What games are you playing 2: The revenge


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Playing an indie game called Crossing Souls. It's got some very gorgeous, vivid, and fluid pixel animation, and so far I'm having a blast with the gameplay. I just got through the first couple of chapters. It's supposed to be a mix-up of 80s Saturday morning cartoon and 80s movies culture, and it's definitely playing that to heart, especially with the quick FMV cutscenes. The main issue I have with this game is the control scheme. The devs recommend you use a gamepad, but if you're using a keyboard, they don't allow you to toggle key bindings at all! This is damn painful since movement is done on WASD, while most other actions are on TAB-SHIFT LEFT-CTRL LEFT, and you use your mouse to attack. It would have been nice to at least also have the arrow buttons also act as direction buttons too, but no. Also, for gameplay reasons, you'll usually be walking around most of the game with a purple tinge, which kind of affects some of the scenery porn.


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Crossing Souls

Got through another couple of chapters now that I'm on my days off. I'm actually impressed with the pixel art work, especially since this appears to be only a handful of creators too (I think 4 or 5?). I'm surprised though how quickly they go from fairly bright colour templates to a lot darker stuff, but the story took a darker turn pretty quick, so it fits thematically.

The controls are clicking for the most part for me, but I still wish they would have let me customise hotkeys for a keyboard.

Not sure how many chapters there are. I just got to chapter 5. Going off the collectables, I assume it's 7-9.


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Crossing Souls

So I finished the game. There are actually some interesting 80s references here throughout. It's certainly a very vivid, well-designed experience, too. The only real critiques I have are two mentioned before and a third extra one. The first being that playing with a keyboard can be a real pain because of the unchangeable key bindings (movement is with WASD, while the other main keys you use are TAB/SHIFT/SPACE, and occasionally Q and E. Attacking is done with the mouse, but all the keys are too close together on the left side). The second is that, for gameplay purposes, you get a pinkish tinge over a lot of the game's scenery, which kind of ruins the colour effect at times. Third is that some characters are obviously a lot better than others, and the one who imo is the best character you lose about three quarters through the game.

Also, a couple of the bosses are sudden difficulty jumps. Usually, most of them have patterns that you can learn and adapt, but the second-last boss is just a real PITA.


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So I'm playing South Park: The Stick of Truth. I got The Fractured But Whole a month ago on Steam when it was at steep discount (90% off!), so I figured I'd try TSoT since I had it in my library as well, waiting to be played.

My first impression: there's a fart button. This is great XD

The combat system is pretty fun too, if a little wonky on keyboard with the commands, but the game reminds you basically every time before you attack which buttons to press. I really do adore this type of turn-based RPG that has active turn attacks and blocks, like Mario & Luigi and several other games.

Anyways, I'm guessing a lot of the game's sidequests are frontloaded? Because I go through South Park and it throws sidequest after sidequest at me, and unless I move on to a new area later, it looks like I've already explored most of town. I just walked around, and after a few sidequests already, just 'found Jesus' lol.


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South Park: The Stick of Truth

So I just finished the second day. More thoughts.

Oh god. There is literally a technique for the Jew class called Circum-scythe. XD

It's really rather strange on what the ratings board will allow based on a game's art style. Because goddamn. If this was in high-def 'realistic graphics', I don't think a man f***ing a horse would fly. Nor would the whole Matrix-style cutscene of the New Kid fighting the Underpants Gnome while dodging his mom's breasts and his dad's ballsack be allowed. Or the straight-up sex scene shown. Or the anal probing. But have the whole South Park cardboard-cutout style? A-OK. For reference, I'm playing on Steam, but I assume all this was in the PS3/360 games.

I've said it before, but I really do enjoy the battle system. I left the difficulty for the game parked right in the middle. It gets easy pretty quickly, and I just start to do some more multi-hit attacks that help me clear multiple enemies quickly. Stunning the enemies before battle + the Sling with the upgrade that does more damage to stunned enemies and can multi-hit knocks out most regular foes pretty quick, and I just got access to the Plagues of Egypt at level 10 I think. Looking at the upgrades...that will be broken. But the items also break the game pretty quickly too. Speed Potions can be bought for I think $2 and give you an extra turn, which if I was so inclined to use them often would mean I can clear most mobs before they can even move.

