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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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Man, I have played some proper crap in the past couple of days. Thankfully there are only five more days of this Microsoft Rewards thing left.

 

Donut County

Looks a bit like Katamari Damacy, but sadly contains only a tiny fraction of the fun. Every level was basically the same (move a hole around, swallow up the small things, then the medium-sized things, then the big things). There are a handful of primary-school level puzzles throughout. Whereas in KD, manoeuvring the increasingly-unwieldy ball of stuff around the environment was a game in itself, holes encounter far less resistance when moving around, slipping underneath pretty much anything, and making the whole venture quite passive. There is pretty much no skill involved in any of the levels, apart from occasionally jiggling the hole a bit to get big things through. Plenty of quirky humour, if you can be bothered reading it all, but I was fed up with it within ten minutes. 3/10

 

Virginia

I read a gushing Polygon review of this when it came out, and thought it sounded interesting, so when I saw it in a sale for just over a quid, I thought "sure, why not?". Well, here's why not: it's a giant pile of wank masquerading as a videogame. If it were any less interactive, it would be a YouTube video (seriously, it makes Edith Finch feel like Super Contra), and the "story" is a load of vague and meandering amateur psychodrama. Thankfully I get most of my quid back in Rewards points. This very charitable score is solely for the nice orchestral music. 1/10

 

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

 

 

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Just now, peeveen said:

Man, I have played some proper crap in the past couple of days. Thankfully there are only five more days of this Microsoft Rewards thing left.

 

Donut County

Looks a bit like Katamari Damacy, but sadly contains only a tiny fraction of the fun. Every level was basically the same (move a hole around, swallow up the small things, then the medium-sized things, then the big things). There are a handful of primary-school level puzzles throughout. Whereas in KD, manoeuvring the increasingly-unwieldy ball of stuff around the environment was a game in itself, holes encounter far less resistance when moving around, slipping underneath pretty much anything, and making the whole venture quite passive. There is pretty much no skill involved in any of the levels, apart from occasionally jiggling the hole a bit to get big things through. Plenty of quirky humour, if you can be bothered reading it all, but I was fed up with it within ten minutes. 3/10

 

Virginia

I read a gushing Polygon review of this when it came out, and thought it sounded interesting, so when I saw it in a sale for just over a quid, I thought "sure, why not?". Well, here's why not: it's a giant pile of wank masquerading as a videogame. If it were any less interactive, it would be a YouTube video (seriously, it makes Edith Finch feel like Super Contra), and the "story" is a load of vague and meandering amateur psychodrama. Thankfully I get most of my quid back in Rewards points. This very charitable score is solely for the nice orchestral music. 1/10

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

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

 

 

Jesus, stop torturing yourself for literal pennies. Life is too short.

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Just now, Timmo said:

Jesus, stop torturing yourself for literal pennies. Life is too short.

 

:) Well, truth be told, I generally stay away from really easy games (I was nurturing a 2.58 ratio on TrueAchievements for a while there), but I genuinely thought these games looked or sounded pretty interesting, and it was only the promise of a few extra K of points that tipped me over the edge. Lesson learned.

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Call of the Sea - a nice, pleasant ambulatory take on the Cthulhu mythos. It was't really doing anything that adventure games of this type were doing 15-20 years ago, however it at least looked pretty.

 

I managed to solve all the puzzles myself, despite being pretty stumped for a while on some of them. I guess the pace was reasonable enough and it held together well.

 

Some negative points for the achievements, though, as some were rather too obscure to find without looking at a guide. Never really liked that. But that doesn't really affect the game so just my bugbear.

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Jan

 

26/01 Observation (PC) Back in the 80's I used to geek out at all the semi automated computer readouts with their attractive wireframes.

 

Stuff like this

 

cbbde4187ec0708ce7451c0646a64cc0.gif

 

Or this

 

MisguidedPortlyBream-small.gif

 

Sometimes there would be a game to scratch that itch like this

 

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But it's rather niche, possibly because modern gui's have made these obsolete. So it was pleasant surprise playing Observation, a sci-fi game where you play the station AI and have to manually manipulate these systems.

