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Hey, Talking Time, Whatcha Playin?

4-So

Spicy
"I see an interesting withdrawal here. You like to visit Onlyfans, don't you?"

I've been revisiting Final Fantasy 7 Remake on PS5. Still a remarkable game that turned out better than I had ever hoped when it was revealed.
 
I've been revisiting Final Fantasy 7 Remake on PS5. Still a remarkable game that turned out better than I had ever hoped when it was revealed.
I too am replaying it. About halfway through right now, tryna bust Tifa out. The texture glitches from the PS4 version are all corrected and the game loads lickety split so it's real nice. There's still some disappointing textures on the PS5 version, but the game still looks really really good and silky smooth at 4K, and the lighting is amaze. I threw down for the Yuffie DLC so can't wait to play it once I'm done w/ the main story again.

Also, if you port your PS4 save over to the PS5 version, it dings all the trophies you previously got on the PS4 version. It took like 5 minutes for all the trophies to finish dinging haha.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Turrican Flashback Collection does not go for extreme comprehensiveness, as a number of series games are excluded and the ones that do feature possess a litany of alternate versions in most cases which also don't show up here, but it is an act of deliberate curation in presenting the most widely played, liked and cohesive with each other four games available: Turrican and Turrican II: The Final Fight for Amiga, Mega Turrican for Mega Drive, and Super Turrican for Super Nintendo. I played through all of them.

To start with, the quality of Flashback as a collection and emulation package must be commended. The written synopses for each game provide light context in what's for many a less known series, and in their self-congratulatory way reflect the kind of clumsy enthusiasm and excitement the games themselves embody. Despite covering three system standards across four games, the control schemes are invariably standardized throughout and freely configurable in addition, making sequential play easy to settle into. Emulation quality is uniformly terrific, and the display options are some of the most granular I've seen in a commercial release, allowing for microadjustments of CRT filter types, their sharpness or blur, the scanlines displayed or not, or the screen curvature simulated. There's even a host of alternate colour modes that completely transform the palettes of the games if so enabled. Play considerations are similarly thought-out, as each game has their dedicated slots for save states, the "up to jump" control scheme present in the Amiga games is mapped to a face button by default (and can be restored for fidelity if desired), in-game codes for each game are catalogued in a menu, and there is an universal rewind function mapped to a shoulder button. There is practically nothing that's lacking here in how the material is presented and how it's thought to be best played for old and new audiences alike.

A seamless presentation is an important consideration in the face of what Turrican is: old computer-heads might know it, and maybe it's got more nostalgic cachet in its home territory in Germany or other European markets, but this is not a series that ever "broke through" into the public canon of video games shaped mostly by Japanese and North American audiences and tastes. And yet it's so inextricably bound to that simpatico field and genre; a colourful run 'n gunner with an exploratory bent, notably upbeat and iconically melodic approach to music composition, and a recklessly derivative touch to everything it's based on. The popular culture that ushered in so many video game dynasties just a few years before Turrican's debut in 1990 is a shared reference point of relentless "borrowing" across cultures, but in here subject to a recursive game of telephone, by Turrican itself being so clearly modeled after games that stole from other media to create themselves--the citations collapse upon each other in a great big mess that's ultimately charming because there's no filter for any of it. The running main villain for the series can be just literally Stryfe from X-Men comics; the key visual for the first game can be just a tracing of a Manowar album cover; the few human likenesses that ever appear can adopt the visual identities of "How to Draw Manga" illustrations; R-Type's Force pod can be set decoration within the games, somewhere, just because. It comes from a different time of looser restrictions in blurring the lines between tribute and plagiarism, made by young people exploring a medium and a profession which had hardly codified into anything that could've prevented such acts of unreserved piety and sacrilege both.

The unique perspective of a game developer in that era, in that cultural context, is what makes Turrican's reconciliation and exploration of console and arcade-based action games in a computer gaming context so unique and transfixing. It's shaky in applying that osmosed sum of knowledge into its own expression on nascent game design; things don't work the way consensus by averages has taught, and the impression is of a game learning to cope with itself as much as the player must. The spaces wander, ceaselessly, even aimlessly, impossibly large, and that's the breaking point for many neophyte players with this or any comparable game of the era that shares the design sense put forth here: the timer is as menacing a presence as any active enemy, as its dwindling seconds signal the inevitability of expiring amidst a labyrinth one doesn't feel they've been given enough tools to reliably or fairly chart. But still, these games for all their steep and forbidding exterior aren't as punitive as all that, as lives are doled out to such extremes that practically infinite respawns on the spot exist, the timer filled once more. And with that regained time, the odd logic of these spaces, the interweaving megastructures, on some unconscious level become a little clearer, more instinctively intuited, and so the exits to each stage come quicker and less laboriously. When that point is reached, there might even come an accompanying appreciation for the audacity of such large, drifting level design to exist in, as if the game is confident enough in providing enough string for the player not necessarily to trip themselves with, but to help find their way out of the labyrinth.

