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2017: The Stats

#article

In 2016 I wrote a number of scripts to keep track of the hours I spend playing games. 2017 is the first full year of stats I have and so I've crunched the numbers to give this snapshot of my year.

In total, I played 100 different games for a combined total of 1012.1 hours. That's just over 42 full days which is ironic as there were only 42 days in 2017 on which I didn't play any games at all. Of those 100 games, 70 were started this year. The average time playing a game is 10.1 hours whilst the median is 4 hours.

Hours by platform

  • 620.1 hours on PC (61%)
  • 247.4 hours on Switch (24%)
  • 82.3 hours on Xbox One (8%)
  • 30.6 hours on iOS (3%)
  • 26.7 hours on Nintendo 3DS (2.5%)
  • 5 hours on Wii U (0.5%)

Hours by game

  • Rocket League (202.2 hours)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (97 hours)
  • Elite Dangerous (43.3 hours)
  • Stardew Valley (40.5 hours)
  • Stellaris (33.1 hours)
  • Forza Horizon 3 (29.9 hours)
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (25.5 hours)
  • Yooka-Laylee (24.1 hours)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (24 hours)
  • Darkest Dungeon (23.8 hours)
  • Titanfall 2 (22.4 hours)
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (20.8 hours)
  • Titanfall: Assault (20.2 hours)
  • Hollow Knight (19.4 hours)
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole (18.2 hours)
  • Pokémon Moon (15.3 hours)
  • Splatoon 2 (14.2 hours)
  • Thimbleweed Park (13.8 hours)
  • SteamWorld Heist (13.4 hours)
  • PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (12.9 hours)
  • HITMAN (12.8 hours)
  • XCOM 2 (12.6 hours)
  • Tabletop Simulator (12.1 hours)
  • Pokémon Yellow (11.4 hours)
  • Cuphead (10 hours)
  • Assassin's Creed Origins (9.1 hours)
  • Dying Light (8.3 hours)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (8.1 hours)
  • Beat Cop (8.1 hours)
  • Candle (7.6 hours)
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (7.3 hours)
  • Train Valley (7.1 hours)
  • SteamWorld Dig 2 (6.4 hours)
  • Gauntlet (6.1 hours)
  • Tyranny (6 hours)
  • Night in the Woods (5.8 hours)
  • Deformers (5.4 hours)
  • Sonic Mania (5.3 hours)
  • LEGO Dimensions (5.2 hours)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront (4.9 hours)
  • Don't Starve Together (4.6 hours)
  • Sundered (4.6 hours)
  • Cosmic Express (4.6 hours)
  • Bridge Constructor Portal (4.6 hours)
  • Orwell (4.5 hours)
  • Dishonored 2 (4.4 hours)
  • Just Cause 3 (4.3 hours)
  • Shadow Warrior 2 (4.1 hours)
  • Planet Coaster (4.1 hours)
  • Kentucky Route Zero (4 hours)
  • Overcooked (4 hours)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (3.9 hours)
  • Pinstripe (3.5 hours)
  • VIDEOBALL (3.5 hours)
  • Red Dead Redemption (3.3 hours)
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (3.2 hours)
  • Kelvin and the Infamous Machine (3.1 hours)
  • Snipperclips (3.1 hours)
  • The Darkside Detective (3.1 hours)
  • Fast RMX (3.1 hours)
  • Castle of Illusion (2.9 hours)
  • L.A. Noire (2.8 hours)
  • Fallout 4 (2.7 hours)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2.6 hours)
  • THOTH (2.5 hours)
  • Invisigun Heroes (2.2 hours)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2.2 hours)
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition (2.2 hours)
  • Human: Fall Flat (2.2 hours)
  • ABZÛ (2.2 hours)
  • Stagehand (2 hours)
  • The Turing Test (2 hours)
  • This War of Mine (1.9 hours)
  • Mario Kart 8 (1.8 hours)
  • Miracle Merchant (1.6 hours)
  • Moon Hunters (1.5 hours)
  • EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone (1.5 hours)
  • Gorogoa (1.5 hours)
  • Tracks - The Train Set Game (1.5 hours)
  • Nex Machina (1.5 hours)
  • Political Animals (1.4 hours)
  • Beholder (1.4 hours)
  • War for the Overworld (1.4 hours)
  • Jawns (1.3 hours)
  • Borderlands 2 (1.3 hours)
  • Reigns (1.2 hours)
  • The Sexy Brutale (1.1 hours)
  • Far Cry 4 (1.1 hours)
  • ibb & obb (1.1 hours)
  • NVIDIA VR Funhouse (1 hour)
  • Watch_Dogs 2 (1 hour)
  • Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons (0.9 hours)
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (0.8 hours)
  • On Rusty Trails (0.8 hours)
  • Invisible, Inc. (0.7 hours)
  • Warbits (0.7 hours)
  • HELLDIVERS (0.6 hours)
  • Tumbleseed (0.5 hours)
  • Flat Heroes (0.5 hours)
  • Flip Wars (0.4 hours)