Anyways, what I suspected would happen did. The second day zips by a lot quicker than the first because most of the sidequests were already wrapped up on the first day. I absolutely adore the set-piece for the end of day 2 with storming the school and the Nazi zombie gingers. It's such a thrilling climax to play towards. And for the record, I beat up Cartman because who doesn't want to beat up Cartman? (I did keep a separate save for the Achievement to fight Kyle) And what's this? A twist? Le gasp! Or at least, it would be if the interface spoiler of switching between your allies didn't hint you would be able to use both Cartman and Kyle.

The New Kid has been hinted a few times by his parents to have some sort of 'special ability'. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be the power of his farts, or his ability to make so many new friends so quickly. Seriously, I'm already close to 100 friends in only 2 days!


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South Park: The Stick of Truth

Finally finished up the game.

As a Canadian, let me just say I continue to love how the South Park universe depicts Canadians XD

The final day actually zips by pretty quick, too. You get that f***ed-up abortion arc (and of course the New Kid gets to do an abortion thing twice, including on the nuke at the end), followed by the trip to Canada, and finally storming Clyde's castle. Can't say I was expecting to have to go into Mr. Slave's anus to deactivate the nuke. Eugh. That actually did gross me out! But the bit where you get to storm Clyde's castle really is awesome. All the kids fighting in the background and your slow advance really is an epic concluding act to the game.

I guess the game kind-of-sort-of-sideways-winks at New Kid x Annie? At least, she has a lot more interaction with him than any other girl in the game essentially.

Storyline-wise, it looks like I was right that his special power isn't even the farts, but the ability to make new friends really quickly (we're on Day 3 and I think you can get 120 friends in that time period?). Really though, the way he's able to flip the table and smash his way through actual bad guys, not just other elementary school kids play-acting swords and staffs, also shows he's a real tank. And his real name is Dovakhin? Wow.

That anime sequence with Princess Kenny is absolutely adorable. Wasn't expecting him/her to be the final boss.

I had to go back and redo the final raid on Clyde's castle, because I didn't realise I would get locked in when I did and needed to go get the Hoff nosejob for an achievement, plus the girl's outfit one because I forgot to wear the makeup sigh. Fortunately, there weren't any achievements that I would have to replay the entire game for, like not having any of your buddies knocked out (at which point I wouldn't bother). So I am now 50/50.


Lurking upon the deep
Tried the new Warframe update after a few months away from the game and i can clearly state that the new open world Deimos is, pardon my mixing of franchises, the unholy image of what Papa Nurgle's bathroom looks like after corpse burrito night. Beyond the horror show looks, its just another open world with the same types of grinds for a few shiny trinkets that minorly hold my interest but not long enough to want to waste my time right now grinding for, especially when i have literally no patience for DE's dumbass idea of still having timegating on their reputation system.


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South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Fractured But Whole, hehe. I get it!

But it really does work on two levels too, since the kids are split up into two superhero factions. I'm guessing they'll make up during the course of the game ala humans and elves in Stick of Truth, at least going off the interface spoiler where the Allies page shows I'm going to get a lot of allies.

Anyways, I finished the first day. The new battle system was a little wonky for me to get used to at first, but I adjusted pretty quick. It's a lot more interesting and dynamic than the Stick of Truth system was. Being able to move new enemies onto the field all over the place, some real-time elements like fighting in the stripper club, and occasional elements like having to move to one side of the field instead of just outright fighting. Status effects still seem to be king with how much they can stack up as well.

However, what gets me is that the game seems so much slower than SoT, both in combat and out. In combat is of course obvious, as you could usually end combat within a few turns in most battles in SoT, while Fractured But Whole is more drawn out. But out-of-combat is also slower. Moving across South Park feels a little slower too, which makes the distances walking across town just that much loooooonger. Even little things like when Fastpassing, it has to draw it out with a five-second scene instead of making it near-instant. The graphical style seems a little weird. It's like the cartoon, but somehow a little different than Stick of Truth was, and it keeps throwing me off. At the same time, there's some neat elements, like on the first night, when you wander through town, there's some big crowd scenes.

