It’s summer, and most of the lockdown stuff is ending (for now), so hopefully people have things to do outside in the real world instead of playing video games all day.
However, we all know we’re going back into Virus World in a few months, and the Steam Summer Sale is on, so I figured I’d give some comments on some vidya I like. I recommend you play these games – but only when you don’t have the option to be outside playing sports or doing nature stuff (which should always come before video games).
I primarily play CRPGs and tactical combat games. My favorite games combine the two. I’m also a big fan of city builders and colony sims, particularly if they have some kind of combat element, or other features beyond economy.
I don’t generally like real time games, and definitely do not like FPS. I do not take that position to be edgy or whatever, it’s just a preference. I enjoy watching streams of CSGO and PUBG, but I don’t play them (partially because I’m not good at them, and also partially because ever since GoldenEye, FPS have given me varying degrees of motion sickness).
Also, I have generally been on the “boycott all big Jew gaming companies” train for years and years now. I bought Cyberpunk 2077, and that was such complete garbage, it will probably be the last big studio game I ever buy. (The last one I actually enjoyed from a big studio was Red Dead Redemption 2.)
All of these games are from small, independent studios (save for Wasteland 3, technically, as the studio was bought by M$ at the very end of development, as I will mention below).
My Recent Roguelite Fixation
Since coronavirus, I’ve gotten into roguelites.
The first roguelite I really enjoyed was called UnderMine. It is similar to The Binding of Isaac (which I’ve never played because it has satanic themes).
UnderMine is super-fun at first, but gets repetitive pretty quick. The pixel fantasy aesthetic is fun and nostalgic, and it feels like an old Zelda dungeon. You can customize builds through choices, but it pretty much comes down to either melee or ranged, and there’s not a huge amount of options.
I give UnderMine a 7/10.
The next one that I got obsessed with was Spelunky 2. It was a 2D platformer as opposed to having an overhead view. However, this game has human sacrifices to the Indian demon goddess Kali. It does it in a really jokey way, which I didn’t think much of – and then while playing this game, I got sick for the first time in more than ten years. I stopped playing the game, and do not recommend you play this game or any other game featuring human sacrifice (no matter how jokey).
I then got into Hades, which is similar to Undermine in terms of the overhead view, but has many more customizations in terms of the builds you can make with weapons and powerups. It also has a very fun progression system, so even though it’s a roguelite, where you are just doing short runs, you feel as though you’re progressing, giving it a bit of action RPG flavor.
It’s basically the perfect form of the overhead version of the roguelite genre. I also personally enjoy the Greek mythology mixed with comic book aesthetics over the vague SNES Zelda vibes of UnderMine.
I give Hades a 9/10.
Presently, I’ve been playing Neon Abyss. I’d been looking for a game similar to Spelunky that didn’t have human sacrifice, and this is one that seemed to fit the bill, and had good reviews. The game is good but not great. It’s fast paced and intense, and really does strain your field of vision as you try to monitor all of the moving parts. The aesthetics are a lot of fun. It goes with the pixilated style we all associate with SNES (which is kind of wrong, because SNES games never looked this good), and has a backdrop of a cyberpunk-style version of the underworld.
There are heavy vibes of the old NES Contra games (and similar), which I like a lot.
The game has no story really, which is preferable to Hades having way too much story. I guess I’m ambivalent about how much story a game like this should have, but it feels like Hades had too much and Neon Abyss has too little. One of the more frustrating things about the game is that you get very few choices as to how you build your character. You find items randomly, and just get whatever they give you. So you can end up with upgrades that incentivize spending coins alongside upgrades that incentivize holding coins. The only thing you can choose is your gun. But there are so many different guns that function in so many different ways (which itself is a plus), and they don’t have descriptions until you buy them. You can also buy items (as opposed to finding them, which is the normal way). There are too many to remember, which remains an issue until you’ve played tens of hours of the game. So you’re basically guessing on buying any gun or item.
Another thing I am against is that the game has difficulty settings. I do not believe that games like this should have difficulty settings, and most do not. Instead, the difficulty should scale as you progress. When there are multiple difficulties, I personally feel like I’m cheating if I put it on anything other than “hard,” as I believe that is what the game designers generally design the game to be played at. I’ve been playing the game on hard mode, but this game can be pretty frustrating sometimes, as you can end up dying and losing a run you’ve been on for 35 minutes in really stupid ways that leave you feeling cheated.
