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  1. pinholestar

    Anthem - Demo 25/01 (VIP) 01/02 (Open) - Pre DL 23/01

    Your pilot is distinct from your Javelin though, so I assume not.
  2. pinholestar

    The Division 2

    I remember reading that all the drastic changes they made to the way that damage and stats work in the endgame had the knock-on effect of completely borking the early game for new players. May well be the case that they never took the time to fix it as it wasn’t really a priority by that point in the game’s lifecycle. It was never a cakewalk but the early game definitely shouldn’t be that hard, so something’s not right.
  3. pinholestar

    Battlefield V

    Oh ffs please tell me that last one isn’t true.
  4. pinholestar

    Battlefield V

    Some decent stuff in that patch but some of the more glaring bugs and annoyances have yet to be fixed. Assignment tracking is a right pain in the ass (I shouldn’t have to quit a match to select a new one, for example) and I hope they’re right when they say that they’re very close to fixing the lack of company coin being rewarded once you’ve hit rank 50. Bit of a joke that that was allowed to go unchecked for months. I notice that the slight reduction to the minimum damage for the Gewehr-43 means it’ll no longer be a guaranteed 3-hit kill. Fuckers.
  5. pinholestar

    Official Mixed Martial Arts Thread

    Probably a bit yeah. In all honesty the only Cejudo fight I can remember watching was his fight with Mighty Mouse in which he was quite impressive to be fair. It’s sometimes quite easy to dismiss the abilities of a fighter that you haven’t watched that much when they come up against one that you have. But TJ’s so good I just can’t see beyond him winning comfortably. If he’s having a nasty weight cut it could change things but he seems to be on track with that so far judging from reports.
  6. pinholestar

    Monster Hunter: World

    I had the same thing with the longsword. Tried out a few of the other weapons but once you’ve mastered the moveset of one of them it’s so satisfying to use that it’s a struggle to let it go.
  7. pinholestar

