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Plays, 23rd April, 2016 -

After buying Shovel Knight on PSN months ago, I finally got round to playing it this week, and it's good. I'm still early on, so so far it's pretty basic stuff, but I'm enjoying the retro gameplay and visuals. It's frustrating at points, but old games were.

Talking of frustration, that's the perfect way to introduce the latest indie puzzle game darling, Stephen's Sausage Roll. Oh my word, is this game annoying! I wrote more in-depth impressions here, but I'm still not sure what I think about it. I have found most of my time with it to be entirely unenjoyable, yet I've had moments of real joy. Apparently I'm learning as I play, even though I don't think I am. We'll see.

Pinball, then. Seriously. Who plays pinball? What do all these lights and numbers even mean? What are the rules here? I thought this was just about hitting balls around to score points, but now there are all sorts of rules and secret table areas and all that other nonsense. The only person I've ever seen playing pinball was Paul Newman at the start of The Verdict, and we all know how that turned out.

Anyway, look, despite me knowing next to nothing about pinball I still enjoyed Zen Pinball 2's latest Alien-themed additions, even if the AVP table (based on Paul WS Anderson's dreadful movie of the same name) gave me horrid flashbacks to a past long dead. What?

I've just reached the SPOILER of the SPOILER SPOILER after defeating SPOILER the SPOILER, and couldn't believe that I was thrown straight back into another boss fight without a breather. OH GOD. That's a spoiler isn't it? I'm sorry :(

Anyway, Dark Souls 3. It's still good and I'm still very much enjoying it, but it's gotten to that point where it doesn't feel like a good game to play to 'relax' after work. Because Dark Souls, is, obviously, anything but relaxing. But as well as continuing my journey through DS3 this weekend, I might also try out a bit of Ratchet & Clank to see what all the fuss has been about. I wasn't the biggest fan of the original PS2 series, but with everyone saying that this is actually very goodTM, I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

We had to give the Vive back without doing a journalistic analysis of VR porn, which is obviously a great shame, although Tom did manage to make some of us play a scary game for his (and your) amusement, and aside from that I am still ill – my dramatic flailing and declarations that I'm dying are now met with much more disinterest by my coworkers than when I first started doing it a week ago – and am still having to play through Dark Souls 3. This is a combination that made me unhappy, so over the weekend I went back to my video game happy place, which is Dragon Age: Inquisition, and started a brand new playthrough. This doesn't make for a very timely VG Plays entry, but it's what I've been playing, so get fucked.

This time I've taken the potentially risky step of crowdsourcing the playthrough by basing all the in-game decisions on the results of polls I put out on twitter. This is so far yielding very mixed results, with the hivemind not yet being able to decide on a clear approach. Our Inquisitor seems to have a lot of abrupt changes of heart. She's the kind of ruler you wouldn't want to get too close to, in case one day you're suddenly executed without warning. It's actually quite fun to see the wildly mixed opinions people have about certain characters and factions, with the added bonus that I have an excuse to talk about Dragon Age a lot, which is a subject I have almost inexhaustible opinions on. See, the first game was your classic nation in turmoil due to an outside force story, but the second one was all about social and political upheaval with a nation in turmoil with itself, and then the third is–

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