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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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18 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

 

A couple of years ago I played Emily Is Away, a game about talking to your friends on AIM as a teenager. As someone who grew up doing exactly this, rather than the interesting narrative it probably intended to portray, it came across more like a psychological horror in that you see the worst of yourself right there in the game. Hypnospace Outlaw is similar, only you're on the outside looking in - as a volunteer "enforcer" (basically unpaid staff moderators) for a fictional AOL/Geocities/Livejournal-a-like service called Hypnospace, which is only usable when you are asleep with the help of a headband that sends pulses to your brain.

 

There's more to it than that, but the real joy comes from having to poke around all of the pages as you hunt for a particular infraction that's been reported, trying to find evidence of it. Set in the late 1990s, there's a real feeling of innocence about the community in the way the pages are designed, the kind of stuff that's on them (there's lots of pages where people have set a page up and subsequently had no idea what they're meant to put on it) and the feeling that for some members of the community, their page and interactions were at some point the single most important thing in their lives. Getting to learn about the people behind the pages as time passes is absolutely fascinating and delightful.

 

You can also use a USB keyboard with the game, which I only found out after I'd finished it and would definitely have smoothed over the only real complaint I had with it, in that typing with the pad is oh god why

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9 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

 

Three in one day! Christ. I've been making a bit of an effort to polish off (or give up on) stuff that got abandoned halfway through.

 

Behold The Kickmen then - it's a genuinely very funny parody of football made by someone who claims to know nothing about football. They clearly do, because the game is littered with deliberately-incorrect football references - half-time is referred to as "The first division" for instance. Everything about it is preposterous - the pitch is walled off and also round, if you score a long-range shot it is worth more goals, your players can do "kicks" and "big kicks" and there's an unhinged narrative throughout that involves your team trying to win the World Cup which is actually just beating the best team in England, who are called Brazil United.

 

So all of the off-pitch stuff is great, and it does a good job of poking fun at football, but playing the game also makes it feel like I'm the butt of the joke too. Your team starts out borderline unusable and upgrading them is done by stringing together combos, which are converted into cash which can be spent on improving your team when you score. Combos are put together by passing the ball around, winning tackles, etc - but the issue is that your teammates' AI is so bad that there are often no useful passing options available, so it's easier to just belt it over the keeper into the net at the penalty of a lower monetary bonus. To begin with, no problem; later on, the opposing team will be pinging the ball around all over the pitch, and when you do get lucky enough to intercept it, your team will run like the pitch has turned to treacle and the rest of your team will stand around like idiots. This results in you getting to the end of the game and your team still being absolutely bobbins.

 

It's not much better at the other end, there have been plenty of situations where the CPU is clear through on goal and then just... stands there with the ball, or two opposition players pass the ball between them repeatedly for 10 minutes of in-game time. It's a shame because if it was even a vaguely competent or very janky football game - even with the ruleset changes - this could have been a lot of fun, but the game becomes a slog that gets in the way of the parody, and it's a real shame.

 

Lonely Mountains Downhill on the other hand is very good. What starts off as trundling a bike down a mountain suddenly becomes a search for small time-saves as you try to unlock new stuff against the clock, and also discovering new routes off the beaten path. It's unclear how many of them are intentional, but there are plenty of opportunities to just try to edge your way down a steep cliff-face rather than deal with the winding pathways, and getting away with it feels great.

 

As you progress to more difficult mountains, I started to drop off from the timed events a bit more due to the additional precision required, and mainly focused on getting down the mountains under a certain number of crashes. This was exacerbated by probably the only real issue with the game, which was the introduction of jumps and narrow pathways. I'm not sure if it's my brain failing to comprehend or if there's something slightly off about it, but the margin for error on many jumps and the narrow sections is extremely fine, and I often found myself lining the bike up only to either fly off in the wrong direction, or slip off the narrow path due to misjudging it a tiny bit. These were often run-killers and were just on the wrong side of the frustration/satisfaction formula for me.

 

If this game had come out before I basically had infinite videogames at my disposal, I could see myself playing it an absolute ton, as the skill ceiling on it is massive and I'm not even remotely close to it at this point, despite finishing every available trail.

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4/8/2021 - Maneater (Xbox Series X)

This was my first instance of "Hey I've got Gamepass, let's try some random games".  This was really a lot of fun, you get to be a shark and eat everything.  I really like the fact I got it on gamepass, I don't feel bad for not wanting to go back and complete the collectathon of all the bits and bobs I missed whilst playing.  Combat was pretty simple and by the end I felt massively more powerful than anything else in the sea - but it's great fin, and you have to work hard at the beginning to get to that stage.

 

22 minutes ago, Floshenbarnical said:

edit: somehow I forgot Control, which is in the top 5 of best games I've ever played (PS5)

 

Well, colour me interested - and there's Control sitting there on Gamepass as well.  I will get to my own backlog eventually :D

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Previously...

Spoiler

1.) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Switch - 2019 (2012)
2.) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Switch - 2018 (2014)
3.) God of War - PS4 - 2018
4.) Shenmue III - PC - 2019
5.) Sonic Mania - PC - 2017
6.) Abzû - PS4 - 2016
7.) Night Trap - 25th Anniversary Edition - Vita - 2018 (1992/3)
8.) Secret of Mana - SNES - 1993
9.) Rez Infinite - PS4 - 2016 (2001/2)
10.) Moss - PS4 - 2018
11.) Halo: Reach - PC - 2019 (2010)
12.) Papers, Please - Vita - 2017 (2013)
13.) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2011/2001)
14.) Undertale - Vita - 2017 (2015)
15.) Halo 2: Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2014/2004)
16.) Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Vita - 2013/14
17.) Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4 - 2020
18.) The Wolf Among Us - Vita - 2014
19.) Halo 3 - PC - 2020 (2007)
20.) Halo 3: ODST - PC - 2020 (2009)
21.) Halo 4 - PC - 2020 (2012)
22.) Black Mesa - PC - 2020 (1998)
23.) Axiom Verge - Vita - 2016 (2015)
24.) MINERVA: Metastasis - PC - 2013 (2005/07)
25.) The Last Express Gold Edition - PC - 2013 (1997)
26.) Subsurface Circular - Switch - 2018 (2017)
27.) Beyond Eyes - PC - 2015
28.) Job Simulator - PS4 - 2016

 

29.) Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Switch - 2020

I've still got a King Salmon to catch (next month) and I'm missing loads of Art Pieces, but I've done almost everything I wanted to do, bought everything I wanted, done loads of events, had an in-game birthday party, watched fireworks, saw all the seasons roll around and curated a cute bunch of villagers. I'll keep dabbling here and there in the coming months but having finally completed my bug collection today, I'm calling quits on regular daily play, and putting this game in my "basically finished" pile. The Switch says I've played 180+ hours, but it feels like more.

 

Everyone knows Animal Crossing and I'm sure it's been discussed to death on the forum. It's been a great escape from the nightmare of reality this past year, although I didn't jump in until Sept/Oct. The biggest change in New Horizons (unless I missed it in a previous version) is the ability to display your items and furniture outdoors, rather than only indoors, thereby opening up untold avenues of island customisation. People have gone to town on this and made some pretty wild stuff. Personally, I liked to keep the rustic island aesthetic as best I could, while still building little cafés, outdoor cinemas, classrooms, playgrounds, zen gardens and orchards. The way the Switch handles its data and locks your island to the hardware is slightly terrifying, however I have enjoyed being able to share an island with the missus over this past year. In fact, she's made most of the creative decisions and has played for longer than I have!

 

I recently did a little island tour video:
 

 

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July

 

9. Ion Fury (PS4) 2019/20

 

I seem to recall the brief controversy that surrounded this one a while back from the initial title being called Ion Maiden and the lawsuit that followed, down to the questionable naming of their hand soap dispenser bottles. That latter one gained some traction within the Rllmuk walls prompting a few to boycott the game entirely, and whilst I have to agree that the latter issue was a ridiculous inclusion that baffles me as to why it would be acceptable, the core game itself is brilliant. For those who are curious, the game included a product that imitated the Olay brand re-naming it to Ogay. 

 

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It isn't by any means perfect, and others have pointed out some of the flaws I'd also agree on to some extent, but it's still a very good throw back FPS game which takes you back to a time that Duke Nukem 3D was the latest craze. Firstly I love the way that it has been designed from the ground up using the actual engine that was used to make Duke Nukem 3D in addition to others such as Blood and Shadow Warrior, so when you play this you are bound by the same limitations and accuracies that the old games also had meaning that it's a perfect throwback with zero modernisation. It's also damn well playable and fun with the sole aim of trying to be something along the lines of a new-old version of Duke Nukem in a different guise throwing a female protagonist into the mix. It's got its fair share of slightly crass humour which can sometimes feel a bit on the cringe side, but personally this didn't bother me as I wanted to feel like I was playing a game from the mid 90's but one that didn't exist until now, almost like it belonged in a parallel universe and happened to transfer across the ether via the Mandela Effect. It certainly succeeded and feels very comfortable on the PS4 controller especially when you get fully used to it and properly stuck in the action. It served to remind me that this style of game such as Doom or any of the other games from then are just as fun and playable now as they were then, injecting a fresh change from our modern gaming. I'd obviously get bored if I had to play numerous games of this exact style, but considering it's the first time in years I've done so, it was definitely welcomed. I think the last one I played that was anywhere close to this was maybe Doom 64 around 2001. 

 

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The graphics go for that 2D enemy sprite look with the occasional side on views that pop in and out as you strafe around, lots of high powered guns, cheesy one liners and plenty of secrets. In fact they seem to hyper focus on the secrets putting them just about everywhere on each stage. There are 30 stages I think in total and these are grouped to make up specific chapters with a boss fight scenario before finishing a chapter and starting the new area, also with a message to let you know how many secrets are left. The music is great and has that futuristic Deus Ex vibe about it with authentic tones that totally fit the bill and are quite catchy. I love the bass tune that plays when you find a secret spot as well. 

 

It isn't perfect though as I noticed even on here some people mentioned that there can be a lot of samey enemies. Whilst that is quite true, as you progress deeper in there are quite a lot of types but it takes a while to get to them all. Many aren't designed in the most imaginative ways though and can feel a little bland and sometimes derivative. The boss fights aren't that exciting either and I was certainly disappointed by the final boss, if you can even call it a boss. Some of the environments can also get a bit like that too such as being in the sewers for ages or some of the tech plants, yet there are some cool environments in here too and of course many places have those charming interactive elements to them with destructible environmental objects. 