I do have to say, it seems like they spaced out side-quests a little bit better, since the amount of stuff to do on the first day is a lot less than what it was in Stick of Truth, so I assume there's more to do on later days.

I did look up achievements before starting the game. There is only one that is missable, so I can go through spoiler-free for the most part (though the one that's missable requires you to set difficulty right at the start of the game, so good thing I checked first!). I love how apparently thoughtful and considerate they were with designing Mackey's scenes in this game so even though he's not very good at counselling, he nails it out of the park here with the whole sexuality metres.

Random thoughts: Father Maxi really needs to keep a better eye on his other priests. Clyde needs to stop eating so many chicken wings. Randy is a bad red wine drunk lol. Captain Diabetes is just too precious.


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South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Played through the second day

Slowly getting more superhero allies. Call Girl is amazing. I fully expect to have her in my team the entire game given the movesets I've seen so far. Long-range attack that can hit across the map + cause Defense Down? Ultimate that hits every enemy and also causes Defense Down? Even ignoring her other two regular attacks, those two techniques already seem to make her more top-tier.

I mentioned it with the Stick of Truth, but once again, I love just how climatic the end-of-day setpieces are. The raid on the U-Stor-It and blasting your way through all of Butters' traps and contraptions is epic (outside of the necessary silly moments like Butters' scheme to use evil hamsters failing, or Cartman treating the lava like a real threat), with bosses like his tinfoil-wrapped contraption of Mexican minions and a few dogs. I love how he got $20k to do all that, while the kids are fighting each other for a $100 reward. The combat system is really beginning to shine with how much more adaptable and flexible it is with changing gears throughout phases of the fight. My complaint about the fights being a lot slower than Stick of Truth still stand though.

I also got to beat up Kyle's mom. Kyle's mom is a bitch :D

PC Principal appears in this game. He doesn't do much aside from a few scenes and letting you change your race, but he's so...PC Principal.

The police recruit the New Kid to take down a drug dealer and then the drug kingpin. Who both 'coincidentally' happen to be black. Not sure where that subplot is going, besides that they're obviously being racist again. This plotline is probably more amusing because my own character is black for the one missable achievement.

Something I forgot to mention previously: Morgan Freeman is the proprietor of a taco shop in this game. He teaches your character fart-based techniques


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South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Finished up the third day.

Beating up Butters' dad Mr. Stotch is so satisfying, going along with beating up Kyle's mom. I went and explored a lot of the town now that I got Toolshed's buddy power to blow away lava and pressurise lines, so I was able to get the third fart-based power. Now I can summon my past self in battle and really blow away the enemies.

I wasn't sure where the subplot with the racist police was going to go, but somehow, an Elder god cult wasn't it XD. When I got to the basement and saw how spooky everything was, I instantly knew it was going to be a whole Cthulhu-inspired thing, but I expected it to be Cthulhu itself, since it appeared in the show. Instead, it turned out to be another Elder God that I'm not sure I can write its name here without it being considered a censor bypass. I guess the Elder God hating white meat is the new spin on 'we're not actually racist', since it only eats black meat.

I'm not sure where the whole community service thing at the old folk's home was supposed to go. It was never explained one bit that I recall why it was required. It doesn't look like it set up for anything, and none of the kids ever said it was community service that they were ordered to fulfill for a juvenile offense.

Jared Fogle as a pedophile boss. Oof. Needless to say, the New Kid farted on him. No mercy.

And during the course of the day, 'Mitch Conner' was revealed as the crime lord instigating events in town like getting all the adults huffed up on cat urine non-stop. Huh. As far as I remember, Mitch Conner is just Cartman playacting and getting into the act really, really deep. The strange thing is the Coon & Friends were fighting the Freedom Pals for a $100 reward, so why the hell would Cartman bother when he can apparently rustle up $20k for Butters' schemes?...

