[Official] What are you playing?

  • I don't know whether I should be embarrassed or not but I decided to buy and play Cooking Mama: Cookstar on PS4. I've never played a Cooking Mama game before and I thought that due to a 50% discount I'd give it a whirl. It's quite the oddity seeing a well-established Nintendo franchise hop onto SONY's goliath console, but given its collection of dull minigames, it probably should've stayed on the Nintendo DS and rooted to the past.

    The best thing I can say about Cookstar is the presentation is accessible and welcoming and there are plenty of recipes to concoct. The act of making them is broken down into a set of minigames, each requiring controller inputs and a strict time limit for completion.

    After completing a minigame you're graded out of three stars but seeing as grabbing the rating is painfully easy, you won't find the challenge you seek when Mama is helping you in the regular mode. The only way to mess up is if you make too many mistakes or you run out of time. Please try to avoid Mama's fire-lit eyes, they could give you nightmares.

    However, when you enter Cookstar Mode Mama won't help you and that's where the true challenge is, meaning you will need to practice the recipe's stages thoroughly in Practice Mode in order to be successful in completing them on your own.

    After a dish you can take a picture with several different and quirky filters and setting locations. For example you can opt to take picture of your creation at a diner with a noir filter-you can also add stickers if you choose.

    Sorry if this seems like a review-it is not. I just wanted to go into detail about what is on offer here. Cooking Mama generally reminds me of when Kyle reviewed one of the games at GT because he lost a bet. Now all these years later I can relate with how dull and derivative the games are.

  • Still playing Elden Ring and I wish it could last forever.

  • I am playing Outer Wilds and just starting Paper Mario on the NSO. Dipped out of Horizon Forbidden West unintentionally, but I'll return to it one day soon! Might finish up OlliOlli World this week, which would be nice. That's just been my lunch break game really.

  • My country finally got PC Game Pass, so I'm trying it out for a month since it's basically as cheap as a parking ticket. Some games I have tried out so far:

    • Art of Rally. It's exactly as I expected. A minimalist racer that is fully about connecting with your vehicle and soaking the cinematic vibes. Definitely excited to play more of this.
    • Sable. From what I've played, it's like a Young Adult, less cooler version of JETT: The Far Shore. Probably won't be the game I'll be focusing on anytime soon.
    • Hades. Kinda starts slow, but after the first boss encounter, the combat quickly got addicting. Very flashy moves, good variety of powerups, and a reasonable amount of challenge. This is the game I'll be playing the most, probably.

    Also I played Ghostwire Tokyo, which is pretty fucking sick, aside from the less than ideal performance on PS5. This and Hades will be fighting for my free time for sure.

  • Follow me on GGApp: My Playing List

    So, here is some really weird timing. But just as I built myself a new PC and opted to try CP77 again, Polygon just published a re-review of the game after this latest v1.5 patch.


    I think I echo pretty much everything written in this review, but I'd like to share my own thoughts.

    I played CP77 in Winter 2020 and put in about 35 hours. It was a painful experience with glimmers of greatness and a lot of bad or dated design choices and an unholy amount of performance issues.

    It's hard to fully explain the experience because it wasn't boiled down to just "bugs" or the usual sentiment of "there is a good game here under the steaming pile of shit". The frustrations and disappointment were something extra and a bit difficult to put into words.

    One example would be upon completing the tutorial mission, you return to your apartment. Upon exiting your apartment, you are bombarded with Ubisoft style mission prompts and phone calls from random characters like Regina Jones who are not introduced in any way whatsoever. Quest markers start showing up and the whole thing is an overwhelming, annoying, and confusing mess of over-information and over-stimulation. While that is going on, your frames might be chugging and it's hard to really settle into the world overall. And I think that sort of experience plagued my 35 hours with v1.0 on my old PC.


    So we're now in the present; I have a new 3080 Ti and AMD Ryzen 5 5800x and a fresh profile on CP77 v1.5.

    And I am happy to report that 4-5 hours into this game, I am seeing the light and really enjoying my time with it. Many of the same pacing and design issues exist, but they are actually mitigated by better hardware and thoughtful updates.

    So back to the overwhelming bullshit after the tutorial situation. You start the game, you get bombarded with phone calls, text messages, and random quest shit. BUT, this time they present everything in a way where it is much less overwhelming. For example, you check your Journal and in the Quest Log, it'll list out Codex/Encyclopedia entires of the Characters, Locations, and Gangs/Corporations involved in every quest. So when the characters have dialogue such as "Isn't this a Mox bar?" you aren't confused about all of these lore dumps or random characters they reference with absolutely no buildup or context whatsoever. It's still clumsey, but the game takes an active effort to mitigate that open world checklist vibe and reel it back into immersive RPG would by giving you easy tools to understand the lore it's presenting you.

