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What we have played – giant dragon boys, half devils and companion games

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July 5, 2024

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little about some of the games we’ve been playing over the past few days. This week, we shake our heads against Shadow of the Erdtree, suffer for our evils in Baldur’s Gate 3, and revel in the change in Diablo 4.

What did you play?

If you want to catch some of the older editions of what we’ve played, here’s our archive.

Diablo 4, PS5

Diablo 4 is a perfect companion game in the sense that it’s a welcome relief from whatever else you’re playing. I returned to it this week inspired by many of you still playing it, and as ever, I was impressed. It’s such a polished and well-crafted package that it makes me feel like a kid with an action toy who just wants to smash it into other action toys; I get the game and it forces me to play.

Latest Diablo 4 loot changes. Watch on YouTube

The slight bump I ran into this time was that the loot has changed. I picked an older character to spend some time with – one that I had completely forgotten how to use, so I had to trust that I would have done the “thinking” beforehand and built something workable and I would push the buttons until the old strategy reappeared – and I soon discovered that all the equipment I had with me was now considered “legacy”. In addition, I began to loot things that I had never seen before: schematics for weapons that can be applied separately, nukes, and there are new systems such as Tempering. It was the same game, but now it was a different game.

This is what happens now: games change. Spend some time away from them and you may return to find something very different. See Cyberpunk 2077, see World of Warcraft, really see any live service game. And yes, it may take some getting used to, but I also really enjoy it. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the loop that Diablo 4 understands so well. What I will tire of is the wrap around it and the sense of purpose I have in the game. As long as it’s constantly refreshed, I’ll happily eat Diablo 4 between meals for many years to come.

– Bert

Elden ring, PC

Maybe some of these weapons would have helped. Watch on YouTube

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion these past few weeks, trying to uncover every last secret and turn it into some sort of guide. This weekend, I spent a few hours being absolutely blown away by Bayle the Dread, a giant dragon guy who is one of the optional bosses who lives atop the giant volcano in the southeast corner of the map.

Really, I should have realized this was a bad idea when I started climbing the mountain. As you emerge at the foot of Jagged Peak, the skies are already red—a marked change from the ghostly grays and blues you left behind on Gravesite Plain. But things just get worse from there. The wind picks up, ripping through the trees so hard and throwing so much dust and flying rock into the air that you too feel like you too could be pulled over in an instant if it weren’t for the full set of armor you’re wearing. Then red lightning starts streaking across the sky as you cross a disturbingly flimsy looking wooden bridge, and oh well, now it’s tearing through the ground in front of me like an almighty bolt of whatever the hell this game’s equivalent of Zeus might be .

The further up you go, the more apocalyptic it gets. The sky turns redder, the dust becomes all-encompassing, and did I mention the dozens of smaller dragon corpses lining the way up? It’s mayhem and mayhem incarnate, and yet I made it to the top, before proceeding to spend more than three hours running through the same boss arena over and over, only to get chewed out and flashed every time. Finally, I got there, but even now I wonder, was it really worth it? For the sake of my job, of course. But for my personal pleasure? I’m still working on it, I guess.

– Catherine

Baldur’s Gate 3, PC

Baldur’s Gate 3. Watch on YouTube

Have I backed myself into a corner? I’ve strayed from my Dark Urge program of BG3 and hit a roadblock: Act 3. Specifically, there are climactic battles out there that I don’t seem equipped to handle. My problem: lack of spell casters. I have Shadowheart and that’s it. I killed Will and Gale – Me He did say it was a bad game! – and I never found Halsey, so the only character who can throw those high level magic bombs is Shadowheart.

My party composition at the moment is two paladins – me and Minthara – plus Shadowheart and then either Astarion or Lae’zel. This is the entirety of my options. In some situations, it works. When I fought against the evil vampire fathers of Astarion, the built-in radiant damage of my paladins was extremely useful. But now that I’m in hell and fighting devils, it’s less. Worse, I lack the firepower to effectively deal with the strongest of them.

In some ways, I don’t mind that. I know I can go to Withers at my base camp and ask for a hireling there to be a mage or wizard or sorcerer or whatever I want them to be. I can build a perfectly balanced party if I want to; I can even change my class. But I also want to face the consequences of my actions and the evil I have done. I will reap what I have sown.

– Bert

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