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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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Final Fantasy 15 (Xbox One):

 

In the spin off anime there’s a fax machine in Prompto’s house. A fucking fax machine. Noctis and Luna communicate with each other solely by tying notes to the collar of a teleporting, time travelling dog despite living in a world with mobile phones. And Prompto’s mum and dad had a fax machine.

 

This was every bit the gigantic mess I’d been expecting but it coasts on the charm of constantly juxtaposing the mundane (plastic lawn furniture, static caravans, campfire cooking, roadside motels and dull concrete embankments) with the fantastic (Roger Dean-esque scenery, giant roaming monsters, cosmic scale summons). It’s worth remembering that the game engine used to make this game was previewed with a photorealistic rendering of a concrete underpass.

 

Combat is mushy and unresponsive, character progression mechanics remained completely opaque after 50+ hours. I had to cheese my way through the second half of the game by spamming healing items. World building is frequently non-sensical (time travelling dogs, mobile phones). It mostly plays like shit and every time you try to talk to an NPC Noctis will run in to them and do the same little kick-flip animation off them he does when he walks in to a wall.

 

It’s a game that lives through the small details. Riding chocobos through the woods for the first time in the middle of torrential downfall. Dungeons being genuinely creepy and the tension being undercut by the lads freaking out. Hiking cross country at night fending off or running from demons to finally reach a campsite or stumble in to the flood lights of a rest stop and settling in for the night. The time and attention paid to completely superficial things like the photorealistic renderings of food or Prompto’s photography.

 

A deeply flawed game with its own unique atmosphere.

 

Carto (Xbox One):

 

Cute little puzzle / adventure game based around manipulating map tiles. Nothing much to say, it’s very well put together, looks beautiful, “the perfect game pass game” etc. The puzzles are well designed, never too taxing but never rote either. Played through with my 5 year old, handing the pad off to him for the more mechanical puzzles he could figure out himself. It was his surprise request to play it again after putting it down a for a month or two that got me to finish it off. Worth a look.

 

Tactics Ogre (PSP):

 

I spent upwards of 150 hours on this one over more than a year in the end. Did a chaotic route run to start with, then tried the lawful route for New Game+, completely failed to understand how the branching storyline worked, and ended up getting the same ending.

 

Which was a kick in the nuts.

 

But it was 150 hours well spent and I was still discovering new edge cases and quirks in the tactical sand box up until the end. As you’d expect from a Yasumi Matsuno game it’s dense, sometimes inscrutable and endlessly rewarding. There’s a lot of concessions towards the player (like a multi turn undo move system that even records branching sequences of moves), but it’s still a game where if you don’t engage with the various overlapping levelling systems early enough you’ll wind up doing 1 point of damage with all your attacks 30 hours in and have no option but to restart from scratch. I narrowly avoided this fate but I entered into the game with the full knowledge that this was always a possibility and an understanding with myself that if the worst came to the worst an extra 30 hours wouldn’t be much in the grand scheme of things…

 

It’s not quite the FF Tactics beater I’d been led to expect. The stage and encounter design and the character classes / skill system are more varied and imaginative in FF-Tactics. But Tactics Ogre is better balanced and the branching story and sheer scope of the game are far more ambitious. FF Tactics just edges it for me but it’s been over a decade since my last playthrough so that could be nostalgia talking.

 

It would be interesting to play the original Tactics Ogre at some point (The PSP version is a complete mechanical overhaul turning it in to a spiritual sequel to FF-Tactics Advance), either a fan translation of the SNES original or the PS1 American release, but not for a few years…

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25/01/2021 - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

 

First game of the year! I tried this back when it came out on the One X, and didn't get too far before drifting away to something else. I loved the idea of it, as on paper it should have been a perfect game for me, combining a Soulslike with a deflection heavy combat system that looked immensely satisfying. No matter how much I played though, I just couldn't get the timing down, and also had trouble trying to differentiate between enemy sweep attacks and lunges.

 

Fast forward to this year, and I rebought it for my new PC. I don't know if was just the fixed 60fps, but somehow all my timing issues had now gone away. Any frustration I used to have with the game was replaced with occasional frustration at myself for missing parries, or just doing daft stuff under pressure. This all made my defeats a reason for "just one more try" instead of a reason to switch the game off.

 

It was a very boss heavy game, even by Souls standards, and I do think the rest of the game suffered a little as a result. The new stealth mechanics, and the verticality offered by the grappling hook were both fun, but there's little here that was as memorable as the areas of the Souls games and Bloodborne. 