    In terms of immersion, I have also started to sink into Night City in a way that I wasn't able to before due to bugs and hardware limitations. There is something absolutely fantastic about the way they present main story missions where you walk into a location and actually have dialogue throughout a 3D set. You might start the conversation at the bar with the bar tender, then switch over to the character next to you, then walk into a back room for a private conversation.

    That type of interactive cutscene is something that the Bethesda's and Obsidian's of the world should strive for in their next open world RPGs. And this is coming from somebody who is a big fan of the frozen stiff talking-head approach done in Oblivion, The Outer Worlds, Fallout NV.

    But again, this type of immersive and interactive storytelling isn't immersive at all on the dated hardware. And even with my powerhouse PC, you really need to tweak your RT / DLSS setting to amp up the immersion. But once you nail the setting that work for you, it's really easy to feel like you're right there in the game world.

    In visiting Lizzy's Bar a few times, it reminds me of the atmosphere from the nightclubs in Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines (but on a higher fidelity obviously) and it gets me excited for that sequel, which I hope turns the corner and turns into a great game.

    With all of this praise said, I still think CP77 is half cooked in many aspects. The main story and quest writing is generally pretty great. The atmosphere and storytelling in these bespoke moments is very heightened if your are on a new PC or PS5. But, the gameplay itself is just underwhelming still. The character builds offer a decent amount of variety but the skill trees and skill points don't really add much to how you interact with people. You still get annoying instances where you do a whole side quest but are locked out of a specific outcome because X or Y stat is too low.

    Building off that point too, there aren't many simulation aspects to the combat or gameplay. Sure, you can build a Netrunner who can hack through a whole building without entering it but the game still doesn't know how to respond to you when you do that kind of stuff. For example, I hacked through a whole camera system but once you go a few floors deep, it stops showing enemy NPCs. They will spawn when you get closer to the floor in question. So if you can't see them through the camera, then what's the point?

    Overall, I can safely says I've done a 180 (or is it 360?) on CP77. It went from being the best 6/10 video game ever made to a pretty solid 8/10 in my eyes. It's not particularly groundbreaking in any way whatsoever. If you evaluate the game on what it is versus what CDPR promised it to be (which was an immersive sim, groundbreaking, do anything simulation fyi), it's pretty good and leaps and bounds above the Ubisoft or even Sony open worlds of FarCry or Horizon.

    However, I do think Polygon hit the nail on the head with: Mass Effect meets FarCry. I'd say it's more like Mass Effect meets FarCry meets The Witcher 3: Commander Shepard meets Dots on a map meets a really detailed aesthetic open world.

    Shout out to you @ffff0 . I finally see the light in Night City.

  • Started to play Guardians of the Galaxy. Right after ER this is kind of a rough experience.

    On one side, so far, this is a really well designed 3rd person action game. It flows really well.

    But, truly atrocious combat. And do the characters ever shut the f up? 'cause that's my real issue with it, I don't know if I can take it. It's a shame because the dialogue writing is actually top, but it's just incessant, to the point it becomes obnoxious.

  • Started Donkey Kong Country for the first time in a long time and ripped through it in a couple of days. Moved right into 2. Man those games hold up and holy hell is 2 hard.

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  • Splinter Cell Conviction

    I gave this game a few hours back on its release and slammed it however I felt now was the time for a revisit, at the very least to complete it.

    Sadly, the game is, so far, just as bad as I remember it, especially when you consider the franchise it's a part of. Linear levels, limited skills, lack of consequence to messing up, dumb AI, next to no freedom to approach and a terrible, pretentious visual style with the large words sprawled across the environment.

    I'll complete it this time but its a sharp reminder why the seventh generation took a lot of beating, especially with regards to "dumbing down" in video games.

  • I'm finally seeing Tales of Xillia through to the end but I needed to start it all again. It's definitely up there in the series and the genre also. An intriguing story thus far and an excellent combat system keeps me invested.
    Gotta love Milla's character design though <3

  • Playing Ape Escape through the PS Plus upgrade thingy. It's real jolly. Loving the vibes and such. The controls took me like 5 minutes to get used to, which surprised me. I've been playing mostly open world games for the past few months so this level based linear structure feels very cozy.

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  • Anybody remember when some maniac wrote in to the podcast to say Bloodborne was the best game for them to play at the time because they had a newborn? I do because I also had a newborn at the time and couldn't fathom the kind of person I would be if I had spent the little free time I had further torturing myself. Fast forward and now I have 2 little ones running around so that, once they are down, I am very limited in brain power that I can apply to my hobbies. I probably have 2-hour save files in over 10 games from the last year that I don't see myself returning to because even thinking about cut scenes and dialogue and instant death spells instantly puts me off it.