 

Overall though, this was one of those games I picked up because there were physical copies going for a tenner and I put it on as a break from an RPG I'm currently playing, then got so sucked in that I didn't want to leave it at all. In fact I played some of the bonus content when it was over. My run was on the normal difficulty and it definitely gave a bit of a challenge, but I could feel myself getting much better as I progressed. The bonus content turned out to be the demo which was almost like a beta version of one of the stage and I tried it on hard and handled it fine once I'd got enough ammo and weapons. I'd recommend this for anyone who was a fan of these style games in the past and hasn't dipped back into them for a while. It's also made me want to check out a few of the other modern oldskool style boomer-shooters (as they're now known as) which I've seen mentioned. There's one that someone posted on here recently that looks more like a new Unreal Tournament. Earlier this year there was a mention of a new Ion Fury game called Ion Fury Aftershock that I can imagine I'll get at some point when it releases. 

 

8.5/10

 

 

Previously completed...

 

Spoiler

 

January

 

1. - Summoner 2 (PS2) 15/01/2021

 

I really fell off this thread last year for the first time since I started recording my completions and part of it was due to building up a back log of text I needed to write but ultimately couldn't face. Therefore I've started afresh for the new year. At some stage last year I decided to go back and return to my PS3 for a few titles and that then led me to go back further and start buying for and resurrecting my original PS2 again. I've been through Siren which was strange, extremely slow paced but fascinating and Drakengard 2 and more recently, Summoner 2. 

 

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Some years back around 7 or so I played the first PS2 RPG Summoner game and while it was clearly dated, I did really enjoy it, and now I've had chance to take a stab at what the 2002 sequel has to offer. Overall it's pretty good once you get past the fact it's from 2002 and evidently quite dated and jankey. There are definitely improvements over the first game graphically as it feels as though there's much more variation in locations and more vibrant colours and better looking environments. One of the biggest changes though is the action which presents itself as a straight up action RPG. The original game from what I vaguely remember was more of an automated battle system where your characters would engage in battle but there was a system which allowed you to chain together multiple successful hits by timing presses. You'd physically walk but not attack in the same way as you do in the sequel which is straight up typical action orientated, allowing you to strike enemies with equipped weapons, use items and scrolls and various types of magic abilities. I did quite like this change and it pauses the game while you are in selection mode for whatever item or magic you are choosing to use. This adds an element of strategy. There are a bunch of characters that quickly get involved in the storyline and usually you'll have up to 4 on the go at one time whilst having several reserve characters in the wait. 

 

I'd say there's definitely quite a bit of challenge going on as it wasn't a breeze to get through, but there's a particular way it has been made that can really land you into trouble if you aren't prepared properly and happens a lot. Generally the game, while open to visit areas you've previously been is quite linear. In many cases once you start the next section of the main story, you're often prevented from going back until the whole segment is complete and this can vary as to how long you'll be unable to do things like shop for items or change characters. It allows you to save at any time apart from when there are enemies around and this can be dangerous as you'll end up saving but then realising you can't turn back to better prepare unless you've got a second recent save. This is made worse when it decides to split you up sometimes even solo or have you cycle through small teams making you utilize character who may be unprepared. Sometimes it auto assigns roles but others you get to choose and if you make the wrong choice I can see this leading to problems. There was a bit near the end where the main character has to leave and I was left with two characters who couldn't use any support magic including healing. Luckily I had heal items, except within moments of tackling some fairly difficult enemies, you end up in a scripted fall scene and suddenly it tells you all of your magic potions and health potions have broken, literally ALL of them so you have nothing. Fortunately one of my characters had a weapon equipped which caused 20% instant death (luckily) and it worked on the enemies I was fighting at the time. I think I'd have massively struggled if I didn't have that. One of my characters during the second to final boss was constantly healing the enemy just by fighting and I had to keep him dead in order to get by. It just felt like the sort of thing generally that wouldn't wash these days, but getting by felt good. 

 

It contains a lot of lore and things you can read and there are some references to the first Summoner game including one of the characters being from the old game, albeit the one I kept dead at the end as he was trying my patience. The cinematics are pretty good such as the opening sequence and the final showdown is great, although I wasn't too sure about the sudden twists in characters you fight at the end as they make a sudden entry into the action very unexpectedly and don't feel as though they are integrated well, especially the last boss character who is barely mentioned in the game at all and so has no real connection and impact. Still it's a pretty decent game with a lot of quirky sidequests, many of which I've not fulfilled but can often almost feel like a point and click in the way you try to suss them out with very little hand holding, but often you'll feel really great when figuring out something unexpectedly. 

 

It's not an overly long game at I'd say probably around 40-45 hours, but still enough to get involved. There are some really quirky moments like the city of masks which has you changing what mask you wear in order to speak to specific people in a strange world beyond. I'd probably have not bothered with this game except of my curiosity since having played the first and knowing it's also the last in the series, however I'm not quite sure which of the two games I prefer. I had really fond memories of the first and pretty sure that one lasted a bit longer. The more I got into it, the further away it felt from the first, but I liked how the first started from the perspective of a guy who had nothing compared to how you're a queen who has a lot of allies and power at her disposal. It felt like it could have been longer in some ways too where as I felt it was about right in the first game. They aren't the sorts of RPG I usually tend to go for as I'm more of a JRPG person when it comes to RPG's as a whole, but it's pretty good.

 

I think I'll give it a 7/10. 

 

February 

 

2. - Forbidden Siren 2 (PS2) 02/02/2021

 

Forbidden-Siren-2-facts-statistics.jpg


I've started creating a backlog of completed games to write up so I've got a few, but the main game I finished a few weeks ago was the PS2 game (on the console itself) Siren 2. In fact I'll talk a bit about both Siren 1 & 2 because I went through that later on last year but never updated the thread. 


Siren is quite an obscure, in fact very obscure and forward thinking survival horror title that's mostly forgotten about or unknown generally, however is in some respects an amazing series, but at the same time super frustrating. Interestingly it was created by one of the original guys behind Silent Hill 1 and is very obvious once you start playing as the general atmosphere, designs and even some of the enemies (such as the nurse in 1) are all reminiscent of that title. The difference here though is that they have added a lot of innovation and abstract thinking when it comes to game play and really tried to make something different. In some ways it's good but definitely won't appeal to many unless you're quite a hardcore survival horror fan of the older stuff. Siren 2 also only ever got localised in Europe and didn't make it to the US so it's quite rare really. 


The general way both games work is that you play out a series of individual stages which represent a part of the bigger story, although they are always played out of order and regularly switch between different characters each doing their own thing but merging towards a common aspect to the overall story where often they pair up with one another. Sometimes you'll be on your own and other times with a second character guiding them along a dangerously cautious path. It's very hard to get your head around even after completion but there's a village in 1 and an island in 2 which both end up suffering from some mysterious goings on where the cast of characters get dragged into and end up between worlds just like in Silent Hill with there being a dark and sinister world. There's even a warning "siren" sound just like can be heard in Silent Hill (from what I vaguely remember). The game play involves a really interesting concept where you "sight jack" into other people's vision including enemies and see their point of view as you stealthily attempt to make your way past them or take them on at the right time. It's really well done and adds a massive fear factor which genuinely comes across extremely effectively, but the biggest problem is that general movement and actions in the first game are extremely slow. Factor in the fact you mostly have to restart the whole mission if you die or you're spotted by a rifelman and shot dead instantly. Fortunately, the sequel manages to improve on a lot of things as there are many issues that let the game down but I still really enjoyed the first a lot. One thing for sure though is that it takes a huge amount of patience to get through especially if you aren't using any guides which is pretty much what I did. 


Both games have very similar styles of game play with very similar menu navigation and level select methods, but it took me forever to figure out how everything properly worked in the first game. There's far too little to aid you in that one and it's led to me playing levels and being stuck for a couple of hours only to realise there is no solution available until a condition is met on a different stage first. The sequel never allows you to fall into this trap and purposely goes out of its way to give you more guidance and hints. Not only are you playing lots of stages out of sequence and jumping between characters, but each stage also has a parallel alternative mission which differs a little from the first run through as though something new happened in the story which didn't occur the first time round and can only be activated by carrying out a specific task on another level. Essentially there's a lot that really hadn't been properly thought about in Siren 1 and it makes the game much more of a chore and a headache as a result. 


Another massively frustrating thing about Siren 1 is that when you die, if you happen to have found any collectibles, you lose them all and have to find these again. What's more annoying is that say you reach a checkpoint, if you start the checkpoint, you can restart it but will still be missing those items. This comes across like bad design more than anything else and all of this was fixed in the sequel fortunately.I have to point out that from what I've heard online, it's known as one of the hardest survival horror games out there. Siren 2 is definitely easier but still can be tricky but the first one is ridiculously frustrating and will require lots and lots of attempts like a dark souls game until you really get to know the level and what's going on. I love though how every character is different and control different, has their own weapon or no weapon at all. The rifle on Siren 1 is ridiculously bad to control, like the worst I've ever known for a sniper style sight shot because of the speed and lack of finesse of control. They fix this a great deal with Siren 2. 

 

I have to point out the really unique character model aesthetic design choice to go with modelling real japanese faces onto characters. It can often look goofy and hilarious but also often it really works well, especially in Siren 2 and the fact their faces are animated smoothly, makes it look very real and radiates that emotion perfectly, you know that emotion technology they always talked about (whatever that was) well this is better. There are some brilliant moments that will leave you in tears of laughter. The voices in the first are an odd mix of English over Japanese characters and it does feel out of place, but the sequel has Japanese voice actors who try to do the English in some odd accents. 


Despite the negatives, I was absolutely fascinated by them both and really got sucked into them and the atmosphere. There are several endings and each can be found by just trying to complete all the missions for each stage. It was really odd when I got the first ending the first time though (in Siren 1) because I'd just finished a stage with an 8 year old girl hiding and trying to escape somewhere, only to suddenly be greeted by a cutscene which had nothing to do with her at all and instead a bunch of other characters who played out a scene I'd not even known about so had no idea what was going on. Only by playing other levels afterwards did things start to slot together. It really messes with your head the whole time. I got every ending in the first game but the second one was a massive kick in the balls as I'd just finished the first ending with a few more sections to work on and the save file suddenly corrupted not to long after. These are long games and I must have spent about 50-60 hours on the first one alone. I've ordered another PS2 memory card anyway but it's a shame as I don't think I can be bothered to go through it all again, still I got credits rolling. 


