It only took me four entries in this journal to finally advance some quests instead of just pick them up! Fort Joy has been an entertainingly complex starting area, but it always just seemed I was spinning my tires trying to find the key to moving things forward. I was getting into fights and learning things about the world, sure, but my quest log just seemed to keep adding tasks and I wasn't sure exactly how to check them off the list.
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All last week I was away on a trip, which seemed like a good test for Divinity - Original Sin 2. Would it be a good game to actually fire up outside of the confines of my own home? It turned out to be a less than ideal test environment though as I did not take transit to my destination and my time away was full of programmed activities. During any downtime that I had, I preferred dipping into more familiar standbys like Genshin Impact or League of Legends: Wild Rift.
But now I'm back and the Gameplay Journal continues. This entry really highlights how deep a game Divinity - Original Sin 2 compared to basically any other mobile game (and arguably most other games in general), as I spent almost 45 minutes in a small prison area, and spending most of that time in a single skirmish. It was pretty awesome, but Divinity - Original Sin 2 still seems to go out of its way to remind you that all of its depth and potential comes with some jank.
Last week, Larian Studios dropped Divinity - Original Sin 2 onto the App Store after touting in at various stage shows as an uncompromised port of the open-world role-playing game running on smaller screens. We have been eager to dig into the game to see if it's all it was promised to be, and are compiling our findings here in our Divinity - Original Sin 2 gameplay journal!
The way it works is simple: a single playthrough of the iOS port of Divinity - Original Sin 2 documented in painstaking detail via gameplay recordings and text impressions, all compiled nicely in this here post. See our opinions on the game evolve over time and decide for yourself whether this mega-ambitious mobile gambit is worth it or not.
Posts below will be updated on a regular basis until the game has been completed. Make sure to check back regularly!
We've been continuing to plug away at Divinity - Originial Sin 2 over here, and it's been an enjoyable experience. Since it is a hefty ask for any mobile gamer to try and start playing though, we're continuing to document our time with it and post impressions as we make our way through it.
In this segment of our coverage, we've got two videos detailing the first steps you take after the prologue chapter (which you can view here). This section of the game is its first open-ended portion, though all the different quests and paths are somewhat constrained in a kind of prison camp called Fort Joy.
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry examined Neurodeck. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
This week, we're going far out into the stylish cosmos of Genesis Noir. This point-and-click adventure reimagines the creation of the universe (aka The Big Bang) as a shot from a gun. You play as an unassuming watch salesman who gets caught in the love triangle that culminates in this gunshot, which is aimed at your lover. If this sounds spoiler-y, don't worry; this is just the setup. The rest of the experience leads you through the universe as you try to destroy The Big Bang to save your love.
Six months ago this week, Genshin Impact released on multiple platforms, promising a vast open world of adventure and element-based combat. The only catch was that all of this action would be monetized via virtual slot machines known colloquially as "gacha."
Gacha games have their advantages in that they have a low barrier to entry, allowing players to hop into an experience without having to spend any money. The dark side of this design is that all of the most desirable game items and characters are locked inside a storefront that uses myriad psychological tricks to convince you that spending money for more chances to use this slot machine is a good idea (it's not).
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Loop Hero. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
This entry for the series goes back to a familiar territory: roguelike deck-building. Neurodeck takes many of the genre conventions galvanized by titles like Dream Quest and Slay the Spire, but places them into a more self-reflective structure where you have psychological battles with phobias and fill out personality tests to earn new traits to help you in battle.
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Fights in Tight Spaces. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
For this installment, I decided to go back to a more turn-based title. Fights in Tight Spaces just hit Steam in early access and is a turn-based card game where you manage the choreography of intense fighting set pieces that wouldn't feel out of place in films like John Wick or The Bourne Identity. You do this by playing cards that execute moves on your turn that allow you to manage your spacing while dishing out a ton of pain on multiple bad guys that accost you in tattoo parlors, narrow alleyways, and other cramped environments.
Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic II just released on the App Store, and it's not exactly pretty. To be fair, this is over 15 years old, so bringing it to mobile likely has its challenges. That said, the second installment in the Knights of the Old Republic series comes to iOS with a janky control scheme and some bugs that disrupt combat.
Check out the video above where I get through the first real challenge of the game: fighting the mining droids on Peragus. In it, you'll see some struggles with movement, collision issues with combat maneuvering, and even a strange bug that locks your character in place after combat.
From there, you can pass over shelling out $9.99 for this game and pick something else up. This is not the port you're looking for.
Update: Shortly before this piece was posted, miHoYo released an official response to the community feedback around Zhongli. You can read it here.
The official statement acknowledges the feedback and some specific bugs with Zhongli’s abilities , but makes no promises about fundamentally changing the character beyond that. As a result, the contents of this post remain relevant to the current community conversation around Genshin Impact.
There's no getting around the fact that gacha games are predatory. Their entire design is contingent upon luring as many people as possible into an experience that will tempt them to spend money over and over again. This makes Genshin Impact--despite all of its other positive qualities--a predatory game, but is it too predatory? Does such a distinction matter? And, if so, who gets to draw the line of demarcation?
These are the kinds of questions that have risen to the top of the Genshin Impact community over the past week, ever since a new banner event allowed players to feed the in-game slot machine for a new playable character: Zhongli. In the lead up to his release, players awaited anxiously, poring over his teaser trailer, investigating leaked footage, and analyzing his strength based on his importance to Genshin Impact's story, only to face disappointment once they finally got their hands on him.
Last week, the massively anticipated Genshin Impact released, and now it seems to be the only game anyone's talking about. There's a good reason for this, or rather several. It looks great, it's free, and it actually follows through as an experience that takes meaningful inspiration from Breath of the Wild.
In case you're looking at Genshin Impact from the outside wondering if it's all it's cracked up to be, you're in the right place. The short answer is yes, but here's some more things that might inform whether you should dive into the game.
Apple Arcade has persisted for just over a year at this point, and although that means I've been busy ranking and re-ranking every game on the service for just about as long, I haven't done much reflection on the service as a whole.
If you want the short version, I think Apple has done a decent job at providing a wide variety of titles on its service, and their near-weekly new releases and title updates give you a reason to dive back into the service on a regular basis. That said, the dedication to keeping Arcade feeling fresh alone doesn't quite justify the cost of subscribing, and it seems like Apple has to put in some more work if they want this service to flourish.
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was on Disco Elysium. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
For this installment, I took a look at Hades, the latest title from Supergiant Games, which just left early access as an official release. Supergiant Games has a history of making games that all feel distinct from one another, but Hades feels like somewhat of a harkening back to their first release, Bastion. This is to say it's fast-paced, combat heavy action rpg, and it plays surprisingly well using a touch screen.
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was Signs of the Sojourner Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
For this entry, I dove into Disco Elysium, an open world role playing game where you play as a detective who has just woken up from an epic hangover, and is now tasked with attempting to solve a murder while trying to piece together his own whereabouts and life. What sets this game apart from other role playing games though is that it shies away from combat and instead relies on dialog-based interactions between characters, which works mostly because the game is very well written and full of detailed and lively characters.