    Official Mixed Martial Arts Thread

    I think TJ will smoke him. Almost seems like a mismatch to me. For sheer MMA ability and skill I rate TJ as probably the best in the UFC. Standard ‘it’s MMA so you just never know’ caveat applies of course.
  8. I only really played the big guns this year so my list is pretty heavy on the mega blockbusters. Not quite up to the outrageous 2017 in terms of quality of releases it was still a great year that saw some stunning games released. I still need to play the likes of Spider-Man, Hitman 2 and Far Cry 5 and there's a whole load of smaller indie titles like Dead Cells and Hollow Knight that are on my radar too. 2019 is looking like it could be a great year with the likes of Sekiro coming out and the backlog is ever growing. What a time to be alive as a fan of videogames. Game of the Year A1. Red Dead Redemption 2 Leaden and sluggish controls that in the quest for visual authenticity place animation priority above all else and sometimes demand the dexterity of an octopus. Outdated and infuriatingly prescriptive missions that impose fail states for committing the heinous crime of walking ten metres away from an NPC. Pointless gameplay systems and mechanics that serve no real appreciable purpose. A paper thin veneer of a reactive world of NPCs that respond to your actions but never adequately explains its rules and often punishes you through no fault of your own. I've heard all of the above criticisms and more many times on here and elsewhere and I can't really argue with any of them. But I honestly don't care because for three or so magical weeks when I had some time off work I lived the life and tale of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang in 1899 in the final fading days of the American Old West and it's as real and memorable as anything I've ever experienced. I've never had an experience in games or any entertainment medium for that matter that has utterly engrossed and immersed me as much as this one did and I roleplayed the living shit out of Arthur in a way that no game has ever prompted me to before. The fidelity and detail of its extraordinarily crafted world is so many leagues ahead of anything seen before that to do anything else felt like a disservice that would only break the spell it cast over me. I'd sit round the campfire at night and listen to Hosea reminiscing and dispensing pearls of wisdom while Bill and Micah squared up over the poker table and Reverend Swanson passed out flat on his back drunk as a skunk once again. I'd just sit there and take it all in, learning and observing the foibles and quirks of this motley gang of ne'er-do-wells. I'd brew up and drink coffee every morning, exchange pleasantries with Mary-Beth as the early morning dew glistened on the grass, brushed and fed my horse every time before saddling up, always walked in the towns and returned the greetings of anyone polite enough to offer them. When supplies in the camp were low I'd set out on hunting trips that would last for days at a time, navigating by sight and landmarks alone, heading up through the Cumberland Forest, crossing over the Dakota River by the trails near Fort Wallace and up into Ambarino and the Grizzlies where hungry bears and foraging buck could be found. After a day's hunting I'd set up camp and live off what I'd hunted that day, silently eating under the stars as wolves howled and the Donner Falls roared in the distance. I could write pages of this kind of thing, of the experience of the thick, cloying humidity of the Bayou Nwa and the Nightfolk emerging unannounced from the swampy gloom, the industrial smog that came as a shock upon first entering the civilisation of Saint Denis that signified in stark fashion the encroachment of the modern world upon a time rapidly fading into history, a time still visible in the pastoral beauty of the wildflower meadows in Big Valley and the sweeping grandeur of Twin Stacks Pass and The Heartlands. But a world is nothing without a story to be told within it and Arthur's tale of redemption and his place within the dysfunctional family of the gang had me hooked the whole way through. It took some unexpected turns which I won't spoil here and although there were a few missteps as it headed towards its conclusion, by the end I was as emotionally engaged as I've ever been with a game. Although the shooting mechanics are decent enough when you've tweaked the settings a bit it's never going to rival the best in the genre in that regard but many of the missions were moody and memorable and the pitch-perfect music score would kick in at the opportune moment and I'd find myself haring across the plains with lawmen in pursuit with a huge grin plastered across my face. From those quiet moments in the lonely wilderness to the frenetic shootouts in the towns, I had an absolute blast from start to finish. For the most part though it's a game that has a curiously languid pace that hasn't really been seen in a triple-A title of this nature before and it demands that you really slow down to properly take it all in. I wonder if I didn't have the luxury of being able to do just that for a few weeks whether I'd be quite so effusive in my praise for it. When you come home from work and have a couple of hours to spare and just want to sprint to the next mission marker and play a smooth, frictionless cowboy action game it falls flat on its face like Arthur's horse colliding with a tree. But if you bought wholesale into what Rockstar were trying to achieve and went along for the ride it provided something that I can't compare to anything else. The Housers would love chatting to me because I can completely see what their vision for this game was and they delivered it in spades. For me personally that sense of place and an authentic, believable world to explore and get completely lost in in every sense of the term counts for a huge amount. For its ability to do this like nothing else has before and tell a compelling tale along the way it's my game of the year without question and up there with Zelda as game of the generation. A2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey The recasting of Assassin's Creed as a huge, sprawling open-world action RPG that was begun with Origins is here continued as Odyssey takes the ball and runs with it. I was wary of starting this so soon after Origins (which I loved) as I feared that I'd be burned out on it but my doubts were misplaced. It's a wonderful game that adds several extra layers of depth and expands on the RPG elements introduced in Origins, adding a new focus on crafting a build tailored to your preferred playstyle, conversation options that give more depth to the quests, more variety and choices to make in weapon and gear selection and wraps it all up in an astonishingly beautiful rendition of ancient Greece. This is another epic featuring an enormous world that I've been more than happy to take my time with and really explore all that it has to offer. And then there's Kassandra. By some distance the best protagonist that the series has had and fantastically voice-acted she's been an absolute pleasure to guide as the wandering misthios in a game that lives up to its name of odyssey with aplomb. About 80 hours in now and nowhere near the end which suits me fine as I've enjoyed every single second. A3. Monster Hunter: World My first Monster Hunter and one that I ended up playing for over 200 hours, the core gameplay loop of hunt monster, carve for parts, forge armour and do it again and again had me hopelessly hooked. I'd never really seen the appeal of the series before but once it had its claws into me I understood perfectly why so many are dedicated fans. Gorgeous and densely detailed areas to explore bursting with life in every direction and a combat system that reveals its depths the more you play it. The manner in which you learn the attacks of the superbly animated monsters themselves and then feed this information into your repertoire of moves is masterfully judged. When you first attempt to take some of these monsters down it seems like an almost possible task but after learning and refining your approach you end up being a deft hand at it and they fall in mere minutes. It's an incredibly compelling experience when it all clicks and a cracking game whose expansion this year can't come soon enough. A4. Battlefield