 

Those bosses really were something else though. The more humanoid ones in particular felt like proper duals, forcing you to meet attacks head on and deflect in the right way rather than simply dodging or blocking. The last boss in particular called on you to put everything into practice that you've learnt so far, and possibly ranks as the most enjoyable boss fight I've ever fought, even after goodness knows how many attempts.

 

It was a far more focussed game than the other Souls titles, for better and worse. The core sword fighting was incredible, but what other systems there were felt a little underdeveloped. It was also a lot less obtuse and mysterious, giving you actual written advice at times and all but forcing you to read item text. I think it found a good balance here actually, providing in game access to the sort of help you'd have to look for outside of the Souls games.

 

It was an amazing experience, and a spectacularly strong start for the year.

 

Spoiler

January

25/01/2021 - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

 

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Astro’s Playroom (2020)


This was a delight. A love letter to 25 years of PlayStation history; a wonderful imaginative tech demo for the PS5 and a tightly crafted, fun little platformer that’s got immediacy and charm for newbies as well as gentle challenge and lots of hidden extras for the rest of us. Team Asobi’s game shows that great things come in small packages. 
 

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

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Popo said:

Astro’s Playroom (2020)


This was a delight. A love letter to 25 years of PlayStation history; a wonderful imaginative tech demo for the PS5 and a tightly crafted, fun little platformer that’s got immediacy and charm for newbies as well as gentle challenge and lots of hidden extras for the rest of us. Team Asobi’s game shows that great things come in small packages. 
 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

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

 

 

Surely the PS5 is the 'package' here, so I call foul on this! :P

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15/01 - Immortals: Fenyx Rising

I pretty much echo @dreamylittledream's post from the previous page for this jobby.

 

In the main thread I said this was to BotW what the original Darksiders was to OOT; not as refined or magical but a good, fun copy job nonetheless. I really enjoyed it for the most part; the vaults were mostly fun, the overworld tasks were mostly fun, but this is Ubisoft and they just couldn't help but overfill the map. The world is quite beautiful but never gets the chance to breathe so weighed down with things to do it is.

 

The story was cool and the characters were fantastic, I especially liked the chunky design, but the Zeus/Prometheus back and forth was hit and miss. 

 

So if Ubi could have just shown a bit more restraint we could have been looking at a classic, but as it is it's just a great game where you'll leave most of the later challenges incomplete.

 

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

I've never been a massive fan of this series. Never played 1, enjoyed 2, thought 3 was a bit meh. But, outside of downloading updates, I hadn't touched my PS5 since finishing Astro and a fancied giving it a run out. With the PS4 collection burning a hole in my SSD I plumped to give this a shot. 

 

Gameplay wise it's very much the same game again with prettier graphics. Passes the time but not entirely captivating. What kept me going was my favourite story of any Uncharted yet. Who doesn't love a cool Pirate tale. The inclusion of a certain pioneering videogame swashbuckler was a particular delight.

 

For me though the best part was exploring the house as kids. Discovering the story of the occupants via letters and the environment.

 

27/01 Yooka-Laylee: The Impossible Lair

I enjoyed Yooka-Laylee but, like many others, could not shake the feeling it could and should have been a lot better. This was. Some seriously good 2D platforming that rivals some of Mario's best and a smallish top down overworld sprinkled with puzzles; all with absolutely sublime music. For those that hated it there's distinctly less banter and what is there is too the point. 

 

The actual Impossible Lair is a right bastard and that's all I say on that. 

 

My only real misgiving on this is the way the tonics work. Once collected they have to be bought with coins... sorry, quills but the prices are so high that to open a decent amount would take many repeated level runs. And if you use useful tonics they actually lower the amount of quills you get. There are some fun tonics that change the way a level or Yooka looks but most of these are fun to check put once then never use again as playing in the native look is almost always preferable.

 

So Playtonic seem to have got their eye in and I'm looking forward to their next game.

 

Previously

Spoiler

01/01 - Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

 

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27/01 - Death Stranding

One of the games I'd received for Xmas and I was quite keen on it, although I think the general reviews/impressions for this were a bit mixed.  It's weird what I found I liked about this.  I really liked working my way across the world with my stacks of deliveries and connecting up people as I went.  I got completely hooked on rebuilding the road network (weirdly) which took quite a bit of effort.  I found that baddies - be it the BTs or MULES a bit of an annoying distraction though.  

 

I didn't really get the story - I really thought we'd have a bit more origin explained along the way, but checking a wiki after the finish I hadn't missed anything, they just didn't go back and tell us what happened in any detail.  Spent 53 hours on this one, and about 2 hours of which was after the credits rolled (for the first time) and I ended up in what was effectively a cut scene that kept on going.

 

Weird, but enjoyable.  I've moved on to Star Wars Squadrons on PSVR... although I can only take about an hour of VR at a time, so I might need another light game to play in parallel.

