Games You are Currently Playing


Diablo 3 is great on the PS4. I actually prefer it on console to PC because I think moving with the analog sticks, as opposed to using a mouse, is better.


All I want from Diablo with a gamepad is to be able to attack by using the right stick like Robotron or SmashTV. Does it let you do that, or do you have to mash a button to attack repeatedly?


I played a bunch of Hollow Knight since it was on a big sale.

As far as Metroidvanias go, it’s better than most of the indie ones out there. I’ll say that it is definitely very good, but it falls short of being excellent or fantastic.

There are a lot of positives. The art and theme is way cool. I especially like the giant bug guy who is basically a subway. Lots of cool animations on things in general. Also they seem to have managed to find a balance between making a game dark and underground without everything being some shade of gray or brown. Lots of colorful things even though it still feels dark all the time.

The way health works is also a very elegant abstraction that is mechanically identical to Metroid, but a lot more elegant and interesting. You get 5 health, so you can get hit 5 times, then you die. Want to refill health? Well you can hold down B and not move, hopefully when standing in a safe place, to refill up to three health. But in order to fill up to 3, you need this soul energy. You get the energy whenever you kill bad guys. So basically if you are low on health, kill some bad guys and then get to a safe place and hold a button down. You can also risk healing in a boss fight and such!

In Metroid if you are low on health you also go and farm enemies. The difference is that the enemies drop health randomly, this makes healing time consuming and repetitive. Also, Metroid provides enemy generators, so there is little risk of actually dying while you refill. You just have to run from danger and reach the safe place with the enemy generator. In Hollow Knight you have to actually fight the same real bad guys you fight all the time, just more carefully, in order to heal.

Other good things are that there are lots of interesting places and enemies that behave differently. Definitely don’t feel like I"m fighting the same things or going over the same territory over and over again. I really like the bad guys that float in the water and then you continuously down-stab them over and over to make it to the other side. Very Zelda 2-like using a down-stab to get a bounce.

The part of Hollow Knight that I think needs a little more polish are the enemy behaviors and design of individual rooms, especially vertical ones.

Most of the enemies are difficult and challenging, which is good. Lots of these games have the problem of filling the game with useless enemies that are just cannon fodder. What is bad is that some of the enemies, behave in ways that are not hard in the fair Super Meat Boy way, but hard in the unfair Kaizo block way.

Take for example the hollow woman with the spear. I fought her for the first time in a jungley place. In that fight she had a few different attacks. I learned them all, how to dodge each one, and when I could get my hits in safely. The problem is that the boss did nothing (that I could see) to telegraph which move they were about to use. She yelled out an audio cue before each attack, but the audio was random! There were also two moves that starts with the same animation, but had to be dodged differently. I often guessed wrong and got hit. The result was that it took me several more tries to beat this boss than I thought was necessary.

There are many enemies and rooms with similar problems, but boss and non-boss. They don’t telegraph what they are about to do. They attack suddenly. You better have a crazy fast reaction time because nothing else will save you. There is no safe place to stand and think about it. You are thrown into the fire, deal with it.

The other problem is with the design of rooms, especially vertical ones. I find myself constantly using the stick to scroll the screen downwards to see what is below me. Very frequently it doesn’t scroll far enough, and I have to jump into an abyss and hope for the best. In Metroid, notice how Samus falls kinda slowly so you can guide her to a platform? Perhaps that is also the low gravity of planet Zebes. EIther way, Hollow Knight falls too fast, especially for situations when I’m going down into the unknown. What makes it even worse are the hazards, especially the deadly water which is much too punishing for something I didn’t have much chance against. They also often design the vertical rooms to not have the staggered platforms, so unintentionally falling annoying long distances is a frequent occurrence

If you want to play a challenging Metroidvania game, I say go for it. Just expect to get something that is polished until smooth, but not polished until shiny.


Unfortunately no. The right stick is to roll and dodge. You still have to use the buttons to attack.


Roll and dodge on diablo 3? Well… specific spells… but you don’t even have to have them equipped and they work like any other spell?


