So… What Are You People Playing?

By Jim Rossignol on February 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am.


It’s been a while since we’ve asked you to step onto the soapbox, but it’s finally that time again: you’re constantly reading about what we’re playing – but what about you? What has filled your past few weeks, and why? Are you still playing through that backlog of hastily-purchased Steam games? Have you found some gem that we’ve missed? What has surprised you? What has disappointed you? Tell us now, please do.

I particularly want to hear from those of you playing free-to-play stuff. What has held your attention? Speak!

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310 Comments »

  1. mcwizardry says:

    I started up Dark Souls again to try out a character based on Faith. It’s pretty great so far, the Lightning Spear miracle is quite something.

    • Henke says:

      I’m playing Dark Souls too! Again! Except my character is a ninja. And when I say ninja I don’t mean the stealthy kind, but more the Ryu Hayabusa kind.

      Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KJLaGWlLxOc

    • mrwonko says:

      I’m playing Dark Souls, too! But not again, it’s my first time. Great game. Didn’t expect it to be this good.

      And then there’s always Dota 2.

    • CJMBC says:

      Project Zomboid
      Timbre and Stone
      Dwarf Fortress
      and a little bit of Red Orchestra 2!

    • Klingsor says:

      Dark Souls as well for the first time. After the incredibly frustrating first 3-5 hours it’s getting better and better. Now I’m dying only 5 times an hour instead of 50. However without the great wiki the whole game would still be a blackbox to me.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      I pretty much haven’t been doing anything besides playing Dark Souls since August. There was the eventual brief intermission to play through (and be sorely disappointed by) the likes of Dishonored, XCOM and whatnot; but mostly it was Dark Souls all the time.

      Currently kicking asses and taking names in NG+ and getting my ass kicked in a second NG as an int-based caster. Next up, a faith-based character and some kind of pvp-oriented one. There is simply no end to the wonders in this game :3

  2. Sunjammer says:

    Airmech, Xenoblade Chronicle, DCS World, Steam Self Updater, HOTS beta, Skyrim and Planescape Torment

    • Lycan says:

      Mark of the Ninja ! After a hugely enjoyable (and rewarding – 9 stars in every level !) playthrough the first time through, am gliding through New Game+ using the Path of Silence (no sword so no killing) approach.

      Occasionally dabbling in Path of Exile on the side and intend to return to a half-finished Darksiders 2 playthrough once I get bored of Mark of the Ninja. Am still hoping to achieve the “Four in February” goal :D

    • RobinOttens says:

      Torment! Wooh! Same here, it’s the second time I’m playing it (the first being back in 2010). Really, really slowly. I started in september last year, and I’m about to enter Ravel’s maze. Game is fantastic.

      I’m also playing Resonance, well, if I can figure out how to acquire Morales’ bloody FTTN that is.

    • Sinomatic says:

      I thought I’d been alone in playing the steam self updater game this week…

    • Poppis says:

      Airmech grabbed me like a crab that grabs people. It’s a fast paced action rts and spiritual successor to an old sega genesis game, Herzog Zwei. Also, I made an RPS faction in it, so if you are interested check out my thread in the forums: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?9464-RPS-Airmech-Faction

  3. DrAmateurScience says:

    I just finished Bioshock, started The Witcher last night, hoping to make it into this decade within the next couple of months (fat chance). My weekly Baldur’s Gate 2 multiplayer session is proceeding at such a slow pace that we’re on track to have it finished by sometime in 2016.

    Edit: Oh and antichamber. Is good.

    No free to play games, I dipped my toe into PS2 but it baffled me. Then I got distracted and haven’t been back. I want to try DOTA2 but only when I can persuade nine other people who are unlikely to be mean to me to play also.

    Edit Edit: SUPER HEXAGON!!! 54 seconds on Hexagonest, I think I’ve hit a wall there.

  4. Flint says:

    Started Anachronox as an attempt to educate myself on it. Enjoyed it, but then someone gifted me FTL and I curiously gave it a check and now that’s stolen me away. Also been playing quite a bit of Killing Floor with a friend – it’s not a game I can play for long at a time, but sometimes it’s good fun and the recent updates that have added new weapons have given it a bit more longevity.

  5. ran93r says:

    I actually fired The Witcher 2 back up last night after all the W3 kerfuffle yesterday. Aside from that I’m still stabbing bears in the face in AC3 and jumping into Firefall when I feel the urge. So nothing particularly highbrow.

    • Hameroc says:

      Witcher 3 made me redownload The Witcher 2 (from gog) as well. And I haven’t played the enhanced edition yet.

      Since last Sunday I play The Showdown Effect Beta. A nice 2d action cgame from the Magicka developers. It is a lot of fun.

      f2p games: A little Dota2 (but I mostly watch progamers play that game) and Path of Exile.

  6. gingerpembers says:

    Trying to play Dwarf Fortress!

    ARGGHHH!

    WOOOOOO!

