Wot we played on our holidays

2018

Welcome back, gentle human bean, to another year of PC gaming thrills, spills and ambient anxiety about the correct deployment of the term ‘roguelite’ here on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. As our beleaguered forms struggle to cope with the sudden shift away from Chocolate Oranges for breakfast, now is the time for our time-lost minds to reflect upon how we occupied ourselves over the past ten days.

To wit: what videogames did we play, when time, relatives, bloating and demanding pets allowed?

Alec: Primarily my stolen time was spent with The Binding Of Isaac, whose snacky size and immediacy continues to make it a perfect fit for life with a four-year-old who is clamped full-time to my leg from the hours of 7am to 8pm. It is the Pringles of games, and, not coincidentally, I also ate a lot of Pringles over the past week. I’ve unlocked more Isaacy trinkets than I ever dreamed possible by this point, though an impossible amount still remains. In occasional after-dark hours, I managed to play a bit of Uncharted: Lost Legacy on that there Playbox, which is an extremely slick technical accomplishment that adds up to something so absurdly polished and tightly-controlled that it effectively leaves no impression on me whatsoever.

So, on the other side of the coin, I finally indulged my curiosity for Remedy’s time-travel quandry/man-shooter affair Quantum Break, a game that is a firehose of ideas that rarely gets pointed in the most effective direction. I can’t help but like it – muddled and shambolic it might be, but it sure is shooting for the moon.

Adam: I managed to finish gorgeous tableaux puzzler Gorogoa, a game as smart as it is beautiful. It’s not very long, so it was perfect to play in the stolen moments between dread socialising and cooking. It begins so gently that I was surprised the first time I had to slow down and think. For the first half an hour or so it had been a game about rearranging pictures so that things fell from one to another, or a man walked from one frame to the next. Then, all of a sudden, I was thinking about how the scenes connected together in all kinds of ways – what really impressed me is that every time it challenged my perception, the lesson felt natural rather than oblique. Loved it.

The stealthy, spooky sci-fi of ECHO was next on the slate and I loved that too. Mostly. It’s a genuinely weird game and I find it hard to put my finger on exactly what does and doesn’t work. You sneak through enormous, repetitive rooms, avoiding clones of yourself that learn from your actions. It’s not the precise stealth puzzle I expected though. It’s uncomfortable and strange and unnerving, and the clones are far more haphazard and disturbing than any enemy I’ve encountered for a long time. I usually like stealth games to overload with me information so I can make smart choices and not feel victim to chance. ECHO made me feel like I was stumbling through a nightmare and, yes, I mostly loved it.

Also lots of Yakuza 0, which really needs to come out on PC along with the remake of the first in the series. Come on, Segaaaaaaa.

Alice: I was in the Highlands over Christmas with no computer or nothing so I have played nothing. I lounged, walked, photographed, and fell on my arse. It was great.

alicesnow

Katharine: I didn’t get to play nearly as many games as I wanted to over Christmas, but my main achievement was finally finishing the last episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. I think I probably made the wrong decision regarding the final ending, much like I did with the original, but with this one I just wanted it to be over. I didn’t hate it, per se, but I don’t think it ended up having nearly as much impact on me as its predecessor. I went through everything to give Max and Chloe the friendship they deserve in LIS, but Chloe’s relationship with Rachel just left me a bit cold.

I also played a few more chunks of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in between polite family chat and attempting to find a film we could all watch on Netflix in the evening, but this is a game that’s really meant for playing on the big screen, not a tiddly pint-sized one in short bursts.

As such, I tried to refrain from playing too much over the holiday, lest I miss out on all its glorious majesty, so instead I finally started Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma – an apt choice given it’s set on New Years Eve. Thankfully, my surroundings were rather less lethal over the New Year, my greatest danger being an errant kitten claw as opposed to having my head chopped off with a chainsaw. Hopefully 2018 won’t make me wish it was the latter.

Brendan: It is the year of our Porg 2018 and I am back in Minecraft. Don’t judge me, I have my reasons. Caught amidst the screams and wails of the yearly clansmeet, I felt the need to isolate myself on some distant shore and survive by sticking my own hands in the dirt. Minecraft has always been that game for me. But then my girlfriend, long time admirer of Stardew Valley and cattle, saw me threatening a cow with a sword made out of wood and felt it her duty to come and make friends with every animal in the Overworld despite never playing the game before.