But there’s a feature of eggs that turn into “pets” that follow you, and it’s unique and funny. And one of them is Donald Trump (who grabs your money).
This pissed off some people on reddit.
The bosses are all internet meme related. There is a shitcoin boss, who shoots a deadly cryptocurrency that sometimes turns into real gold.
I imagine there are some other funny things as you get deeper into the game.
I think people who enjoy roguelites built to mimic the old sidescroller games of the 1990s will have fun with this game.
All things considered, I give Neon Abyss a 6/10 (but it’s hard to deny at the price).
My Games I Actually Play Mostly and Always Recommend
I wanted to comment on the roguelites, because it’s an interesting genre that is easy to pick up for a break here and there when you’re working from home and quickly put down. They’re not really “immersive.”
However, the main thing I wanted to point out is that my two favorite recent RPGs are on sale right now, along with a great tactics game.
Wasteland 3 is, I believe, the best CRPG ever made. The spiritual successor to Fallout 1 & 2, it contains all the fun of those games with all the benefits of a modern UI.
The story is as good as you will ever find in a video game (with a lot of right-wing in-jokes). The core gameplay is the tactical combat, which is quite simply just as good, if not better, than XCOM’s tactical combat. This is a game you’ll be glad has difficulty settings.
Despite the isometric simplicity, it feels totally cinematic. The music is fantastic, and includes many original covers of old gospel songs and other things you will like.
The company that made it, inXile (which has many of the people who worked on the original Fallout games and other classic CRPGs), was bought by Microsoft when the game was almost finished. I thought they would add some gay and black stuff, but they didn’t – other than tacking on the option to choose a gay or WFBM couple at the beginning of the game as premade characters. But of course, no one who plays CRPGs chooses premade characters (except maybe in Divinity: OS 2, where they have backstories that you miss if you create your own characters).
What the Microsoft money mainly went to was full voice acting for all the dialogue. I generally don’t like that in my CRPGs for the same reason I don’t like books on tape – I think it’s more fun to do the voices in your own head. But the voice acting is top notch, and I left it on through my first playthrough (you can just turn it off).
So, just ignore that, blame Microsoft, and you will have a fully un-faggotized gaming experience. Yes, you can side with the woman to bring down the patriarchy, but you’re not compelled to. However, you may want to side with the robot Ronald Reagan against the patriarch, if you so choose. There is no morality in the game, and if anything, “The Patriarch” is the good guy. You can also kill refugees, and one of the main gangs of bad guys are a Mexican clown gang.
I love everything about this game, and really can’t recommend it highly enough. Millennials who remember the old school CRPGs will love it, and it will hold the attention of ADD zoomers.
Wasteland 3 is 10/10.
The other top CRPG I recommend is Disco Elysium. This is a Russian game from a guy who is maybe a leftist, but it is filled with right-wing references. You can actually even become a complete fascist, with all of the memes.
The game has no combat, and would really be a visual novel if it wasn’t for the dice roll system, which is primarily in dialogue (you roll to see if you can convince people of things, or draw up the emotional strength to make arguments).
It is a top notch detective story in its own right, game aside. You play as [name is a spoiler], a down-and-out cop in a dystopian otherworldly/sci-fi/steampunk version of the 1990s former USSR.
It’s difficult to even describe the mechanics of this game. The core gameplay is story, but they mixed in all of these various ways to build your psychotic character by choosing his thought patterns and mental traits. It’s truly unique, and I’m hoping that more people will pick up on this new and innovative kind of gameplay and make more games like this (frankly, it was clear that the writers of Wasteland 3 had played Disco Elysium, which was released more than a year and a half earlier).
The team recently released a (totally free!) “final cut” version of the game with full voice-acted narration. I was a little bit disappointed with the narrator, though I don’t like all that voice narration anyway, so in my playthrough of the Final Cut, I just turned it off. Unless you’re too ADD to read hundreds of thousands of words (over maybe a 40-hour playthrough), I recommend setting the audio to “classic mode,” which has a few voice actors but no narration (you have to read the parts that aren’t being spoken and a lot of the spoken parts). However, some people don’t like reading that much, so maybe they will prefer the narration.