    • Haplo says:

      I started Dorf this week, and after a few tries I’ve finally gotten it. It’s -so- rewarding!

    • Universal Quitter says:

      I’m still waiting on the next big update. It seems weird to be excited by concepts like trees taking up more than one tile and Z-level, but excited I am.

    • Josh W says:

      I started playing it an old version, so loads of tutorials are wrong, and my hunter cannot hunt anything unless I declare war on groundhogs. And then he tries to wrestle them.
      And my mason keeps making statues of the same statue he made before.
      And a load of migrants turned up who are 80% useless, and I don’t want to ask them to do anything in case they break it.
      But the cats are killing all the buzzards, my farm is slowly getting planted, and everyone seems pretty happy, I can barely keep it unpaused, because I know something will go wrong very soon, and my fortress will probably be full of water.

  7. Beren says:

    Dust 514 the Eve FPS addon on PS3.

    Good fights and mouse/keyboard.

    Oh and yes f2p

    • Squishpoke says:

      How does it compare to Planetside 2? I have a PS3, but haven’t had a reason to turn it on for years.

      • Beren says:

        PS2 has bigger battles, better graphics yet falls flat somehow on the MMO side. Battles seem pretty pointless but big fun zergs.

        Most of the Dust players that tried PS2 came back to Dust.

        Still waiting for big chunks of the Eve integration but the meta game stuff is already starting.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Speaking of man-shooters I was given Black Ops for christmas so have been playing that.
      It’s a perfectly serviceable little shooter ruined by one of the most hateful communities I’ve ever seen.

      I’ve yet to play a match where someone isnt shouting noob, fag, retard or worse either at another player or just randomly.

      I really wish EA could enforce the ’18 cert’, I think that would solve a lot of the problem

  8. Nathan_G says:

    Vesper5 still. I can’t remember when I started exactly but it’s been months now..
    Also sneaking in a wee bit of Limbo here and there.
    Aside from that, bits and pieces of Call of Pripyat (again), Fallout New Vegas (yawn) and Proteus. Those three for research for my dissertation..

  9. eldwl says:

    I’ve got back in to Minecraft after a 2 year break!

  10. terry says:

    Since you asked…

    Wildfire Worlds – alpha version of riot simulator. pleasingly chaotic.
    Binary Domain – not very far in, getting annoyed with control scheme.
    Antichamber – not very far in, stuck :(
    Euro Truck Simulator – DONT JUDGE ME

  11. Vegard Pompey says:

    Trying to work up the strength to dive into Dwarf Fortress again, but really just ending up playing Sleeping Dogs.

    • Gink says:

      I`ve been wanting to get back into DF, it`s been over two years since last time now.
      Anyone that can recommend some good mods for it? I was looking through the Matul Remrit story mentioned in The Sunday Papers, and I was wondering, is it really possible to make DF look like that now?

      http://www.bravemule.com/storage/matul-remrit/granite-1051/15.png?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1284121029922
      http://www.bravemule.com/storage/matul-remrit/galena-1051/8.png?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1282297270483

      I couldn`t find any list of mods on the linked site, though, so does anyone know what mods is used?

      Back on the main topic, I`ve done two runs through the Cave, and put a couple more hours into FTL, so not too much gaming the last couple of weeks for me.

      • Mungrul says:

        That’s Stonesense, an isometric visualiser that runs in a window alongside DF and updates in realtime.
        It’s included with the Lazy Newb Pack which can be grabbed from here: http://dffd.wimbli.com/file.php?id=2801

      • Didero says:

        I think that’s Stonesense or something similar. It’s basically a program that runs besides DF, reads data from its memory and files, and displays it isometrically instead of DF’s ASCII.
        I haven’t looked at anything DF in ages, so I’m not sure if you can control the game from it too, but it does help with visualizing the game world.

    • Ragnar says:

      I just finished Sleeping Dogs, and was surprised to find that I loved it. Playing GTA 4 made me think I didn’t like open-world games, but turns out I just dislike bad, boring open-world games.

      Sleeping Dogs was just pure fun. From the Batman style melee combat enhanced with environmental attacks (sticking people into an open-flame oven to set them on fire never stopped being fun), to the parkour free-running, to the Max Payne style slow-mo shooting when you vault out of cover, to the driving that let you actually enjoy tearing around a city at speed – it’s like the devs set out to make a game that was more concerned about being fun than about being realistic.

      I disagree with the WIT – Sleeping Dogs was a pleasant surprise, tons of fun, the PC port with the HD texture pack ran great and looked great on my C2D 2.9 GHz + GTX 470, and it fixed everything that I disliked about GTA 4 to make a game that was infinitely more fun and enjoyable to play.

      Sleeping Dogs isn’t perfect – the races can often feel unfair, the romances end abruptly and feel unfinished, and the drug busts are usually far from exciting – but I highly recommend it for any fan of action games.