And Turrican isn't a monolith: this collection exists to showcase a totality of the series and whatever can be gleaned from taking it as a whole. Over the course of the series, the insecurities of the debut work are honed away by the second, retaining the guiding philosophies of the text but injecting more coherence, diversity and shine. For sequels as iterated polish, one can hardly do better. The console half of the package sees the series adjust to a distinct shift in audience expectations and, one must assume, consequently adopts a more understandable and straightforward form; gone are the befuddling mazes and dead-ends, and instead there is just momentum and twitch action. These changes aren't binary, they do not occur in a single grand gesture but rather chart how drastically the underlying character of the series gradually changed even in as brief a window as it remained extant and relevant. Thus it's even easier to relate Flashback forward as a singular cross-section of a series and its legacy, because it does such a compelling job of speaking for itself through both the games themselves and the most welcoming configuration of them seen, allowing anyone to have a fair shot at unraveling their mysteries and weird history on their own terms.

Please try this release of the games if the series has ever piqued interest before. If not, please seek out Chris Hülsbeck's music for them, at least--if there's any one thing to remember Turrican for, it's probably that.
 

keurig

AO Tennis no Kiseki
(he/him)
How does the PC port of MGS handle Psycho Mantis reading your memory card?
that entire part of psycho mantis is removed, but for the boss fight he instead makes you play on keyboard if you're playing with a controller.

It's probably the biggest downgrade of the entire release (that and the lower quality music).
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Elected to start a replay of Steamworld Quest

This here is a game that’s very well suited for playing just a little bit of, before bed. Furthermore, it’s got some of the best character designs I’ve seen in the entire RPG genre.

Sorry, Significant Fraction of the Video Fame Medium, ya done got schooled! Come back when you’ve got more mechanical steampunk frogmen
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
I've gotten further into Control and I'm liking it more. I've gotten more abilities and gun types, and I've found my way into a few cool new areas, most recently and most notably the black rock quarry. The abilities like Dash and Shield I'm still figuring out how to incorporate - a lot of my battles are still "alternate launching objects at and unloading the spin gun into enemies until I win." I'm using spin (speed-up mod) and pierce (damage-up while aiming mod) right now, which I'm enjoying, though I may just switch back to grip for long range at some point since it's quicker and simpler.

I finally figured out how to grab rockets and grenades and launch them back at enemies, which is extremely satisfying when I can pull it off but just as often involves me eating an explosion to the face. I'm starting to dash more for mobility, but the shield doesn't feel quite as good as I'd like, still randomly taking damage sometimes (Do individual bullets go between the rocks or something?!) or getting it broken through. The ability to mind-control enemies is hard to take advantage of, needing to get up close as you do, when I'd much rather stay very very far away from any and all hostiles.

Are there are any particularly good or bad personal/gun mods beyond what seems obvious? Right now I have "health pickups heal more" (since I found a very high-rank one and it's the only way to last in battle if I've taken damage and likely outpaces extra base health pretty quickly...?) and "faster energy regen" since that powers pretty much all the good stuff; seems like it serves better overall than specifically reducing launch's energy cost or whatnot. But there are so many
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
You are generally better off focusing on improving what the gun already does than mitigating downsides, at least in my experience. It's a bit easier once you upgrade the weapon forms to equip three mods, but Shatter in particular reeeeeeallllly benefits from pairing both the number of pellets up and cone spread down mods, and the generic damage up mods are good for everything.

I ended up using Shatter and Charge the entire game once I unlocked them, basically.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Closing in on the end of the A path through NieR: Automata.

I'm probably the only person who read the novelization (for work!) before playing the game, so the plot twists aren't twists for me, but it's still a good story and the narrative plays much differently as a game than as a light novel.