We now own a small farm in a peaceful valley. As I tinker with redstone and pistons on the ranch, she goes off on adventures. Sometimes I hear her screaming and understand that she has encountered a creeper. Yesterday she came back after four days in the wilderness and dumped a bunch of wool, string and other goodies into our stockpiles. “There’s nothing out there,” she said, and collapsed into the bed. I do not tell her that I have discovered obsidian in the depths below.

And you, delightful reader? What about you?

61 Comments

  1. GameCat says:

    I’ve finally had a chance to play Bloodborne and I want it so badly on PC but of course it’s not gonna happen. :(

    • Monggerel says:

      I think this is the exact feeling Freud was trying to describe when he slipped on the stairs, hit his head on a conveniently placed and all things considered quite inoffensive potted plant, drank some laudanum to ease the concussion, and coined the term “Penis Envy”.

      Welcome to the club, I guess. It’s surprisingly crowded in here.

      • EmilyMoore says:

        Google oppertunity: Start your home business right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 67$/hr just on a laptop. OK Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was $3700. Start here… Click Here And Start Work

  2. Spacewalk says:

    I played a bunch of Mortal Kombat and Samurai Shodown.

  3. StAUG says:

    “a firehose of ideas that rarely gets pointed in the most effective direction”

    Yup, that’s Quantum Break. The mini-series built into the show was.. yeah. It was.

  4. MiniMatt says:

    Well Mad Max Fury Rd was on Netflix, so naturally played a lot of Mad Max.

    It’s a surprisingly Christmassy game – you drive all over the place, just like Christmas. You help a bloke get his fairy light jumper working, just like Christmas. You feel a deep urge to harpoon your fellow human, just like Christmas.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      And you find a christmas tree in the desert surrounded by plastic manequins playing human beings, just like christmas.

  5. thaquoth says:

    For some crazy reason I’ve been playing hours of Spiderweb Software’s 1995 debut game Exile: Escape from the Pit.

    It’s… fascinating. I know the game has been remade twice – I ritualistically buy every Spiderweb game released – but there is something about the original Exile series…

    Maybe how it is very much not the “talk to person, follow quest marker, kill thing, get reward from person”-structure. It expects you to talk to people by – gosh – typing in keywords, make note of what they are saying, and then explore on your own. There is something the remakes, while being great games in their own right, lost in fleshing everything out with quests and quest markers and content and stuff and STUFF.

    Also applicable to basically every other CRPG.

  6. Mungrul says:

    Whilst marooned at the parents’ place in that there countryside, I played a fair old chunk of Zelda BOTW, and I still think it’s a massively over-hyped game that’s far too big for its own good. Still, it passed the time.

    And then when I got back to civilisation, I played a bit of Shadow Tactics, before getting sucked back in to The Division.

    I’m still really enjoying it, as it features the same addictive gameplay loops as something like Diablo 3, but at the same time is also a really rather good shooter, so you feel more in control than you do with Diablo 3. I’ve also managed to convince some friends in to playing it with me, and it makes for really rather good cooperative man-shooting too.

    And the Dark Zone is still an amazingly tense experience. While I’m utterly crap at PvP, I really don’t mind getting killed by others in the DZ. The risk is outlined for you quite heavily before you enter, so it’s very hard to get angry with folks for killing you when that’s half the point of being there.

    I had a lovely experience on New Year’s Eve actually. I’d gotten to an extraction point and was waiting for my gear to be helicoptered out, and thought I wasn’t in any danger. Pulse wasn’t revealing any enemies, either NPC or rogue players.

    Then with about 30 seconds to go, I got attacked by a renegade Santa.

    Panicking, I started behaving how I usually do in PvP situations. That is to say, I starting running around wildly while popping skills that would keep me alive and losing all concept of fire control while spraying bullets like I was a four year old holding on to a firehose.

    In my flailing, it took me a moment to realise I wasn’t dead within ten seconds, which is how PvP usually goes for me.
    It was then that I noticed four other players had arrived at the extraction point and were schooling Santa. He died very quickly.

    I effusively and happily said “Thank you gents! And a happy new year!” and got lots of joyous seasons greeting in return in a variety of European accents along with a jokey “Happy birthday!”

    And then my merry saviours went their own way without killing me!

