Weekly Round-Up Wednesday - 26th January 2022

Screenshot of final battle in Into the Breach
It's the FINAL BAT-TLE doo doo doo dooo

The following post is part of a series of posts that are published every Wednesday to update readers on what I've been playing during the week (this also includes games on my "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.

Disco Elysium

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 67%

I did some busywork to help some ravers setup a club in an old church. I had to convince a programmer performing research in the club to leave and the only way she's going to be willing to do that is if I help her out. I did level up recently and have added extra points in Perception but I don't know if it's going to be enough for me to spot any further discrepancies with the hanged man's body before I finally decide to send it to the police station for further investigation.

Anyway, it turned out increasing the points in Perception still didn't help me in identifying any discrepancies on the Hanged Man's body, but I did finally make a breakthrough elsewhere: I convinced Titus Hardie, one of the Union goons, to reveal the alleged rape victim. The one the Union goons are protecting and the reason they apparently murdered the mercenary that was hanging from the tree. However, after interrogating the alleged victim she denies the rape ever happened and that she was actually coerced to give the answer by the Union. When the Union goons were confronted with this they passed me on a tape which apparently has evidence to prove the mercenary's unsavoury intentions. So, the plot thickens.

Concrete Jungle

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 37%

I've restarted one particular mission in this game multiple times as it doesn't take long for the single player campaign to become very tricky. The challenge is the cards that increase land value tend to be "expensive" cards and if they're too expensive, then there are higher expectations placed on you in terms of clearing columns. I.e. at the start you usually have to get 3 points worth of housing but if you keep playing cards that increase land value, you'll eventually need to get 4 points worth of housing to progress and then 5 and so on (at least I think that's how it works). Consequently, you need to have a mix of the good and the bad if you don't want to increase your expenditures too quickly. It's also imperative to keep clearing columns since you'll eventually run out of new land to develop.

Eventually, the game will give you the ability to have full control over which cards to add to your deck and you can even pick a character when you start a level and they all come with their own perks on a skill tree (however, it must be noted this only happens on certain missions, some missions the deck is locked). Since I still have no idea what I'm doing in this game, I've generally stuck with the default deck they pick for you but yeah, this is actually quite a tough game. It may look like a casual game, but it's deceptively complex.

As I continued to play this game throughout the week, the game started to become not much fun anymore. I started thinking maybe I had the wrong cards in the deck whenever I was given the opportunity to pick them. But what would I know? Maybe it was nothing to do with my card selection and it was just sheer luck when actually playing the game. After trying versus mode for the first time, I could at least see the use for the many cards that reduce land value since this is what you use as weapons against your opponent in devaluing their properties! The problem is, due to the random nature of drawing cards, sometimes you really need house cards after you've laid down parks, fountains etc. but your opponent just steals the prime real estate from you instead before you even get a chance. And yes, it's all up to the cards. Often I feel like it's sheer luck that gets me through the missions.

What made me finally give up though was when I returned to a solo mode mission that prevented me picking my own deck. You just had an abundance of farmland and farmhouse tiles but you also got your usual suburban tiles too. Unfortunately, these two tile types don't really mix in terms of strategy and of course, you never draw the cards you need at the right time. You'll often want more rural cards only to be given suburban cards that are unable to capitalise on the property value raising work you've been doing or vice versa. This game is too difficult for me and after multiple attempts it's time to throw in the bucket. Maybe it's just not the right kind of game for me as it does have a lot going for it, but the gameplay is too frustrating and despite looking like a game for casual players, it's actually a game that requires a lot of strategy and is very unforgiving if you make a mistake.

Battlefield 2042

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 23%

I tried one of the feature modes in Battlefield 2042 called Gun Master 2042. It's similar to previous Gun Master modes seen in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, and originally the mode was seen in the game Counter-Strike. You start off with the PP-29 and once you get a couple of kills with it, you're promoted to the next level and are equipped with a different gun (in this mode, it's the KC-30). The goal is to get to level 16 and the only way to do that is get a knife kill.

I have mixed feelings about the mode. Sometimes it can be quite fun but it really depends on the map. Mid-tier guns in Gun Master 2042 tend to be sniper rifles (which I'm terrible at by the way) but most Battlefield 2042 maps are pretty open and if you're on an open map where the spawns have no cover whatsoever, you'll be easy pickings for anybody else who are already on the mid-tier weapons (and of course they're camping the spawns, this is a Battlefield game after all)! Yeah, so that part isn't much fun. On the plus side, the mode counts towards progression and I'm getting a chance to try out a few weapons I haven't unlocked yet.

It's very much not a true Battlefield mode though. However, i also found it difficult to play a standard 128-player Breakthrough map the last time I played. There was simply nobody playing. I eventually got onto a 64-player version of Breakthrough but after that one round, it was also difficult fo find people to play with. I eventually got some games on Portal which is great because it has a server browser. Although, it makes me wonder why the standard mode in Battlefield 2042 doesn't have one? I'm really not a fan of the matchmaking system as there is just so much information hidden behind the interface and sometimes you just want to know if you're going to be in for a long wait to play a game or not.

Into the Breach

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%

I noticed I've written little in the way of notes for this game so I should start now. Nothing to complain really about the presentation of the game. It has a retro low resolution look to it but with an atmospheric soundtrack provided by Ben Prunty (a usual collaborator with Subset Games). I still find the game too hard but then again I generally find roguelikes too hard. Usually on the penultimate or ultimate island I would be at a point where the Vek would overwhelm me, destroy a lot of buildings and cause my power bar to drop to zero, restarting the campaign. I've had to restart the campaign multiple times now.

However, I eventually discovered this week that you don't actually need to complete all four islands before the final island. In fact, you can shortcut to the final island after completing two islands (how come I never noticed this before?). It also scales the final battle in terms of how much progress you made meaning it's easier if you've only completed two islands than if you've completed four. Anyway, thanks to that shortcut I was able to finally finish the game! Which means I can give it a review.

LINK: [ The Pile of Shame ]