  12. Ertard says:

    I recently finished Dark Souls and Sleeping Dogs. Currently I’m just playing Planetside 2, trying to get in to DmC (first character action game ever), and waiting to be disappointed by Dead Space 3 tommorrow.

  13. Beanchilla says:

    Natural Selection 2 has been a load of fun.
    Also been getting into Starcraft! Never did much of an RTS until this year and just beat sc1. Now I’m onto broodwar and then sc2 hopefully in time to catch heart of the swarm.

    • airtekh says:

      Yup, I’ve been playing a bunch of NS2 as well.

      Anyone wanting to play with RPS people should make Rock, Paper Skulk their first port of call.

      We play mostly on Sunday evenings (UK time), get yourself on Mumble and join us! Details in the forum thread.

    • Squishpoke says:

      +1 NS2.

      I recently saved a game as the last person alive on my team. Had to run all the way back to base, hop on the chair, and build an infantry portal without dying. Fought off about 5 skulks and used up all my ammo while doing so, but I got the portal up in the end.

      We eventually won, amazingly.

      • norfolk says:

        Yeahhhhh NS2! I pushed through the (relatively steep) noob learning curve and am quite glad I did…

        I’ll be looking into the RPS mumble server, hope to meet ya’ll there.

  14. Mathute87 says:

    For the past week my life has mostly been Ni No Kuni, since it released so late in Europe.

    Also, for research purposes only, I’m playing through the entirety of that generic third person shooter called Dead Space 3.

    And when I’m not, I hop into Planetside 2, but since the latest update… Things have been messy. I just uninstalled the Hawken beta, I think I provided enough feedback for that game already.

    • Meister of Articulate Statelments says:

      Yes, Ni No Kuni is one of the more gooder things I have managed to do in my life. Had to get a PS3 to play it, so very worth it.
      Free to Play, though, again now with a PS3 is Dust514. I wish I could get into EVE, but I think I’m slightly too dumb or lazy. Not sure how much I like the Dust (yet), though…So shooty..

      But, of course, stupid consoles and such, yadda yadda. I’ve also been spending my nights watching everything Sim City, which is free – not to play though. But it’s a game of watching, mostly, anyway, isn’t it? Lovely.

  15. ramirezfm says:

    Trying to complete Darksiders 2 (thanks to not so many new games that I want to play) with MWO for multiplayer mayhem.

  16. DannyMB says:

    I’ve been playing Kerbal Space Program a lot since its 0.18 update late last year. Don’t be fooled by the relatively cute characters, this is a serious game that I still have no idea how to play properly. But despite this, im still having a whale of a time building rockets and space planes and attempting to get them off the pad.

    • Fenixius says:

      I got that as a Christmas present! I’ve enjoyed playing around with it a little, but found it to be very difficult to figure out what I’m doing wrong as far as getting things into orbit is going. Based on how hard it is to put something into a spin about Kerbin, I don’t even want to attempt to go to Mun or further :(

      • DannyMB says:

        Download the MechJeb mod from kerbalspaceport.com. Its an autopilot for your ships. Its still quite confusing to use, but its a good start on getting your ships into orbit. Its also a great way to see how to fly these things manually as well.

  17. Hunchback says:

    Free to play… DOTA2, PS2, PoE, MWO.

    Other than that, we’ve been playing some GW2 with the wife, and i’ve been poking around CK2, Shogun 2 coop, Euro Truck Simulator 2, some other stuff…

    Is it just me or 90% of the games that came our recently are “something 2″ ? o.O

  18. msing says:

    I was playing the Eve Online demo, but I realized I won’t want to spend £10 a month on it so I stopped playing. Now i really want to play it :(

    For the mean time I’m playing the latest devil may cry and waiting on Star Citizen or Elite:Dangerous

  19. Valanthyr says:

    Been playing quite a lot of Omerta: City of Gangsters, I must not be very far from the end of the campaign. Somewhat dull at the beginning, it catches up after some time and when you master both strategy and combat it’s really an enjoyable title.

  20. Shepardus says:

    Convinced myself to play Super Hexagon today. Learned how fast time can fly playing a game that lasts all of 5 seconds for me.

  21. Fenixius says:

    Nothing F2P has yet managed to hold my attention… PlanetSide 2 came the closest, but it’s all potential right now. I find that the gameplay works great as a deathmatch, but the game’s systems all want me to play as a team-based objective game, which is really dissatisfying and involved a lot of waiting at empty capture points and walking around.

    As for what I AM playing, it’s still Magicka. Minecraft has finally sunk its teeth into me while I’m waiting for Starbound, and I’ve recently blazed through the utterly fantastic DmC: Devil May Cry. When’s the Wot I Think of that one?

  22. datom says:

    Fast Break College Basketball 2010. The best text-basketball sim there is, with ludicrous levels of dev support.

