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PC Gaming

Chernobylite

Completed Chernobylite.
Storywise, Tatyana, the woman in the red dress that Igor looks for, got kidnapped by KGB for being anti-communist. It’s not clear if she really was a traitor, or if it was just Boris ploy for Tatyana refusing him. Then KGB discover that she’s pregnant with a special child, and grow the child in a lab until he escapes.
Boris goes on to experiment on himself, his face gets scared, and he becomes the Black Stalker.
Chernobylite is a multidemnsional organism. When traveling through portals, people travel through its “veins”. And zombies-Shadows are the white blood cells.
It’s a bit annoying getting to the best ending, as the choices you need to make are very particular and not very obvious. For one, you need to interrogate Kozlov, any other way of disposing of him, and there are many, including a sniper rifle, will not give you all the clues you need. And you need to let the little kid out of his cell, not keep him there “to be safe”. The only way to know about that, is to play the mission multiple times, as bad outcomes give you clues to what you’ve been missing.
The final plot twist is good. Black Stalker is not Boris. He’s Igor. Then who you are? You’re Igor’s son, implanted with his memories. Brings everything together nicely.
The game is definitely not for everyone, and I’m glad that I set the crafting bit to “easy”. But still, very glad that I found it, as I enjoyed it far more than I expected.

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PC Gaming

Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer

This weekend Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer was free, so I gave it a try.

It’s like Modern Warfare 2.5. Few of the maps are the same I played last year. And funnily enough, the arsenal I unlocked last year, because there was some double-XP promo in Modern Warfare 2, is still there. So I dominated with the fully upgraded RAAL.

I found that I didn’t enjoy it, though. Felt very mechanical.

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PC Gaming

Everspace

A cross between arcade space sim and roguelite. Every time you die, you get to spend all your hard earned cash on perks or new ships. And then start from the beginning.

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Unlike some other space sims, you don’t need to manage your hull space much.
What you do need to manage is your fuel for hyperspace jumps. And I got stuck on a few runs without it. You can still perform a jump, but it will damage your ship internal systems, and repairing them is super expensive.

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One of the most impressive features is that ability to explore asteroids and ship derelicts from the inside. You don’t usually get that, but here it even works pretty well.
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The approach to quests is interesting. You meet a few characters, each with their own quest line, not just a single task. But the problem is, some of the rewards don’t persist between runs. Like the smuggler that asks you to bust an Outlaws base, and when you do, grant you a bunch of upgraded weapons. But I died shortly thereafter, loosing all of that.

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PC Gaming

Chernobylite

I knew this game will get me, but it still got me. On the 10th day, you die, no matter what you do. You start your day by dying. But this just brings you to the Fractal Memory. And here’s where the crazy stuff starts. The choices that you’ve made, that I was wondering about: not only they are all presented to you, you can also change any of them, if you have enough of chernobylite. This is basically flipping anything you know about making choices, and reminds me of Zero Escape series on 3DS, which I’m very fond of.

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While the initial set of weapons is pretty standard: revolver, shotgun, AK, the authors went quite inventive with the railgun. First, one of the upgrades let it generate ammo. Infinite ammo for railgun! Who’d want to pick up crossbow bolts if you can have infinite ammo instead?

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There’s a perk that allows you to see enemies. But I only got it on my second week. Another upgrade for railgun lets it shoot through walls. So, if you really want to, you can spot enemies through walls, and shoot them indefinitely until they die. Neat.

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PC Gaming

Chernobylite

It is not always clear what the correct choice in a quest should be, which is a good thing, really. At one point you’re given a choice of either blowing the famous Chernobyl radar or keeping it to use it yourself. And it’s not clear why blowing it up would be a good thing, except your wife hated it. So that’s what I did.

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Found AK47 quickly enough in the Pripyat Port. Even with an upgrade. With it, and the upgraded shotgun against “zombies”, the game becomes more shooter and less stealth. Which is good, as the stealth in this game is not so enjoyable. There are “alert cones”, that point to the enemy that is suspicious of you. But that’s it. Not only you can’t see through walls and don’t have a radar, it’s also very hard to distinguish enemies from their surroundings, and since they all wear masks, it’s hard to tell which way they’re looking either.

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“Biometrically locked weapons” are a common trope in games explaining why you can’t just start picking weapons from dead enemies, and need to make do with what you have, like crafting them. But I’m not sure why the authors even bothered, as weapons seem to be quite plentiful anyway.

