What I've Been Playing This Week (aka Pile of Shame Sunday)

Screenshot of Batman - The Telltale Series
You get to pick whether to go as Batman or Bruce Wayne quite a bit in this game

The following post is part of a series of posts that are published every Sunday to update readers on what Mark G has been up to with respect to finishing off games on his "Pile of Shame". The games to target are picked by Choicest Games contributors Choona, Luke and myself. As I'll be talking about my progress through these games, there may be spoilers ahead, especially for games containing a narrative. Consider yourself warned.

Thaumistry: In Charm's Way

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%
I've completed Thaumistry: In Charm's Way and really enjoyed it – it's definitely a breath of fresh air. I admit, I had to use the hint system once but thankfully it was only a very vague hint which told me I didn't have the right spell to proceed yet which isn't really cheating I think… oh and you heard right, there's a multi-tiered hint system that's built into the game which reminds me of the good old days of the Universal Hint System (UHS). I eventually figured out what I had to after examining what I had in my inventory even closer to the point where I was able to ask a new question to an NPC resulting in the spell being unlocked. Thaumistry is a great introduction to Interactive Fiction and a chance for old fans to play one by one of the greats (Bob Bates)! Look out for a review soon.

Batman – The Telltale Series

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%
That's right folks. Not only did I scratch one game off my Pile of Shame this week but two! Batman – The Telltale Series is now complete. The game definitely has a nail-biting ending and I love it how at the end of the game it performs an analysis to determine what sort of Batman you were and what traits you possessed (e.g. whether you were a merciful Batman and whether you relied on honesty, collaboration and compassion or cunning, self-reliance and pragmatism). I also like how you get plenty of opportunities to choose whether to deal situations as Batman or Bruce Wayne (including the ending of the game). Batman: The Enemy Within now seems like an even more promising prospect since in Telltale's Batman series the motivations behind the villains seem more convincing than your typical one-dimensional good vs evil rhetoric.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 25%
I haven't made any further progress on this – it's now on hold while I am distracted by Telltale adventures 😊.

Battlefield 1

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 10%
I haven't made any further progress on this – it's now on hold while I am distracted by Telltale adventures 😊.


  • Picked by Luke
  • Percentage Complete = 18%
Wow. Do I have a story for you with respect to my recent exploits in XCOM 2.

You see, I've actually finished XCOM 2, but not successfully – I was actually defeated by the aliens (and there's even a cutscene for it)! There are quite a few reasons for this and I've listed some things I've learnt from my failure to eliminate the alien threat:

  1. I hardly ever used the power of “load game” although judging by the stats I read after losing the game (i.e. it seems to compare your campaign stats with those around the world) it seems most people never failed a mission – not once. So, either I'm a total n00b at this game, which is possible, but what is more likely happening is that if things start to look like they're going south during a mission, an overwhelming majority of people are reloading their games.
  2. Part of it is partially my fault and the usual lack of knowledge of what are important things to invest in when playing the game. For example, I had an issue with supplies at the beginning of the game but never realised that simply making contact with neighbouring regions and building radio masts would give you a comfortable income stream – sure, performing poorly on missions will result in a decrease to your income but usually it's not too severe to warrant issues. I discovered this bit of information far too late.
  3. Touching again on not knowing what to spend your supplies/money on, I built a lot of grenades at the beginning of the game thinking they were disposable (such as it was with the original UFO: Enemy Unknown – i.e. you actually have to either purchase or manufacture ammo for your weapons) – turns out I was wrong and manufactured way too many of them.
  4. I need to be less gung-ho with soldiers despite everything in the game being on a timer (even the freakin' Geoscape is on a timer) because ultimately, just like previous XCOMs, it's important that you level up your team. I tended to complete the objectives in my failed XCOM 2 campaign, no matter the cost, thinking I would be rewarded for it as a result – the only problem is, the reward was never great enough to compensate for the sacrifices made; worse, this also meant that any future missions had low level rookies and squaddies on them and as any XCOM veteran knows, they are quite useless. This means that choosing to abort missions may need to be done more frequently if there's a good chance of losing soldiers.
  5. However, to make things extra difficult, almost each time you finish a mission or two, you're introduced to a new enemy type! So, I was thinking that the smart thing to do was to invest a lot of resources in research (i.e. recruiting more scientists and building laboratories first) – it turns out that, as counter-intuitive as this sounds, going this route might've contributed to my demise since there were many missions where if I had an extra fifth soldier instead of the default squad size of four, the outcomes may have turned out quite differently. Sure, their weapons are going to be low-tech but experience really seems to be more important in this XCOM instead of what armour you're wearing or what weapons you're firing (although I'm sure they help too).
  6. Sometimes my soldiers that were standing out in the open seemed to have the same probability of being shot than those behind cover – which got me thinking that despite the Ranger class at first glance looking like a suicidal class to have (for those that don't know, they can basically attack enemies at close range with a machete leaving them exposed to shots from other nearby enemies) – maybe they're quite powerful after all since the enemy is going to struggle firing on them but in the meantime they've either taken out an enemy or disabled them.

Anyway, lots of things to think about. I'm trying the game again but instead of playing it on Veteran difficulty (which is the Normal difficulty recommended for those familiar to XCOM), I'm now playing on Rookie – apparently enemy squad sizes are reduced by one and XCOM soldiers start with one extra health – although it seems like RNGesus will pretty much be the same.

War Thunder

  • Picked by Choona
  • Percentage Complete = 90%
Played a few rounds of Arcade Battles for aircraft and tanks and actually got a few kills in each game! Hurrah! Maybe I'm not such a n00b after all?

Naaaaaah. Probably still a n00b. But I had fun 😊. I can't speak for the realistic modes which are meant to cater for those that are looking for more of a flight/tank simulation experience but for the casual player, Arcade is definitely where it's at.

[ The Pile of Shame ]


  1. Hi Mark. I'm delighted you enjoyed the game! Drop me a line at info@bobbatesllc.com if you have any questions. --Bob Bates

    1. No, thank you for taking the time and effort to develop it. Hoping we get to see more of the Bodgers in the future :)


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