  23. Commander Gun says:

    Awesomenauts. Since i discovered this game i am hooked. I’m actually surprised it didn’t get much attention last year, it is so good :)
    Other than that, i enjoy the beta of Path of Exile a lot.

  24. fhein says:

    Crusader Kings II has taken pretty much all of my free time since it was released for Linux about a week ago. It’s soo addictive to see how your plans and plots turn out.

    Before that, mostly indie games like Swift*Stich (also got a Linux version recently). Also dusted off TF2, which I played a lot when it was new and I still had a Windows partition, but I don’t like how it turned out after going f2p.

  25. Kobest says:

    Shadow Warrior Complete – just finished the shareware levels, and I’m really surprised how fun and challenging it is compared to the spunkgargleweewee (modern railshooter FPSes) these days. Lots of exploration, 3D Realms humour, good weapons: classic.

    Far Cry 3 Co-op – I didn’t think I would get into it, but I enjoyed it a lot and still have a map or two to finish.

    Shank 2 Co-op – Finishing those 30 waves is quite challenging, but we’re not giving up, dammit!

  26. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    I am playing;

    Anno Domini 1257 mod for M&B Warband. ‘Historical’ would be pushing it – everyone still acts like a Warband lord on the Warband map – but it has a fair stab (a-ha!) at recreating all of the known-to-Medieval-Europeans world and everybody in it (and every type of knife-on-a-stick), and then lets you loose on ‘em.

    Rise of Flight, which as per your request is F2P. Unlike (for example) MWO, in which I think the gameplay has been massively squeezed to work with F2P, RoF works like any other combat flight sim. Game makers have to make revenue somehow and I’m prepared to go with F2P so long as the whole of the experience doesn’t seem primarily arranged as it is to channel funds from my wallet.

    Il-2 1946 (still), because a friend from RPS Steam chat has just got it. Everything about the game is still very solid (RoF’s pushed the envelope for this sort of combat flight sim, but Il-2 ’46 still passes muster) and there’s just so much content available for it.

    That is wot I am playing Jim.

  27. drewski says:

    Torchlight II, Rome: Total War and Skyrim.

    New games are for chumps. Chumps with more money than me.

  28. Rollin says:

    Company of Heroes, because nobody releases new RTS games anymore

  29. Xanadu says:

    Guild Wars 2. Lots and lots of GW2. Just finished levelling up my third character so now have a range of playstyles to keep me entertained. Which reminds me I ought to join up with the RPS guild for their World v World get togethers at some point as my current guild (on the same server, coincidentally) doesn’t do much WvW.
    Bit of FTL at the weekend. I died. Quickly. Jean-Luc Picard I am not.
    Failing entirely to play Skyrim, DE:HR and Hotline Miami that I got over the holidays. I got as far as installing them, does that count?
    Nothing free to play…

  30. Ted_Breakfast says:

    A few indie games for me – Proteus, Thirty flights of loving, and Antichamber. Antichamber is amazing! Was stuck for a while but I’m making progress again.

  31. mornegroth says:

    I’m replaying the first Assassin’s Creed, giving extra thought to the story and having a blast all over again. On other news, been giving DmC and Dead Space 3 a little touch here and there, but both games are pretty bland in my opinion.

  32. MOKKA says:

    Super Hexagon (I’m going to play this game until I die), The Cave, Antichamber and Saints Row 3 to even things out a bit.

    I would love to get into Spy Party (got my Beta-access a few weeks ago) but I don’t like that I have to ask other players to teach me the game properly, it feels like I’m wasting other people’s time.

    I also got Total Annihilation from GoG and hope to play it someday soon.

    • Teovald says:

      I have finished the Cave 3 times. I still need 2 full playthroughs in order to get the entirety of the stories but I am going to wait a little bit before that.
      It is not a perfect game but it was a very enjoyable experience, with a very “Gilberesque” feel.

      • MOKKA says:

        I like the stories so far and the puzzles also don’t seem to be very confusing. The only thing I really dislike is the movement system. There’s just too much dead space and traversing it just isn’t any fun.

        One note for everyone who intends to include plattformer-elemtens into their game: Do not include falling damage, unless you want to deliberately punish the player.

  33. Grzegorz Dalek says:

    From F2P I played a bit Path Of Exile, but I’m bored with another action-rpg. Leveling up is interesting but whole game is somewhat unappealing.

    As it goes for other stuff I’m playing Kentucky Route Zero, Defense Grid: The Awakening and Super Hexagon recently.

  34. bateleur says:

    Antichamber. So, so good! :-D

    • Pictoru says:

      me too, it’s the most counterintuitive puzzle game i’ve ever come across and i’m quite stuck at the moment..so that’s fun (but hey…as it says “Life has no exits” so i’m not eager to “finish”)

  35. Jerakal says:

    IN the F2P corner, I’ve been playing a lot of Planetside 2 with my closest comrades. They’ve been really drawn into it. I’ll readily admit it isn’t the first thing I reach for when I’m aiming to have a good time. That would be The Secret World. That games has WHOLLY captivated me, the quests, the world, my character. I’m loving every minute of it.