 

You take care of your charges by digging into sub-systems and mucking about with various programs. It looks amazing, until Emma took off her helmet I thought I might have stumbled on an FMV game. The systems have that grainy CRT feel to them and it scratches that weird nerdy itch held over from sci-fi of old. Being an AI you can only look around the ship via cameras and the odd remote droid which makes you feel both god like and confined.

 

It has it's issues with signposting and really it's not too complicated, there's a bit of notetaking to do which feels a little counter to the low tech feel but then there's this sort of thing.

 

b570a1f0-7c7b-11e9-b5e2-5099aa1e4cb2&cli

 

844c9b40-7c7d-11e9-9db6-1cb24d92f14c&cli

 

I can't show more for fear of spoilers.

 

It's on Gamepass, give it until the title card, if you don't like it by then it's not your thing.

 

25/01 Hades (PC) Did I finish this last year? Yes. And the post end game. But then there were achievements. And then once they fell the challenge of completing a run with 32 heat. I've done it. I've not only finished Hades but I've rinsed it. Time to uninstall before the idea of a 99 heat run takes hold.

 

23/01 Donut County (PC) I bought and played this a couple of years ago and felt it was a little too slight. A second replay hasn't changed anything except it's on Gamepass which feels like a better place for this sort of short experience. It's worth a shot if you want something short and Katamari lite (emphasis on the lite.) A note, if you're playing this on PC just be aware the achievements don't pop for this game.

 

90

 

Earlier this month

 

17/01 The Touryst (PC) 

13/01 My Friend Pedro (PC)

03/01 Tell Me Why (PC)

01/01 Tales from Off Peak City : Vol 1 (PC)

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I've just finished the timed "Challenge", after about a dozen failed attempts, so ...

 

The Witness

Now, this is more like it. I can hardly put into words how fantastic I thought this was. It should be in a museum alongside the other pinnacles of mankind's ingenuity and art. Beautiful, thought-provoking and a damn good challenge. When I first saw trailers for this, I thought "meh, open world Picross", and to be honest, yeah, there's a bit of that, but there's so much more. Completing all the lasers, the finale, and that timed challenge (without internet help!) is probably one of my proudest gaming achievements. A bona fide masterpiece. 11/10

 

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

 

 

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Previously:

Spoiler

 

2021-01-09: 1. Sunlight

2021-01-12: 2. Gears 5: Hivebusters

 

 

3. Resident Evil 5 

 

wprivileg.gif.9b7c799b2313bc888d6723a19ae43979.gif

 

Yeah, loads of people hate this. I don't... frigging love it. Sheva's AI is garbage and a chimp could could control her better using his feet, but it's just bonkers bullshit with great crowd control and immense weapons. Played a little with @bradigorand yeah... the AI is an improvement... 

 

4. Dead Cells

 

1169217276_deadcells.gif.66e8c20d10ac57fadb9aa2325922ee6b.gif

 

Masochism in a jar, but the gameplay loop is pure pleasure. I'd love a traditional platformer (with more exciting levels) built using this combat engine - it'd be like Strider (no, not you @strider) and Shinobi had a child that made Baby Yoda look like a hideous monster.

 

DC is a cracker as-is, though, and great on handheld. 

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1. Uncharted 2(PS4) - First game of 2021 completed and it was a good one, aside from the annoying boss battle at the end it was great fun and holds up great for a game that was originally released in 2009, easily my favourite Uncharted game and one of my favourite games of all time. 9/10

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On 22/01/2021 at 12:27, peeveen said:

Man, I have played some proper crap in the past couple of days. Thankfully there are only five more days of this Microsoft Rewards thing left.

 

Donut County

Looks a bit like Katamari Damacy, but sadly contains only a tiny fraction of the fun. Every level was basically the same (move a hole around, swallow up the small things, then the medium-sized things, then the big things). There are a handful of primary-school level puzzles throughout. Whereas in KD, manoeuvring the increasingly-unwieldy ball of stuff around the environment was a game in itself, holes encounter far less resistance when moving around, slipping underneath pretty much anything, and making the whole venture quite passive. There is pretty much no skill involved in any of the levels, apart from occasionally jiggling the hole a bit to get big things through. Plenty of quirky humour, if you can be bothered reading it all, but I was fed up with it within ten minutes. 3/10

 