I've gotten further into Control and I'm liking it more. I've gotten more abilities and gun types, and I've found my way into a few cool new areas, most recently and most notably the black rock quarry. The abilities like Dash and Shield I'm still figuring out how to incorporate - a lot of my battles are still "alternate launching objects at and unloading the spin gun into enemies until I win." I'm using spin (speed-up mod) and pierce (damage-up while aiming mod) right now, which I'm enjoying, though I may just switch back to grip for long range at some point since it's quicker and simpler.

Are there are any particularly good or bad personal/gun mods beyond what seems obvious?
I never much used Shield; occasionally when I needed mobile cover, but getting behind pillars and such tends to work better. It's not a very strong offensive option, the damage is basically a bonus at the end of its usefulness. Dash is useful for repositioning, as I recall, but alternating telekinesis with shooting while the telekineses recharges was how I played the whole game (I used Spin for a good while, but my main set for a lot of the game was Pierce and Charge).

Honestly the mods are just whatever you like. They make a difference, but you get so many that most of them you burn for essence or whatever it is. I just went for the best of whatever I liked, and kept the best available copy of the rest just in case. I didn't change them out much. I increased health drops, applied bonus damage for headshots on Pierce, increase blast radius for Charge, and some other stuff. The ammo regen ones can be useful.
 
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Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I'm at the start of the third act of Quantum Break, Remedy's previous game. My impression is that people didn't like it very much but I'm mostly enjoying it, and there's quite a bit of Control DNA in it (or I guess Control has QB DNA). It has a similar visual style, there's lots of notes to find and read, the shooting and combat powers you have are similar, and there's thematic similarities. The TV show parts don't add a lot but I like the branching narrative elements. Performance on a base Xbox One could be better.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Only a few minutes into the World Ends With You Neo demo, but I’m pleasantly surprised with the Switch performance. I was expecting it to be along the lines of Trials of Mana where it’s obvious it was designed for PC/PS4 and then downgraded to make it work on the Switch, but here if I didn’t know any better I’d guess it came out on the Switch first and the PS4 port came later.
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
Still on Control. Learning to levitate was a very good moment, especially because it now unlocks two of my favorite video game experiences ever: vertical & airborne traversal (i.e. flying around & slow-falling, and the slam being good for fast forward movement as well) and being rewarded for exploring every nook and cranny (in this case with crafting materials and ability points for finding hidden locations), of which there are many. I suppose the latter already existed, but levitate opens up a lot more of items and areas, including ones I have to backtrack for. Appreciation for the level design increases as I go through openings I saw but couldn't reach before and they close loops with other previously-unopenable doors or visible-but-unreachable parts of previous areas.

After some frustrations with what felt like cheap deaths against a giant spore flower boss and realizing what I did and didn't like about the game, I went ahead and turned on the assist modes and buffed up my stats a bit. I later said fuck it turned on immortality (not invincible to damage, but can't die from it) so I think I'll tune the other stuff back down and have only that on. Frankly, I don't care enough about the combat to let it fuck up the exploration, environment, and story that I actually do enjoy more, so I have zero regrets. I know this fits into long ongoing debates about game difficulty, and frankly, whatever. I'm comfortable with where I stand in how I experience and enjoy my leisure activities. I look forward to wishing desperately for this feature again once Elden Ring comes out.

Finally got another outfit, but it was the gray sweats. Welp. Luckily, I picked up the scifi-lookin' mirror-verse outfit shortly thereafter, which while being a lot more generic sci-fi design and not really in keeping with the aesthetic of the game or environment or character design, does look very cool.

Almost done leveling up weapons, though Spin is stuck at its first level despite being my preferred close-range option because I have to go back and farm to get enough goddamn corrupted samples. Shatter is maxed out but just isn't really my thing - it doesn't feel quite as good. Pierce is still cool and good, but Charge immediately became my new best friend and remains so, even if I have definitely (would've-)killed myself many many times on weird collision detection cases making the rockets clip a nearby item or environment corner and explode in my face instead. (see above re: no regrets for turning on immortality.)
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Mold-1 is one of the hardest bosses in the game. I didn't tackle it until postgame. Some weird cloud save bug ate some of my progress, so I might go the route you did instead of going after it again without aid settings on. I already done it after all!
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I'm playing Sonic Mania. It's fun! Also, I think I'm pretty bad at this. Not that I died, but I just can't combine Gotta Go Fast! with the actual platforming, that one has to do sometimes. Maybe I'm bad at Sonic, in general?

My favourite bit (aside from replaying classic levels in a new way) was the boss fight in world 2. Robotnik is really bad at his own game.