    In the handheld department, I’ve been playing a lot of Paper Mario Sticker Star. That series still has the power to bang out great games, and I’m glad at least some part of the Mario franchise is maintaining it’s signature charm and quality, even as the big name Mario titles continue to disappoint.

    Representing Indie games in my recent interests is none other than Don’t Starve. Clever, Burtonesque, easy to pick up and play, though somewhat wanting in content. I can’t get enough of this game. Possibly due to my affinity for survival simulators, possibly just because it’s a damn fun game.

    Lastly, and the game I find myself most distressed that I continue to dust it off and play it every now and then is Ragnarok Online. Certainly not what I would call a ‘good’ game. I play this one every now and then mostly for nostalgia. It was the first MMO I ever played after all. And it shocks me that they’re still adding features and classes to it, TO THIS DAY. I am baffled by this.

    EDIT: OH PISS I’VE FORGOTTEN THE CAVE. HOW COULD I FORGET THE CAVE. I can feel the icy stare of Gilbert, he’s turned his attention on me. Pray for me, my friends. I fear I am not long for this world.

  36. Snids says:

    Just about ready to give up on Dark Souls.

    I’m sick of running up the hill at the Firelink Shrine,
    Through the flooded tunnel,
    down the spiral staircase,
    up the steps with the two dogs that jump out,
    into the fog gate and getting smashed to bits by the Capra Demon in 2 seconds. I know about going up the steps and jumping down and hitting him. That fight is bullshit and broken. I’m level 21 and I’ve been playing for 17 hours.

    I’ve started playing the Witcher 2 instead and it’s absolutely flipping brilliant. I actually care about the plot somewhat and the acting is pretty good. There’s a lot of RPG depth and the combat is fun and requires some skill which is novel for an RPG.

    A little bit of Gran Turismo 4 under emulation, a little bit of Richard Burns with the RS2013 pack. A bit of Couter Strike:GO.

    • Ansob says:

      Here’s a tip for you:

      Your level means nothing in Dark Souls, and trying to increase your level in response to the game kicking your ass is actually a great way of fucking yourself over even more.

      Spend 80% of your souls on improving your equipment – you should definitely have everything you wear and your weapon/shield at +5 by the time you face Capra; that will greatly help. If you can, bring along a spear to deal with the dogs, too (don’t need to but it makes killing them fast slightly easier).

      Other than that, yeah, the trick to winning is entirely in managing to dodge out of the way of Capra’s opening leap. Roll right, not left; that makes it slightly easier. Once you’re past, go stand on the stairs to kill the dogs, then just use the trick you’re aware of to kill Capra itself; at that point the fight is a joke.

      Oh, and chin up: later on in the game, you face about 6 or 7 capra demons one after the other.

      • Snids says:

        Thanks!

        OK, a little bit of soul farming is in order. My sword is +5 but my shield is +2 and none of my armour is upgraded. I need some titanite shards I think then.

        I’ve nearly killed him a few times but about 3/4s of the time either the dogs get me, I get caught in the first attack, or mess up in some other way.

        I see quite a lot of evangelising about this game but I do wonder who would sign that boss fight off as “good design”.

        I wouldn’t mind so much but it’s the constant having to run back up to the boss that bores the hell out of me. I don’t agree with those that say that “adds to the tension”.

        Being bored and doing the same thing over and over and over again shouldn’t be part of competent game design, let alone something worth evangelising over.

        That being said, the game is very rewarding and the heart-poundingly tense and challenging at times. Maybe the punishment for failure should just be a loss of souls instead of stealing my real-life leisure time from me.

        • Ansob says:

          Capra is one of the few bullshit moments in the game – I think there’s maybe two or three total in the game, which is fortunate since the idea of never explaining how anything works is already pretty bad.

          The bit just outside the church in Parish is a good place to farm, incidentally – all of the Balder knights have a fairly good drop rate on them, the hollow soldiers also occasionally drop shards, and doing a complete run of the walkways + church interior only takes maybe 10-15mn, and the amount of souls you get isn’t bad – that lets you buy more at André, since they’re only 800 each.

          More importantly, you can do this farming run while putting your summon sign down. You don’t need to be human to be summoned by other players, and at level 21 you’re in the right level range to be summoned for Gargoyles, which IIRC would give you 5000 souls every time you help beat them in co-op. Since it’s also a fairly short fight and the way to the fog gate is itself short, this makes it easy to farm Gargoyles if you’re getting hits on your summon sign.

          Good luck! You’ll be able to get your gear up to +10 fairly soon (as in, it’s in the area that Capra gives you the key to), which requires large shards, which you won’t be able to buy for a while yet.