'Fractured But Whole' didn't get a title drop, but damn, that really played out at the end of the third day once you have to fight your brainwashed friends and then parts of the Freedom Pals. I mentioned it before on Stick of Truth, but it's really kind of sweet just how inclusive the kids (minus Cartman of course) are of each other in the game. They tolerate Wendy, and they go-in wholesale on Timmy being a Professor Xavier expy to the point most of the Coon & Friends start attacking the New Kid because 'Timmy brainwashed us!'. Then that franchise plan. Hot diggity. Too bad it won't last, because the story plot definitely feels another full day, and possibly a fifth as well.

Also, I got Tweek and Craig's relationship counselling done. Their combined Ultimate with the whole anime yaoi cutscene is adorable.

Then I briefly start the fourth day...the New Kid's parents are gone again even after they should have been saved the previous day from prison. There are blood trails over the house. I thought at first it was going to be ketchup made to look like blood, but nope, it's most likely blood. And the kitchen is drenched in blood. Holy s***, between this and the whole Elder God plot, I think most of the comedic elements will have flown out the window.


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BotW UPDATE: True Love conquers all, including wooden walls that prevent love letters from flowing down stream. MY DRILL SPIN WILL PIERCE THE HEAVENS!


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South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Finished the game. Captain Diabetes is best character personality-wise. Scott really gets a stellar show here.

Kanye West as a literal gay fish instead of a metaphorical one. Now I've seen everything. A unicorn farting rainbow is nowhere near as far-fetched :O

I feel like Matt and Trey weren't quite allowed to be as balls-to-the-wall as they wanted, since the language and humour and outright in-your-face elements are nowhere near as direct in FBW as they were in SOT. Instead, they made up for it by being as insanely dark as they could. Sex is a no-so, so let's have lots of blood. It's disturbing seeing the New Kid have no expression as he has to choose which of his parents to kill so he can continue on in Mephesto's lab. Or 'Christmas' in South Park, with an aisle out the door to the abortion clinic, and Mr. Mackey getting his head blown off by the Woodland critters.

Speaking of the little Christmas sequence, 'Fractured Butthole'. Ooooh, title drop!

But yeah, I talked earlier about how the battle system in this game feels a lot slower than in Stick of Truth. The whole endgame really hits home with that, because it just drags ooooooooooooooooon and oooooooooooooon. I appreciate how badass it is to fight against King Douchebag and his army of loyal elves and humans, but when the whole sequence is neverending, it really kills the epic feeling. Though the really final battle is also heartwarming, sort of. When Doctor Timothy orders both Kyle and Cartman to stop cheating, both of them do. Remember, everyone is still acting within the confines of their superhero dress-up rules (mostly). Timmy is in real life a cripple. The two still both obey him.

The New Kid being asked for selfies with the intruders is a pretty funny twist.

The stinger ending with Professor Chaos is interesting. I would totally be down with a third game where the New Kid turns play-evil and stomps over the rest of the South Park kids before the 'good faction' can finally overthrow him.

Anyways. After I cleared the game proper and got my The Token Feeling achievement, I switched to being white to be able to fight Morgan Freeman. It took me a couple of fights to get used to the tempo, but I was able to cheese him by boxing him and and buffing my characters a lot.

Then I went and played the two DLC episodes, since I had purchased both of them. One involves Mysterion and Henrietta with probably only the second day-in-the-limelight episode for Karen McCormick (the first being when her brother gets her a doll), and the second is a parody of slasher films taking place at a camp, with Jimmy and Mintberry Crunch returning from the Coon & Friends trilogy. And holy fuck. If I had done these DLC episodes like halfway through the game proper, it probably would have broken the battle system completely wide open. Netherborn has amazing crowd control and long range hits, while Final Girl also has good crowd control and amazing auxiliary skills.


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So I played an indie-turned base game called Skyborn. Probably 8 hours long if you're playing on Easy or Normal, 10 or 11 if you're playing on Hard and doing the optional dungeon as well which I did.

The story isn't anything particularly special. It did its bit though, and it moved from beat to beat fairly quick. Really, in retrospect it's kind of surprising how just how fast it did move.