Siren is definitely not going to be for the majority so I probably wouldn't advise playing it, but it's one I'm not going to forget at all and really think it's brilliant. The enemy designs of 2 are really mental and there's a secret made up mini game you find on a fictitious console from 1982 called Kunitoris. I haven't played Deadly Premonition, but I can imagine this being somewhat similar in the way it's portrayed (from what I understand it) as a genius mess. You just never know what to expect as you make progress and it will often pull some really crazy stuff out of the bag. Siren also came out on the PS3 and this is supposed to be a complete remake of the first game. I'll definitely have to check that one out one day but I'm going to leave the series for a while. I'd just bought the first two together from someone on here which is why I played them both. I wonder if we'll ever see a return to the world again in the future?
 

Siren 2 - I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10. 

 

 

3. Celeste (PS4) - Farewell DLC 10/02/2021

 

This is another I've finally managed to get back to and finish off after deciding to take a break for a long while as it's so intense and far more difficult than the main game. Just to get proper access to the DLC you are required to do all the b-sides and collect all the hearts from every chapter prior to it, and that's not easy to do at all. I know it's possible to change the difficulty by tweaking settings but I was very reluctant to do so and in the end refrained completely. I thought I was actually quite close to the end having got through a huge chunk of Farewell but it still took me another 20 hours or so to do the last few sub chapters/verses of the DLC. Trying to get good with wave dashing is highly difficult but eventually I think I got the hang of it. There were many bits where it was easy to mess up the direction of the dashes with the d-pad whilst trying to do multiple sections in a single succession as my thumb would slip slightly. I also found that the best way to deal with the feathers was to switch from d-pad to analogue stick and then back again when out of it and that's something you end up doing a few times over the course of Farewell. 

 

What I love overall is that despite the bar seemingly raising and it being a super difficult game that gets harder and harder, I was always able to get by and nothing felt unfair. It was designed with absolute perfection and I loved how it often has you pondering how on earth to make progress only for persistence to pay off when I'd realise there was something critical I wasn't doing initially. It has a simple set of controls but there are many very subtle things that are really important to pick up on such as how a spring board will give you a jump back. The DLC also introduces quite a few new interactive elements which take a bit of getting use to but once you do then it all seems to fit into place. 

 

I can't stress though this was one extremely difficult challenge and far more intense than the main game but it amazes me how persistence paid off and I could feel myself getting better and better. In the end it took me about 93 hours to get to this point and I had around 20.8k deaths with almost half of them in the DLC alone. Farewell was something like 37 hours for me and it amazes me how there are runs that take it down under an hour; one I've seen within about 18 minutes with outrageous twitch speed play style. 

 

My main goal with Celeste was to get the DLC done and that's achieved now so I can feel it's done, however I still have the C-Sides to do and have managed to do the first two areas so far. I got 5 strawberries from Chapter 8 to get too but I have the rest. As for the golden berries, that's not even something I consider part of the main game. It's like an insanity mode for speed runner experts. I only found out recently that there's literally another area that appears if you manage to get through the entire DLC without dying and it supposedly starts you back at the beginning of the DLC on death. It's like that trophy on the Megaman 9 or whatever where you had to finish the game without taking a single hit. 

 

Overall though, Celeste was pretty much my Game of "my" Year in 2020 and sits in a special place. 

 

10/10

 

4. Limbo (PS4) 14/02/2021

 

After all the hectic stress of getting through Celeste DLC I wanted to play something very different in tone and Limbo is the perfect game to relax to with its slower pace and artsy yet moody picturesque visuals and theme. This one's getting pretty old now but one I always liked the look of back when I first got my PS3 and in fact it was released before I even got one of those. Limbo takes me back to when I first noticed the surge of indie titles sweeping in amongst the consoles, along with a few other well known ones around the time such as Braid and Fez. Well received and well loved from what I'd seen and it always sat there in the back of my mind that one day I aught to check this one out. That never really materialised until I decided to fire up my PS4 for the first time in quite a while and (aside from finish Celeste) browse through the store. I'm not one for buying digital much but I was looking for a cheap sale and this came up at a very modest price of just £2 which sealed the deal for me quite quickly. 

 

The game itself is nice; I'm not going to say it's the best game ever and should be a 9 or a 10 even though it's highly appreciated by many, simply because I enjoyed it but it's just not long enough for me personally and I didn't find myself attached enough unlike Celeste which was such a different experience and left far more impact. It didn't take long at all, maybe 4 hours and I have no desire to return to it again either, however it is amazingly nice looking and holds up amazingly well considering its age. I can see why it really must have made an impact back when it was new but these days there are so many mesmerising artistic experiences out there to compare it to. It does do a really good job of setting up an atmosphere and the silhouette black and white noire style feels, make it fathom something that belongs from a 30's dracula esque style era in some ways, giving it a strong sense of identity. The blends between layers and blurry out of focus elements work brilliantly like you're playing through a microscope at times. There is a deep moody loneliness filled with immediate dangers around each corner or rather screen, and what I love about this is that each experience is different. It never repeats the same thing over and over but rather attempts to switch things up continually to keep it interesting and envelops a sense of wonder as you carefully tread forward ever wary of the next trap, no idea what to expect.

 

Featuring numerous puzzles, this physics based game really impressed me as to how organic and natural it handles when being put into motion as you drag, push and pull or swing on things. There's a lot of subtle attention to detail and often I found myself in situations were I'd momentarily be scratching my head only to suddenly realise what the genius solution actually was in order to get up to an impassable platform. I wouldn't say that these puzzles are particularly difficult overall though but there's a little bit of a challenge here and there. It didn't take long to get by though each time I'd arrive at a new dead end but if I was to say what this game reminded me of loosely, it would be Another World but I enjoyed that one more than this and only played it for the first time in recently years. 

 

Once you arrive at the end it gives you the option to replay again and hides a number of cleverly hidden eggs (many of which I missed) but I don't think I'm going to bother as I wasn't invested enough and just wanted to play something to bridge a gap. For that purpose though this is the perfect game and at a price that couldn't be scoffed at whatsoever. 

 

It's a very nice game and can see why it appeals to many, for me personally though I'm going to give it a respectable 8. I'm sure many have already played this one. If you are into your short games and want something relaxing, historically renowned amongst modern indie puzzle platformers, not too intense, visually appealing and less than 4 hours long then this is for you.

 

5. Ziggurat (PS4) [2014]

 

I've got a couple of completed games I've been meaning to add but putting it off and as I'm now approaching the end of a new one, decided it would be best to get these up on here now. Back in Feb I downloaded Limbo and Ziggurat from the PSN Store, while already familiar with Limbo but not with Ziggurat thought I'd take a punt especially as it was quite literally about 79p. Turns out it's well worth checking out and has a lot of replayability. Ziggurat has been around since 2014 and plays very much like Hexen but exists as a rogue-like. That is to say that it's a oldskool fast paced FPS style game in a modern engine (Unity), where you can choose from numerous characters to play as and try to get past 5 stages with 5 bosses where a death spells the end of the game requiring a restart.

 

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In true RL fashion, the dungeon crawl style layouts always randomly generate with many different weapons and abilities becoming available every restart. You pick up cards which give you an option of choosing one of 2 or more which enhance various abilities such as faster attack speed, or being given the location of a hidden room on the map, sacrificing weapons to gain another random set and loads of others. The more you play, the more types you unlock in addition to unlocking new available characters each providing their own stats. The level progression has the player traversing through many different rooms where you'll either find some sort of pick up item inside (for example to unlock a boss encounter) or more commonly fight a wave of enemies. Once a room is cleared you can then move on and try the next, but once you enter a room of enemies you can't leave until it's complete or until you die. To make it more interesting there are many times that a caveat will be placed on the battle for the room you enter whereby every enemy and yourself take on a special set of rules and sometimes this puts you at an advantage then other times you will be put to the test as the enemies have the upper hand. There are loads of these and some are truly annoying such as only being able to fire when in the air. Additionally there are several possible bosses that you can come up against per stage, so it keeps each play fresh as there's no way to know who you'll be fighting until you get there. It progressively gets harder, but you also build up abilities to try and balance that difficulty in hope that you can make it past the fifth and final boss. 

 

I've only completed it once, but actually managed it quite quickly after around 6 attempts as I got a good run. I got the last boss another time on a separate playthrough but was much weaker and found it very tough. It's quite addictive due to the nature of this style of game and all the unlockables you get after continuously replaying. There's also a daily challenge which is different each time but you always get one chance and no more to see how far you can progress on an endless run. Visually it looks nice and the controls are tight. It can often get really hectic but there's this itch to get back on and try again if you like these sort of games. I think the actual standard price is less than £3 so would recommend it for those wanting quick blast game play with a focus on action. A full run may take about 2 hours at the most but there's a trophy to make it through in about 45 mins so it can be done quite fast. Kept me entertained for a week or two and I can see myself coming back to this on and off, although I'm spending more time with other consoles so haven't touched it in a while. 

 

7.5/10

 

6. Drakengard 2 (PS2) 2005/06

 

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Currently I've been really getting back into my PS2 and PS3 buying games again that I've missed and bagged this on ebay a while back some point late last year. As a fan of the first game and owning that for years, I've wanted to try out the other two games but this one has always been pricey, often around the £60 mark when I last looked. I was fortunate enough to get it for just under 30 and having now fully finished it completely, it's time to talk about it here. Originally I was supposed to add this to my last few games I finished last year, but I never actually got round to writing those up, however I can justify it being here this time because to get the true completion, you are required to play the whole game from start to finish 3 times in total, each time gaining a different end boss fight sequence and a different story ending and I've done just that so here we are. 

 

I think Drakengard 2 has often been regarded as a hit and miss, partly because it's not very well known anyway but I seem to recall comparisons made between the overall tone of this one vs the grittier nature of the first and better protagonist. Whilst it's true that the this comes across a little that way, it's really cool how you meet the protagonist from Drakengard 1 in here along with his dragon Angelus, and it's such a cool badass entrance which paints a reminder of that title. It isn't quite as mental as the first one either as I distinctly remember fighting a giant baby fetus or something like that and the music was a darker too, but it's still a decent game with a really good story that sucked me in. The style of D2 remains very much like the first with huge waves of enemies in open areas but also progressions through smaller corridors in caves and buildings that switch it up with a Dynasty Warriors vibe about the action but with a style of story and tone I prefer over ancient Japan. It's also got the flight stages too which play out very like Panzer Dragoon. You also build up your character's levels and also build up the level of weapons you use, gaining new combos as you go similar to the first, however a big difference this time is that you journey through the land building up a small team of 4 characters who can be switched on the fly, each with their own weapon types and health/magic bars. Each person is suited to their own enemy types and situations so you find yourself hopping between each one a lot if the situation arises. 