I'm on holiday now until the end of January but I'm planning on even more games this year as well as a number of exciting new game-related projects.

Connecting to Host #32: Best Co-Op Games of 2017

#cth #podcast

Episode #32 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I run through our favourite co-op games of 2017:

After much arduous gaming time, countless disconnects, and failed attempts at screen-sharing across Europe, John and Ben have put together a list of their favourite co-op and multiplayer games that were released during 2017.

In time honoured tradition, we’ve reviewed and rated our top 6 games of 2017 that you can play with your friends (or your enemies) online or in local co-op. If you’ve been following our podcast throughout the year, you might just recognise some of the names in the top 6, but there are some new ones to boot as well.

Tune in to find out what we liked the most, just in time to put some new games on your wishlist ready for the upcoming sales that will undoubtedly hit over the Christmas period!

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Connecting to Host #31: Invisigun Heroes

#cth #invisigunheroes #podcast

Episode #31 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I struggle to see and kill each other in Invisigun Heroes:

Invisigun Heroes is a 2D, single-screen, stealth-focussed battle arena game in which all of the players are invisible! Join us as we try our best to explain a game in which most of the time your character is invisible, even though every player has exactly the same view of the pixel-art styled game arena…

While it might sound crazy on paper, Invisigun Heroes provides an interesting experience with a good level of strategy for weeding out your stealthy opponents without putting yourself into too much of a dangerous position. We had some hilarious moments during our time with Invisigun Heroes - so join us in our latest episode and find out more about the game and how it plays.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Connecting to Host #30: Overcooked

#cth #overcooked #podcast

Episode #30 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I play fast-paced cooking adventure Overcooked:

Overcooked is a chaotic couch co-op cooking game for one to four players. In this episode John and Ben share stories of how they did their best to work as a team to serve up a number of tasty dishes as fast and furiously as they could. How do the ingredients of this frantic local co-op only game stack up?

Overcooked features a number of interesting dynamic environments and an evolving set of recipes and rules to keep the game fresh as the players progress. Having recently met up in Stockholm, we were able to put this game to the test. Join us in this episode to hear what we thought of Overcooked on PC.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Xbox One X vs Xbox One S loading times with HDD and SSD

#article #forzahorizon3 #middleearthshadowofwar #reddeadredemption #titanfall2

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about using an SSD with the Xbox One. The short version is that there was a marked increase in performance when using an external USB 3 SSD over in the internal spinning HDD with some games seeing 55-60% reductions in loading times. I received my Xbox One X yesterday and wanted to revisit these benchmarks again for two reasons. Firstly, the internal drive has 50% more throughput than the original Xbox One along with an increase in CPU and RAM that should mean faster texture unpacking and the ability to cache more data thus making everything load faster. Secondly, I wanted to see if the SSD performance would improve thanks to the CPU and RAM improvements. Digital Foundry looked into this briefly in their backwards compatibility review and found impressive gains between the HDD of the Xbox One and Xbox One X but they didn't investigate any gains for external drives.

Multiple patches have been released for the games I tested last time and I also upgraded to an Xbox One S so I decided to completely redo all of my testing rather than just take Xbox One X times for the previous games and compare them with my original Xbox One scores. I chose 4 different games and tested load times at several points for each. Every game was retested 3 times (with the average taken) on Xbox One S HDD, Xbox One S with external SSD, Xbox One X HDD, and Xbox One X with external SSD. The same SSD was used for both consoles and all save files were reloaded from the same point. They were also all running the latest patches with some optimised for 4K and others that weren't; I even tested an Xbox 360 game just to see how it fared.

Titanfall 2

This game is optimised for 4K and HDR (although the patch doesn't seem great) and I tested at two key points; how long it took to get to the main menu from a cold startup and then how long it took to resume a saved game in the single player campaign (the excellent "Effect and Cause" mission to be precise).