        • Ansob says:

          Oh, and remember to always kill the dogs before attacking Capra. You should essentially do things in this order:

          1. dodge right past Capra’s leap;
          2. immediately run left and up the stairs, rolling past the dogs if needed.
          3. turn around and kill one of the dogs (or both if you can) while Capra walks towards you.
          4. when Capra reaches the bottom of the stairs, walk along the little ledge.
          5. when Capra is ~three quarters of the way up the stairs, jump off the ledge.
          6. Capra will follow you off and stun himself for a couple of seconds. This is your cue to run back up the stairs and kill the second dog if you didn’t get it the first time.
          7. wait for Capra to come back up, repeat steps 4+5, then two-hand your weapon and whack away at Capra a couple of times before running up the stairs again. Repeat this step until Capra is dead.

          Like almost everything in Dark Souls, it’s about making sure you don’t over-extend yourself rather than being about killing the boss as fast as possible.

          • Snids says:

            I do like that element of it. It’s always by the skin of your teeth. You don’t just cartwheel in and slice everything to bits in a few seconds. Combat feels a bit more tactical and “lumpy”. Although I don’t like the way your character and NPCs go into animations under certain conditions and are invulnerable. This is true of practically every game ever though I suppose.

            Really great advice, thanks. You can bet on me going back to it tonight. I’ve found it really hard to get good help with the various unexplained systems at work in the game. People are so hardcore into it that use loads of weird abbreviations and acronyms and just assume you know what the hell is going on. Take a look at http://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls. It’s pretty scary.

            For the record I love hard games. Bullet Hell SHMUPS etc but Dark Souls seems to combine the hardness of the gameplay with completely incomprehensible Japanese RPG game mechanics that it never bothers to explain.

            It’s a really really weird game. It’s certainly of a dying breed which is a shame.

            Thanks again for the tips.

          • xao says:

            A couple more tips that would have helped me the first time around:
            - Boss fights that you can’t quite get past? Summon someone! I (rather foolishly) decided to kill Smough first in my initial encounter with Ornstein and Smough because I’d heard (correctly) that you only got the soul of the one you killed last. I made gradual, if achingly slow progress, but once I summoned Knight Solaire and another player, it gave me a chance to stand off from the fight a bit and get a much better grasp on how they were kicking my ass. Two tried later I was off to see the [redacted] and get the amazing [redacted].

            - Specifically for the Capra demon, DON’T MOVE when you zone in. At least for me, I was able to aggro one of the dogs without getting the trifecta of suffering. The fight is a lot easier when it’s only two on one.

            - I have since learned that you can buy dung pies and fling them over the wall at Cappy. A desperation measure to be sure, but it’s there if you need it.

            - One thing I wish I had learned earlier is that a high stability shield is incredibly useful for learning an encounter. You’re usually better off avoiding hits, but being able to block a few without destroying your stamina is great. Being able to use that extra stamina by poking your tormenters with a spear while safely turtled behind said shield? Even better. Again, it’s not usually your best tactic, but it’s great for buying time to study your opponent.

            - The Capra demons later on? They’re easy, not because they’ve been weakened, but because we’ve gotten so much better at the game by that point.

            - I found that a lot of the boss fights felt like bullshit to me initially, but once I figured them out they weren’t too bad. I never ran into anything that felt like I was just lucky to beat it, and having beaten it, I was able to do so again with ease as a summoned phantom.

    • DrAmateurScience says:

      Summoning helps so much with that fight – just having someone to deal with the two dogs while you concentrate on not dying.

      Also, as mentioned above, a nice shield (you probably came across the Knight’s Shield in Undead Parish for example) upgraded to +5 really really helps, as does some fire resin on your weapon (also +5 helps here too).

      He only does the two handed jumping insta-shield break move if you are a wee bit away from him so charge in at the start of the fight and he will (probably) only do a one handed attack, which you should be able to catch on your shield without too much trouble. That’ll give you a bit of time to take out one or both dogs: using a weapon like the broadsword can help here as it’s got a very wide attack range allowing you to keep focus on Capra whilst still damaging the dogs. Switching out to something punchier once they’re dead.

      Finally as with just about any fight in DS, you can explore other areas for a bit if that one’s getting you down. Darkroot Gardens if you haven’t already, and if you’re feeling adventurous (or took the master key gift) you can completely skip the bit that killing Capra opens up anyway by taking the shortcut through New Londo – have a wander about basically get some souls and humanity together. As Ansob said, upgrading your gear is much more important than levelling up. That said, having a decent amount of Endurance can really help with blocking, and a extra Vitality can’t hurt. Once you’ve got the minimum stats for whatever weapon you’ve chosen to use there’s not much reason to add any more in.

      Wow that came out longer than I expected. And now I feel compelled to go and play Dark Souls.

      I regret nothing.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      If you really get fed up with the backtracking and you don’t mind a bit of cheating, remember that the game saves ALL THE TIME, every time you so much as change the weapon you’re holding in one hand –every time you see the little flame icon in the top right corner of the screen. However, the game just *assumes* it’s saving, even if it’s not actually doing it for whatever reason. For instance, if the savegame file is set to “read only”.