 

One of the things I loved about the first Drakengard was how it brought in the 5 endings without the need to actually restart from the beginning. You'd go through a bunch of chapters, but there were gaps missing and upon completion of the first ending, you'd learn it wasn't over and that you needed to play specific stages prior to the hidden chapters/verses and qualify a challenge (finishing a stage under a certain time limit I think) before being given access to a completely new story branch that not only had new stages and new ending, but also a new final boss and new key characters who would come into the story. Drakengard 2 makes it a pain in the arse because it means completely restarting again as a new game+ or ++. Each time you start though, you continue with your stats and get given a bunch of money and keep all weapons. There are also new one's to be found and you find yourself improving the characters as you go along. It also starts off with you being overpowered but then that changes further into the game as the difficulty increases beyond the last play. It's challenging but doable and doesn't have a super annoying final boss encounter like in the first game. If you know the game then you'll know exactly what I'm referring to (those black and white rings). It is a pain in the arse at times though but I managed to pull through and get it done. Turbo feature on a pad massively helps with the fluidity of pulling off combos without constantly bashing the buttons over and over destroying your fingers. It should be a standard feature in the game. 

 

Graphics are obviously dated but they still look good and I felt very much in control when I got good at it. There are some annoying moments where I'd spend half an hour on a stage only to die and have to start over, but I was determined to keep on going. It does get repetitive with the hordes of enemies but I still love it. If you die then you get chance to restart with no experience lost, although the biggest flaw is that you can't save it until the level is complete. This means if you're on a stage and have spend a couple of hours trying to get past it and still struggling, you're either going to lose ALL the experience gained or must keep going. It seems stupid not to let you save. 

 

Music wise I love it, really really love it. The main theme for example is outstanding. Orchestral and really full of emotion and cool melodies and energy. 

 

I'll conclude here, and say that it's a really good game, but that's because I'm a massive fan of the series. The bosses are enjoyable as they are quite different and present their own challenges which can appear tough but are doable. The last playthrough really pushes you though and by the time I got to the last boss, I initially found it impossible until I switched a certain item that helped massively and did some more levelling up. I did pretty much every optional quest and must have spent a total of about 130 hours or so going through it three times. It's long but I've played many RPG's that take me just as long to do them once. I'm the kind of player who hates to repeat games more than once but did so because I got every ending in the first game, so wanted to try and get the most out of this too and for the price I paid, I easily got something out of it. While I was playing this, a friend of mine suddenly asked to borrow the original from me and finally got all 5 endings for the first time and I've just lent him this one a few days back. I'll definitely be getting Drakengard 3 at some point. 

 

Score 8.5/10

 

April

 

7. Resonance of Fate (PS3) 24/04/2021

 

Before I finish the next thing on my list, I thought I'd write up this to avoid a backlog, and this being Resonance of Fate, an RPG published by Sega and made by Tri-Ace. I've been on a PS3 kick for a bit now and got this a few months back knowing next to nothing about it whatsoever other than vaguely recollecting its title. I was surprised to find that the makers of Star Ocean were actually behind this, however it's actually incredibly different from that in just about every aspect. In fact I've come to learn that generally it's regarded as quite a unique RPG in its own right and people either get it or they don't. The main difference is how the battle system operates among other things which I'll get onto later. 

 

 

RoF features two guys and a gal operating to form the core of a team right from the off. There's a brief introduction showing the girl (Leanne) attempting to commit suicide a couple of years prior, but being saved by Zephyr, another team member, however once it's over you are pretty much left to explore and have full control of abilities right from the off. This also makes it a steep learning curve to work out how to battle and while I was wandering the map world I ended up landing my first random battle which led to mighty confusion and ultimately a game over screen not having the foggiest about what to actually do. Fortunately there's an arena nearby and a listed tutorial showing you how to battle properly. Sadly this is quite long and it can take a while to go through, not to mention it's not explained too well so can take a bit of perseverance to get your head around. This is one of the aspects that has put people off, but once you get the basics, the rest follows and it really is an excellent and enjoyable system that's so different from any other RPG I've played to date. Guns are the main fighting force (along with grenades and molotovs) and it works by controlling each player at a time and setting up a shot either directly at an enemy or allowing the character to go into a mode where you'll run in a straight line and blast while running or jumping and shooting. Depending on the weapon, you deal either normal damage which tends to take off very little or "scratch damage" which isn't real damage, but if real damage touches a scratch damaged person, then they lose it all instantly. It's a bit like working with a shield but is weapon dependent. There are a bunch of other tricks to get your head around and dealing with shields surrounding the enemies is another important aspect. It's also got less to do with Hit Points as it has to do with losing bezels, each of which have 1000 points of scratch damage. Once all the bezels get damaged then you're on your last legs with HP damage and this is where things really do get hugely disadvantaged and leave you open. Ultimately there's a lot to think about tactically while undertaking a battle, but with a fluid action orientated feel that keeps it moving without feeling like a TRPG. 

 

 

The world is set up a huge tower run entirely by clockwork, but rather than being inside a tower, there are a series of outer platforms connected above and below one another almost like leaves on a vine with elevators running between each platform. The higher the platform, the closer to royalty and therefore wealth and affluence the area is, while trundling to the depths much lower down reveal hostile areas with broken, run down and dirty places with the poor taking up residence there. The towns (of which there arent a great deal of) actually look really nice and have that Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9 look and about them with lots of detail made to the environments where you'll see all sorts of mechanisms made of cogs turning and alive. Outside of these however, it's not quite as impressive. There are dungeon areas and generally the spots where the fighting takes place and they look rather dull and more like a step down in generation in comparison, featuring very bland and basic 3D looking areas. What's more is that a dungeon is made up of a series of connecting blocks (or hexagons to be more accurate) which act as rooms where each one has a fight inside. It's not about exploring but more about fighting and fighting and yeah you get the point. It feels manufactured for the sake of the game rather than an organic flowing environment urging you to look around, take in the sights and explore. On top of this is the main map which isn't like most RPG's and looks like a board game with a marker on top of a board of hexagons. You are blocked by filled in hexagons at first, but get hold of tetris-a-like pieces which can remove the blockages, uncover pathways to progress and reveal hidden items while you do. There's more to this part of the game too but I'll not go into it too much. You also find yourself going backwards and forwards all the time, expecially if you attempt to do all the side missions, and each time you'll find that talking to the same people dotted around will reveal new information during each new chapter of the game. It's cool but did make the whole thing feel repetitive, and I didn't quite feel like I was exploring a huge world but rather a small section of a structure spread across 12 or so floors. I was yearning to leave the entire place and end up on some planet at the bottom but that never happens. 

 

The story is one of the things that grew to annoy me more and more as it progressed, and it's largely down to the lack of direction. For a very very long time you get very little information on the main plot aside from brief cutscenes at the beginnings of chapters and ends which for the most part can be very confusing as they are so detached from what you'll be doing, especially as almost all the missions tend to have nothing to do with the main story. It's also purposely cryptic and I read the Western release has some cruicial cutscene information removed about one of the characters. I spent literally about 115 hours on my play through, way longer than I expected but tbf I've done this many many times before on lots of other RPG's. As time went on, I just lost interest in the story and had only half an idea of what was going on at the best of times. Japanese games love to do this sort of thing but I feel it was far too loose and disconnected leading me to just end the game with more confusion than when I began it. I wanted to like it as it does have some interesting ideas. After reading up the main thread on here about RoF, I've seen something about there being 10 difficulties but I don't fancy playing it ever again I don't think. In some ways I felt this way when playing Bravely Default, as there were things I hated about it but at the same time I really liked it. I have to also point out the clothing options which are purely aesthetic, and while not usually the sort of thing I'd be into, the designs of clothing in here are really really good. They look more like actual real fashion and not some pseudo-RPG-centric outfits. 

 

 

Overall it is a decent game if you can get into the battle system, then you'll have fun and I can say that it does have a lot of depth to it which make you think first before blindly running into a battle. Some battles are a bloodbath unless you use the right approach which quite often makes a battle go from insanely difficult to super easy once you know the correct exploit. 

 

I'm going to settle on a 7.5 for this. 

 

June

8. Tomb Raider (PS3) 2013

 

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I haven't updated my list of finished games for a few months so I've got a couple coming up starting with this, Tomb Raider the start of the current reboot of the franchise. It wasn't particularly one I'd planned to actually play but I'd ended up with it as part of a bundle of PS3 games I got from someone on here a few months ago so thought I'd try it out despite this also being on the PS4. It was fun to see how it played on the older system and despite the obvious short comings of frame rate on occasions, overall the presentation is amongst one of the best I've played on the PS3 so far, bearing in mind I haven't actually played any of the Uncharted games which I can imagine are equally as impactive. It's been a fair while since I've played any Tomb Raider game before this and those have been among the older variety on the PS1 with Legends being the most current and that was at least 17 years ago or so. This game definitely feels a far cry from the days way back but it's quite good overall. Not amazing but pretty good however I'd say that the overall presentation of the game and the many action scenes which are often interactive adding that semi controllable QTE really surprised me and made it forget how good the PS3 can look at times. 

 

There's a darker tone and atmosphere going on and a focus on story where you're often isolated on an island after being stranded there following an accident uncovering the sinister activities going on as you try to escape with your crew. For me the story wasn't grabbing me enough and felt quckly forgettable as I just didn't feel as though I cared enough for the characters and when it came to the main antagonist, he also wasn't around much at all. For the most part you'd be reading notes trying to figure out more on the back story but the main bad guy never felt threatening enough because he's rarely there. Even at the end he kind of becomes irrelevant but then I'd often spend the majority of the time simply exploring and trying to pick up all of the collectibles. There are a bunch of them, and often I dislike it when games try to Ubify the experience by adding too much but it just about worked as I got everything done a lot quicker than many others out there. These collectibles come in two forms; the one's which become added to the map after certain conditions are met and the ones which aren't revealed and require patience and perseverance to find. To make it more interesting though each area has its own unique collectible type in this category and fortunately there's one of those Metroid Prime/Assassin's Creed style scanning abilities which let you identify objects easier which can be activated when you're not moving. I actually prefer the less is more approach of the original games where there'd be secret areas and maybe a golden rose in each location but then that's it. Obviously in this day and age we have to add as much content as possible. Fortunately it can all be done in not too much time and still feels a lot lighter than say an Assassin's Creed game. This includes levelling up every single item in the game which is another typical mechanic.

