Travis4

Joined 01/23/2012

Web developer and all-around geek.
https://travisnewman.me

434 Posts

In this episode we ponder what makes a good game sequel. This started as a conversation between Jon and Travis and as we discussed and debated sequels we decided this would be the perfect topic for an episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio! Have a listen and let us know what you think: what makes a good sequel, and what are some of your favorites?


Travis gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Travis gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
In this episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio, we're talking all about Kirby's Adventure!

Kirby's Adventure was the sequel to Kirby's Dream Land, and is the first game to introduce Kirby's copy ability. It was developed by Hal Laboratory in 1993, late in the lifespan of the NES. Come check out our thoughts on the game and the legacy of the Kirby series in this pink and puffy episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio!

In season two of Cheerful Ghost Radio we are doing bite-sized NES Classic review episodes. We want to make you all part of these episodes, so if you want to join in the fun, head here and join in the event for next month's NES Classic review, Metroid!

https://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/events/165/cheerful-ghost-games-club-metroid

While we have you here: what kind of games from the NES Classic and SNES Classic would you like to hear us review? Would you prefer the SNES era over the NES era? If you have suggestions, head over to Cheerful Ghost and let us know!


Travis gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Travis gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Note: tinyBuild provided us with a copy of this game for review because they're awesome. Thanks tinyBuild!

I'm having withdrawal from Graveyard Keeper. It's the kind of game that gets under your skin and has you thinking about game logic when doing day-to-day things. The grocery store is a nightmare: "No, I don't need apples, I have about 50 of those in my trunk. Wait... that's not real life, Travis." According to Steam, it took 45 hours for me to beat the game but I could have happily gone another 45. I didn't intend to wait until I beat it to write this review, it's just that I couldn't stop playing it.

If you've played a farming sim, Graveyard Keeper will feel familiar. The most obvious comparison is Stardew Valley, but comparing the two is a little unfair to both games. In short, you die, and you wake up in this medieval town where you are tasked with managing a graveyard. You don't know why, and you're just trying to get home, but you go along with hit. In order to manage your graveyard you have to saw lumber to make simple grave plots at first, then stone and marble. In order to keep getting bodies you have to keep the delivery donkey happy with carrots. In order to use the garden you have to make a deal with a merchant to sell crates of veggies... and so on. There are 6 main NPC quest lines that all interact in some way, and these will require you to use skills from a bunch of different skill trees. Things can get complicated.

You upgrade your skill trees based on three types of experience earned from physical, natural, and mindful tasks. Toward the mid-game, you'll start to need faith and science, which are somewhere between experience points and currency. Also toward the mid-game, what might seem like a simple craft gets complex. You need to make Craft A at your anvil, but that requires Craft B from your Furnace, which requires Craft C from a pottery wheel which you don't even have, and Craft D from Alchemy and... yeah, have a wiki open when you play this.

The graphics are well-done in charming pixel art reminiscent of the late 16-bit era. I had to check to see if the music was done by the same composer as Terraria, and that's a compliment. Some of it sounds like the same style, but more importantly it's pleasant and unobtrusive. You're going to be hearing the same few tracks over and over again. Much like Terraria, the music is fantastic for setting the mood and doesn't get old after the 200th time you hear it.

So yes, I loved Graveyard Keeper as you can tell. It's a chill, relaxing game like Stardew Valley, and has the same pros and cons of the genre. However, it held my interest way more because it has a tighter focus with the quests and a more complex and deep crafting system. Whereas with some games like this you can specialize in one or two crafts, in Graveyard Keeper you have to at least use all of them. Once you get a good income moving there are options to skip crafts by just buying stuff, but you'll at least have to get your feet wet with all the tech trees, and I like that about it.

A few minor issues though.

Some stuff feels like it's trying to pad out the grind. You can only carry one log/slab at a time so you spend a lot of time going back and forth to transport stuff. And in general, energy is drained really fast. There are times where you're sleeping 2/3 of the day or more because you need to craft some stuff that drains you fast. There's always a bed nearby so nothing is really lost, and you can craft food to restore energy as well. It's just a little taxing and feels like things take about twice as much energy as they should sometimes. From what I've read, this seems to be the big sticking point for a lot of people who love Stardew Valley but don't care for this. It wasn't enough to put me off by any means but it's noticeable and I'd prefer some balancing on the grind.