Cold start to menu

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 45s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 41s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 36s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 28s

Continue saved game

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 53s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 45s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 43s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 33s

The Xbox One X HDD is roughly 19% faster than the Xbox One S but it is still slower than the SSD with the old console as I expected. However, I wasn't expecting the dramatic reduction in SSD load times between the S and X with a substantial 28-33% decrease. This is particularly surprising as I expected load times to be roughly comparable given that the CPU and RAM are increased but it should be loading higher resolution textures.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Another game optimised for 4K and HDR, this one was tested from a cold start up to the point at which the developer logos start to appear (as these are a fixed 19 seconds before you get to the main menu) and then resuming a saved game into the middle of the open world of the first city.

Cold start to logos

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 32s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 32s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 19s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 16s

Continue saved game

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 58s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 56s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 28s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 25s

Far less impressive reductions on this front with both the HDD comparison and SSD comparison only being 2-3s quicker on the Xbox One X. This is still a 5-10% improvement but nothing massively noticeable. Of course, this does highlight how much an SSD improves these large scale games with massive worlds and a ton of textures; loading times for continuing a saved game are more than half that of the HDD.

Red Dead Redemption

This is a bit of a curveball I put in just to see if there was any difference for Xbox 360 backwards compatible games. I tested the amount of time to get to the main menu and the amount of time to resume a game in the town of Chuparosa.

Cold start to menu

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 43s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 42s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 37s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 37s

Continue saved game

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 33s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 33s
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 32s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 29s

Very little difference in this case with the HDD being pretty much identical between the S and the X. The SSD is slightly faster than the HDD for getting to the main menu (shaving off 5 precious seconds) but resuming a game is pretty much identical across both HDD and SSD with the exception of the Xbox One X SSD which shaves off around 9%. Still, you aren't going to see giant gains here either from upgrading to Xbox One X or from switching from the HDD to an SSD on either model.

Forza Horizon 3

I chose this as my final game as it is unpatched and therefore doesn't have a 4K resolution bump or any improved textures. It does have HDR support but this affects the Xbox One S as well so this should be a good test of seeing what gains can be made to games that aren't haven't yet been updated for Xbox One X (although I believe Forza Horizon 3 is getting a patch at some point). I tested a cold start to the main menu and then resuming a game into the Hot Wheels DLC.

Cold start to menu

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 39s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 39s*
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 32s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 32s

Continue saved game

  • Xbox One S Internal HDD - 52s
  • Xbox One X Internal HDD - 85s*
  • Xbox One S External SSD - 32s
  • Xbox One X External SSD - 20s

There are a number of interesting things about this result. Firstly, the SSD is already much faster over the HDD by around 39% but the SSD with the Xbox One X gets a substantial boost with a 37% reduction over the already improved Xbox One S SSD when continuing a game. The real story is in the Xbox One X HDD though which is substantially slower than the Xbox One S. In the first test, I eventually got it to load at the same speed as the Xbox One S but there were a few 45s outliers. The saved game continuation though is 65% slower on Xbox One X which I just can't fathom. I retested several times but always ended up in the same ballpark of 85s over the consistent 52s on the Xbox One S. It will be interesting to see if this changes when an Xbox One X patch comes out for this game or whether the increased textures will push that load time even further.

In conclusion, using an external SSD is still the fastest way to load your games on Xbox One and the increased CPU and RAM of the Xbox One X means that load times are even faster both for optimised and unoptimised games (sometimes up to a 37% reduction in load times over the Xbox One S with SSD which I did not expect at all). Meanwhile, the internal HDD is slightly harder to gauge; whilst it seems to be slightly faster for most things (though not as fast as an SSD even with the old hardware) there is that odd outlier of Forza Horizon 3 where it is substantially slower.

Fractured or Whole?

#review #southparkthefracturedbutwhole #southparkthestickoftruth

The Stick of Truth was a surprise hit in 2014 when, after several delays, Obsidian Entertainment gave the world a South Park game that felt like an episode of the show. At just under 8 hours in length and with a fairly light combat mechanic, the game was really more about the story and the number of things Matt and Trey could and couldn't (in certain countries at least) get away with. The Fractured But Whole looked to follow this trend albeit with a switch from the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit style fantasy setting to the current trend for superheroes; gone are the pointy ears and sticks to be replaced by capes and lasers. There was a similar delay of almost a year and whilst there were rumours of a larger script I was generally expecting more of the same.