 

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The weapons are quite cool, especially the bow and the abilities you get to fire and attach rope to posts so that you can crawl across to an impossible to reach section or sometimes being able to anchor the grapple section of the rope into a post only to pull it collapsing an entire rickety building that's hanging precariously in ruins on the edge of a drop following some explosions. There's a tool that allows you to ride the rope which is great as well. I had a few loose Horizon Zero Dawn moments while playing with the bow and fighting people, mixed in with Assassin's Creed and some Metroid Prime with the scanning and acquiring abilities to make progress. The music is OK in that it serves its purpose to carry the mood but is very generic really and forgettable. 

 

Overall Tomb Raider is quite like that typical AAA blockbuster cinema film that you might go and watch and (If you're like me) you'll think, yeah that was pretty good but it's not thought provoking or going to stick around in my mind and make me want to talk about it or cherish it in the long run. The biggest thing for me was just seeing how good it looked for a PS3 game and it really did surprise me, but as I said, I've not actually played an Uncharted game before and I'm going to make the presumption here that from UC2 onwards, they are in a similar league and style. I did play the Last of Us but that was on the PS4 and was the Remaster. Again another amazing game but TR is all about that flashy over the top action that feels largely hand holdey and guided down a path with many stops to allow you to breathe, upgrade things and search for more collectibles. I'm not feeling the rush to jump into the next one of the three...what's it called? Rise of the Tomb Raider or something, but you never know maybe one day. 

 

My final score is 7.5 

 

Oh another thing I want to add to this, and I'm not sure if this is more down to the PS3 version being less smooth than say a modern one, but I had moments of nausea when playing this. In fact there was one day I thought I might have had food poisoning and went to work anyway as I felt like utter shit, but there was something about TR that made me feel a bit sickly on a few occasions. I decided to try and look into it a bit and did find some talk from other users stating the same thing about it. Could it be the way the scan thing flashes when you activate it frequently while trying to constantly search, or maybe the way the framerate drops. Not sure but it's not something that often bothers me aside from VR which I've had sickness from the two times I've tried it out. 

 

 

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Previously Completed

Lost Sphear (PS5)

Gorogoa (PS5)

Slay the Spire (PS5)

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5 (PS5)

Donut County (PS5)

Control (PS5)

When the past was around (PS5)

Undertale (PS5)

Yakuza Like a Dragon (PS5)

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 6 (PS5)

Batman Enemy Within (PS5)

Spider-Man Miles Morales

 

Rebel Galaxy (PS5)

 

 

Next is The First Tree and indie exploration game.

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18. Pikuniku

 

This is a nice, short, simple, and quite silly platformer. It's hard to wholeheartedly recommend because it's so slight but it has a great sense of humour. It's like Night in the Woods but with surrealism instead of social commentary.

 

19. Aragami

 

I only tried this because it was one of the free Games with Gold. And I'm so glad I did. In many ways this is my perfect "action" game in that it's all about taking your time, treating areas to traverse and the enemies within them as puzzles to be solved. Yes, it's all about stealth, and it does stealth very well indeed. Right up until the final level of the included DLC, which for some reason introduces an arbitrary time limit, suddenly turning it into a speed-stealth which is the opposite of perfect! I still finished it though (after many failed attempts due to the time pressure) and now I'm really looking forward to the sequel which is coming to Game Pass very soon. I just hope it doesn't have timed levels.

 

20. Last Stop

 

This isn't really a game, more an interactive story, but it's a very good story indeed. It's like a really good episode of Doctor Who (or rather, three separate episodes about different, apparently unconnected people) and despite its obvious non-blockbuster budget, the stylised, low-poly version of London it presents feels realistic by keeping well away from uncanny valley but still including absolutely loads of spot-on background details. I particularly liked the text-free but obviously recognisable brands on all the packets in every kitchen, and the, ahem, personal massager you can find in someone's bedside drawer. Although the story ends very satisfactorily (and how it ends is affected by three key choices you make in the final chapter), I'd love a sequel or another game set in the same universe, and I'll be looking out for whatever the developers do next.

 

Spoiler

1. Dragon Quest XI

2. Donut County

3. Tell Me Why

4. Slay the Spire
5. The Medium

6. Final Fantasy XII

7. Night in the Woods

8. Wreckfest

9. Doom

10. Nier: Automata

11. Carto

12. Sea of Solitude

13. The Gardens Between

14. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

15. Rain on Your Parade

16. Doom II

17. Yakuza Zero

18. Pikuniku

19. Aragami

20. Last Stop

 

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On 04/08/2021 at 22:58, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

29. The Next Penelope

 

Someone recommended this! I can't remember who it was. Stylish 90s homage space racing game, like a top-down objective-based Wipeout only you're always powersliding. There's something extremely "European Amiga Game" about this - from the high difficulty to the large energy bar to everything being a bullet sponge, it feels like a remaster of a lost game from the 90s in some ways. Each event has you doing different stuff - avoiding a pursuer, winning a race, destroying other vehicles, but everything costs energy; the only way to regain energy (other than very occasional F-Zero style recharge pads) is to hit something with a static mine, which winds up being a lottery in itself. If you slightly misplace your mines it can wreck your whole event as all the other vehicles just drive past them and you don't get to recharge.

 

One small complaint is that the camera is way too zoomed in, which means that corners approach and don't leave you a lot of time to react. Given that your ship is very slidey at the best of times, you can quite often find yourself on the wrong side of the track without time to adjust. One of the ship upgrades you can buy zooms the game out a little; it's still too close and I kind of resent "being able to see where I'm going" being an optional powerup.

 

Upon completion some bonus zones are unlocked - a few time trials (which I'm nowhere near passing even on a good run), a Wipeout Zone style mission where you have to collect coins, not fall off and increase speed at set intervals, but the pick of the bunch is a Smash TV/Lethal League hybrid where you have to destroy ships by spinning into them, but also recharge your energy by spinning into a ricocheting laser which increases your multipler and also takes you out if you mis-time it.

 

It feels like there's some really great ideas in The Next Penelope, and it looks and sounds great; with a slight overhaul of the energy system to give a forward-facing option for recharging, and making the courses a little bit more visible, I think I would have liked it even more.

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Last Stop (02/08)

Omno (04/08)

 

In a rare break from MS Flight Simulator I gave these two new Game Pass releases a go and they’re both real gems. 
 

Last Stop was a great one for me to play with my other half… it got off to a great start when she realised a friend of hers voiced one of the main characters. Like others have said, it sets a nice mysterious vibe, and delivers a wonderful feeling of urban London. I really enjoyed the format of short 15 minute or so chapters, rotating through the three seemingly unconnected stories. I wish the development budget could have flexed towards hiring someone who knows how to animate people walking/running - some of the comedic moments are entirely unintended, but it’s all rather atmospheric and well written…. Apart from

Spoiler

Am I the only one who felt the ending was a bit of a weird shrug? It’s seemed to crush the mystery out of it, and although I loved the final choices the whole section felt odd

 

Still we both loved it, and have Virginia queued up to play next. I’d give it a sturdy 7/10
 

Omno though, that was a genuine surprise. The first “level” was a bit crap, but it settled in to a really nice cycle of Journey-esque audio/visual traversal moments, and simple but enjoyable physical puzzling. And on PC at least lovely and smooth. And it’s exactly the right length, took me in the region of five hours, and in the end game just ramped up the difficulty enough to feel like an (admittedly still easy) achievement. Game Pass is great for these little gems, I loved it. 8/10


 

Previously…

Immortals Fenyx Rising (03/01)

Donut County (24/01)

A Short Hike (02/01)

Crackdown 3 (07/07)

Yakuza: Like a Dragon (07/07)

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List:

 

Spoiler

 

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)
2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
3. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
4. Don't Look Back (iOS)
5. Bowser's Fury [Story] (Switch)
6. Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (SNES/Switch)

7. Yoku's Island Express (Switch)
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Museum Collection Complete (Switch)
9. Donut County (Xbox Game Pass)
10. The Medium (XSX, Game Pass)
11. GTA V (XSX)

12. Monument Valley – Ida's Dream (iOS)

13. Gears 5 (XSX, Game Pass)
14. Resident Evil 7 (XSX, Game Pass)

15. Rain On Your Parade (XSX, Game Pass)
16. Titanfall 2 (XSX, Game Pass)

17. Batman Arkham Knight (XSX, Game Pass)
18. Call of the Sea (XSX, Game Pass)
19. The Walking Dead: New Frontier (XSX, Game Pass)
20. A Plague Tale: Innocence (XSX, Game Pass)
21. Tales from the Borderlands (Xbox One, GWG)
22. Batman: The Telltale Series – Season One (Xbox One, GWG)
23. Sunset Overdrive (Xbox)

24. DOOM 2016 (Xbox)

25. Lego Builder's Journey (Apple Arcade)
26. Super Mario 3D World (Switch)

27. Batman The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within (Xbox, GWG)

28. Part-Time UFO (Switch)

 

29. The Wolf Among Us (Xbox GWG)

One of the better TTG games with a good story line and – if the achievements are anything to go by – some modicum of replayability. Not that I will. As with all TTG games, it's a technical shitshow with stuttering all over the place. Also had an over-reliance on mashing A as an interaction. Still though, would recommend.

 

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18. The Pathless (iOS) - Giant Squid’s latest entry in their range of enigmatic, beautifully art directed puzzle adventure games. This one has much more ‘game’ to it than something like Abzu (or Journey before it) featuring more environmental interaction, puzzle mechanics and even boss fights. However overall the game feels very much part of the same stable visually, with Austin Wintory’s stunning soundtrack knitting together the foreign dialect dialogue (voiced by Troy Baker and Laura Bailey which seems a bit mad to me). It’s definitely a lovely game to be in. At the core of this gameplay is the archery mechanic powering your combat, puzzle solutions but also your movement and traversal. It works pretty well, but I was expecting it to evolve a bit more than it did. Overall I enjoyed it but didn’t love it, with a little bit too much repetition in each area creeping in, and the final biome being a bit of a pain to get around. I clocked in at a shade over 6 hours for completion but not in any rush to go back to get all the additional missing bits. - 7/10


The-Pathless-Review-IL2.jpg

 

 

On 12/07/2021 at 12:28, FiveFootNinja said:

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS5) - 8/10

2. Gris (PS5) - 9/10

3. Fez (PS4) - 8/10

4. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS5) - 9/10

5. Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds [DLC] (PS5) - 7/10

6. Maquette (PS5) - 5/10

7. Lego City Undercover (XB1) - 7/10

8. Lego Ninjago Movie (XB1) - 7/10

9. Phogs (XB1) - 7/10

10. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (XB1) - 6/10

11. Lego Marvel Avengers (XB1) - 7/10

12. Ghost of Tsushima (PS5) - 8/10

13. Far: Lone Sails (PS5) - 7/10

14. Tint (Book I) (iOS) - 7/10

15. Little Orpheus (iOS) - 6/10

16. Control: Ultimate Edition (PS5) - 7/10

17. The Last Campfire (iOS) - 9/10

 

 

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06/08/2021 - Shining Force (Mega Drive)

 

Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and now Shining Force.