    Enter Lego Marvel Super Heroes. The level of forgiveness is exactly what I need from a game right now. Everything is just so brain-half-on that it's perfect for the gelatin that occupies my skull by the end of the day.

    Note: love my kids, it's just tiring trying to keep up with them.

  • @e_zed_eh_intern

    I don't have kids but even with general working and life, I much prefer a round or two of Halo on a weeknight or early morning after working out instead of settling into an Elden Ring session. Honestly not sure how I'll ever beat that game unless I take a 2 week vacation dedicated to video games.

    I always wondered how Jones pulled off all of those hours of video games with a little baby at home. Maybe some people just function better with 3 hours of sleep than others do.

  • Tried out Left Alive since it's included in the PS Plus catalog. I have to say, this game is pretty cool so far (one hour in). The presentation is probably the best part of it, the UI and visual stuff looks and feels slick. The soundtrack is pretty decent too. There's definitely some jank and clunkyness to the gameplay, but nothing offensive yet. I guess the worst part of it is the voice warning you that's there's enemies nearby, it's not annoying yet but I can see myself getting tired of it soon.

  • The Shadowrun series was remastered and came to GamePass. So far no technical issues although I've heard bad things like crashes and severe stuttering. But so far I had no issues and I'm loving it.

  • I got PS2 emulation running on my phone so I finally put the work in order to play one of my fav childhood games: Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb. Turns out my eventual love for Uncharted started out here. The deliberate pace of this game is lovely, and super refreshing. I never finished this game so at some point it will be new stuff, which is so exciting. I will be holding off my playthrough of Infernal Machine for this.

  • I'm back on Chivalry II now that it launched on Steam, had a big free update, and has crossplay between PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series. Technically, there still isn't cross-play parties which will come in an update soon, but you can organize with your friends to all hop on the same server. It's easy peasy to join one that has 4/40 and it'll populate within 10-15 mins.

    What. A. Game.

    Chiv II is so much more fun with friends. It's the kind of game where you can play it as sweaty or as casual as you'd like and nobody really gets too upset either way. It really sets you up to have these personal emergent experiences in MP that you don't get in normal games.

    Organically, my buddy somehow survived a 2v1 off to the side of the map and tea bagged the enemy. They came back for him, but I was there now. We had a 2v2 battle and we won again and tea bagged again. They come back and we're still there waiting for them. We do another 2v2 but they win this time and tea bag us. It's all friendly and fun. Eventually we lost that part of the objective and the game flowed on but it's cool to have those little moments that are off to the side, happen naturally, and are deeply personal.

    Per the new Tenosian Invasion update—it adds a whole new Team and three new maps (+night versions). Those maps have horse cavalries that spawn in which is really epic. It also adds horseback to old maps. Obviously, tons of cosmetics like usual. A few new weapons I think. On one hand, a lot of these free updates were needed to improve the game. On the other hand, it's insane how much free content they've put into this game. Such great dev support. It's so fun.

    Hard to argue with getting this on Steam for 40% off @ $26: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1824220/Chivalry_2/

    Chivalry 2: Tenosian Invasion
    Youtube Video

  • I've been playing F1 22 like a mad man. I managed to scoop 72% of the trophies in less the 24 hours, which beats the entirety of my F1 2021 trophy percentage by a singular percent.

    As for the game itself, it's really good in place, the handling gives you a greater sense of control, and now I feel way more confident taking on the Monaco GP without the fear I'll plant my car into the wall after a small error. I quite enjoy driving round the new Miami street circuit, it's quite a tight circuit at times but the straights are nice and lengthy. I appreciate the slight alterations to the Australian and Abu Dhabi GPs as well.

    The addition of F1 Life and the supercars are fine additions, but they turn F1 into something resembling MTV's Cribs. I don't believe supercars belong in an F1 game at all, but I understand their inclusion will probably open more eyes up to this latest F1 outing. The cars themselves sport nice chunky models, but they feel like you're steering a shopping trolley with a cow inside, so it may take a bit of time to nail down the feel of each car and how they react to cornering.

    Pirelli Hotlaps present a decent set of challenges too with time trials, time attacks, drifts, duels and a few other event types that shake things up, though there is no real zest or context to them-so they're like the license tests in Gran Turismo, but without much of the learning involved.

    I don't yet know if F1 22 does enough to surpass last year's game, but with better handling, improved A.I and F1 Life-F1 22 is stocked with features that'll keep you busy for a while.

  • I'm almost done with Ape Escape again, just on the PS5 but holy **** does it run like crap.
    It's honestly just not enjoyable to play and not just because it's our rubbish EU version. I slapped my PS1 copy in the other day just to double check but no, the PS5 emulation of this game is slow, choppy and just can't keep up with the control inputs.