Even now, I'm struggling to decide if this is really a sequel or if it is more akin to a DLC expansion. There is a huge amount of refinement to the game both in terms of combat mechanics and inventory management whilst also clocking in at over double the length of Stick of Truth with it taking me around 18 hours to finish the main campaign. Yet I also can't shake the feeling that this feels all too familiar, a natural byproduct of having a fixed amount of game world (the same town) along with the majority of the characters from the original.

Improved combat mechanics are the main draw for this sequel
Improved combat mechanics are the main draw for this sequel

The main area where there is a substantial difference from Stick of Truth is in the combat. Whilst the first game had a fairly basic turn based system limited to two controllable characters, The Fractured But Whole has a full movement grid with four controllable characters which increases to even more at certain key points. The first game saw you choose from four different classes whereas here you have ten classes available to you with options to multiclass becoming available as you progress. Thankfully there is no longer a Borderlands style weapons inventory but instead each class has three attacks and a special move when a meter is filled based on successful blocks and attacks. This means that you aren't constantly changing your weapon as you find something with a 1pt increase but instead getting to use the same moves every battle; the fact that you have three constantly changing companions from a roster of ten keeps things fresh along with the fact you can swap out a move you don't like for one from another class later in the game.

All of these things lead to a much richer battle system and actually make it feel more like a game rather than a series of quick time events as the first one did. Whilst I worried the game was going to be too easy at the start, those fears were erased once the difficulty started to climb half way through with some of the final battles being particularly challenging. I also appreciated that not every battle was a "kill all enemies" affair with some needing you to reach a specific point or destroy certain items on the board.

Making a return from Stick of Truth are summons, powerful beings that can help turn a battle. There are only four to find in The Fractured But Whole and they also have a finite limit as you need to use certain collectibles to call them. They can also only be used once per battle so you can't constantly summon Moses to heal your party even if you do have enough macaroni pictures to do it.

There is a huge amount of cosmetic outfits to choose from
There is a huge amount of cosmetic outfits to choose from

As you no longer have weapons, the way in which you level throughout the game had to change slightly and is now achieved through artefacts. These are essentially patches added to your character that increase your rating in three key areas; brains, brawn, and spunk. Each of your abilities will be based on one of these types. For instance, boosting your brawn stat if you do a lot of physical attacks will increase your damage whilst boosting spunk will improve your healing abilities. These artefacts go into slots on your character sheet (of which more are unlocked as you level your character) and total up to a "might" number which is a good way of seeing if a quest is going to be too hard for you or not as you will be able to see the average might of your opponents. In addition to artefacts, there is also DNA which is a single slot that wildly alters your stats. For example, you might choose a strand that boosts your brains by 30% at the cost of a 20% reduction in hit points. All of this combines to making inventory management simpler as you are no longer going through a long winded process of swapping minor patches on weapons every battle in order to gain an extra point or two of damage.

The changes to inventory management go slightly further though. The first game was notorious for having a "junk" section which was literally just references to items from episodes of the show that didn't actually do anything. This is now an ingredients section broken down into a few types that can then be mixed together in a simple crafting mechanism for creating certain artefacts or consumables like health potions. Crafting has its own levelling system which allows you to make better and better recipes; this led me to be a bit too powerful at the start of the game (as I'd found loads of ingredients) but it all balanced out around half way through.

Other collectibles in the game include clothing items which are now purely cosmetic rather than having offensive or defensive properties. There are entire costumes to find with challenges granting extra XP should you find a certain number. There are also quest based collectibles such as finding Big Gay Al's missing cats or collecting Yaoi depicting Tweek and Craig's romance. Finally, as in The Stick of Truth, you need to collect followers by propositioning the townsfolk but this is done via selfies within the "Coonstagram" app on your phone in which you can pose and change your facial expressions to suit your feelings.

There are ten allies to choose from and you'll cycle through them all during the course of the campaign
There are ten allies to choose from and you'll cycle through them all during the course of the campaign

The plot continues exactly where Stick of Truth left off but you quickly switch from the fantasy setting to the superhero one. Coon & Friends want to try and start a franchise with multiple movies and a Netflix series but an argument over the franchise plan means that some of the boys end up forming a rival superhero franchise named Freedom Pals. You as the unnamed 'new kid' are working for Coon & Friends trying to find a missing cat so you can claim a $100 reward to kickstart the franchise but all the while strange things are happening in the town. It's about as far fetched as usual for South Park and there are definitely some huge twists and turns throughout the adventure that will delight longtime fans of the series whilst also bringing it up to date with the more recent series with the inclusion of characters such as PC Principal and locations such as SoDoSoPa and Historic Shi Tpa Town.