 

I rarely ever replay games and this is the elite group that have been deemed worthy, either because they were just great fun (the ME games) or there's just not anything around that does what it does as well (MUA). For Shining Force, I intend to play through the whole of the mainline series (so I, II and all three parts of III).

 

And it's just as great as when I first played it. I actually played this some time after the second game - a game I have no idea why I bought (back then I had never played such a title, I think I must've been swayed by a review), but the beauty is that the series retains a very simplistic approach through all the games. You only ever have the option to attack or use magic; you aren't thrown hundreds of different systems to manage or gear to agonise over and maps are nice and compact, meaning you can make tangible progress in the odd hour here and there.

 

That's not to say you don't have some considerations; the promotion system rewards a bit of grinding, there are 25 characters vying for 12 starting slots (and due to the way promotions and stat growth works some of the best characters can easily be dismissed if you focus only on their initial stats) and positioning, as with all SRPGs, is important in the field.

 

The story itself is no great shakes - young warrior becomes world saviour - but it's told succinctly enough and provides clear motivation to keep moving forward. There's also something very satisfying at bringing through a character and seeing them develop into an absolute beast in the mid to late game. It's also quite friendly in terms of challenge, too, making it quite relaxing to play. Plus there's a real charm to the chunky characters and world, with the graphics stepping up a bit in the battle scenes.

 

I know there are objectively better SRPGs around (though, like MUA it's a genre that feels surprisingly underserved these days) but there's something appealing in the simplicity of what's on offer here, a game that I could relax and unwind whilst playing instead of feeling overwhelmed by the - often superfluous - complexity of the best examples found on the PS2 (which I guess was the real heyday of the genre).

 

So whilst it might feel a bit like a Fisher Price SRPG, I don't care, because I love it. SFII awaits!

 

Previously completed

Spoiler

02/08/2021 - Vendetta (Arcade)

31/07/2021 - Outriders (PC)

25/07/2021 - Dynamite Dux (Arcade)

24/07/2021 - Stardrop (PC)

20/07/2021 - Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance (PC)

10/07/2021 - Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PC)

02/07/2021 - Weaves of Fate (PC)

27/06/2021 - Through the Woods (PC)

22/06/2021 - Answer Knot (PC)

10/06/2021 - Halo: Spartan Assault (PC)

07/06/2021 - The Hex (PC)

23/05/2021 - Renegade (Spectrum)

15/05/2021 - Lords of Xumila (PC)

09/05/2021 - Devolverland Expo (PC)

09/05/2021 - The Medium (PC)

02/05/2021 - Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (PC)

01/05/2021 - Shadows: Awakening (PC)

21/04/2021 - Rain on Your Parade (PC)

20/04/2021 - Wasteland 2 (PC)

04/04/2021 - Secret World Legends (PC)

02/04/2021 - She Sees Red (PC)

27/03/2021 - Greedfall (PC)

26/03/2021 - Freedom Fighters (PC)

10/03/2021 - Breath of Death VII (PC)

05/03/2021 - Dungeons & Lesbians (PC)

04/03/2021 - Quantum Break (PC)

26/02/2021 - Marvel Avengers (PC)

20/02/2021 - Life is Strange (PC)

02/02/2021 - P.O.W. (Arcade)

28/01/2021 - Devil's Hunt (PC)

24/01/2021 - A Mortician's Tale (PC)

19/01/2021 - The Touryst (PC)

19/01/2021 - Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forrest (PC)

15/01/2021 - A New Life (PC)

05/01/2021 - Vostok Inc. (PC)

02/01/2021 - Call to the Sea (PC)

01/01/2021 - Suikoden (PS1)

 

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List:

 

Spoiler

 

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)
2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
3. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
4. Don't Look Back (iOS)
5. Bowser's Fury [Story] (Switch)
6. Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (SNES/Switch)

7. Yoku's Island Express (Switch)
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Museum Collection Complete (Switch)
9. Donut County (Xbox Game Pass)
10. The Medium (XSX, Game Pass)
11. GTA V (XSX)

12. Monument Valley – Ida's Dream (iOS)

13. Gears 5 (XSX, Game Pass)
14. Resident Evil 7 (XSX, Game Pass)

15. Rain On Your Parade (XSX, Game Pass)
16. Titanfall 2 (XSX, Game Pass)

17. Batman Arkham Knight (XSX, Game Pass)
18. Call of the Sea (XSX, Game Pass)
19. The Walking Dead: New Frontier (XSX, Game Pass)
20. A Plague Tale: Innocence (XSX, Game Pass)
21. Tales from the Borderlands (Xbox One, GWG)
22. Batman: The Telltale Series – Season One (Xbox One, GWG)
23. Sunset Overdrive (Xbox)

24. DOOM 2016 (Xbox)

25. Lego Builder's Journey (Apple Arcade)
26. Super Mario 3D World (Switch)

27. Batman The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within (Xbox, GWG)

28. Part-Time UFO (Switch)

29. The Wolf Among Us (Xbox GWG)

 

30. Death’s Door (Xbox)

This is just brilliant, charming, funny and hard as nails at times. A really well-paced sense of discovery, reward and challenge with lovely visuals and wonderful music. I can’t recommend this enough.

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21 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

29. The Next Penelope

30. Doom (2016)

 

I've been playing this on and off for about a year now and, disappointingly, haven't quite got on with it as well as everyone else seems to have. The shtick of this game is that if you are aggressive, you will get lots of health and ammo drops. If not, you won't. I personally found that being aggressive led to me dying more often than I got the big payout, but I couldn't really tell what other kind of aggressive I was meant to be, in place of charging enemies and taking them out with glory kills.

 

Started having a lot more joy after I knocked the difficulty down, but I can't help feeling that I've missed a fundamental part of what makes Doom the beloved game that it is. I still had a lot of fun with it but the lower difficulty was almost too easy - it was very rare I'd get a health drop from any enemy as I was usually able to take them out at well over 100 health remaining, even if many of them did feel quite bullet-spongy. The plasma rifle especially feels like you're firing half-melted frozen peas at the enemy, given the length of time it takes to take an enemy down with it.

 

I still had a lot of fun with the game, especially towards the end where ammo is plentiful and you can really start making use of the BFG on a regular basis, but I feel like I must have been doing something wrong to miss the thing that elevates Doom from "this is very good", where I currently sit, to "this is a masterpiece".

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07/08/2021 - The Last Stop (PC)

 

Man, oh man. I was really enjoying this, right up until the last chapter, where it all falls apart and goes from interesting to rubbish in the blink of an eye. You know how I felt when it finished? Like the last episode of Lost. So many unanswered questions, an ending that felt pulled from somewhere else and, above all, completely unsatisfying.

 

It really didn't start out that way though.

 

As a follow-up to the indie darling Virginia (which I didn't like at all), The Last Stop goes fully voiced and with a bigger art budget. Essentially a walking simulator, it's all story, no glory, as we aren't utilising our fps skills to dish out justice, nor our brain matter to overcome devilish puzzles; nope, really it's about pressing X, B or Y to choose a response during conversation.

And I'm more than fine with that.

 

There was a wonderful sense of place within the snapshot of London presented here, with signage, roads, architecture all just feeling 'right'. There are some lovely establishing and framing shots to enjoy, too, and everything is played as such a pedestrian pace it actually feels natural and real (despite the rather fantastical story). The three separate stories are all significantly different, all have a little bit of intrigue and mystery, all have a diverse cast - shout-out to Molly, who is adorable. The way the game is presented, too, is great: Short chapters, a nice little tv-style recap if you need it and forcing you to play through each character's chapters one at a time I think helps the structure - it would be easy to let players play a whole story at once, but even though you could, I think it's better this way.

 

The problem, though, is that final chapter. It just doesn't work at all, adds no real context nor resolution and shines a light on how there's no logic at play here, it feels like mcguffin central. The real problem is that the lack of a logical (within the gameworld) ending - in a game that is completely story, rather than gameplay, focused - means you pay more attention to the issues, as it has nowhere to hide. And whilst some may say it's overthinking it, I don't think that's true - I would happily have handwaved everything away had the ending been better.

 

One of the stories in particular is a mess from start to finish:

Spoiler

Donna's story doesn't even make sense within the context of superpower man; what was his motivation? He wanted a kid to keep forever for...sexytime? A concubine? Regular chess player? We don't know. Why does he also erase complete randoms? When asked by Donna, he says they got in the way, but that doesn't explain all the women Viv talks about seeing. And, of course, how does Donna even exist when her mum has been erased? I mean I know Back to the Future isn't a documentary, but even so it understand erasing parents wouldn't work out well for poor Marty.

Again, though, I would've gone with all of that if the final chapter had tied things together better.

 

Very much mixed feelings with this then; I'd definitely like to see something with this exact format again but, man, get somebody who can write an ending next time, huh?

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

06/08/2021 - Shining Force (Mega Drive)

02/08/2021 - Vendetta (Arcade)

31/07/2021 - Outriders (PC)

25/07/2021 - Dynamite Dux (Arcade)

24/07/2021 - Stardrop (PC)

20/07/2021 - Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance (PC)

10/07/2021 - Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PC)

02/07/2021 - Weaves of Fate (PC)

27/06/2021 - Through the Woods (PC)

22/06/2021 - Answer Knot (PC)

10/06/2021 - Halo: Spartan Assault (PC)

07/06/2021 - The Hex (PC)

23/05/2021 - Renegade (Spectrum)

15/05/2021 - Lords of Xumila (PC)

09/05/2021 - Devolverland Expo (PC)

09/05/2021 - The Medium (PC)

02/05/2021 - Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (PC)

01/05/2021 - Shadows: Awakening (PC)

21/04/2021 - Rain on Your Parade (PC)

20/04/2021 - Wasteland 2 (PC)

04/04/2021 - Secret World Legends (PC)

02/04/2021 - She Sees Red (PC)

27/03/2021 - Greedfall (PC)

26/03/2021 - Freedom Fighters (PC)

10/03/2021 - Breath of Death VII (PC)

05/03/2021 - Dungeons & Lesbians (PC)

04/03/2021 - Quantum Break (PC)

26/02/2021 - Marvel Avengers (PC)

20/02/2021 - Life is Strange (PC)

02/02/2021 - P.O.W. (Arcade)

28/01/2021 - Devil's Hunt (PC)

24/01/2021 - A Mortician's Tale (PC)

19/01/2021 - The Touryst (PC)

19/01/2021 - Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forrest (PC)

15/01/2021 - A New Life (PC)

05/01/2021 - Vostok Inc. (PC)

02/01/2021 - Call to the Sea (PC)

01/01/2021 - Suikoden (PS1)

 

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Resident Evil 2

I played this back on the PS1, but I only went through Chris's story once and then traded it in. Now, with the threat of an incomplete game blemishing my xbox profile, I went through it all. Unsurprisingly, twenty-one years later, it was all completely new to me: I didn't remember a damn thing.