There are fighting mechanics that are somewhat rudimentary. There's a dungeon you must traverse for some quest items, but other than that you can mostly ignore the fighting, and that's a good thing because those are not the strongest. Everything about fighting feels clunky, and the same energy system that you use for most actions in the game gets drained super fast in the dungeon.

Then there's the fishing system which I did almost nothing with, because it isn't very fun and the window to start reeling in the fish is punishingly small.

Plus, there are some skills/recipes that you can unlock which do absolutely nothing. The highest level woodworking unlock is a piece that isn't used in anything. Maybe it's a tease for things to come in DLC, or maybe it's something that got cut but they missed this? Not sure.

The biggest issue for me, though, was a game-breaking bug. I was able to fix it with a save editor, but it's a problem. One NPC, Snake, will just stop showing up once his quests are done. I was under the (admittedly mistaken) impression that I couldn't progress in the Astrologer's quest until I was fully done with Snake's. But then when I continued the Astrologer's quest I needed to get something from Snake and he was just gone from the game. I had a save backup but it would have meant losing 12ish hours of progress, so luckily the save editor worked. I just hope it doesn't break anything in the future if there's DLC. But this is a warning to you: try not to ignore any of the six main quests or things might get broken like this. I love Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and No Man's Sky so I'm used to some crazy bugs in my games, but this one hurt a bit. It's not a common issue (since I guess most people do the quest earlier) but I've seen a few other people who ran into the same problem when researching it.

To their credit, Lazy Bear Games have been updating the game a lot post-launch to fix things, so hopefully this gets addressed. I think with a bit more polish and some rebalancing of the grind this could be even better.

But overall the issues don't pull it down. This is a game that won't be for everyone, not by a long shot. If you don't like the idea of grinding for resources, skip this. Seriously, that's most of the game, just figuring out what resources you need to grind and then doing it. But for me, it hit the perfect gameplay loop to keep me tied to it during basically all of my free hours. I had frustrations but I constantly wanted more.

If you like the farm sim games and want one that's a little more taxing, humorous, and full of corpses, you'll have a blast with Graveyard Keeper!


In this episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio, we play Kid Icarus!

In Kid Icarus you play as Pit, and you're tasked with finding three treasures to save Angel Land and its queen, Palutena. Kid Icarus is a mash up of many styles of gameplay, but mostly action platformer. It's bizarre and pretty tricky, and has become a cult classic over the years. Come be a part of Cheerful Ghost Radio by discussing Kid Icarus with us!

In season two of Cheerful Ghost Radio we are doing bite-sized NES Classic review episodes. We want to make you all part of these episodes, so if you want to join in the fun, head here and join in the event for next month's NES Classic review, Metroid!

https://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/events/165/cheerful-ghost-games-club-metroid

While we have you here: what kind of games from the NES Classic and SNES Classic would you like to hear us review? Would you prefer the SNES era over the NES era? If you have suggestions, let us know below!


https://i.imgur.com/eIABOdl.png
This... this may be huge.

A new beta of the Steam client on Linux will allow you to play Windows-only games on Linux. Currently only a few games are in the list of supported titles BUT in true Linux-user fashion, you can enable it for every game and try your luck.

This works using Proton, a fork of Wine, a Windows compatibility layer that many on Linux use to run Windows software and games already. Proton provides the following improvements:


  • Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.

  • DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.

  • Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.

  • Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognize all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.

  • Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.



They are taking on the daunting task of going through the entire Steam library and finding which games work well. So far, the supported list is as follows:


  • Beat Saber

  • Bejeweled 2 Deluxe

  • Doki Doki Literature Club!

  • DOOM

  • DOOM II: Hell on Earth

  • DOOM VFR

  • Fallout Shelter

  • FATE

  • FINAL FANTASY VI

  • Geometry Dash

  • Google Earth VR

  • Into The Breach

  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012

  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013

  • Mount & Blade

  • Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword

  • NieR: Automata

  • PAYDAY: The Heist

  • QUAKE

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

  • Star Wars: Battlefront 2

  • Tekken 7

  • The Last Remnant

  • Tropico 4

  • Ultimate Doom

  • Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Dark Crusade

  • Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Soulstorm



They've hosted Proton on Github (https://github.com/ValveSoftware/Proton/) so you can download it and make custom versions, and the Steam client will let you use your version instead of the built-in version. I can imagine this leading to Proton configs for specific games that don't necessarily work in the built-in version, thus letting you easily use multiple configs straight from the Steam client.