The dialogue and writing throughout is top notch with all the correct voice work. This isn't a surprise after Stick of Truth but it is always nice when original cast are used for video games as it happens so rarely. South Park do better than any game I've previously seen though with a vast amount of dialogue for such a small game. Every character interacts not only with others but also based on certain plot points throughout the game. There is constant bickering between your superheroes as you fight and even the enemies you might only see for a couple of minutes may have many different lines of dialogue just in case you take your time making your next move. I particularly enjoyed characters that were just in the background making themselves known such as the cinema attendant telling you that he's seen better costumes in 1980's Doctor Who if you battle in front of the cinema. It is these little moments and the endless hours of dialogue that must have been recorded that make the game what it is and make you feel like you are actually in South Park.

Praise should also be given to the excellent soundtrack that manages to keep up with the constant twists of the script be that providing a stirring superhero backdrop, a Joker-style funfair ensemble mixed with Mexican music, or a poppy soundtrack for the Raisins girls. There is as big a variety in the soundtrack as there is in the vocal work which is to be highly commended.

Flappy Bird meets Only One in this Kanye West spoof
Flappy Bird meets Only One in this Kanye West spoof

On a related note, the sound effects are horrific which is to say they do their job incredibly well. One of the points I've neglected to mention so far is that you have certain powers related to your farts that come in handy around the "overworld" between battles. These vary from a way to clear lava to a way to reach high places. Each one is graphic and has some of the more puerile sound effects you can imagine; it is incredibly childish, but even after my 30th time of shooting a hamster out of my anus I still couldn't stifle an adolescent snort. This also goes for the toilet based minigame which sees you performing rock band style quick time events in order to evacuate your bowels.

In case it wasn't clear, The Fractured But Whole is on a scale of lewd to massively offensive depending on where your own sensibilities lie. It is full of toilet humour but also has a scathing critique on gentrification, microaggressions, immigrant labour, and gender fluidity. There is also the matter of helping Seaman get a gay fish's mother into heaven by means of a flappy bird game aimed squarely at Kanye's recently cancelled Only One game. Oh, and the lap dancing minigame.

This is the sort of thing that was banned in The Stick of Truth in certain countries...
This is the sort of thing that was banned in The Stick of Truth in certain countries...

I did run into a few issues whilst playing The Fractured But Whole although most of them are relatively minor. First of all, there is no ultrawide screen support which is disappointing especially as many of the battle boards don't fit on a single screen and have to be panned to see certain enemies. I did also have one battle where the game would get stuck in an endless loop until, bizarrely, I took a screenshot at which point I could use my controller again. Finally, everything goes through UPlay so even on Steam you'll need to install that and have it sync your saves and pop up with extra notifications about achievements, etc. I don't really mind this but it is annoying to see items of clothing in the game that require you to purchase them with UPlay points. There are less achievements than in the first game but they are also less bullshitty; the Chinpokomon in Stick of Truth were notoriously easy to miss requiring a restart of the game but I've not seen anything like that here. The addition of Steam trading cards was also a pleasant surprise.

There is a season pass available with several big DLC packs due to launch over the coming months starting with Doctor Timothy's Danger Deck this December and then two new story-based content packs in 2018. A couple of minor bits of DLC are available already as they were used for pre-order bonuses. This includes a cosmetic pack containing outfits from Stick of Truth and "Towelie: Your Gaming Bud" which sounds a lot better than it is. I received that as a pre-order bonus and it is just Towelie popping up occasionally to tell you obvious tutorial things; it does get a bit funnier towards the end but it is something that should have just been included (I was expecting it to be a unique summon).