First of all, it looks and sounds great, even on the old XB1. The lighting is amazing, and hearing the big chap stomping around in adjoining rooms and floors was a neat touch. I was happy to get the 60fps update on the X though.

It has a slightly more evenly-balanced level of oppressiveness and claustrophobia than the front-loaded Resi7, which I finished last year, but it's still a heavily dark affair, where every bullet is a prisoner. Fortunately, beating the main campaign throws enough unlockable freebies at you to give you some breathing space on later playthroughs.

Most of the bonus missions were a re-tread of parts of the main game, though the "No Way Out" scenario was an interesting (though fairly sadistic) coda: an excellent challenge, but hard to say if it was "fun".

All-in-all though, there's not a lot of fat on these bones. It's a very efficiently sculpted bit of horror. 8/10

 

Spoiler

01/01/2021 - Syberia

07/01/2021 - Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

11/01/2021 - Fe

13/01/2021 - The Touryst

19/01/2021 - The Gardens Between

22/01/2021 - Donut County

22/01/2021 - Virginia

23/01/2021 - The Witness

08/02/2021 - Trials Fusion

22/02/2021 - Streets Of Rage 4

14/03/2021 - Death Squared

08/04/2021 - The Medium

19/04/2021 - Control: Ultimate Edition

30/04/2021 - New Super Lucky's Tale

01/05/2021 - Kameo: Elements Of Power

08/05/2021 - Gravel

15/06/2021 - Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2

26/06/2021 - Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

06/07/2021 - Lara Croft & The Temple Of Osiris

16/07/2021 - R-Type Final 2

03/08/2021 - A Plague Tale: Innocence

07/08/2021 - Resident Evil 2

 

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Previously:

Spoiler

January
1. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 (SEGA AGES) Switch
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (SEGA AGES) Switch

July
3. Bare Knuckle 3 (SEGA Vintage Collection) Xbox 360

August
4. Vendetta (Arcade Archives) PS4
5. Metal Slug (ACA Neo Geo) PS4

I grabbed the Capcom Beat' Em Up Bundle in the PSN sale and have so far played through three of the included titles. 

 

6. Final Fight (Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle) PS4

I've played this before, on both Xbox 360 and Game Boy Advance, and I like it up until the stage with flames coming out of the floor. From there on in, it seems to get more unfair rather than difficult. But I do love the huge character sprites and background graphics. There are a couple of good tunes on the soundtrack, but I must admit that I prefer the added fatness of the remade music from the Xbox 360 version. 

 

7. King of the Dragons (Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle) PS4

Can't say I'd seen or heard much of this title before. I played through as the Elf character, which was slightly different as he has a bow and arrow rather than melee attacks. Gameplay was solid and it didn't seem as difficult as Final Fight, but the whole thing dragged on a bit too long. I think there were 15 stages, which was about 5 too many, especially as some of the bosses made an appearance twice. Good selection of classic monsters to battle, although sprites were not as big as Final Fight, which is a shame as this came out two years later. Music was bland. Will probably play again with one of the other character types. 

 

8. Captain Commando (Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle) PS4

I know this character from the Marvel vs. Capcom series, plus I know the game was ported to the SNES, although I've never seen a copy or played it. This one is also from 1991, so I was disappointed with the small sprites again. I assume this was due to the game being 4 player? Anyway, I didn't really enjoy this one that much. The character designs and background graphics were a bit generic for my liking - I don't even know if there is a story to explain why you fight through the various areas including a Museum, Aquarium, Ninja House, Circus etc. I played as Captain Commando himself, who had a decent move set with varoius attack, jumping attacks and dash attacks, but the difficulty really ramps up and finishing this one was a bit of a chore. Maybe I'll try a different character next time?

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A couple from me:

 

18. Walkabout Mini Golf (2020) - Oculus Quest 2

 

image.thumb.png.a48c0c32054e9f9b5076e03368d55be8.png

 

I booted this up on a whim one night last week and was immediately hooked. It's excellent - beautiful to look at, some fantastic courses and the ball and putter physics behave just as you would expect them to. I really like mini/crazy golf anyway, but this perfectly replicates the satisfaction of making a long putt or pulling off a fluke shot. I got a hole in one on the hardest level a few nights ago and literally whooped with joy! My only complaint is that it's not easy to play as a local party game, unless you happen to have more than one Quest 2 lying around. I imagine the online multiplayer would work well, but I'm the only person I know with the console. Still, if you own something that's capable of running it, it's excellent - there are seven different 18 hole courses, all of which have challenge variants, as well as lots of secrets to find, so for the £8 I paid for it in a sale, it's fantastic value. Recommended.

 

---

 

19. The Walking Dead: Series One (2012) - Xbox Series X

 

d43a146f-2928-4d6d-9e2d-6e34fd360195.thumb.png.0b7e6cc294cb6312cb07ac235316783d.png

 

I completed this on the 360 back when it first came out, then re-bought it for the Switch last year, but the loading times and the bugs were enough for me to shelve it. Thankfully, this version, which I played via Game Pass, loads up very quickly and ran perfectly throughout. Like I did back in 2012, I enjoyed it overall. However, I will say it's a much better interactive TV programme than it is an adventure game. The point-and-click sections feel very arbitrary and simplistic, and with no run button to be found, they can be pretty tedious to get through. That said, I found the story genuinely compelling throughout and the voice acting was surprisingly good, too. I feel by this point I must have seen or read every single zombie-related scenario that could ever be reasonably conceived, but I was able to put that aside and enjoy the game nonetheless. I played through quite a lot of it on my phone and Razer Kishi, and it's the perfect game for that sort of set-up. All of the other series are on Game Pass, too, so I'll get round to the second one at some point.

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Star Hunter DX - Bounty Hunter 1cc, Luna

 

Spoiler

Solid State Survivor - 1cc, TLB (10)

Dangun Feveron - Fever arrange 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - 1cc Normal (10)

Aleste - 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - 1cc (10)

GG Aleste - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste 2 - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste - Special mode 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - Hard 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - Special mode 1cc (10)

Natsuki Chronicles - 1cc Arcade, Normal (10)

G-Darius HD - 1cc, Lambda route (10)

Cotton Reboot - Arrange 1cc (10)

Cotton Reboot - Arrange hard 1cc (10)

Assault Shell - 1cc, Original single (10)

Assault Shell - 1cc, Void arrange (10)

Assault Shell - 2-all (10)

Barrage Fantasia - 1cc Normal (7)

Barrage Fantasia - Advanced 1cc (10)

Patriot Dark - Normal 1cc (10)

Zenodyne R - 1cc Normal (10)

Zenohell - 1cc Normal (10)

Sengoku Youkai Daikassen - 1cc (10)

Maho Shoe - 1cc (10)

Hishou Ayu - 1cc, Normal (10)

Alien Death Mob - All stars (10)

Wolflame - Normal 1cc (10)

东方栖霞园 ~ Blue devil in the Belvedere - Normal 1cc (Sakuya) (10)

Gun-Nac - 1cc, normal (10)

Bike Banditz - 1cc, Normal (10)

Redneg 3Stars - Normal 1cc (10)

Winged Gear - 1cc, Normal (8)

Redneg Allstars - 1cc, normal (10)

Galactic Refugees - Hard 1cc (6)

XCUTE(me) - 1cc (2-5), Normal (10)

Satazius - Normal 1cc (10)

Espgaluda - 1cc

Touhou Kikamu ~ Elegant Impermanence of Sakura - Normal 1cc

Super Glitter Rush - All stars

Rangok Skies - 1cc (all characters)

Schildmaid MX Beta - Krieger 1cc

Donpachi - 1cc

Battle Garegga - Premium mode 1cc

Ketsui Deathtiny - Deathtiny mode 1cc

 

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I played through Capcom's King of the Dragons again today, switching between the four character types that I didn't use on my first run. It's a solid beat 'em up. Good to zone out and button mash to!

 

I've also played some more Metal Slug and can now clear Stage 1 without losing a life. Stage 2 is proving to be a little more tricky. 

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9/8/2021 - The Last Stop (Xbox Series X)

This didn't hit my radar until I saw a bunch of people talking about it in the Gamepass thread.  A very interesting piece of interactive fiction - not a game as such, but nice to play through all the same.   I would have perhaps been a bit sore if I'd paid for it properly - it being pretty short and not really offering any replay, but it's spot on as a Gamepass title

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10/8/2021 - Unravel (Xbox Series X)

2 posts in a row!  This Gamepass thing means I'm dipping in and out of a few games at a time (albeit shorter ones) just trying carious ones out that I can download for nothing!!  I still haven't quite got over that part yet,

 

Anyway, Unravel is a aesthetically gorgeous little platformer.  I have vague recollections about seeing it or a preview at the time of launch, but it's not something I ever looked at.  There are some interesting little mechanics in what you have to do - although by half way through the game you can kind of see the signposts about what's happening and so it's not too challenging after that, just fun.  Although there are these secret little tokens to collect if you are in to finding the hard to reach stuff.  I wasn't sure about the story - having the main wollen character hunt down memories of an old lady through her life.  Sometimes I like games to be fun without having to get deep and meaningful, but it wasn't too much.  There is a part 2 to play, but I need to go back and finish off the other stuff I was playing first!

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27/07/21 - Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I was never a SS hater. I actually loved it on Wii and found the MotionPlus controls worked really well. As this was the only Zelda I’ve never replayed I jumped at the chance to throw another 45 quid at Nintendo (I understand I am part of the problem) to experience those dungeons in HD knowing that the motion controls would most likely be a tad woolly this time around.

 

I think I was right. The controls are fine for the most part but the way the JoyCons lose centre if you so much as twitch a finger gets very old and does detract somewhat from the experience. However the dungeons are still brilliant and the general QOL improvements make this worth playing through again.

 

03/08/21 - Broken Age

I backed the original Kickstarter for this and played through and enjoyed the first part in one sitting the day it dropped. Then my PC blew up before I got to play the second part and it kind of drifted away from my brain. I finally got around to playing the whole thing last week and what a great little time it was.