Virginia

I read a gushing Polygon review of this when it came out, and thought it sounded interesting, so when I saw it in a sale for just over a quid, I thought "sure, why not?". Well, here's why not: it's a giant pile of wank masquerading as a videogame. If it were any less interactive, it would be a YouTube video (seriously, it makes Edith Finch feel like Super Contra), and the "story" is a load of vague and meandering amateur psychodrama. Thankfully I get most of my quid back in Rewards points. This very charitable score is solely for the nice orchestral music. 1/10

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

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

 

 

Virginia is one of the most frustrating games I played last year. I can't disagree with you about the lack of interactivity but that didn't bother me. Most of the time I spent with it I wasn't sure if I could call it a game but whatever this "thing" was it was a hell of a thing and I was fully on board. Then I sat through the final chapter which was a massive letdown. There was stuff there I liked but I felt like they didn't stick the landing. 

 

I still want to sit through it again at some point as I think the PS4 version has VR support. 

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January

 

Immortals: Fenyx Rising (PC)

 

So I finally reached the conclusion of this one (does it count as 2021 completion when you played more than half of it in 2020?). 

 

I'm going with yes.  So this is Ubi's answer to the inspiration Breath of the Wild took from Assassin's Creeed and then Ubisoft formula more generally - this is very much Zelda meets AC. 

 

In the spirit of mutual inspiration Immortals steals the pastel tinged vibe of BOTW and also the idea of having little little self contained dungeons (Vaults as they are known here) along with the typical Ubi vibe of filling up an open world map with icons  The difference here is where as AC would have  a collectable or a fort to storm for each and every icon instead  here we get a little environmental puzzle, which are almost always very satisfying to solve, even when incredibly obvious.

 

So yes its a busier BOTW or maybe Darksiders meets the open world template.   Every side activity is both fun and adds another little smidge to your  awesomeness.  And you know its fun to solve the 90 millionth block pushing puzzle or to light some furnaces with fire laden arrows.

 

I'll admit this hooked me god. 83 hours later I've cleared every icon from the map in the main 4 locations.  I cleared all of the 12 labours tasks.  Yes the plot and the slightly awkward design of the closing two areas did leave a few places still unexplored but boy did I get my monies worth.

 

If you were wondering if you could stretch Zelda's mechanics over the course of an Ubi open world then this is the answer  - yes you can and yes its bloody brilliant

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24/01/2021 - A Mortician's Tale (PC)

 

Another from the itch.io bundle and another short experience rather than traditional game, this is a death-positive look at the funeral home business - and it's actually really rather good.

 

It's all very simple - you basically read some emails and then treat bodies before attending the funeral service for the deceased and just hearing what those attending have to say. There's no fail-state, nothing complicated to do, no choices. Just read and do some mouse motions in the 'preparing the bodies' bit - there's (deliberately) no challenge to be found here (unless you play the in-game minesweeper knock-off I guess). It's not even amazingly written or anything, either.

 

What gives this some heart - is that a pun in this context? - and why I enjoyed it is that it's actually really informative and educational about death. I learned not only about how bodies are treated but also burial and cremation, and it's done in an organic way without feeling tonally out of sorts. It increased my knowledge in a charming way - plus I'm a sucker for any game that has in-game emails to read. There is an underlying story which is played out through the emails you read over the course of a year, but it's both obvious and, ironically, left me momentarily feeling a little bit sad (which is totally the opposite of what the dev is going for).

 

Anyway, it's about 45 minutes to get through and if you have the itch bundle then you should play. You might learn something.

 

Previous completed:

Spoiler

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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Getting off a slow start, but I'm not expecting to beat last year's record ever, nor am I going to try! :P 

I am still broadly sticking to some rules, though. No buying new games until I've finished/abandoned the ones I've got (four left currently, nearly there), I must play the games I've got in chronological (release) order, and only purchase new games in chronological order (with exceptions for remakes and remasters, which can brought forward to when the original was released). The 'front-log' is 98-strong, so... yeah. Let's get going.

 

--------

 

1) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Switch - 2019 (2012)

Completed both the original and Luigi expansions with the full five stars (40+ hours, according to the Switch). Only needed a little bit of googling to find some of those hidden exits - damn, they're sneaky!