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Categories
*.XLS Nintendo PC Gaming Switch

Completed

PC:

  1. Ascent
  2. Descent
  3. Doom
  4. Doom 2
  5. Doom Eternal
  6. Iron Harvest
  7. Mega City Police
  8. Outlaws

Switch:

  1. Hades
Categories
PC Gaming

Chernobylite

This looks like a mod for STALKER. Even the local nemesis is called Black Stalker 😬

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We play as profressor Igor, who’s searching for his wife, Tatyana.

Chernobylite-Screenshot-2023-11-30-22-30-14-36Or, more precisely, he searches for a material called chernobylite, which can be found, obviously, in Chernobyl.
As gameplay goes, we have a Geiger counter that also can highlight pickable items. And there is a lot of junk to collect.
Every day you pick an area for your and your teammates to investigate. Teammates just return with some resources, but you on the other hand can investigate points of interest and trade with NPCs.

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Weapon modification system is surprisingly serious. With pros and cons for different upgrades, and visual queues.
One bit I was generally impressed by is the leveling up system. Instead of just picking a skill, you actually get to do a small training mission before you can acquire each of them. For silent takedown, for example, you have to sneak up on your teacher.

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There are some pretty obvious references. Like the device that can detect object history based on radiation that the professor was developing was called Ariadne. And when searching for clues to find his wife he speaks of “pulling the thread”.

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Another character talks about Rat King and leaves a ballerina music box as a clue, a reference to Nutcracker.

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PC Gaming

Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle and Rusviet Revolution

Completed Operation Eagle. The final unit of US is “Samson”, a flying aircraft carrier, similar to protoss carriers from Starcraft. Slow, but with huge range and effective against most units. The final mission is still tricky. First you need to capture a very well defended fortress, full of anti-air guns. Then you need to withstand a counterattack, but without any AA, which is slightly annoying, as Saxonians sport a huge flotilla of airships.
The only bit I regret is that you don’t get to play with the Admiral’s airship much. It looked like a fun unit.

After Operation Eagle, Rusviet Revolution DLC feels stale. You get to put those Gulya Gorod to good use, that’s true, as most missions are strategic, and not hero based. And there are a few fun ideas, like a mission having three different paths represented by three different rail tracks with different challenges. But there are no new units whatsoever, and in the end, the game pulls W40K on you. The entire story starts with Saxony, Rusviet and Polania being at war, and ends with Saxony being controlled by a mad prince and Rusviet being controlled by Rasputin/Fenris. So, the next game, if it ever comes, will start again where it all ended, all the three factions at war with each other.

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PC Gaming

Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle

Although sometimes I grow tired of a particular game by the time I reach the DLC content, I decided to give the Usonian (USA) campaign a go.
The biggest change is the introduction of aerial units. You can see though, that it’s a DLC, because most of the units are similar for all factions. But US has a few unique ones.

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Usonians themselves feel faster than other factions. And their mech infantry doubles up as engineers.

Storytelling continues to be amazing. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, with US first “protecting its assets” (oil refineries) on Alaska, at the outbreak of the Revolution in Russia. Then cosplaying Lawrence of Arabia.

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Arabia has just two unique units. Hashashins are close-combat ninjas, effective at countering enemy infantry, most of which weak in close combat. And war camels, as funny as they sound, are able to outrange and supress any infantry, and escape any enemy mech. In a game where all the units are slow, a fast unit is a game-changer.

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Categories
PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

Completed Iron Harvest.
Third campaign is dedicated to Saxony. As I mentioned, the storytelling is surprisingly good, so we jump back and forth in the timeline of events.
Saxony has the most interesting unique mech in the game, Brunhilde. Not because it looks like WW1 version of AT-AT, but because it’s the only mech more powerful while facing enemies with its side, due to a broadside row of cannons it has.
Eisenhans are fantastic as well. While mech infantry units of other factions are focused on hand-to-hand combat, Eisenhans are equipped with mortars.
The final mission reminded me of Dawn of War 3, which was a brilliant strategy game… until it wasn’t. Last mission, you end up chasing a triffid out of the War of the Worlds with all six of your heroes. At least this mission is not annoying.
So I consider the penultimate mission to be the best one, seeing how huge mechs duke it out.

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PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

I’m actually amazed that they implemented an armored train in the game. It moves on tracks, and you need to switch the tracks with infantry, and it also can carry infantry and has a Long Berta like artillery cannon, so it’s actually very useful.
After a few intense campaigns for Polania (Poland), we switch to playing with Rusviet (Russian Empire) forces. But those missions are mostly hero-based, which after you’ve already experienced the more strategical missions is slightly disappointing.
You do get to play one strategy-scale mission with Rusviet, at least. It’s a bit annoying, because there are Tesla Towers (sic) that only one hero can disable, and that destroy everyone else in a couple of shots. So there’s still plenty of micromanagement. But at least you get to experience the Rusviet heaviest mech, Gulyay-Gorod, which is an absolute blast. As well as their version of Katyusha.