Proton supports Mac, and I bet enterprising nerds will release some custom Proton configs for running games on Macs, but as of now Valve says they don't have any plans for building this into the Steam client for Mac. Plans may change if demand is there, but their language on it seems pretty firm that they have no plans for it.

This is exciting because one Wine config doesn't necessarily work for multiple games, so getting Wine games running in Linux frequently requires making new Wine configs, with their own directory structure, and therefore with their own Steam install. So to install 20 Steam games with no native Linux version, you may have 10 or more different Steam clients installed and a messy file structure.

Some people will argue that this is a step back, and that developers don't need to target Linux now because Proton will pick up the slack. Others argue that this gets more gamers on Linux, leading to more reason for developers to target Linux. Who knows how the market will react, but I'm excited because this gets Linux closer to Windows in game support, and while over 3000 games on Steam currently support Linux natively, it's been harder to get some of the bigger publishers/developers on board, and even some indies. What do you think? Does this make you more likely to use Linux for gaming?

Original announcement: https://steamcommunity.com/games/221410/announcements/detail/1696055855739350561


In this episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio, we visit the Quantum Realm and review the new cog in the Marvel Cinematic Universe machine, Ant-Man and the Wasp! We discuss our favorite things about the film and a few issues we had, and consider how it might affect Infinity War Part II and the wider MCU.

While we have you here, after a brief hiatus Cheerful Ghost Games Club is back! We'll be reviewing Kirby's Adventure in an upcoming episode and we want your input. Come play Kirby's Adventure with us and we'll include your thoughts in the episode!

https://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/events/163/cheerful-ghost-games-club-kirby-s-adventure


Travis gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Travis gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
There's a bit of a theme for me today eh? Two racing games! A Day at the Races continues with Lightfield HYPER Edition! A big thanks to the folks at Lost in the Garden for providing us with review keys!

Lightfield HYPER Edition isn't exactly a racing game. There are races, yes, and that's the main focus, but sometimes this feels more like the parkour of Mirror's Edge or trick lines in the Tony Hawk games than a racing game.

You control a ship that can defy gravity and fly through the air, or snap to surfaces. You gain speed while snapped, and quickly lose speed when you aren't snapped, so the goal is to get from checkpoint to checkpoint in the most efficient path, while staying on surfaces as much as possible. Each track has the standard race challenge, but also others that have you pull off ledge jumps, rotations, find collectibles, etc.

The controls are simple, well-executed, and mostly intuitive. You're going to crash a lot and make some bad moves, but you never feel that the game is fighting against you. Basically you use the analog stick to steer, the trigger to accelerate, and a face button to snap. Those are all the controls you have, and they're all you need.

The first track is intense but mostly in two dimensions. Once you progress to the second track, you will quickly have no idea which way is up. In fact, it's best to just try to forget the concept of up and down. Just find the nearest surface that gets you to the next checkpoint and HOLD ON. But that difficulty curve ramps up fast, and that may be my biggest complaint with the game. I felt very lost on the second track. But that's the kind of game this is: it doesn't hold your hand at all and throws you in the deep end, for better or worse. Mostly better, I think. It pushes you to practice on the previous levels until you really get the gameplay, and then introduce new concepts on that solid base.

Lightfield is frustrating at times. Not in a bad way, but in an "I really want to get this right" way. Back to Mirror's Edge, if you've played this you know how a parkour run can just crash and burn when you miss a jump or a grab, and that same feeling grabs you in the gut when you miss a snap in Lightfield. But when you pull it off, it's a great feeling, and this frustration/satisfaction loop makes the gameplay really addictive. Time trial mode is a single lap that just keeps repeating, and I think I probably went about 30 rounds without stopping once, trying to get my run just right.

The other challenges interested me less. None of them are bad or boring, but I LOVE the time trials and races. They're a good way to break the intensity but I didn't put as much effort into doing as well as possible on those.

The visuals and soundtrack are very compelling, and fit the game perfectly. This is a very stylized game that perhaps resembles an updated Star Fox low-poly look, but with some intense 80s color schemes. The soundtrack, composed by Zanshin, complements the sci-fi vibe and helps drive the intensity of the gameplay.

If you're looking for a very non-traditional indie racing game, this might just be your jam. It is for me.

Keep an eye out for another review of Lightfield HYPER Edition coming soon, by our friendly neighborhood monster from the Upside Down, Timogorgon!