      So, you stand at the fog gate, don your best equipment for the fight, and once you’re all ready you alt+tab and set the savegame to “read only”. This way, every time you die, instead of running back all the away from the bonfire you just go to the main menu and reload, and you’ll be standing at the fog gate again.

      Remember to revert the savegame to the normal, writeable state after you’re done with the tough spot, or you’ll never save your progress again! D:

  37. Didero says:

    I’m sort of forcing myself through The Cave. I’m not sure why I’m not more excited about playing it.
    I blame John :P

    For F2P multiplayer distractions, World Of Tanks has been my go-to game for the last few weeks. Probably because the matches are short and usually interesting.
    Until your tier 3 artillery gets matched against tier 6 Medium tanks and most of your shots just bounce of…

  38. Lars Westergren says:

    Rocksmith is fantastic, it has taken up a lot of the little time I have for games. I have bought lots of DLC songs, hoping they will release more stuff like Helmet, Kyuss, Queens of the Stoneage.

    Apart from that, I’m slowly finishing Dishonored, some L4D2 with friends, tonight we are going to try Dota 2 for the first time.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Just started Dishonoured too. Good looking game.

    • Artiforg says:

      Good luck with Dota 2. It’s a wonderful game once you get past the initial learning curve. There are a lot of people who rage quit after their first 3 deaths in their first game and never look back. Persevere with it and once the mechanics start to click you’ll discover just how good it is.

      Here’s a few things that most new players do:

      1> Don’t buy starting items at the start (or buy boots of speed straight away)
      2> Run straight to the furthest tower in the lane you’ve picked
      3> Attack the first enemy tower straight away (and die)
      4> Get killed by the first wave of creeps when you decide to attack the enemy hero as soon as you see them appear in lane.
      5> Feed the enemy hero because you’re playing too aggressively and overestimating the damage your hero is capable of.
      6> Select the courier then right click on your hero so the courier follows you around
      7> Get the courier killed
      8> Rage quit after 5 minutes and 3 deaths.

      The game is really unforgiving for newbies but stick with it and you’ll eventually love it.

    • Maniac says:

      A tip for playing Dota 2 would be to seek out the RPS ‘Dota 2 Chums’ Steam group, we’re always willing to play with newbies, and we’re always having fun, no raging, etcetera. Besides that, Artifog’s advice is quite sound. Have fun with it, and good luck. Something thats always a good idea though, is to do some homework. It is a rather hard game, with a bunch of ‘hidden’ mechanics, which are usually what seperates the good players from the great players.

  39. overthere says:

    F2P : Its planetside 2, it may not have the perfect eveness of TF2 but I’ve had so many memorable moments emerging out of the play. You know your immersed when you find yourself trying to lean into the screen to get a better view round the corner for that max you can hear!

    Otherwise : Unity of command, Red Tide, its just so beautifully simple and perfect. Hope they follow up with a North African campaign from my memories of Afrika Korps on the Spectrum it would be a good fit for the mechanics

  40. Rockbottom says:

    A lot of GW2 lately, trying to get world completion done finally finally finally. I am so bad at 100%ing anything.
    Also been playing Dark Souls still. I can’t get away from it. 200 hours and it continues to call me. To duel more players. To farm and upgrade more weapons. To try more builds. It never ends.

    On the free to play side of thing I’m continuing my eternal battle with Vindictus. I only play it for maybe two hours once a week, but eventually I’ll be max level and have cool looking armor like everybody else, and do those 20+ person raids. Someday.
    I have a lot of things down the pipeline. I’m bad at getting things done but I’m working on it. Going to blow through Dead Space 3 because despite it being terrible I feel the need to play it since I played the other two. I also have been in a real JRPG mood lately and I think once my plate is clean I’ll pick up Final Fantasy Tictacs or Seiken Densetsu 3.

  41. Andy_Panthro says:

    Playing and blogging my way through UFO: Enemy Unknown/X-COM: UFO Defence (1994), after having completed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1990).

    Not far off completing it, so I’m considering what I should play next, whether I should go straight on to the new XCOM (already played it a bit), or go for something a bit different (Alone in the Dark (1992 – I completed this ages ago, but it might be good to blog about), Icewind Dale, Arcanum, Dishonored, or something).

  42. humanchu says:

    I seem to be into sucking

    FTL: can’t even finish on easy
    Dota2: slughtered by easy bots. will likely never dare to play humans
    SC2: manage to beat AI on medium hard, sometimes…

    Skyrim is the only respite. But as usual (FO3, New Vegas) as soon as I’ve seem more than 50% of the map and learned the patterns of the quests and storylines I don’t bother anymore.

    Considering moving on to watching others play on youtube /twitch.