I do enjoy how user-friendly and quickly the gameplay pacing is in movement and in battle. I set my dash to automatic and outside of one or two sequences where you're forced to move slow, it was nice being able to move around briskly. Battle sequences also move really fast too. There's the attack animations, but nothing that makes it move excruciatingly slow. Stuff like being able to toggle easily between Normal and Hard, saving anywhere, and generous HP/MP save spots are good anti-frustration features, along with your characters automatically regenerating MP so you don't really risk running out while in a dungeon. Having it clear who moves and when is also handy. Games that move this quickly really are a joy. However, the big issue I have is that you can't tell what buffs and debuffs and status effects the enemy has active. You can see when an enemy gets a status effect and when that status effect wears off, but you can't check in between. So you essentially have to remember which ones it has, or else waste time trying to get another status effect inflicted.

And that does matter, because playing on Hard Mode, status effects are absolutely critical. Basically any boss fight after the halfway point is a fight of getting critical status effects on the boss before it can eliminate your party. Paralyze is a nasty status effect, and one party member is able to inflict it on basically just about any enemy and boss except for a select few (one mechanical boss, and I think the last two bosses). Then it's a matter of debuffing the boss with several different stacking techniques from all your characters, buffing your own party, attacking, and reapplying debuffs and buffs as required.

Speaking of Hard Mode, I think the difficulty is basically like a bell curve. It starts easy in the beginning, rises up towards the middle stretch, then falls off at the end. This is essentially because you have to clear a bunch of very tough optional fights to get into the game's one optional dungeon, which gives you a lot of goodies that make the endgame more of a cakewalk. You get some free stat-boosting items in this dungeon, and you can also buy the same stat-boosting items late game. However, currency is limited in this game, so clearing the optional dungeon allows you to buy still more stat-boosting items.

There's something in this system called Augments, which basically are gems you can slot onto your weapons to get increased stats or other effects. You can buy them, but the best ones are obviously not buyable, and you cannot reuse them on new equipment. Augments are a cool idea, but it's also why I mentioned the above difficulty spike and then plateau. I saved all my best augments until the endgame since they're not reusable, then absolutely curbstomped the regular enemies on my way to the endboss :D

Overall, still a nifty fun romp

There's a stinger scene at the ending with a cloaked character. I assume the character is implied to be the main antagonist, but it's strange, because the cloaked character's sprite has blue eyes, and the antagonist has brown eyes. Then I reloaded my save before the final boss and went through the scene with the antagonist. His character art has brown eyes, but his sprite on-screen has blue eyes. Huh.


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428: Shibuya Scramble

So far, the game seems interesting enough for me to stick with it.

The biggest thing I despise is the user interface. The text crawls at a slow pace, and you can't speed it up. When you have text that you've read before and have to repeat, you still have to go through it at the same sloooow pace. And the game doesn't keep track of your bad endings, so you have to manually keep track of them if you want to get all the bad endings in a given time block.

There are a couple of plot beats that I don't know yet how will connect into the main story

the main one being the Ua virus. I guess maybe whoever orchestrated the kidnapping has a vendetta against Osawa over it? Another guess I'll make right now is Tama is Maria. Not being able to see her face (there's a brief flashback with her without the suit but it doesn't show her face), coupled with her made-up name and appearing to have memory loss along with having apparently hit her head recently are all suspicious points.


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428: Shibuya Scramble

I found where the game keeps track of my bad endings. Hidden away but I did.

Anyways, the first post there I made was after getting through the first two time blocks. I've since gotten through the third and fourth time blocks.

I like how Osawa's route so far is like a low-budget horror film, with the way plot points build up, the lighting on a lot of still shots, and the creepy music. I'm going to guess that he injected Hitomi with the antiviral, and the criminals meant to kidnap her, but got her and her twin sister mixed up. Not really sure why being given the antiviral specifically would be important though.

Also, it looks like I nailed my guess with Tama. Early on in the fourth time block she reveals she's amnesiac. Then she takes her costume off at the end and is revealed to be Maria, and then she even undresses out of the Tama suit on the character select. Also, I like how taking Tama suit off early causes the assassin to put it on. Sweet Buddha almighty, seeing Tama with blood on its paw and around its mouth is disturbing.'