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Jan

 

28/01 2020 Game (Browser) Short little platformer with attractive pixel art that immediately endeared itself to me by starting in Australia. On Fire.

 

Playable here https://2020game.io/

 

16x9

 

Previously this month

26/01 Observation (PC)

25/01 Hades (PC)

23/01 Donut County (PC)

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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Sayonara Wild Hearts:wub: Fantastic album elevated with excellent presentation, I dunno why the narrative potential of music games is such an unexplored area. My only problem with it is that it's so brief, like this is my favourite track and it's only 90 seconds, I want more of everything.

 

 

Control - This is proper good but a lot that's special about the game is in stuff like personality or presentation, which I can't describe without spoiling.

 

So it helps that it's also good in mechanical ways that I can describe - Remedy have been refining their shooter combat for over a decade now, and their 'brand' is a lot of mobility to stay alive and a lot of impact - environments get really torn up by your powers.

 

And the games structure is surprisingly open, you can progress your character or discover quests quite out of order depending on how much you explore, and the most interesting and unique content is actually hidden in these side quests, so it's well worth doing.

 

 

Spoiler

I did have some problems with the Game Pass version crashing to desktop though, especially when it got really screen-filling effects heavy. And I had a lot of slow texture draw-in, although I think that one is on me because one of my SSDs is damaged.

 

Completed:

Trials: Rising

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28/01/2021 - Devil's Hunt (PC)

 

Well this was certainly a thing.

 

An action RPG spin on angels vs demons, it features an incredibly hateful cast (seriously, if there was a way to kill the player character, I would've - he's an utter arsehole), shocking performance, a completely unfinished story and perfunctory beat-em-up action. That I finished it is more down to the fact that it's very short (about 4 hours or so, depending on how eager you are to hunt around for the collectables). The blessing is that I pretty much only paid pennies for it, so I'm not cursing the fact I wasted bags of cash.

 

It's a game with a lot of problems and you are introduced to them as soon as you select to start a new game; you're dropped into an environment with no CGI, no narrator telling you why you are there, nothing. Just plonked down and left to follow the corridors and go through the basic tutorial. I actually thought there was a problem with it because of the complete and utter lack of any setup or context - to the point I checked a walkthrough on Youtube to see if I was missing something. I wasn't; the story doesn't kick-in until the second chapter, though when it does it's badly scripted, delivered and framed. Essentially, you witness your girlfriend lying in bed fully clothed with your best friend (the implication is that he raped her but - plot twist - it's later revealed he didn't, it's some shenanigans the angels came up with to set some master plan in motion. I don't know, it's all a load of crap. Oh, and spoilers.) The natural reaction to this is to go and drive off a bridge and kill yourself, so you do. Because why wouldn't you. Oh, your dad had also fired you earlier in the day too. Because you're an arsehole.


Apparently though you make a deal with Lucifer to go and collect souls for him  - by punching people in the face (and also monsters - in exchange for him allowing you to seek vengeance against your supposed friend. At some point you'll double-cross him for reasons I'm not actually clear on (although almost certainly in part because you're an arsehole) and then you fight somebody and the game ends. Seriously. There's a whole plot thread that somehow factors into finding some other banished demon but - in a wildly optimistic view on the part of the devs that there could be a series here - the game does nothing with this other than drop some vague comments about you being a saviour or destroyer. You don't even get to make that choice (I thought it might have led to different endings) because the story stops way before anything interesting happens.

 

The combat, too, could generously be described as basic. You have a light and heavy attack (of course) supplemented by some powers you can buy with the souls you collect (which you were meant to be collecting for Lucifer. See? You're an arsehole.) You never actually get more powerful as a character though - enemies are as spongey at the start as they are at the end - so there's no satisfaction of feeling a badass - just an ass.

 

It doesn't look great either and performance is awful, with drops from 72 (which I cap at) down to 50 and below in certain areas for no explicable reason.

 

The whole thing is just like a Fisher Price action RPG. It's all so basic in terms of look, function and plot and I suppose it could be inoffensive in a way, if you could overlook your asshole character (and everybody else, to be fair) but it's just Trashy McTrash of Trashville, Tennessee. Don't be an arsehole like whatever the name of this character in this is called.

 

Be better. Steer clear.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

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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1. Uncharted 2(PS4) 9/10

 

2. Rayman Origins(PS3) - My second play through of Rayman Origins and still just as fun as I remember it, a great 2D platforming game well worth going back to. I might look to play Rayman Legends at some point again this year but I remember not being as fond of it at the time. 8.5/10

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Two games in January:

 

Nightshade - ninja-themed dating sim, played through to one happy ending (opting for the Hanzo Hattori route, because of course I did). Will probably try a couple of other routes at a later date, as it was enjoyable, if pretty by-the-numbers.