Little moments like this whereby your battle is interrupted due to a car driving down the street are wonderful
Little moments like this whereby your battle is interrupted due to a car driving down the street are wonderful

In conclusion, this is a bit of a mixed bag depending on your point of view. First of all, if you are not a South Park fan then there is nothing here for you; the story and humour lean too heavily on a knowledge of the series and you simply won't enjoy it for the game mechanics alone. For fans though this is definitely a gold mine in terms of content. An 18 hour campaign filled to the brim with dialogue and nostalgic references including possibly some of the most offensive content that you won't see in the programme (and that is saying something!). Pair that with an improved combat system and reduced inventory management and you should be onto a winner. I haven't even mentioned the subtle details that make the difference such as Toolshed's entrance animations, Cousin Kyle's many interruptions, Wendy as "Call Girl", Cartman's flashback sequence for teaching you new class moves, collecting memberberries, the Half-Life references later in the game, Jimmy's superhero character being "Fast Pass", or the wonderful fact that Mr Garrison isn't anywhere to be seen.

I still have a nagging feeling about recommending it too highly though. It is a great game but the reliance on Stick of Truth for the plot, the fairly repetitive puzzles, and the limited environments means that I'm in two minds about how much I actually enjoyed it. This is definitely not just an expansion to the first game but it doesn't quite feel like it has grown enough to be a true sequel either. Instead it is stuck inbetween; fractured, but not quite whole.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. I played on my gaming PC with an Xbox One Elite controller and occasionally streamed it to an Nvidia Shield TV (although that was more trouble than it was worth... as usual).

Connecting to Host #29: Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle

#cth #mariorabbidskingdombattle #podcast

Episode #29 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I play the inexplicably conceived Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle:

The Mushroom Kingrom has been torn apart by a mysterious vortex, but fear not because John and Ben are here to save the day with a Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle co-op focussed review. After meeting up in Stockholm we put the local (only) co-op campaign to the test to find out whether it’s worth making a journey to a friend’s house to play this game on the sofa together.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle offers a number of co-op specific stages which are designed to be played by 2 teams of 2 units by a pair of players sitting back in the same living room (or sitting next to each other on the same flight). Each stage can be played in easy, medium or hard mode and the stages unlock as you progress through the single player game. You’ll be using the characters you’ve built up from the main game to work through the co-op quests.

Join us for this latest episode to hear how Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle holds up as a co-operative experience.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Connecting to Host #28: Cuphead

#cth #cuphead #podcast

Episode #28 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I make mugs of ourselves in Cuphead:

It’s a good day for a swell battle and with traditional hand-drawn cel animation and an original jazz soundtrack Cuphead has turned out to be pretty swell as well! John and Ben talk about their experiences fighting bosses and collecting coins while playing Cuphead in local co-op on PC.

Cuphead is a classic run and gun action-platformer heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons from the 1930s, Studio MDHR have created a fantastic opportunity to revisit an old-school style of game in a new and classy way. Beyond the gorgeous visuals and audio, Cuphead provides a decent challenge and an addictive experience. In short, it’s a great slam and then some.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Connecting to Host #27: Elite Dangerous

#cth #elitedangerous #podcast

Episode #27 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I wing it with Elite Dangerous:

John and Ben hop into their Sidewinders and make their way through a tiny fraction of the 400 billion star systems that make up the huge world of Elite Dangerous. We take some time to fly as a wing through the expansive galaxy basking in the light of many suns while we destroy pirates and smuggle goods between different star systems.

Whether it’s trading, smuggling or bounty hunting, we take a look at what it’s like to play Elite Dangerous as a co-op experience. We put the features released as part of the Elite Dangerous: Horizons expansion to the test and join up to form a single crew hunting bounties as a team. Last but not least, we also talk about the VR support in Elite Dangerous.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.

Connecting to Host #26: Star Wars Battlefront

#cth #podcast #starwarsbattlefront

Episode #26 of Connecting to Host is now available in which John and I find the droids we are looking for in Star Wars Battlefront:

Similar to how the Imperial Blizzard Forces descended upon Hoth, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will soon be overrunning our hard drives, so we decided to revisit the Multiplayer FPS Star Wars: Battlefront from 2015 in it’s final form on PC. Join us as we talk about our favourite game modes in Star Wars: Battlefront and the issues we hope they will improve in the upcoming sequel.

You can get Connecting To Host from these fine outlets:

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or letting us know on Twitter via @CTHCast; you can also suggest games you'd like us to review!

Connecting to Host is a podcast exclusively about co-operative and multiplayer games. I host it with my good friend John Wordsworth who is based in Sweden; due to this, we generally look at online co-op / multiplayer games but we will occasionally play some couch co-op games when we meet up every 6 months or so. You can find out more at connectingtohost.com and follow us on Twitter via @CTHCast.