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Jamie John

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    Games! Also, books, films, music, headphones and photography
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  1. Glad this seems so well-received. I haven't truly enjoyed a Halo game since 3, over a decade ago. And to think, it's free*. Roll on Friday!
  2. Despite having a thousand and one other programmes to watch, I bought the full Blu-Ray boxset of this and am watching it through again for, I think, the fourth time. It's just so, so good. What strikes me this time through is how hilarious it is. I just watched 'Boca' in series one, and the bit where Carmela is taking the piss out of Junior for going down on his girlfriend is brilliant. I've also been listening to an episode-by-episode podcast simply called The Sopranos Show, which is just two American guys chatting about it, but it's really enjoyable. I started listening to the one above with Christopher and Bobby, but their podcast skills leave a bit to be desired, and the annoying ads for Bose headphones irritated me. Does it get better? Anyway, over two decades since the first series aired, this is still the best television programme ever made.
  3. The new (non-DLC) course on Walkabout Mini Golf is lovely - Quixote Hills, I think it's called. I've got so much value out of the game as a whole that I didn't hesitate to buy the paid track, especially for the £2 and change that it cost. I bought the Elite Strap off @sbrandon111, so I'm looking forward to showing my Quest 2 some more love.
  4. I completely forgot about this. And there I was, thinking I didn't need to buy anything else this year. From the sounds of it, it has landed quite as well as Hyper Light Drifter, but it still sounds promising.
  5. End of November Games bought: Resident Evil 4 VR I wasn't supposed to buy anything this month after buying two games in October, but I had £8 Oculus credit that was burning a hole in my virtual pocket, especially as it was going to expire, so I caved. I haven't actually played it yet, but I'm going to save it for my Christmas game once the tree is up and I can play it in the living room. I've not really touched my Oculus this year apart from Walkabout Mini Golf, and I've thought about selling it a few times now, so I'm hoping Resi 4 will pull me back in. Barring a shadowdrop of Silksong in December (which doesn't look at all likely ), that's me done for the year now. I'm hoping Halo Infinite's campaign will be enough to quell my games buying itch. I'm in two minds whether to take part in Steam Secret Santa: I enjoyed it last year, but I've still got a couple of games that I was gifted unplayed, so I'll see. Pile of shame: 54 down to 52 games, so only a two game reduction this month. I blame Forza Horizon 5. On the other hand, if I played a game per week next year and didn't buy any more then I'd get through my entire life by 2023! Never going to happen, though. Calendar As mentioned, that's me done for the year now, so apart from Halo Infinite I'll be playing what I already own. Elden Ring is top of my list for 2022 in February. I might pick up one of the best games of 2021 that I missed in January, once I've read and heard some others' GOTY lists. How did everyone else get on?
  6. 30. Forza Horizon 5 (2021) - Xbox Series X via Game Pass Obviously I haven't properly finished this as it's an endless game, but, after reaching level 165, winning every race, completing every PR stunt and finding all the collectibles in the 50-odd hours I've spent glued to this over the past few weeks, I feel like I've played enough to call time on it for now. In summary, it's the most enjoyable racing game I've played since Mario Kart 8, but it's got some of the worst onboarding I've ever experienced in a game: for the first five hours you are constantly plagued with pop ups and notifications about things you don't understand, and which the game doesn't teach you about. If you can muscle through that, however, and essentially teach yourself how to play the game by looking at guides, videos and forums online, you'll be rewarded with an extremely compelling and diverse racer that feels and looks fantastic. The variety on offer, whether that's cars, race types or locations, is what makes it. Initially I was a bit dubious, thinking the game was somewhat structureless and unfocused, but when you realise that the way you play the game is entirely up to you (and once you've made effective use of the map filters), things definitely start to click into place and the game becomes an obsession. I got fed up with Horizon 4 when I played it for the first time last year because of how it constantly pelted you with information, but I'm glad I stuck it out this time around. I've had a wonderful time with this, and I'll definitely be back for more once the DLC expansions are out. It's a shame that the online elements seem a little borked, otherwise I'd have enough of an incentive to stick around for a bit longer. And I know it's been said already, but the fact that a game with this production values is 'free' on Game Pass is pretty damn sweet. Excellent. If you have GP and you aren't playing it then what are you even doing?