 

This was great fun, and also horribly frustrating! There aren't many games that make me swear at them but still come back for more. Like the rest of the 'New' Super Mario series, the art style is quite sterile and the music is the same 'wah-wah' stuff we've heard before... and yet, the level design is excellent and the gameplay is finely tuned and addictive. This is easily the best of the 'New' series and, frankly, among the best 2D Mario games.

 

I did try to get the missus to play it with me, but no interest, so single-player only. Bloody lockdown.

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23/01/20 - Yakuza: Like A Dragon

 

Oh, I have thoughts on this one. See the dedicated thread for my more thorough thoughts, but it's been a while since I've played a game that every time I begin to love it, it does something insanely stupid.

 

Spoiler

January

10/01/20 - Spiderman: Miles Morales

 

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1. Immortals Fenyx Rising (03/01)

2. Donut County (24/01)

 

Popped up on GamePass and spent a couple of reasonably fun hours knocking through the game. It would have been nice if the “end game” had been longer as the rest of it you could almost finish with your eyes shut, but it looks nice enough and the physics are satisfying solid. Glad it was a freebie though, it’s feather light. 

 

5/10

 

In progress

- Flight Simulator 2020

 

Considering

- Returning to Cyberpunk once it’s properly patched up

- Control, again

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Time for me to start my thread, I'm sticking with my video reviews I started last year.

January

Lost Sphear (PS5) - Old School JRPG with a ton of dialogue & no fast travel.

 

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2. Donut County

 

As most people seem to have said, this is quite a pleasant and fun couple of hours but nothing special. Part way through it seemed like it was going to develop some more complex puzzle mechanics, but they only really appeared in the last ten minutes or so. It feels more like a tutorial stage than a full game, but if they ever did produce that full game I'd be interested.

 

3. Tell Me Why

 

I really enjoyed this. I'm a fan of "walking simulators" and other slow-paced narrative games generally, and this is an excellent example. The story is great, the subject matter is very sensitively handled and there are a few unexpected twists that give it extra depth and resonance. The only aspect I'm in two minds about is the suspension of disbelief required for

Spoiler

the twins' telepathy, and their mother's penchant for constructing elaborate mechanical puzzle rooms

which seemed a bit out of place in a story so grounded in reality, but those elements were fun anyway. Unlike the unskippable stocktaking and plushie-throwing mini-games which were complete rubbish but quickly out of the way and thankfully never repeated. But this is really about the story and characters and they're very good indeed.

 

Spoiler

1. Dragon Quest XI

2. Donut County

3. Tell Me Why

 

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29 minutes ago, Darren said:

 

 

3. Tell Me Why

 

I really enjoyed this. I'm a fan of "walking simulators" and other slow-paced narrative games generally, and this is an excellent example. The story is great, the subject matter is very sensitively handled and there are a few unexpected twists that give it extra depth and resonance. The only aspect I'm in two minds about is the suspension of disbelief required for...

 

 

They explain away one of those points. 

Spoiler

Their mother studied engineering and before she moved to art (via watch repair.)

 

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Horace (Switch)

horace-platforming-fire-in-home.jpg.19c3180c8151864a8af2957f4f6db4d1.jpg

 

I downloaded this for about a quid in the sales, not expecting much (I had a bash at it briefly on Steam last year but didn't get far). It's great! There are loads of ideas thrown at you (most of which are fun) but the main chunk of the game is platforming, with the twist that you can walk up a wall and alter the pull of gravity whilst you do so (like you're rotating the level). Every square inch of the game is plastered with pop culture references, as long as you consider "anything that happened in Eighties Britain" pop culture. Seems to be a bit of a love letter to old homemade ZX Spectrum games as well (although that era was ever so slightly before my time, so maybe I'm talking rubbish). Whilst I had loads of fun, and the story compelled me to carry on, my biggest gripe was that there was loads of backtracking, often through really tricky platforming puzzles, so when the end of the game came, and I had the option to collect up Horace's goal of 1000,000 bits of junk (scattered through the game) I just couldn't be arsed, so I took the "OK ending" and tapped out.

 

Oh, also, there's a bit where you throw rotten veg at Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris. The tone of humour is all over the place. Anyway, got my money's worth for £1!

 

Completed games:

Spoiler

Switch:

Wunderling (03/01)

Horace (25/01)

 

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Hey it's a completed games on Gamepass Special! I'm sure I probably completed some of these back in November, but I'm doing my rankings now so I'm not going back to change them.