Now it also looks like there's yet another party to throw in to this whole mess, whoever Canaan is, and s/he killed all the foreigners in the club.

I wonder how the assassin keeps tracking Hitomi down. Does she have a tracker on her phone or necklace, or is the assassin using Endo's security camera footage? Don't think there's enough hints at all, so I guess it'll be revealed later.

Also, from one of the bad endings:

And this wasn't the only seed Kano had planted

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


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428: Shibuya Scramble

Finished the 5th and 6th time blocks.

I have the bad habit of looking at story tropes hat I'm older and have seen lots of stories. The Law of Conservation of Detail means your end-game villain isn't going to be somebody just introduced at the last minute (some stories do that, and they also don't have good endings). Which is why, with the fifth and sixth time blocks completed, I suspect the assassin hunting Hitomi down is Tateno, and I suspect Leland Palmer is Alphard. Leland Palmer might have only had like three scenes at the start of the game, but he's also basically the only foreigner who hasn't already really been accounted for so far, and they're not just going to introduce a new character and then five minutes later say 'oh btw he's Alphard'.

In the fifth time block. I got it correct about Hitomi being injected with the antiviral and that's why she was the one who was supposed to be kidnapped.I have no idea if this thing about antiviral staying in the body for a week after is a real thing or not though, or if it's pseudo-science made up for the game.

There's not a whole lot of new information in the sixth time block really, besides Maria being infected with the Ua virus and the name of the overall villain.

I assume the Aya Kamiki ringtone set off the bomb in the minivan. I'm trying to remember who it was that had the Aya Kamiki ringtone on his phone. I want to say it was Yanagahita, the conman with the afro, but he's accounted for after the explosion. Shizuo, who is Kano's girlfriend's dad, is also a fan, but he's also alive after the explosion. Supposedly it is Tanaka, but they're just going off the body's personal effects. But if I go back to look at the opening video for the game, the man in the van says he was betrayed, so I guess it is Tanaka.
So I've played and beaten the main campaign in Marvel's Avengers and, while not the best game out there, has a pretty good story. I can't wait for Spider-Man to come out as a playable character.

I've also been playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 for the first time and I love it. Lohse is best girl.

Now it's time to re-play Spider-Man on PS4 again, mostly because it was announced that Miles' venture will be on PS4!

I'm also restarting DA: Inquisition yet again.
Finished 428 Shibuya Scramble. Got through the main two side stories. I finished wrapping up the bad ends and the other Shibuya Side stories too. Tomorrow I will pursue the other three hidden stories, and that will be all.

Can't saw I saw Canaan actually being Alphard, though at least I got it correct that Leland Palmer was a bad guy, albeit not actually Alphard. I suppose I should have seen it coming to a degree, since in one of Kano's bad ends earlier on both him and Stanley get ganked by Canaan, which she shouldn't have had a legitimate reason to do if she was an actual good guy.

One weird plot point is that Hitomi didn't know what Canaan looked like. But Maria had a picture of her and Canaan in her purse.

The real Canaan is absolutely adorable. If she's like this in the anime, it's worth a watch. Though her side story is a little jarring, going from live action for the entire game to suddenly anime-style story.

I like how in several of Achi's bad ends it's implied that Tateno actually does kill Hitomi, and he's able to point his gun steadily at both Hitomi and Maria, then suddenly when it comes to Canaan, Tateno can't shoot, and against the villain of all people. Definitely a very unusual case of 'the bad guy becomes depowered when he becomes a good guy'.

My complaint early on about the pace of the text crawl still applies. The last time block is especially tedious, because when I make a decision change somewhere that affects somebody else's route, I'm often letting the text autoscroll three to four minutes. It'd be nice to skip through already-read dialogue. I'm not sure how much of a programming change that would take, but it would have been an enormous quality-of-life thing. And not being able to back up if you accidentally miss one of the images for the secret side stories, too. Going through all that text again is seriously a tedious enough affair for me that it'd knock an entire point off in a theoretical game review.
Of course. OF COURSE a blood moon wood pop up after running a Guardian Gauntlet. why wouldn't it, I only want to explore this temple do some treasure hunting