    • poliovaccine says:

      Not being killed by strangers – truly this is the magic of xmas.

      • Mungrul says:

        Well, I had another similar encounter where another group of four did kill me, but were very nice about it.

        Again, I’d called in the extraction chopper and was waiting around, when these four guys appeared. A somewhat anxious exchange occurred:

        Me: “Er, hi guys! How you doing?” (I try to be as nice as possible to random potential murderers I meet. AND IN THE GAME.)

        Spokesperson: “Hullo! We’re just deciding whether to murder you or not!”

        Me: “Aw, please don’t guys! I’m just a lone noob!”

        Spokesperson: “Well, we are going to kill you, but we won’t take your stuff.”

        BLAM

        I bumped into the same group later and chirpily said “Hi guys! We must stop meeting like this!” which got a chuckle from them. This time, they didn’t murder me.
        Progress!

    • Crafter says:

      BOTW has some big downsides :

      – Since you get all the tools in the first couple of hours, there is no evolution in the design of the dungeons.
      – The story is shit even by the very low gaming standard .

      Still, it shows how to make an Ubi-explorathon that actually works as an exploration game (I strongly encourage anybody playing it to disable the HUD in the game options).

      So probably not worth the rave reviews, but still a very fun game IMO.

  7. Carra says:

    I finished Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. It’s more of the same but that’s great as I loved the previous game.

    And I bought and played about half through Assassins Creed: Oranges. I never cared about the previous games but I have to say, I’m enjoying this game. What I like most about this game is the setting. Walking around Alexandria, it feels like a real city. Makes me hope they visit Rome next.

    • michelangelo says:

      Yeah, tasty Oranges. I love desert riding most of it. And torch lighting the interiors of the pyramids. About what’s next, I’d say Japan is ready since the way of the samurai is pretty much established. Horse riding, arrow shooting? Already done. “Dress me into Ō-yoroi,” it says. I’d play.

      And Death of the Outsider. It is “to do” because Dishonored 2 is one of the most spectacular gaming experience of last years. Aesthetical porn really. Yet I’ll have to accept powers this time around, which I didn’t have to (and enjoyed greatly doing so) with Emily.

      • Carra says:

        If you loved Dishonored 2, you’ll enjoy playing Death of the Outsider.

        Spoiler: the outsider might die.

    • N'Al says:

      Rome was the setting in Brotherhood, so I highly doubt it.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        I think he means Ancient Rome, not Renaissance era, but nevertheless I don’t think they’d be going back to the city either even in a totally different era.

        • N'Al says:

          Exactly.

          The locations are one of the series’ biggest draws (‘virtual tourism’ and all that). Recycling one, even in a different time period, may possibly seriously limit the appeal – at least in Ubisoft’s eyes.

          Then again… how much did Rogue recycle of Black Flag?

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    I beat Cuphead, which I’m proud of, only around 15% of those who own the game have that achievement on Steam. I also finished Torment: Tides of Numenera. Barring a sluggish UI and some bugs it was great, very satisfying.

    I played the first Blackwell game. Nice worldbuilding, but I found the puzzles more fustrating than fun to be honest.

    Now I’m finally playing Life is Strange for the first time, and Death of the Outsider is on download.

    • Risingson says:

      The criticism I’d put on the Blackwell games, is that the puzzles are very easy and mundane. For each its own I guess. I love the saga but they are everything but challenging.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        Huh. Normally I don’t have trouble with adventure game puzzles and take pride in not looking up solutions, but here I had to do it several times.

  9. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Dead Cells, here. What a delightful surprise. It some how passed me by last year until you lot made it your GOTY. It is so very far up my street, definite Dark Souls vibes but split into sugar-rush, just-one-more-go, roguelitelike blasts. Great fun.

    And then yesterday I bought a Switch, so will be mostly playing Mario Kart and Odyssey in 2018.

  10. Ejia says:

    I’m not sure I did survive Christmas; possibly I died and am sending this from purgatory, where there is lots of filling food but all of it is cold leftovers.

  11. Risingson says:

    I was at my parents first and at my in laws later, so the only thing I played was the 3DS Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright. Which is awesome, much better than Dual Destinies and I’d say the whole Layton games. Yesterday with the hangover I played two more levels of Hexcells Infinite. Aaaand that’s it.