 

1. The Outer Wilds- an amazing poignant space detective game which is utterly terrifying in the way only deep space exploration can be. A tiny amount of jank on the control front (damned platforming), and some obscure tricky puzzles, but absolutely worth it. Let the atmosphere draw you in to a tiny universe you'll be sad to leave.

 

2. HypnoSpace Outlaw- travel back to late 90's internet in another detective game, with similiarly fiendish puzzles you'll be trusted to solve on your own. Again, it's a game which immerses you in a different universe, and trusts you to just enjoy it there, whilst a bigger yet wonderfully small scale mystery plods along in the background.

 

3. Subnautica- take the terrifying part of The Outer Wilds and expand on it. A lovely game in which you have crashed on an alien planet and want to escape, but everywhere is water. A resource gathering game, but cleverly structured with suprises and an endgame in sight. Also not procedurally generated, which is a big plus. Despite the latter part of the game kind of falling away a little, still a wonderful experience.

 

4. Monster Train- card battling on a train from hell. Wonderful card game with a host of different factions which can be combined. Personally I prefer the gameplay to StS, I like summoning monsters and the longer battles with more upgrades between them, and it's nice to play something new (I've put completed because I've unlocked everything, but can a game like this ever really be completed?)

 

5. Frostpunk- a city building game, except also structured with a story, an utterly brutal one at that. Not something people might want to play often, or even more than once, but I had a great time taking my fascist theocracy to a new dawn.

 

6. Dishonored 2- a first-person stealth game in which the answer is almost always 'look up'. Fun, provided you don't abuse quick save too much and try not to read all the journals, or you'll just get bored. Roll with the punches and the game can be great.

 

7. Donut County- very slight Katamari-a-like. It does feel more like a tech demo then anything, if there were more puzzles/ timers/ chaos unfolding in game it would be better, but I enjoyed the jokes enough to not slate it.

 

8. Observation- at this point we're in the games I didn't really get on with, but with nice bits. Observation takes an ingenious setup- you are the computer operating via many cameras in a space station, and doesn't do too well with it. The initial setup turns to general 3D roaming around, as though they lost faith, and you get lost because everywhere is samey (especially actually in space). Some jank in the play, and not optimised for TVs at all. Ends up just being busywork.

 

9. Control- A third person shooter with psy-ops style bits and a fanstic wallpaper. But then the wallpaper quickly fades and all that's left is the gunplay. Some people love it, but it left me cold, and the disconnect between the creativity of the setting to the creativity of what you're actually doing and who you're shooting is one massive gulf. A huge disappointment. Also has some weird crafting system bolted on, and about 100000 lore bits to read, only 10% of which are interesting.

 

10. Deliver us the Moon- just too much jank when actually playing the game. A walking simulator with time burdens to stop you having

any kind of fun. You know what ruins the emotion and atmosphere of a story? Having to replay the same part over and over. Probably would have been higher up if not for the weird pacing and terrible end sections. It goes from a lonely survive in space game, to a puzzle out what's happening game (complete with holograms), to a weird stealth platformer hybrid. Horrible. Weirdly the game appears to end just before the stealth section, only to not end (not that it would have made sense to end there anyway). Also so janky it gave me motion sickness, even in 3rd person mode.

 

11. Call of the Sea- just realised how many story/ puzzle games I've played on this thing. But this one had a really badly told story, in which exposition Jane constantly talks to herself whilst solving puzzles, none of which are great. Also genuinely didn't care by the end of it.

 

(now to find the abandoned games thread for the rest of the stuff I've played)

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Donut Country (2018)

 

Yes, like everyone and their mum, I played this in an afternoon thanks to Game Pass. Funny, silly - more interactive experience than game for the most part. Did enjoy. 
 

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

 

 

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Little Nightmares

 

Creepy little platform puzzler. Overall enjoyed the atmosphere and the art style. Game is 2.5D and found the camera a little frustrating at times. Not too long either so not a huge time investment. Currently on GamePass and the demo of the second iteration is out which looks to be more of the same.

 

Donut County

 

Fun little chill out game. As mentioned silly fun. Found it good stress relief at the end of a working day. Another on GamePass.

 

Spoiler

Anyone get the extra achievements flying the gyrocopter around at the end?! :)

 

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