Like every game on this list, it’s indie (almost entirely made by one guy, actually), so the graphics are minimalist (made in Unity) but the game contains a huge amount of painted art, all of which is fantastic.
Disco Elysium is 10/10.
In a completely different genre is Phoenix Point. This was created by the original creator of XCOM who got his IP stolen by the Jews. It is much better than XCOM 2, frankly, in pretty much every way. All of the mechanics are better – including the aiming system, which prevents the retarded “miss at point blank” phenomenon XCOM players are so familiar with.
It has a great mix of scifi and Lovecraftian cosmic horror that feels much less stale than the XCOM themes.
The only issue I take with the game is that it sort of overextended itself on the economy aspect, implementing elements of basically 4X gaming, and the economy still feels unbalanced. I haven’t played it in nearly a year, and was hoping that they would take my advice and hire someone with experience with 4X games to fix the economy. The tactical combat, which is the core gameplay, is just perfect, so it is sad that you can get bogged down in economy stuff which should just be there to support the core tactical gameplay.
The devs have shown high dedication, and some economy issues have been fixed (the issue is that they end up breaking other things). The economy can also interfere with the story, as you’re supposed to be heroes, but when you get to a certain level of gameplay, the only way to get resources is to engage in terroristic piracy. Long story short, there are three factions and the devs thought you would side with one or two and then have the third declare war on you (in which case it would make sense to be robbing them), but the natural way most players end up going is to try to maintain peace with all three factions (since they each give you unique bonuses and special missions). The game doesn’t prevent you from leveling out the relations with the three factions, but then you have to resort to robbing people you’re aligned with for resources.
The part that ends up being hilarious is that you get resources from rescuing the different factions when they are attacked, but if you kill alien bases, they no longer need rescuing. So there is an incentive to allow the aliens to spread, so they will get attacking bases, so you can keep getting resources as a reward. It ends up that you’re working with the aliens to scam post apocalypse survivors, a bit like how Alex Jones describes the CIA working with Moslem terrorist groups in order to get funding for their wars. If you can get into role-playing as fake heroes that are actually using the aliens to cause terrorism to fund a war machine, the narrative works and the economy sort of works.
The game is very similar to XCOM 2, it’s just a lot better in terms of the tactics. But because XCOM had more money, it is more polished around the edges.
(Please do not mind the fact some of the art includes a black man standing next to a white woman – you can make all your own characters and choose their race.)
I give it an 8/10 (but if they fix the economy, it will be pretty much a perfect 10/10 game).
Phoenix Point is 50% off at $24.99.
A recent city builder that I had a lot of fun with last year was Tropico 6. It has strategy elements, but is primarily focused on economy. It has fun characters and themes, and would probably qualify as a “right wing game.”
I’d give it an 8/10.
Frostpunk is a different kind of city builder. It is a colony sim survival game. It’s pretty high difficulty. I like the aesthetics and gameplay a lot, but the story elements are kind of depressing and tedious. It’s a really original game though – I’ve never played anything else like this.
The economy is always really tight and you’re always struggling to keep people alive, so it creates a tension that most colony sims don’t have.
I give it 8/10.
Lastly, I have to mention SnowRunner.
This is a physics-based truck simulator, which is more autistic than Stardew Valley, and yet is somehow mesmerizing. I despise the upgrade system, and the smaller “scouting” trucks are not balanced at all and do stupid things that make no sense (probably because the physics were built for the big trucks), but it is in many ways close to perfect.
Note: this gameplay is very, very slow.
Also, please be warned that despite the name, only one of three levels is snowy.
I give it 8/10.
I can’t receive normal donations, so a lot of people buy me video games. So I have a lot more video games than I have money. It’s kind of a weird life dynamic, but I get to try out a lot more games than the average person, despite the fact I have often struggled to pay for basic things, and have had to fire most of the staff (remember to donate, plz).
During the various stages of the Virus Hoax, I had time to play games, and the above are the ones that I really ended up spending time on. They are all good.
At some point, maybe I will do a write-up of the worst games I’ve played (because there have been a lot of bad ones).
For those interested, all of these games can be played while listening to podcasts in the background, save for Wasteland 3 and Disco Elysium. That is of course my preferred method of gaming, though I do love a good immersive RPG.
The Steam Summer Sale ENDS in the morning on July 8.