  12. Vacuity729 says:

    In this part of the world, the only holiday was Jan 1st; the seasonal holidays will be in mid-February, which is something to look forward to.
    Nevertheless, I spent a chunk of Jan 1st playing Thumper, which I’d bought on the Steam sale. Oh, my! It’s so good! Terrible at helping me relax, but fantastic at winding me up tighter than a spring. And I’ve had the rhythms stuck in my head all day today.

  13. michelangelo says:

    I wanted to go for original Life is Strange, which I touched only at its (schoolmates in the schoolyard) beginning, Rain World, with a similar chunk of game experienced, freshly bought Vanquish and, of course, my most anticipated game of the year, whose soundtrack I love and heard way too many times already—DUJANAH. Eventually, I played nothing at all. I polished my “10K DAYS ON EARTH” recap clip instead, which contains a chapter about games and that was my closest encounter with games over the holidays.

    Anyway, Happy New Year RPS )) Keep rocking!

  14. poliovaccine says:

    Went back to Mafia II, actually. The wintry city is super appealing, seeing it artistically rendered makes me hate the real winter slightly less, and I’ve always loved the (first two thirds of the) series.

    It’s really too bad – it came out in the time when everyone wanted everything to be open world and full of minigames and collectibles and stuff, before Ubisoft went and proved to everyone that man never wants what he thinks he wants.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      That is a beautiful game really. The city never manages to fell quite as “alive” as a GTA game, but it’s still very well done all the same. The sound design in that game (especially the guns) is some of my all time favorite.

  15. Deano2099 says:

    I played Dangan Ronpa: Ultra Despair Girls on PS Vita but it’s on Steam…. bloody hell is this a game with confused gender politics.

    Likely the only game I’ve ever played where both leads and PCs are women, and much of the plot is trying to rescue a prince from a dungeon, a prince who is regularly sexualised by one of the PCs.

    But then it handles the sexual abuse background of one of the antagonists sooo badly, and there’s a mini game where you have to avoid being groped by a machine designed by the underage abused antagonist who cheerily tells you “by the way, this isn’t child pornography, it’s the opposite so it’s fine”.

    Then there’s a boss battle where apropos of nothing your clothes fall off when you get hit.

    Bizarre game.

  16. Czrly says:

    I played a lot of IKEA Assembly Engineer, which is a lot like Minecraft except that the block aren’t all cubes and you get to use your creation in real life. And you need to shove all the other furniture into a corner to make room for the Assembly Area, which resulted in my water-cooled monstrosity moving to and subsequently remaining fixedly in place underneath a bunch of other furniture, completely useless to me.

    I also read books and solved Tsumego.

    And researched monitors because my wife laid claim to my Dell 27″ QHD IPS for her Matlab work and won’t give it back.

    I’ve ordered one of these: link to philips.co.uk

  17. happydan says:

    Been trying out this game called The Witcher 3. It’s quite good. Anyone else heard of it? Thoughts? I wish more people knew about it to support the developer.

  18. Premium User Badge

    alison says:

    Christmas night i did a few playthroughs of Hatoful Boyfriend, which was… interesting. I’ve never played a dating sim before and now don’t think i ever need to again.

    I also walked through a few more days of 21 Days, which is an excellent concept, but much like Papers Please it turns out to be a boring game after the first week or so. Makes me want to go back and play North again.

    A Normal Lost Phone was excellent.

    One Eyed Kutkh was also a delight.

    Burly Men at Sea feels a little slow on my ~4 year old tablet so i might wait on that till i buy a new one, or at least wait until i’ve finished all the other games that still perform well.

    The highlight of the festive season for me was The Sea Will Claim Everything. That’s got to be one of the most perfectly-formed adventure games i’ve ever played. Very funny, and surreal, and poignant too. I would love to find more games like that. I checked out Steam and found out the dev also did a platform game and first-person puzzler, but they’re not really my genres so i don’t know if i would enjoy them. Any thoughts?