V Tighter gunplay, much more of a demand on your situational awareness and a push towards a more tactical, squad-based approach makes this an excellent entry in the very best multiplayer shooter around. Not as polished or evocative as Battlefield 1 and there are issues with the game which is why it's also on my list of disappointments but they shouldn't detract too much from what at its core is frequently the most intense and rewarding game there is. When you're hunkered down desperately defending an objective as bullets and squadmates fly and fall around you there's nothing that can compare. There's just something about Battlefield that nothing else can provide and this will see almost constant play for the next two years or so. A5. God of War This was an excellent rebooting of the series that ticked all the boxes. It looks stunning, it tells an interesting tale, utilises the Norse mythology setting well, has a great central relationship between Kratos and his BOI and it has satisfyingly meaty and thunderous combat. It's very, very good. But yet I didn't quite get all the overwhelming praise and game of the year awards that it got showered with. Americans in particular seemed to go absolutely bonkers for it. As much as I liked the semi-open world I found the levels themselves to be sometimes quite restrictive, the puzzles to be quite repetitive and I was always waiting for it to really take off and yet it never quite did. There's some real invention on show in places with some of the locales and sequences but it needed more varied boss fights and more of those bombastic high points like the dragon. It sounds like I'm being a bit down on it which would be unfair because I really enjoyed it when I played it but several months on my assessment of it has cooled a little and I don't place it in the pantheon of the greats like many others seem to have. Still, it's deserving of praise as yet another high-quality Sony first-party cinematic action game release and the series is well and truly refreshed and well placed to go on from here. Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else) Z1. Fallout 76 Didn't actually play it (why the hell would I?) but it's quite clearly an absolute clusterfuck that should never have been released in the state it was and is perhaps the worst launch of a supposedly triple-A game I can remember. The concept had me intrigued but the execution is by all accounts an unmitigated disaster that puts a serious dent in Bethesda Game Studios' reputation. I'm afraid she's gonna need a new engine, Sir. Z2. Battlefield V Yes it's number 4 in my games of the year list and is a superb game in many respects that in the long run will see more hours play from me than any other in this list by a significant margin. But it's glaringly obvious that it was rushed out and compromised in order for EA to have their tentpole FPS franchise out in time for Christmas. Another six months to a year in development would have seen a masterpiece but as it is we're left with a game that has rock-solid core mechanics and plays a fantastic game as only Battlefield can but is nevertheless riddled with irksome bugs and whose half-assed presentation just doesn't provide the definitive WW2 experience that DICE are capable of delivering. Z3. Nintendo Switch release schedule Was never going to live up to that absolutely stellar first year but I'm nevertheless left disappointed in the lack of must-have full-fat software releases for the Switch in the last twelve months. I'm afraid Smash Bros. and a spin-off Pokemon game don't really do it for me personally and while its indie support is excellent and it's played host to the likes of the superb Into the Breach the fact is that I've played on it this year for a fraction of the time that I did the last, so on the list it goes. Let's hope that 2019 and the release of games like Fire Emblem and Metroid Prime 4 (wishful thinking, I know) see it regain its place in my affections. Z4. Z5. Sound Design of the Year S1. Red Dead Redemption 2 S2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey S3. God of War Visual Design of the Year V1. Red Dead Redemption 2 Not really 'design' in the sense that it's merely the closest thing we've yet seen to photo-realism in games but I couldn't really give it to anything else and the team responsible for the lighting are absolute wizards. After 100 hours I was just as much in slack-jawed awe of the sun breaking through the trees as I was when I first saw it and no game has ever come remotely close to portraying moonlight as accurately as this one. I have absolutely no idea how they made my base PS4 produce such sights whatsoever. Remarkable. V2. Monster Hunter: World Beautifully detailed and wonderfully imaginative locales dense with strange flora and quirky fauna and the headline monsters themselves are a joy to behold, each one stomping and thrashing about with a distinctive character and excellent animation that provides crucial visual feedback to aid in taking them down. V3. Assassin's Creed Odyssey Playing this directly after Red Dead 2 meant that the visual impact of it was lessened somewhat as it just can't stand up to Rockstar's extraordinary open-world efforts but it's still undeniably a gorgeous game in its own right and renders its version of ancient Greece with a dizzying sense of scale and an obsessive attention to detail. It's photo mode is one of the best in the business and knocks Rockstar's stupidly limited offering into a cocked hat. Taking perfectly framed sumptuous snaps of sunsets dipping below the horizon of the Aegean is as much a part of the game as creeping round Spartan forts and after 80 hours it still has the ability to routinely take my breath away. Writing of the Year W1. Red Dead Redemption 2 W2. God of War W3. Assassin's Creed Odyssey Gaming Format (System) of the Year F1. PS4 Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Sony Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year B1. No Man's Sky The NEXT update essentially retooled the entire game and the free updates and additions just keep on coming. I have nothing but admiration for the way that Hello Games responded to the (in many ways justified) outpouring of vitriol that came their way and have just diligently kept their heads down and transformed a once much-maligned game into an utterly unique and breathtakingly ambitious curio that stands apart as very much its own thing. Frankly it's now the game it should have been released as and that we were promised from the start but they're to be applauded for finally seeing that vision through to fruition. Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier) X1. What Remains of Edith Finch I really wish I'd played this in its year of release as it would have easily been in my top 5 but sometimes things work out just the way they're supposed to... One night I was just staring at the line of current games I was playing on my PS4 menu and not really feeling any of them so having had this sat on my hard drive for months I ended playing it in one sitting from midnight to 3am with the lights off, which is surely the perfect way to experience it. It’s just a wonderful experience in every way. Achingly sad and melancholy yet beautiful at times and thought-provoking, I knew very little going into it and I’m so glad I avoided any spoilers. The variety in the vignettes is really well done (Lewis’ concocted fantasy and Barbara’s schlocky horror tale being the particular highlights, but each of them had their own twist that I enjoyed) and I thought the whole thing flowed superbly and the way that you were led up, down, around and through this strange house as the tales unfolded was a compelling way to lead you onwards. For me the ending hit hard too. I can’t really fault it. I play one of these so-called walking simulators once every 6 months or so and have loved every single one of them. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Firewatch, Dear Esther and now this. They appeal to the pensive side of my nature that comes to the surface every so often and they’re a welcome addition to the videogame landscape. This is the best one so far though, I think. Fantastic game and really one not to be missed. Best game character of the year C1. Arthur Morgan (RDR2) C2. Kassandra (AC Odyssey) C3. Sadie Adler (RDR2)
  9. pinholestar