Yes, the default is that right stick is used for dodging, and it’s super useful at that. You do use buttons to attack, but for everything I’ve done so far, you can just hold the button down for repeat attacks, so you don’t have to mash unless you want to (or if you’re into stutter stepping).


So what is a dodge exactly?


I only have experience with the demon hunter so far, but to dodge you move the right stick and you roll in that direction. Other classes might do other forms of dodge. The demon hunter has a similar move, Vault, and the dodge is basically a weaker version of that since it doesn’t cost anything to use.

I mostly use the dodge only to reposition a little bit, it doesn’t do that well at getting out of situations since you can’t roll through enemies (while Vault does) and enemies are quick to catch up after a roll.


I played as both the demon hunter and the barbarian, and the right analog stick functions pretty much the same for both characters, so I’m assuming it does the same for all of them.


After moving I’m finally able to pick up our campaign of Pandemic Legacy again. No Spoilers, but we advanced into April today, and well, yeah. The funny thing is that we almost won that game too, but got unlucky on the distribution of the cards for the last cure and would have won with another turn.


If anyone is interested, the beta for Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is still open and accepting applications:

This is a mobile version of the CCG that was just released. It’s free, you don’t need any cards to play as you can play with the provided default decks against the AI or other people online, and if you do end up buying the physical cards, you can scan them into the app with your phone to digitally add them to your library.

I’ve been playing a little bit and it’s a lot of fun, especially for zero dollars.


Recent gaming:

Warhammer 40K Space Wolf: Customizable Tactical Card Game would be the best way to describe it. Have a deck of card that you play as you’re fighting Chaos, et al. Get better cards, upgrade your deck, lather rinse repeat. It originally was a mobile game ported to Steam, and every two weeks or the publisher release promo codes for free card/packs. The code say they’re only good for 2 weeks but I was able to apply nearly a year’s worth of codes.

Intellivision Flashback console: I had this growing up in grade school. It’s technically a 16-bit console, but this was in an age where video gaming was trying to figure out art and design. Some games are a cool as I remember, other games I never played that had a disturbing lack of polish. The flash back controllers are a lot lighter than the originals, but that’s to be expected with 30+ years of electronic innovation. A lot of 2 player only games. There’s also Utopia which is one of the older pre-“Civ”-style games. I’ll be bringing it to the MAGCondo this year, if anyone is interested.

Spider-Man (PS4): Very solid, polished game. Very much in the Arkham City/Assassin’s Creed wheelhouse but with a lighter tone. The combat is very similar to Arkham but it’s faster and Spider-Man’s webbing can affect a greater area, plus air combos are a thing. Webslinging around Manhattan is fun, you can play tourist with all of the public landmarks.


Cosmic Star Heroine is really great! I’m not the first person to make this comparison, but it’s like Phantasy Star meets Chrono Trigger. If you like old school rpgs with modern sensibilities, check this game out!


I bought it a while ago but haven’t gotten around to playing it… but yeah, I have to start soon!


I’m only a couple hours into it, but it’s a blast so far! It’s totally scratching my SNES/Genesis nostalgia itch, and at the same time isn’t mired down by the stale and old conventions of that period of games. It really is the best of both worlds.


I’m slowly working through DQXI. It hits my nostalgia hard.


Finally Beat witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Of course since the main plot revolves around a almost father daughter relationship between the two leads. The ending action is almost secondary to the emotional aspects of the end, where the difference between someone surviving or dying depends how you treated them through the course of the game. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s probably one of the best RPG’s in the last 10 years. Looking forward to the netflix show, and maybe checking out the novels it was based on.


I’m not quite done with the dlc for that game but I agree it’s excellent.

One thing that’s not excellent is any fan of the franchise’s insistence you have to play the first two before playing the third. Have any of them seen how terrible the first looks in the modern era? It’s like 2004 era single player world of warcraft. There is no faster way to put me off than insisting I play this ancient single player mmo.


They don’t look very good, but it’s the story, not the gameplay, that’s important. Reading a summary would suffice. Fans do enjoy gatekeeping, though.


Admittedly I didn’t get far into it, but I had no trouble picking up 3 without playing 1 or 2. The Witcher is not the most original story arch.