  19. Dinger says:

    Well, I checked in on Heat Signature to see how their Space Winter would be. Turns out it’s just some colored lights, the Void Mother, and a gift-giving mechanic, where, each day, you can give and receive one item among friends.
    Well, I have nine friends on steam who own Heat Signature, and it turns out only one played during Space Winter, a friend from the Rock Paper Satan days of Solium Infernum battles.
    This guy gave me the “The Eldritch Device”(or something similarly named). In Heat Signature, most of the items are weapons, shields, teleporters, time-slowers, keystealers, and similar useful tools. But the game has this anonymous-PG heist vibe going, so you play as a series of disposable players with PG names who go about doing PG assassinations, rescues, kidnappings, hijacks, and thefts. In the case of a theft, you steal a Magical Guffin, an object with a procedurally-generated name, like “The Eldritch Device”, and the description: “You have no idea what this does.” Early in the game, I tested one of these, and it was truly useless: the most use I found for a MacGuffin was, in desperation, I knocked someone out by throwing one at the head.

    And now this guy gave me a MacGuffin for space winter! That meant that he intentionally failed a mission just to send me this piece of space junk that purely has the role of fulfilling the narrative of a now-failed mission.

    What’s this all about then?
    I tried to give it myself as a gift.
    “No Re-Gifting!” was the message.
    Fine, I sold it for eight bucks. Then, I found the most useless piece of garbage: an old wrench, or a crappy pistol, named it after my “benefactor”, and sent it off.
    The next day, I sent some more trash.
    The day after that, I decided to give a totally sweet, self-charging Visitor; a teleporter that transports you somewhere else for two seconds. Self-charging meant that, after a cooldown, it could be used again. I named it the “Anti-n. Device”, where n. was my Space Scrooge’s name.

    I continued in a vein until a couple days after Space Christmas.
    Then I got a message on Steam Chat:
    “Why are you putting my name on a bunch of objects?”
    I explained my indignance at the gift. He replied:

    “All green items are a regular item with its name and description hidden. You can equip and use them like any other item. You just have to use them to figure out what they are.”

    Dammit. I’d missed an important gameplay element. He even had an explanation for that:

    “If it’s something that needs a person target, like a swapper, then it won’t do anything unless you click on a target.”

    So my first MacGuffin was something like a Swapper, and I grew up thinking they all were, by definition, pointless. But, they weren’t, they were items like all the others, only the game didn’t explicitly say what they did, and if you kept them (or, in the case of expendable items, even used them), you lost the mission.

    So, my benefactor explained:

    I was thinking like, “Sure, other people can give you a self-charging mega-doohickey, but the self-charging mega-doohickeys I give out are special.”

    I replied: “Now I see. You truly gave the greatest gifts.”

    And I returned the favor with garbage. So I took the finest self-charging mega-doohickey I had, and put it in the chute.
    So thanks, roBurky, for teaching me the true meaning of Space Winter.

    • Premium User Badge

      kfix says:

      I enjoyed this story.

    • Shinard says:

      Excellent story. I must pick up Heat Signature one day…

      Oh, you reminded me. Is Rock Paper Satan still active? The Solium Infernum epic is my favourite piece from all of RPS history, but whenever I’m tempted to bite the bullet and buy the game I worry that there won’t be anyone to play with. Are there still people playing, and does a newcomer stand a chance against them?

      • Dinger says:

        Vic Davis is a genius, but his skills were never aligned with the videogame temporal profitability matrix. He quit videogames in early 2015, from his statement, one could infer that it was in part because his training was on high-level (Adobe) middleware, and in part because the revenue just wasn’t there. So he’d be going to physical (=card) games. And, hell, I have to say that his games were a major influence on mainstream games adopting a “cardgame” mechanic. But I haven’t seen any movement on the game scene from him in nearly three years.

        As for Solium Infernum — truth be told, I haven’t played it in years. But it is the kind of awesome game that, were someone to propose an “Infernal Revival Tour”, I’d probably help pitch that tent. Satanically speaking, of course.

  20. aoanla says:

    Increasingly, the winter holiday period is the time I actually have both the time and energy to play games (as opposed to most of the rest of the year).

    So, I played a lot of Opus Magnum, which is interesting as a return to the “geometric programming” of SpaceChem, but with the UI and engagement lessons from TIS-100 and Shenzen-IO,

    and played a bit of Getting Over It, which I am fascinated by my lack of frustration with, despite being terrible at it. (I think it’s because it never *stops you from playing*, or sets you back in any other way than sending you back, rapidly, down the mountain. I’d be more frustrated if it took away “earned stuff” from me, or made me wait to load a level or play a cutscene every time I messed up.)