    • Rockbottom says:

      Don’t practice in Dota 2 against bots! They are harder than the players are.
      Pick a character you want to play, read how to play it and what items to buy on the newly added Steam guides, and play against players until your fingers bleed. If people ask you if you know what you’re doing, be honest, say you’re new. This will often actually get people to help you.

      You’re going to suck a lot in Dota 2 for at least the first 20 games. You need a lot of practice.

      • humanchu says:

        Thanks for the Dota2 morale boost. I’ll give that a shot.
        And if someone gets angry I’ll tell them you told me to do it! :)

        • Artiforg says:

          I’d say practicing against bots to start with is a great way of learning the mechanics of the game and teaches you, eventually, how to avoid dying every time you show yourself in lane.

          Pick a co-op bot match though, playing solo with bots is doomed to failure as the 4 bots on your team are generally very stupid and will be more of a hindrance than a help.

          Once you’ve got used to playing with bots and know what you’re doing then join a pub game and realize just how much you’ve learned/improved.

  43. NieA7 says:

    Tribes Ascend – still brilliant, still fairly well populated. I have no idea why people say PS2 > Tribes given they’re as different as two games where you’re a walking gun can be.

    Blood Bowl – lots of fun to be hand in the RPS leagues.

    Minecraft – with the Mindcrack FTB mod pack, which adds stupid amounts of complexity to sink your teeth into.

    Starsector (formerly Starfarer) – strangely compelling space game that’s been in development for ages now. Every time there’s a new version I’ll end up sinking a good 10 hours or so into it.

    I tried to get into Dark Souls, I can only assume the brilliant and compelling world and gameplay is a bit further on from where I gave up out of boredom.

  44. mooken says:

    Definitely playing a lot more short-burst games:

    Desktop Dungeons (the current in-beta browser-based Unity engine version)
    Defenders Quest

  45. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I’ve been playing a load of old Warcraft III singleplayer RPG maps for nostalgia and fun. And, horror of horrors, reviewing them.

    In terms of real games, I’ve got Beyond Divinity waiting on the sidelines but don’t quite have the stomach for it yet — I started playing before crimbo but hit a snag early on (how do I get out of the training compound full of guards? I think it’s a lever puzzle in that trapped corridor room, but I can’t find any clues), and the combat is just shonky enough that it isn’t particularly enjoyable to play. I must make a fairer attempt to complete it before moving on to Divinity II, though.

  46. Ansob says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying the new Devil May Cry. Anyone who tells you it isn’t a DMC game because it features a younger Dante is being silly – it’s a DMC game down to the mission structure, vital stars, style points and Dante’s quips. About its only “sin” is that it’s a much more approachable game on the normal difficulties than e.g. DMC4 (this is not a sin, it’s a good thing).

    Other than that, for a budget-priced XBLA game, I am strangely hooked on Iron Brigade. It’s good fun.

  47. benjamin says:

    Just got to the end of KOTOR II, I think I finally understand the story now, enjoyed it a lot, a brilliant twist on the usual light/dark, jedi/sith thing. I had the restored content mod installed, it didn’t add much in my opinion unless I just didn’t realize what it had added.

    Also installed the droid planet mod, the best thing I can say for it is that it made me appreciate the level design of the rest of game a lot more! One was clearly done my professionals, the other not so good.

    • Velko says:

      I’m working my way through KOTOR II too. I’m trying to finish it before my new computer arrives some time this or next week so that I won’t have to worry about transferring saves between machines.

    • Henson says:

      I just finished KOTOR II a couple weeks ago for the first time. In some ways, it’s brilliant, and in others, it’s very oddly designed or just doesn’t communicate well. It’s a weird mix, though certainly worth the time.

  48. rustybroomhandle says:

    Been working on my own game so trying to force myself to play less, but in the times when I slip it has been Crusader Kings 2 and Grimrock, both on Linux.

  49. Chris D says:

    I’ve been playing 1931:Scherezade at the Library of Pergamum. For those familiar with their previous game, Academagia, it’s basically a more streamlined version of that with a better interface and, so far, no tendency to corrupt the save file three quarters of the way through the game. I find myself a little conflicted as God knows Academagia needed some streamlining and a better interface yet I find I’m missing some of it’s depth, even though that was more hinted at than really delivered.

    For anyone not immediately put off by the art style, female protagonist, romance (optional) or the words “time management” there’s a demo available here

    Other than that I’ve also been playing Borderlands 2, Civ V and Shogun 2.

  50. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Sorry, no free-to-play stuff. Couldn’t yet find anything that interest me. But never miss your column on those. Ever!

    Currently:
    Company of Heroes (single-player)
    Borderlands (single-player)

    Always playing but currently taking a break:
    Solium Inferno (multiplayer)
    A few play by email wargames at EMG (http://members.shaw.ca/emg.pbm/emg.htm)

    Always playing:
    With my life
    MAME
    ZXSpectrum emulator

    (In retrospect I did mention a free-to-play. EMG games. Not sure though of how interested anyone is in PBeMs)

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