 

Part 1 was a little light on puzzles when it first came out with too many items obtained by choosing a certain line of dialogue, but the settings and humour made it. Part 2 ramped up the puzzles nicely while maintaining what was good from the Part 1 and adding a nicely bonkers story.

 

I think this was unfairly judged when it first came out as people expected a genre defining experience after the hype of the kickstarter. What we actually got was a gorgeous looking, solid P&C adventure in **checks watch** 2014? Shit!

 

10/08/21 – Bowser’s Fury

I blasted through 3D World earlier this year, so I thought it was time to play the other part of the package while I have a spare few hours.

This is a fantastic premise for Mario and like others I would be very interested to see where they could take the concept, but I feel it needs better hardware to do it justice. Some of the slow down when it gets busy is really off-putting and the camera is weirdly cumbersome for a Mario title.

As a proof of concept it’s brilliant and a lot of fun to play but I can’t see it being ‘The Next Mario’ until a more powerful Switch or whatever hits.

 

Previously

 

Spoiler

01/01 - Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

15/01 - Immortals: Fenyx Rising

22/01 - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

27/01 - Yooka-Laylee: The Impossible Lair

19/02 - Cyberpunk 2077

06/03 - Final Fantasy 14 ARR Quests

21/03 - Final Fantasy 12 Zodiac Age

31/03 - Batman: Arkham Knight

06/04 - Sam & Max Save the World

13/04 - Avengers: A-Day

04/05 - Picross S 5

05/07 - FF14: Heavensward Quests

05/07 - Pikmin 3 

05/07 - Super Mario 3D World

05/07 - Lair of the Clockwork God

05/07 - The Touryst 

05/07 - Star Renegades

05/07 - The Wild at Heart

05/07 - Outriders 

05/07 - Ratchet & Clack: Rift Apart

05/07 - FF14: Stormblood Quests

 

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List:

 

Spoiler

 

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)
2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
3. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
4. Don't Look Back (iOS)
5. Bowser's Fury [Story] (Switch)
6. Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (SNES/Switch)

7. Yoku's Island Express (Switch)
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Museum Collection Complete (Switch)
9. Donut County (Xbox Game Pass)
10. The Medium (XSX, Game Pass)
11. GTA V (XSX)

12. Monument Valley – Ida's Dream (iOS)

13. Gears 5 (XSX, Game Pass)
14. Resident Evil 7 (XSX, Game Pass)

15. Rain On Your Parade (XSX, Game Pass)
16. Titanfall 2 (XSX, Game Pass)

17. Batman Arkham Knight (XSX, Game Pass)
18. Call of the Sea (XSX, Game Pass)
19. The Walking Dead: New Frontier (XSX, Game Pass)
20. A Plague Tale: Innocence (XSX, Game Pass)
21. Tales from the Borderlands (Xbox One, GWG)
22. Batman: The Telltale Series – Season One (Xbox One, GWG)
23. Sunset Overdrive (Xbox)

24. DOOM 2016 (Xbox)

25. Lego Builder's Journey (Apple Arcade)
26. Super Mario 3D World (Switch)

27. Batman The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within (Xbox, GWG)

28. Part-Time UFO (Switch)

29. The Wolf Among Us (Xbox GWG)
30. Death’s Door (Xbox)

 

31. Jenny LeClue – Detectivú (Apple Arcade)

I really enjoyed this game. It looks fantastic, the voice over is superb and the plot is delightfully weird. There's a big old chunk of game in there which surprised me – around 10-12 hours, maybe more – which I wasn't expecting, but I was chipping away at it, playing a combo of iPad and Apple TV with controller for the last week or so. It's really excellent and usually available on PC or Switch for a few quid. If you like point & clicks, this scratches the itch with some decent puzzling and exploration. Highly recommended.

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On 07/08/2021 at 21:42, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

29. The Next Penelope

30. Doom (2016)

31. Monster Train

32. Loop Hero

 

OK full disclosure, I got a win on my third or fourth run on Monster Train. I'm deifnitely not done yet as there's a significant amount more to discover and explore, but was extremely surprised to be able to finish it off with very few unlocks. I played a ton of Slay The Spire and really had to earn my first win; some runs just fell apart extremely easily and decks could sprawl off in one of many directions. While there's significant strategic differences to the battles in Monster Train, I've assembled fundamentally the exact same deck each time I've played, and mainly just done a better job of laying things out.

 

Learning where to put your units feels really important here, and I was definitely surprsied when first realising that once you use a unit and it dies, it's just gone until the next battle; but in the default configuration of clans you receive, I've seen very little reason to deviate from the cards I've been picking, so am hoping that as more things are unlocked and I start to tinker with the other clans, multiple possibilities become available rather than the red/green deck always being the same, which is how it currently feels.

 

Soundtrack is giving me strong Return Of The Obra Dinn flashbacks too. Finishing a battle and getting your rewards feels like I'm back in 1-bit land looking at a corpse.

 

--

 

Loop Hero is a game that I bought on launch after a few friends were talking about the strength of the demo. It's an auto-battler where your character just wanders around a pre-determined route until you win, it dies, or you get back to the start and decide to go home; your actions involve making sure the right gear is equipped as it is found, and also populating the blank spaces on the map with various pieces of scenery that you pick up as you go along.

 

There's four acts. The first three, you keep going until you place enough tiles to spawn the boss, fight the boss, and then it's done. The fourth one involves doing that, but also killing the first three bosses at intervals in the expedition, and then fighting the final boss at the end.

 

For the first three acts I'd had an amazing time picking my tiles and forming a strategy on the fly, but it became quickly apparent that on the fourth act, my strategies weren't cutting it, so I did the absolutely correct thing and gave up for months. There were a few frustrations with earlier versions of the game - every time you finished a run with a character, a new level-up bonus is unlocked, but the problem is they're almost all universally worse than the standard ones have to begin with. They also couldn't be removed/disabled, so you were accidentally making the game a lot harder for yourself if they were picked.

 

A few more runs later and I still wasn't making any headway. The most frustrating thing was a specific tile that spawned a specific type of enemy - some wormy kind of thing - that had a 40% chance of escaping instead of dying and dropping loot when it was killed. It dropped great loot but occasionally they'd be an absolute run-killer as you'd take them out, take a load of damage in the process, and they'd all escape. This would be fine but they then join in battles on subsequent tiles with volley fire and argh 

 

Basically, my tile loadout was shite and I needed to take out a load of stuff and put in some things I'd previously discounted for reasons I forget. Ruins + Blood Grove = Worms can never escape. The problem was, after making just that change the game became so much easier that I finished the final act in one attempt and just feel done with it all now. It's a shame, because up until Act IV I was having the best time, but maybe if I'd been a bit more patient and re-explored the cards rather than sticking with existing strategies I'd have held a brighter view of the end of the game.

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Halo 3: ODST (2009)

 

This is my second play through, but the last was 10 years ago so it might as well have been the first for all I could remember.  I started this straight after completing 1-3, and I think I was experiencing war fatigue, because I really didn't like it - way too dark, way too many characters and, similar to Halo 3, potato graphics compared to the loveliness of Combat Evolved and Halo 2.  But it grew on me the more I played - I mean, it's Halo, it's a brilliant game at it's core - and I like the way it grows the world outward rather than upward (like Halo 4 and 5 do, to their detriment - but I'm sure we'll come to them later).

 

The story is fine - easy to follow, and moves you through set pieces.  I had no idea what was going on from the end of Halo 2 onward, so this was a welcome return to the simple formula of Combat Evolved, but I didn't really care for any of the characters - not even Buck.  They're just not particularly well written, and no amount of stuffing Mal from Firefly in there is going to fix that unfortunately.

 

So yea, good stuff.  Brutes are still a rubbish replacement for Elites, and fighting the Flood at least breaks up the pace a little in the earlier games, which ODST misses out on.

 

Spoiler

09/01/2021 - Bloodborne

10/01/2021 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

10/01/2021 - Halo 2: Anniversary

13/01/2021 - Little Nightmares

26/01/2021 - Donut County

27/01/2021 - Astro’s Playroom

06/02/2021 - The Medium

13/02/2021 - Paper Mario: The Origami King

21/02/2021 - Spider-Man: Miles Morales

28/02/2021 - Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

03/04/2021 - Dark Souls Remastered
03/04/2021 - Halo 3

15/04/2021 - Yakuza 0

08/05/2021 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

15/05/2021 - Resident Evil Zero

22/05/2021 - Blasphemous

29/05/2021 - Limbo

03/06/2021 - Inside

09/06/2021 - Resident Evil VII

19/06/2021 - Super Mario 3D World

28/06/2021 - Resident Evil: Village

03/07/2021 - Sonic CD

11/07/2021 - Sonic the Hedgehog

11/07/2021 - Sonic 2

11/07/2021 - Sonic 3

24/07/2021 - Sonic & Knuckles

25/07/2021 - Firewatch

11/08/2021 - Halo 3: ODST

 

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07/08/2021 - Yakuza: Like A Dragon

 

I really, really loved this.

 

I enjoyed Zero, Kiwami and even the PS2 original back in the day, but LAD marked a new beginning for the series with some huge changes. The move to turn based JRPG style battles was brave to say the least, but RGGS managed to make them snappy while still being suitably tactical, and even funny at times. I was worried they could become a bit repetitive, but somehow they never did.

 

The other big change was the new main character, Ichiban, along with a whole party of supporting characters. They were all brilliant, especially Ichiban himself who might be my favourite lead character in any game. 

 

And then there's the story. The Yakuza games are really the only ones I'm just as happy to watch as to play, which is good because some of those cutscenes were looooong. These days I really don't have the patience for this sort of thing in games, generally favouring games with interesting mechanics, but here I found myself treating it almost like a TV show at times. There were at least a couple of times I sat down with my lunch to watch a cutscene.

 

I can't wait for LAD2, or whatever they call it, but I guess I'll slowly work my way through the older games in the meantime. I'm still hopeful that the Judgment games will somehow find their way to PC.

 

Spoiler

January

25/01/2021 - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

February

21/02/2021 - The Room

March

06/03/2021 - Gorogoa
07/03/2021 - The Room 2

April

Nothing!

May

03/05/2021 - Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
15/05/2021 - Resident Evil Village
28/05/2021 - Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition

June

13/06/2021 - Super Mario Maker 2

July

02/07/2021 - Sonic CD
11/07/2021 - Doki Doki Literature Club +

August

07/08/2021 - Yakuza: Like A Dragon

 

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