star Trek Pinball - Zo jumps in
Gamer cat Enzo in all his glory

Bloodborne

What a week in Bloodborne! I have defeated four more trophy bosses, including Rom, The One Reborn and Ebriatas. Bloodborne has definitely reached the FromSoftware ‘now it gets weird’ part!

The path to finding this fight was interesting, to say the least! Bloodborne (like all FromSoftware games) doesn’t hold your hand. I was going over an old area when a horse and carriage appeared, taking me to Castle Cainhurst. Then, after making my way through the castle, there is a weird platforming section. You can make your way to the roof, and see where wall sections connect, but you don’t know if you should go that way for sure.

Bloodborne rewards exploration more than it punishes finding that spot, so I tried. And I was rewarded for it – in a sense. All this to get to a punishing boss I still think of as ‘Zombie Gandalf’. According to the trophy list, the enemy is Martyr Logarius.

20221121 - Bloodborne - Zombie Gandalf
Tell me that’s not ‘You Shall Not Pass’ vibes

Now I am not a Bloodborne master. I stopped playing 6 years ago because the Cleric beast stopped me. Martyr Logarius is the first boss that took double-digit attempts since restarting Bloodborne. Magical exploding skulls and a wicked sword attack make for a strong opponent. There isn’t really a ‘safe’ range to be with that combination.

The rush and sense of accomplishment when I saw that trophy pop was real. I sit back in my chair and felt my limbs get heavy. The post-adrenaline fatigue started setting in. People ask why some punish themselves by playing games like Bloodborne. This is why. You don’t simply solve a puzzle or beat a boss. You face personal mountains and experience the highs and lows that come with them.

20221121 - Bloodborne - Gandalf down with a visceral attack
After so many attempts, taking him out with a visceral had me out of my chair

My biggest issue then was I fired up the PlayStation during my lunch break. Who wants to go back to work after an achievement like that? Bloodborne for lunch other than going over explored ground for grinding may be off the cards!

Now I am in a new weird area, where the Eye of Sauron (yes, I know it’s not called that) killed me twice. Weird werewolves that sprout worm things when you beat them greet you. I made my way past this and then had to dodge rocks thrown by giants. And now, spiders.

Being Bloodborne, not normal spiders. No, that would be ‘nice’. The spiders the size of a large dog aren’t where it ends either!

20221121 - Bloodborne - Spiders everywhere
And it was here I decided to pause Bloodborne for a little while

Progress is being made, and I am loving the journey. It might slow down a little thanks to Pokemon and The Devil in Me releasing, but I can’t wait to see where Bloodborne takes me next.

The Devil in Me

I look forward to each Dark Pictures Anthology game every year. Without trying to sound down, last years House of Ashes wasn’t a favourite of mine. The Devil in Me, this years entry, definitely had my interest from it’s announcement. The trailer had overtones of Saw, and the basis was the murder castle of H.H. Holmes – America’s first serial killer. Nothing supernatural this time. The evil this round is the limitless evil of man.

So picking up The Devil in Me on Friday, I started playing it that night and finished it Saturday afternoon. Being the last in the first season of the Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive has a lot riding on The Devil in Me. As such, there have been some tweaks to the horror template they have used in their previous games.

For example, there are now specific skills for specific characters. Losing a character now means you also lose access to those skills, having a more direct impact on the story. There is also now an inventory system and an enhanced collectable system in the form of obols.

20221121 - The Devil in Me - Obols
You can now buy special unlocks similar to Resident Evil

I am going to get gripes out of the way here. Overall, I loved playing The Devil in Me. There are plenty of Supermassive bugs present though. For example, the light system where you aim a light source independently of movement is at its most broken. There are huge sections where your character locks onto something out of bounds.

Then there are other bugs that have appeared in the past, such as prompts not appearing or UI not coming up. Not game-breaking in general, but very immersion-breaking and frustrating. And the further you get in the game, the worse it gets. Near the end of the game I had to turn on subtitles because character audio dropped out completely!

The most annoying one in Devil in Me is inventory items simply not working. For example, here was my view for a portion of the game. In theory, I was supposed to use a torch to light everything. My character has a torch in cutscenes and has one on the UI. Try to use the torch though, and nothing happens.

20221121 - The Devil in Me - My torch cant be on if I dont have one
So I turned my torch on, but it doesn’t help if the game says I don’t have one!

I didn’t think any frustration could top not being able to shine your light where you want to. I was wrong – not having any light is much worse!

Most if not all of that can be addressed with patches though. The story of The Devil in Me is my favourite to date. There are clues to solve and new ways of solving puzzles which helps to bring you into the story. With the game only just out, I am not going to talk too much about anything in detail to avoid spoilers.

The Devil in Me should be experienced if you are interested. Sure, you can watch a playthrough, but it’s not quite the same as doing things your way. And The Devil in Me has the most impactful choices I have seen since Until Dawn – something missing from the Dark Pictures lately. Every ending the game can be very different. This is so much better than the one ‘generic’ ending with some character specific text.

20221121 - The Devil in Me - The ending is not written
The end is not as written with tweaks as in previous games

If you have been interested in The Dark Pictures Anthology at all, and have a fascination with serial killers, The Devil in Me is the entry for you. Maybe give Supermassive a couple of weeks for some patches first though.

The bugs did take a lot away from the immersion, but you can see what I mean in the long play video. Yep, got it up in time for the journal entry! Unlike House of Ashes, I want to play The Devil in Me again to see more endings. That is The Dark Pictures Anthology’s greatest concern beaten at least!

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

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Until next time,

JohnHQLD