  7. As soon as the round begins, rush towards the purple smoke which indicate car drops and change from the default Beetle to something else. After that, you can challenge other players to a race, if you feel like you can win: you both race from where the challenge begins to the centre of the map; lose and you'll be eliminated, but win and you can either take your opponent's car or upgrade your own. That's pretty much it, from what I've seen so far - just try to survive for longer than anyone else and be the first to purple drops to improve your car. You can also 'hide' by parking your car somewhere: it won't show on the mini-map until you start driving again. This becomes harder to do, obviously, once the map starts to shrink.
  8. Yeah, I dialled the difficulty all the way down to "Tourist" for that one in the end. Life's too short! It doesn't help that the car just seems uncontrollable in that mission. I've got it now (the Koenigsegg) for doing all of that story's missions and it controls fine, so I don't know if it was tuned a particular way for that specific mission. Anyway, I had a go at some of the online playlist championships last night (it worked this time) and they were good fun. Playing capture the flag with a huge racing lorry was a bit different. I tried The Trial (the one against the unbeatable drivatars) four times, but it requires every human-controlled player to be pretty much perfect to have a shot of winning, and when you're playing with randoms there's not much chance of that. I also played the Eliminator a few times. First attempt didn't go very well as I didn't really know what I was doing, and the game does a typically bad job of telling you, but once I'd figured it out I got to the last ten, mostly just by hiding in the woods, ha. I'll give it another go later. This game has some definite flaws and is quite lazy with telling the player how to play it, but it more than makes up for it with sheer variety and fun stuff to do.
  9. Fucking hell. The V10 story mission in the Koenigsegg is fucking monkey gash. Immediate restart as soon as the first car gets away from you, repeated dialogue and the fucking unskippable cutscene can all do one.
  10. Yep. Pro tip: use the filter controls in the map and focus on one event type at a time. Road racing is a good place to start.
  11. Cheers - will give it another go later. In other news, I've just got two drag races and some of the stories to go now and then I'll have won every race in the game, I think. I've got the difficulty all the way to to Unbeatable now but was still winning the remaining cross-country races I had left over first time; playing with a Local Motors Rally Monster souped up to the top of S1 is essentially easy mode: it eats up every hill like an off-road Pacman. I've had a look at the achievements and the 1000G doesn't look too bad. Hmm...
  12. I picked up the excellent Grindstone in the sale for about £6.50. I've got it for PC already, but it's much better suited to handheld as it was originally an Apple Arcade game. You play as a jaded Norse warrior and have to slash through monsters of the same colour to create longer and longer chains. Kill a chain of ten enemies and a grindstone will drop on the board. Slash through this and it lets you switch to a different-coloured monster to extend your chain even further, to the point where it feels like you can clear the entire board if the stones and monsters fall right. Before long the game adds a load of different complications to the mix, like obstacles on the board, enemies who you need to build up enough momentum to be able to slash through, and various different one-time-only power ups that you can equip before each level. What's more is that the longer you stay in a level the greater the rewards, but the deadlier enemies become, so there's a delicious risk/reward tension bubbling under the surface the entire time, too. With over 200 levels, daily challenges and other incentives to keep you coming back, it's more or less endless. Plus, the music and sound design is great, especially the steadily-building chant that activates whenever you get a really long chain, and the sprites are expressive and well-animated. If you're looking for something to get addicted to, I'd thoroughly recommend it!
  13. XSX. I quit the game and restarted it a couple of times, thinking it might have been a QR issue, but no change. Is there a network setting I need to fiddle with? I hardly ever play online multiplayer.
  14. I can't get any of the team/online seasonal events to work at all. I go get to the timer for the event, it counts down to zero, I accept the prompt which asks if I want to match make, then just...nothing. Anyone else encountered this? I only need 4 more points to get the Subaru!
  15. Really? I can't say I noticed that, to be honest. Anyway, really enjoyed the episode. I voted for the Xbox, only because I never owned one, as much as I loved my Gamecube.
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