    A thing I have noted is that I’ve not returned to either Heat Signature, or XCOM2:WotC, both of which have half-done playthroughs (in the sense, for Heat Sig, that there’s tons of stuff left to unlock in the galaxy), since I put them down several months back at the end of my previous bit of holiday time.

  21. Solidstate89 says:

    Finished a Mortal Empires campaign in TwarHammer 2 as the High Elves. Played some XCOM 2: WOTC which was actually my first time playing since I beat the original XCOM. Also picked up Wolfenstein 2 in the Steam sale and a great fucking time blasting Nazis and Klansmen in the face with a shotgun.

    Didn’t get around to finishing Dishonored 2 like I wanted though.

  22. criskywalker says:

    I played some Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Ultimate, which I got during the last Steam sale and it’s pretty fun and also seems much better than Infinite. It’s great to finally have all these so called consoles exclusives to play on PC.

    I also played some Pyre, which seems great as it is to be expected from the studio.

    I also had fun playing Overcooked which is great to play with friends.

  23. Rikard Peterson says:

    Christmas means time for couch-multiplayer, so for me it was mostly the return to Speedrunner, along with finally buying RPS favourite Rocket League which completely lived up to my expectations.

  24. N'Al says:

    With only access to my phone over Christmas I played The Elder Scrolls Legends. I’m happy I was able to complete the campaign with the cards I got for free, but it’s clear anything further will require serious grind (a new campaign, for example, costs 3k gold; I’ve got less than 500 so far). The game was fun, but not enough for me to through any real money at it.

  25. Mi-24 says:

    I’ve mainly been playing Lego marvel Superheroes 2 and listening to sherlock holmes stories off the radio all while drinking tea and eating Christmas chocolate. I had my apprehensions about the game but it is possibly the best realisation of what the lego games are all about. Wish they had more of the historical stuff vs futurey stuff tho. Riding a horse as lego Gamora from guardians of the galaxy around ancient Egypt is so silly and fun.

    BTW Alice that photo looks lovely (especially compared to the drizzly grey london I’ve been occupying lately)

  26. LennyLeonardo says:

    Surely you meant to say ‘chocolate origins’?!

  27. Captain Narol says:

    I’ve been very sick so I just played idle games and card games that I can play with half-closed eyes :

    – Football Manager 2017
    – Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
    – Eternal Card Game
    – Magic Duels

    When I felt better, I also played some roman-themed stuff as I was in the mood for some roman-themed stuff :

    – Qvadriga
    – Age of Gladiators

  28. juan_h says:

    I spent a fair bit of time trying to get Street Fighter IV to run properly on Linux. It did not go entirely well. I got the Training and Challenge modes to work with keyboard input, but almost nothing else works. Arcade mode crashes to desktop every time (I think it’s a WMV issue) and the game doesn’t seem to want to launch at all any more when there’s a controller plugged in. Oh how I wish Capcom had not given up on that Linux port for Street Fighter V.

    As I was in an apparently masochistic mood, I also started an Ironman campaign in XCOM: Enemy Within with a couple of the Second Wave options enabled. Marathon mode is okay. It’s supposed to “make the game longer”. I’m not too sure about that, but it definitely makes satellite rushes more difficult, as Satellite facilities seem to require more Engineers and more time to build. I ended up going with six Uplinks, because it would have taken nearly two full months to finish constructing a Nexus. And I don’t think I care for Training Roulette, which semi-randomizes your soldiers’ skill choices. Sometimes it’s nice, as, for example, classes other than Support can now sometimes get the Sprinter ability. But otherwise it’s pretty inconvenient, as not one of the nearly two dozen soldiers I’ve recruited has ever been able to choose the ability that would allow them to use a medkit multiple times. All of my medics are awful. I’ve heard people complain that soldiers in a particular XCOM class all end up too same-y, but that’s never really struck me as a problem. (I like my soldiers to be thoroughly substitutable rather than irreplaceable.) Even if it is, I’m not sure that Training Roulette fixes it.