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PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

After failure with Scythe, set in the same universe, I’m surprised how good Iron Harvest is. It resembles Company of Heroes, with it’s squads and cover. But in a fictional World War I setting with mechs.
The visuals are frankly amazing. While trails in deep snow aren’t new, I think it’s the first time I see them in what’s basically an RTS.

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Infantry can hide in buildings, and capture heavy equipment, such as machine guns and howitzers.

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What’s interesting, they can also switch classes by picking up weapons from the fallen enemies. Kill a squad of machinegunners, and become a squad of machinegunners yourself!

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PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Completed Descent.

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Out of sheer stubbornness, and my current inability to play anything remotely intellectual.
Pluto Outpost is one map I don’t hate in the bunch of maps after the 16th level or so. It has a nice design of recurring domes, it’s distinct and easy to navigate.
The game has just two bosses, the one on the 7th level which I mentioned, and then the final boss. I can say that I like the first boss, but not the second one. It’s basically the same design of the boss that teleports from place to place, but instead of firing cluster missiles (“smart missiles”, it fires nukes (“mega missiles”). And there seems to be infinite number of mobs teleporting all the time. Including the hitscanners I hate so much, and the bots the lie mines, that just add to the chaos. There are a few invulnerability pickups, but they don’t help much. So I just bruteforced it, as I had 25 lives left.
The ending is that the corporation doesn’t allow you to return because it’s afraid you were infected by the alien virus. Which leads to Descent 2, I guess?

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Honestly, I wish I stopped playing after the first boss. The red enemies and the “minigunners” become absolutely annoying at later levels, as does the progressively complicated level design, and the game has very little to offer after that point, besides more enemies placed in every nook. I wouldn’t mind it if the armor drops were more frequent. But they way they are, it’s either save/load or trying to snipe enemies around corners at later levels. Both aren’t fun much.

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PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Found a secret level. It’s surprisingly useful, as it grants you the Fusion Cannon, the last main weapon. It’s interesting, as this is the only weapon you can charge, but if you overcharge it, it starts to damage you instead. Also, it knocks you back when you fire it.
A problem with the weapons is that out of five weapons, four using the same energy ammo. Vulcan Cannon is the only exception. It’s also the only hitscan weapon you have.

I think the design of all the enemies in the first episode is simply brilliant. It is very distinct. Later enemies: not so much. Some look like a flying dildo.

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And it’s not just how they look. They are also very hard to spot, and shoot at you a volley of three rockets. Even if you dodge those, you’ll probably get some damage from the splash. Prepare to die a lot to chip damage.

There are a few fresh ideas on the later levels. None of which is very good. One is the mining robots. Another is that keys are sometimes carried by robots as well.

Categories
PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

The original game becomes a jumble of pixels quite often. There’s a source port, though, that addresses that issue:

DXX-Rebirth downloads

Also curious that the original game ran in 320×200 resolution. That’s why some of the DosBox screenshots look a bit off.
Think you haven’t suffered enough? 3rd level introduces a generator of enemies. Luckily it’s not infinite, it seems.
And on the 6th level, a new horrible enemy appears. A hitscanner. Prepare to die to its chip-damage.
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The red hulks start apear more often here as well. And their homing missiles are almost impossible to avoid. I thought previously I didn’t know flares existed. But flares seem to have no effect.
7th level seemed easy at first. Until I reached the final room. I vaguely remember playing this game as a kid that there was some kind of invisible boss that shot homing projectiles at you, and I never managed to beat him. But I thought it appeared earlier in the game.
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Death is not the end, though. Despite the game having a proper save/load, it also has a lifes systems. After being killed, you respawn at the beginning of the level, having left all your equipment where you died. Kind like MMORPGs. The only downside is that you loose all the hostages, if you picked any.
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Categories
PC Gaming

Lack of motivation

I got to admit it, these days it’s hard for me to find much motivation to do anything, really, including playing games. That’s why when I play, it’s mostly retro FPS now, that require mechanical skills, but not much thought or feel. I can do mechanical.

Categories
PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Another game I thought impossible as a kid. Mainly because I thought you cannot save in this game. I could read English, so I didn’t know you save using Alt+F2, not simply F2, like in Doom.
Also, nowadays I can play it with a mouse, instead of just a keyboard. Which makes the navigation of the corridors much easier.