Oh, right, I enjoy replaying the Sonic 3 special stages, they were always fun to me. Haven't found a single Chaos Emerald yet, though, at the end of world 2. No spoiler please, at least for now, I hope to stumble upon one later on.
 
I'm playing Sonic Mania. It's fun! Also, I think I'm pretty bad at this. Not that I died, but I just can't combine Gotta Go Fast! with the actual platforming, that one has to do sometimes. Maybe I'm bad at Sonic, in general?

I think the secret is that, in many (most?) cases, you do not, in fact, Gotta Go Fast, especially if you haven't already memorized the levels. It's a momentum based platformer, which sometimes requires/allows for high speeds, rather than a speed based platformer. Most of the time, all the speed you need to get your momentum going is one (1) spin-dash.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I always played it that way, I guess I should stick to that. Dunno, it just feels like I'm missing a bit of the precision I'm needing. But I haven't played a classic Sonic game in forever, so I might just be a bit rusty.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
My only issue with Sonic Mania is that the bosses are a bit overtuned. I have a save at the final boss and I don't know if I'm going to go back and finish the game or not.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I still think I'd have been happier if they split each level down the middle so there were twice as many stages that were half as long; running out of time in a Sonic the Hedgehog level should never be a serious concern
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Do they get longer? For now, that wasn't an issue. Also, I think you can turn the timer off? I mean, the problem still stands then, that the levels are too long, but that specific problem was accounted for, in a way.
 
My memory (could be wrong) is that Sonic Mania has the same problem as Sonic 3 & Knuckles in that for the vast majority of levels you would never notice there is a timer, but there's one or two in the back half where you will notice it when you suddenly are about to die because it's running out. (It's one of the pyramid stages for me in S3&K. I feel like it also to me happened in Mania, but I forget which stage...)

But yeah at least you can turn it off in Mania. I just didn't think to do this until it was too late.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Sonic Mania felt to me like a whole game made out of Green Hill Zones, which is to say, it's what the series should've been the whole time. Just copy the example that actually works, y'know?

Stay up high as long as you can.
 
Put 50+ hours into Bravely Second since February, on and off. Have enjoyed my time with it but kinda just wanting it to end at this point (though will at least track down all the remaining jobs even if I'm unlikely to level or use the last couple), as I have more exciting stuff in my 3DS backlog I want to get to.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
I tracked down a copy of the 3DS original Miitopia about a month ago and got around to remembering to charge my 3DS on Thursday. It's so charmingly dumb. Like the Street Pass adventure game but fleshed out with elements of Tomodachi Life thrown in for good measure. Not the most difficult game in the world by a long shot, but there's lots of different Number Go Up systems happening simultaneously at staggered intervals to keep y'hooked anyway.

And you get to see things like this:


(Why not the easier to find recent Switch port? Well, I'd already played the 3DS demo which carries progress over to the full game. The 3DS version also will let you import from Tomodachi Life, and your friends list.)
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Hello there @Pombar !

I'm replaying Link's Awakening and thanks to the evils of retroachievements I'm doing the bosses no damage. I'm surprised as they gave me problems back in the day but they've been pretty easy. Slime Eye is probably the hardest as there's two of him and they can stun you. Facade is weird as he's braindead easy, but avoiding a single hit is pretty nasty. I predict Dethl will be genuinely hard at least.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
So in my attempt to back up my Wii games, I somehow accidentally created a working version of Mad World that had all the music and dialogue stripped out except for Greg Proops and Jon DiMaggio’s color commentary. It’s like an ultra violent version of that “Uptown Funk without the music” video.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I was looking into hacking my Vita, and then I ended up just playing a game I already have on it: Suikoden. I had bounced off of this previously because it felt kind of generic. For whatever reason, on my second attempt it feels charming and friendly. I now have a castle base and can pick my party from a cast of wild characters. Good stuff!
 
@Phantoon Howdy!

I moved onto EO5 after Bravely 2nd, in my continuing quest to beat that late-3DS JRPG wave (that I'd abandoned when the Switch came out). Loaded my save only to get flattened by the First Stratum boss, so started a new save and worked my way there instead. Wasn't really feeling it for those first 9 or 10 hours, and couldn't tell whether that was just burnout from pushing to the end of Bravely 2nd so recently, but after hitting the Second Stratum my enthusiasm has picked up and I'm enjoying it - maybe I was just still tired of replaying stuff I'd done before, if years ago (or just no longer excited by the lush green first stratums in every EO).
 
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