  29. Darth Gangrel says:

    Alice didn’t play anything!? (Alice is fired…)

    I watched lots of movies during Christmas and played lots of Shadow of Mordor during the New Years Eve weekend (like 25 hours in 3 days). You can really spend a lot of time with it without tiring, but now I actually am a bit tired of it and mostly just want to do the main quests.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Waltorious says:

    I was visiting family and only had my aging laptop, so mostly I just continued my two Solium Infernum games. Towards the end, however, I decided to start the original Dragon Quest (aka Dragon Warrior in the US). It’s quite interesting in that it borrowed a lot from Western RPGs even as it was inventing the Japanese-style RPG.

  31. Ben King says:

    I picked up and played some Invisible inc at RPS’s suggestion during the holiday sale. the first 3 missions were fine but didn’t really tickle my fancy. the FOURTH mission though gave me the chance to essentially double my mission payout for some more risk, and having not yet lost an agent I sprung for it dawdling deep into Level 6 security and everyone died terrible deaths. it was good fun. Also tried a little DIY D&D dungeon with a home brew rpg ruleset called “maze rats” with my sister and had a good time for a couple hrs over video chat.

  32. elvirais says:

    American Truck Simulator. I built a new PC over the holidays, then got to test the New Mexico state that’s just been added. Some nice quiet driving.

  33. Crafter says:

    Doom on switch.

    A blast to be able to enjoy this game on a mobile form factor. It overstayed its welcome though .. one more level and I would not have finished it.

    There is also a big balance problem.
    The game itself is very easy even on a switch. Always stay mobile and you will very rarely die.
    On the contrary I had to retry some of the challenges 10 or 20 times before completing them.

  34. darrrrkvengeance says:

    The Black Watchmen’s most recent live event pulled me back into that universe for several delightful days. otherwise, i mostly played The Sexy Brutale and A House of Many Doors.

  35. Vasily R says:

    I worked most of the holiday weeks (yay holiday pay!), so didn’t have much time for gaming. I did play a little bit of Hearts of Iron 4 though.

  36. malkav11 says:

    Not very much, honestly. For the holidays proper I am generally away from my main computer and while I bring a 3DS or other handheld, I almost never actually break them out. For me, vacations away from home generally involve a lot of reading and, in this modern era, Netflix on my iPad or on my hosts’ TV if watching with them. Occasionally HBO Go, mostly Netflix.

    However, before and after, a lot of MMO holiday eventing. The Santa bear event and the shiba inu hat (currently ongoing) events in FFXIV. Krampusnacht in Secret World Legends. the Festival of Bells in Hex: Shards of Fate. The mime invasion in Kingdom of Loathing. Mostly KoL and SWL, to be honest, as they had much more involved events with daily rewards, whereas FFXIV’s two events are one off quests and Hex’s is just an extra bonus for doing tournaments and dungeons, and your useful quota of the latter is down to one each of two pieces of equipment and four copies of the card, so once you have those the only reason to fuss about it further is for possible resale value.

    Oh, and I beat Gorogoa, which is absolutely stunning, on PC, then immediately rebought it on iPad and made my mom, who is not usually a gamer, play it through as well with my help. She was into it enough that she launched into a second playthrough immediately. So good.

  37. kelmorg says:

    The Division 1.8. There’s something that resonates with me about playing the Division in the winter. Seasonal gaming.

  38. bonuswavepilot says:

    Mostly been Halfway and I Am Setsuna this hols for me.

    Halfway is quite good for a sort of stripped-down X-Com-style tactical shooty sort of thing. It does have the odd difficulty spike in a side mission which will throw lots more baddies at you than usual though. Retro graphical style is done with some love and works well, provided you don’t mind a bit of bloom. Camera occasionally irritating – best played with mouse & kb.

    I Am Setsuna has been interesting… Been many a year since I bothered sinking into JRPG systems in any depth, but I do like the way Setsuna seems to give you some basics about how things work and then just let you discover how deep they go for yourself. Hard to gauge how essential using all the various bits and pieces is – I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it is the sort of game one can ‘break’ by becoming massively over-powered in certain ways, but then it also feels like the sort of game that might have optional super-bad-guys for that kind of situation. Very JRPG, in other words. Has the usual in-game cut scenes and linear story the genre generally carries with it too.

  39. brutaldeluxe09 says:

    I’m half way through Hellblade, though it has some positives, I’m finding it pretty disappointing so far to be honest. I’ve also started Homeworld Remastered which I’m enjoying a lot.

  40. Someoldguy says:

    Christmas was all about Jenga and Beyblade for us. Just finding some more serious gaming time after New Year.