    Assassin's Creed Odyssey

    It suffers in comparison to Red Dead 2 if you play it immediately afterwards as I did, in the sense that the authenticity of its world just can’t match up to Rockstar’s astonishing efforts. But it’s still a jaw-droppingly beautiful world in its own right full of extraordinary sights and an incredibly evocative joy to explore. I was quite wary of sinking my teeth into it so soon after Origins (despite loving that game) as I was worried that I’d be a bit burnt out on the formula. But it takes the move towards a sprawling open-world action RPG that Origins started and runs with it. It’s a wonderful game. @Cosmic_Guru has it absolutely right. Definitely play as Kassandra and do every side quest (the yellow/gold ‘!’ icons) as they’re every bit as enjoyable and rewarding as the main quest and just savour the experience. Those who complain about ‘grind’ in this game are just people who tried to mainline the story and didn’t bother to explore all the different areas and ignored the sidequests. I’m about 70 hours deep, level 34 and apparently about 10 levels above the recommended level for my current point in the story and have loved every second, with well over half the map still to uncover. The excellent level and quest-scaling system means that you don’t have to worry about making any of the content redundant. Just do what you enjoy and the game will reward you in return. A few more tips that have greatly improved the experience for me: - Play on hard if you want a challenging stealth experience that really rewards you as you expand your abilities and gear loadout and makes you really think about your choices surrounding all the stats and perks. It’s a little brutal to begin with but will challenge you to really learn the nuances of the combat system and will reward you in the long run as you’re able to clean out forts like a whisper in the night with deft use of all the tools at your disposal. - Set game mode to ‘Exploration’ and turn off ‘Compass’, ‘Level and Experience’, ‘Bounty Guage’ and ‘Enemy Proximity’ in the HUD options. This encourages you to explore the world organically à la Breath of the Wild, cleans up the screen of needless clutter and again makes stealth a more challenging and rewarding experience. It’s the game as it’s meant to be played, in my opinion. Enjoy your odyssey, misthios.
  10. pinholestar

    Official Mixed Martial Arts Thread

    This is crazy. Is Max giving some coaching tips to Ortega during their title fight?
  11. pinholestar

    Battlefield V

    It quite evidently needed at least another 6 months of development as it's riddled with irksome bugs and cut corners but the core gunplay and flow of the matches is pretty locked in and is superb. You can see where DICE have prioritised knowing that they had to rush it out the door in time for Xmas. A few more rotten tomatoes to throw EA's way as a reward for their customary greedy short-sightedness I suppose but don't let it put you off as the fundamentals of the game are absolutely rock solid and it plays fantastically well. Quite a different feel to BF1 though but if you're a fan of Battlefield in general then jump in. In many ways it's the best one yet.
  12. pinholestar

    Battlefield V

    Unfortunately that's the best one available for BF5 at the moment as for whatever reason most of the stats aren't available. Bit annoying that it doesn't yet have the same functionality as there was for BF1 but hopefully that'll change over time.
  13. pinholestar

    Battlefield V

    Pretty sure that’s for the support class as they’re the only ones that can build stationary weapons. Equip the AT grenade pistol and the engineer combat role. Arras on Frontlines. Right in front of the church there’s a machine gun that can be built at the top of the steps. Wait until the village has been taken by one team and the action shifts towards the bomb-arming phase which will send everyone else to another part of the map. You should then be able to build the machine-gun without being hassled. Once it’s built blow it up with the grenade pistol and build it again. There’s an ammo supply station in the middle of the village for when you run out of ammo for the grenade pistol. Rinse and repeat.
  14. pinholestar

    Official Mixed Martial Arts Thread

    Jones’ fight IQ on point. Chop the leg in the early rounds then go for the takedown when Gus’ legs aren’t able to defend it. Disappointing performance from Alex but he’s just not as good. Still, Nunes clobbering Cyborg was satisfying so at least one juicehead got their comeuppance tonight.
  15. pinholestar

    Official Mixed Martial Arts Thread

    Made her look like Rousey in there. Holy shit. Come on Gus!

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