~The Game Pass Thread~

Rewarded for being a cheapskate!

I went back and tried out The Pedestrian some more over the past couple days. I have a more favorable opinion of it, though I’m not sure yet if I really like it. It’s interesting but I’m not sure it explains the things you can do or, more importantly, the things you should do to solve all the puzzles (and some of those puzzles are balls hard). Maybe I’m just missing some subtle cues or I’m just a dummy, but I didn’t really know how I solved some puzzles, and others I just kind of brute forced, trying different stuff until something clicked into place. Still on the fence about this one.

One of the best stealth games ever made, in its complete form. The podcasters on Crate and Crowbar called it “boringly perfect”, meaning only that it was perfect, but not in a new way, just in a way that began in 2016 and has been iteratively improved since then.

I’ve played it some and while the environments are pretty, the puzzles seem completely uninteresting to me.

I tried Hitman again and again and could never get into it… and I stupidly want to try again with the latest iteration.

Same here. I tried with the original, then whichever one was on Xbox, then Blood Money, then Hitman 2016. I just didn’t have the patience required. But Hitman 3? It’s going to be my jam. This time it’s the one!

I highly recommend turning on the Opportunities/Mission Stories system for your first playthrough of a level - either the full monty, with mission markers and everything, or the hint-type popups. They help orient you to the level, keep you focused on an objective, and show you some funny/good story stuff. They also teach you a few ways to move through the level–which you can then iterate on later.

I did this a few times until I felt solid, and then went ham on each level, going super deep and doing lots of challenges and generally fooling around and letting crazy emergent stuff happen. A buddy followed each Mission Story for each level (there’s like 3 or 5 for each) and then moved on to a new level, feeling great. They’re great as training wheels, or as a full experience.

I finally tried out Boyfriend Dungeon and it is surprisingly charming. I think the zelda-style dungeons will eventually cause me to stop playing though.

I also tried getting into Hitman a few times over the last few years, and it wasn’t until last year that I finally got into it. I stopped caring about perfect runs and scores and just did missions and opportunities which seemed fun.

Changing that mindset - going with the flow, avoiding a need for perfection - enabled me to sink into the systems far more comfortably, and really get into the series. With that comfort, it was then much more fun to breeze through the campaign once and later go back to missions to repeat them for other goals.

Such a great series!

Yeah, that’s definitely what I need to do. I guess that’s why I keep trying… I’m aware that it’s not Hitman, it’s me that’s the problem!

Yeah, that’s hard for me. When a mission goes wrong, and it often does, I just want to quit and then come back later and reload a saved game. But then, all that does is just makes the Hitman games feel like a series of failures that I have to endure.

This was supposed to be a celebration post but now I’m pretty sure I will be noping out of my Archvale on Hard run.

I busted my ass to get through the final boss fight and I did it!.. only to discover it was merely Phase One. Along comes another huge health bar at the top of the screen and I have to fight the little dude who has been helping me all along and I just got instantly creamed.

Then my heart sank as I realized there probably wouldn’t be a checkpoint… and there was no checkpoint.

Fuck that.

This reminds me of the fact that in the last few years, I’ve stopped playing three or four games on the final boss because the challenge was just not fun, and I felt like I had otherwise seen what the game had to offer. Two of them are Blasphemous and Sundered. I guess I also bailed on Hollow Knight without beating the secret boss. I got better things to do!

The most satisfying ending to a game is beating a final boss that was just within your capabilities. Slightly less satisfying is beating one fairly easily but still enjoying the ending. The absolute worst is being unable to finish the game because the boss is ridiculously difficulty with only the very best getting to finish the game. Ugh.

If I was a dev, I’d probably think “You know what, the player got all this freakin’ way, let’s not make this difficult”.

I bailed on Crosscode’s last puzzle before the final boss - plus nowadays you can just pull up a walkthrough on Youtube, and watch the part you didn’t finish. Although I must have been burning out because I remember a bit of the final boss fight and I don’t remember anything about the ending - had to look it up to remember what the “big reveal” was…

I think there’s a huge disparity in developer styles from “the player can have fun however they want, I’d never recommend you enable any of these options but feel free to mix and match” all the way to “you must play the game in the one true way to see it as originally intended”.

I remember how in Wolfenstein the New Order I played the game almost all the way through on Normal but just couldn’t beat the last damn boss to save my life. It sure would have helped to at least have a save anywhere option so I could come to that fight better prepared but nooooo.

I finally gave up after five or six tries and switched it to easy.

Trying to decide where “had to turn the difficulty down” is on the scale, and I think that’s worse than it being too easy but better than not having the option at all. It feels like the devs didn’t get the difficulty right and you had to “cheat” to win.

I realise it’s hard to accommodate everyone’s abilities, but I’d have thought if the player was good enough to reach the final boss, the boss shouldn’t be much harder than that. I think I prefer it when earlier game bosses are harder.

I’m definitely a “hoard all the good stuff just in case” - especially for RPGs - so it’s nice if the final boss is tough enough that you definitely feel like you need to use everything to win (and is super clear that “this is the time to use it”), but also easy enough that you’re not just doing boring safe things. I’ve definitely “accidentally” finished the game and not used the “you can only use this once but it’s supposed to be amazing” item because I didn’t realise or forgot about it, and I’ve also “won” the game by doing some ultra cheese because anything else is a one hit KO… I still remember bits of the final fight in Chrono Trigger just because it was somehow a super epic fight including a bit of a “greatest hits” track of the entire game by bringing back some older bosses and their mechanics…

Game design is hard - glad I can just play games and complain ;)

I didn’t mind the incredibly tough boss fights in Archvale… that Banished Executioner I wrote about a few days ago turned out to be a lot harder than the next two. Beating that guy felt like a huge victory. But I really don’t like the egregious removal of a checkpoint between two insane bosses right at the end. That seems cheap to throw in only at the end.

These bullet hell boss fights aren’t fun tests of skill like Nioh 2 or Sekiro… they’re just arcade twitch-fests where you get better at dancing around or dashing through all the bullets and laser beams. But two in a row is lunacy.

And it doesn’t help that I feel like the only one in the world playing it. :D I’d say 50 hours is enough for that little Game Pass trifle. (I still had a blast and recommend it highly… but maybe play on Normal.) And now I can get to some of those AAA games I bought during the winter sale!

Effing done! All campaigns finished!