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It is still a mindbending 3D-maze, I give it that. That vertical ring corridor on the 2nd level is still crazy. And the game is still brutal, with enemies placed behind every door, so they can land a shot on you as you open it, and being every curve. But at least the escape sequence is not so gut-wrenching.

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As if just having a boss at the end of each level is not enough, you also need to remember where the exit is, and escape in less than a minute. And will there be enemies waiting for you on your way out? Sure thing.
One thing I couldn’t enjoy is the sarcastic tone of an intro. It is brilliant:

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There are secrets in this game, hidden walls and such, but the gam doesn’t keep count of them, unlike Doom. For the completitionists, though, there’s an option to rescue hostages on each level.

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PC Gaming

Mega City Police

Completed my first run of Mega City Police, with an Engineer. It’s a nice game, it really is. Except the final boss, I’d say, that can one-shot you if you’re not careful. Unlike many other roguelikes, like Hades or Hammerwatch, where after each run you can upgrade your stats somehow, there isn’t much persistent progress, though.

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PC Gaming

Outlaws

Completed Outlaws.

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I planned to play this game for such a long time. After all, I greatly enjoyed Dark Forces, and I just finished Doom and Doom 2 without save/loading much. But this game is such a disappointment.
It has this mechanics of manually reloading your weapons bullet by bullet. But this is badly animated. Forgive Me Father had a similar lacking animation, but there I believe it was more a matter of style. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the shooting. Enemies can finish you in one or two shots. And since your weapons aren’t very accurate, you don’t have much health, and there are a lot of enemies, you end up dying a lot. And I mean a lot. The “Official Strategy Guide” even proposed to always crouch and corner snipe your enemies. Fun!
The game problems become even more apparent once you get the scope. It allows you to snipe out enemies alright, which for ’98 is quite something. But your bullets won’t fly where you want them through. Sometimes they would pass straight through an enemy, despite you having your crosshair right at him, while other times, you’ll kill an enemy right away, although your bullet should have been nowhere near.
Every level ends up abruptly with a cutscene, as you kill the next outlaw. The problem is, they are very hard to distinguish. And if you didn’t find all the secrets on that level – though luck!
The only two spectacular things about that game are the cutscenes and the music. The music is a clear homage to Spaghetti Westerns, and while the cutscenes mostly show you the death of your current enemy, and the appearance of the next one, at least they add some character to what otherways would be a subpar shooter.
The Sawmill is probably one of the worst levels I’ve seen since Redneck Rampage. They tried to implement a trolley puzzle, where you need to change tracks in order to find all the gears. But instead of tracks it’s a water stream, with a current. So you have to shoot the switches, with a janky shooting controls. Absolute disaster. I mean, the Mine is also bad, a multi-level maze with some not-obvious jumps. But I still think that Sawmill is worse.
Can’t believe this is a game from the same people that worked on Dark Forces. Who thought that having three different shotguns is a good idea? Speaking of Dark Forces, I’m surprised that the authors went back to the key mechanics. “Find a bronze key, open a door, find the silver key…”. I mean, they got it right previously, and now they ruined it. Whoever puts a key in the back of a warehouse?!
Now, let’s talk about the final level. For some reason, the authors decided to make it a “capture level”, that is, a level where you get capture and therefore start barehanded. But that’s not the issue. Nor is the issue that you need to shoot a haystack rope multiple times: there’s a slight visual queue of rope fraying, but not enough. Fair.
There’s a tile in the library. You need to step on it. And it opens a bookcase, which closes after a few seconds. And inside that bookcase there is a unlit fireplace, which you need to interact with to open a hidden passage behind another fireplace in the library. That’s it. That’s the problem. Had to check with the guide this once, because I was pretty damn sure some script bugged on me, or I need to blow something up with a dynamite.
And you get the final weapon, Gatling Gun, just before the boss. There are literally half a dozen enemies you can use this weapon on. Gatling is interesting, because with it, you cannot move at all. And you also can’t reload it. Once you run out of ammo, that’s it.

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Categories
PC Gaming

Borderlands 3

Gave Borderlands 3 a try.
Gunman class is… interesting. I mean, you start your game with a shabby pistol like everyone else, but then you can also summon a mech with minigun and a railgun to waste everyone, from the get-go. Character design is clearly stolen from Tank Girl, and mechanics are from Overwatch, but that’s besides the point.
After two hours, though, I still felt bored to death.