Travis gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Travis gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
I still can't hear the Guns 'n' Roses song, Paradise City, without thinking about Burnout Paradise. I bought it shortly after getting a PS3, and played the hell out of it. I'm not a racing game aficionado, but I've played a few dozen over the years and this one might be my favorite of the arcadey racers. So my interest was piqued when I heard about the remastered version that released a few months back, but I decided to wait for the PC release (even though I ended up buying it on PS4 instead... more on that later). Origin Access has it up now for a 10 hour demo before the launch next week.

Burnout Paradise Remastered is the full game with all the post-launch content except for the time-savers pack that just unlocked all the cars for you.

I'm not going to review the game itself here, because that's been done before, very thoroughly. I'm reviewing the changes in the remastered version. But in brief, Burnout Paradise is a different take on racing games. It's an open-world racer, where every street is a challenge. There are hundreds of gates, billboards, and jumps to discover, races or other challenges at every intersection, and full-street time trials to compete with others around the world. Criterion added a ton of post-release content: some paid and some for free: motorcycles, legendary cars that resemble famous cars from movies and TV, toy cars, Big Surf Island (a huge area with new challenges and cars), Cops and Robbers (a new mode in which you play as... well... cops and robbers), and more. In contrast to other open-world racing games, the world feels full. Everywhere you look there's something to do.

And it does all of that amazingly well.

I fired up Burnout Paradise Remastered on PC and initially I couldn't see much of a difference. The original already looked great, and I may have some rose-colored glasses. But I went back to the original and yeah, they've smoothed things out. The first frame of reference is your car, which really doesn't look very different, but when you drive around the city, the remaster becomes more apparent. The lighting and shadows are better, it's more optimized (I was getting a more consistent frame rate on the remastered version), the textures for the world elements are improved. It's a nice new coat of paint.

As it happens I then went through some email and saw that it was on sale for 50% off on PSN, so I grabbed it there and played it on my PS4 Pro and wow. This is where it really shines. In addition to the improvements I saw on PC, this runs in 4K with a steady 60fps (it will run in 4K on your PC as well if you have the monitor for it. I unfortunately do not).

This is also currently the only way to get the Big Surf Island and Cops and Robbers DLC packs on PC.

Overall, this is just great. The visual improvements aren't huge but they're noticeable, especially if you have something that can run it in 4K. I love it and can't wait to burn up the streets more. Overall, it's a Must Play, but I have to give it two ratings:
1. If you don't have the game, this is a Must Play. It's the definitive version of what's already a Must Play game.
2. If you already have it on a console with all the DLC, it's a Rad. Maybe wait for a sale. There's nothing truly groundbreaking about the additions, but they're improvements.


https://i.imgur.com/l3qsT7x.png
There's been speculation about this for a while, but earlier today Steam.tv launched to the world, appearing to be the long-assumed-to-be-coming Twitch competitor from Valve.

But it left us as quickly as it arrived!

Before it blinked out of existence, presenting merely a white page, it looked like the screenshot on this post. While it was up, all that was available was footage of the International, a Dota 2 competition. You could sign in and chat via voice or text using the new Discord-like chat that Steam recently released. You could invite groups of friends to watch videos with you and chat about it together.

But alas, someone was a bit quick on the trigger. In a statement, a Valve rep said:

“We are working on updating Steam Broadcasting for the Main Event of The International, Dota 2’s annual tournament. What people saw was a test feed that was inadvertently made public.”


That... doesn't exactly seem to be the full story, since it wasn't just a video feed. But we'll see! The International kicks off next week, so we shouldn't have to wait long for an official launch.

Sources:
https://www.cnet.com/news/steam-tv-is-live-and-it-appears-to-be-valves-twitch-competitor/
https://www.pcgamer.com/valve-launches-streaming-website-steamtv/
https://kotaku.com/valve-launches-steam-tv-which-could-be-a-twitch-compet-1828431411


https://us.diablo3.com/en/switch

Diablo III is the third in the primarily PC-based series, but it has been a mainstay on consoles since 2014, with releases for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Today, Blizzard announced plans for Diablo III: The Eternal Collection for the Nintendo Switch! It’s the game we know and love, with the Reaper is Souls expansion and the Rise of the Necromancer DLC. And in addition, you get some neat Zelda bonuses. Ever wanted to dress up like Ganon, hang out with a cucco companion, or have a triforce portrait frame while playing Diablo? Now you can!

You can play couch co-op on a single Switch, locally with up to four Switch consoles, or on the online service launching soon.

No release date has been given yet, but The Eternal Collection should be out this year.

What do you think, Switch owners? Time to dive back into Sanctuary?


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