 

Star Renegades - two successful playthroughs; enjoyable and tactical, but frustratingly, er, unfrustrating. Playing for 12+ hours and winning twice without loss made it a tad dissatisfying, as roguelites go. Still, a very enjoyable setup (in terms of deterministic strategy, unlocks and general presentation).

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Maniac Mansion Xbox Series S (through DOTT)0ffe83ab-a1b2-499d-9ad6-0996f19d851a.thumb.png.5af5e6e98643a8e7165211384f08b15a.png

 

Completed the same day as The Medium and prefer everything about it. I remember the game being bastard hard and taking days, as well as only completing it with Bernard. Just heard on a retro games podcast you needed to steam the envelope with the other characters to win. Life changing.

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Jan

 

31/01 Katamari Damacy Reroll (PC) After playing Donut County I had a hankering to play the real thing so played this excellent port of the first PS2 outing. It's the most cheerful cosmic horror game ever! Why hasn't Namco ported the second game yet? (One of the few reasons I've kept my PS2.)

 

karamari_switch.jpg

 

Earlier this month

26/01 Observation (PC)

25/01 Hades (PC)

23/01 Donut County (PC)

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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Jan

 

Disco Elysium (PC)

 

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This was just brilliant. I'm not really a CRPG guy, but this had me hooked from start to finish. Loved the story, and the whole mechanic of creating a character as you play based on hangover-induced amnesia was very clever. I had been planning to delay playing this until the voiceover patch hits later this year but in the end got too impatient. 

 

One thing that is slightly disappointing is speaking to friends about what they have done and the choices they made. It does seem that a lot of the branching narrative is ultimately an illusion, and there isn't that much of the game that everyone doesn't see. The big spoiler thing you see at the end shouldn't be seen by everyone for example, as I spent ages doing all the side quests about it. It feels cheap that it appears on every run.

 

But despite these nitpicks I did love this, and would happily recommend it to anybody. Hopefully it gets more attention when it hits the switch later this year.

 

Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PC)

 

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Went into this having never played the original, but liking some point and click adventure games.

 

I really didn't get on with it. I found the puzzles were obtuse, the characters weren't that funny, and generally I thought that without nostalgia or an affection for the original it just didn't hold any great appeal. The voice acting was horrific too, which I understand given the standards of the time, but absolutely didn't hold up in 2021.

 

Wouldn't recommend this to anybody who wasn't a fan of the original.

 

Carrion (PC)

 

carrion-review.jpg?fit=1920,1080

 

A metroidvania where you play a monster escaped from a lab, going from vent to vent killing innocent humans. This was great. Loved the pixel art, the sound was great, it was a perfect length, and enjoyed the puzzling.

 

It was pretty easy, particularly at the start - I didn't die once until about three quarters of the way through. Then again, that was fine, an element of the game is being a power fantasy, and playing a monster that can kill everyone, and so I thought it succeeded at what it was trying to do.

 

It was relatively fat-free too - only about six hours long, and none of that time was wasted. Which always appeals to me in modern videogames.

 

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (PC)

 

gears-of-war-ultimate-edition-xbox-one-2

 

Thought I'd go back to the original Gears of War to see how it played, albeit in this remastered form. The game has performance issues after a Windows Update was released that broke it but it was perfectly playable.

 

And what a game it still is. There's something about the chunky nature of the combat, and the way the different enemy types and set pieces play out that is still great. It doesn't outstay its welcome either - it's barely 8 hours long, which is the perfect length of a game of this nature. 

 

It really has aged remarkably well. The campy dialogue and muscle men are still hilarious too.

 

Gears of War 4 (PC)

 

Gears-of-War-4.jpg

 

I'd never played this, but I was keen to try Gears 5, so thought I'd start here first. I fell off after the original trilogy. This started really badly. You're just killing robots for a whole act and a half, and the robots are boring, have no real weight to them, and I found it incredibly hard to care about anyone or anything.

 

But then you meet old Marcus, the enemy types change, and I started really getting into it. The set pieces are great, it's really high budget, and everything has clearly (for its benefit) been focus and play tested for hundreds of hours. 

 

The final act was a lot of fun and a great power fantasy too. Would recommend this to anybody who enjoyed the original trilogy.

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4. Slay the Spire

 

Well, not finished finished, obviously. I played this to death on the Switch back when it just had the three original characters, tried the Watcher once or twice when she was added, got confused and never went back. But with Game Pass and Quick Resume this is a perfect game to have running in the background and play a level or two in a few spare minutes. So this time I set myself a target to reach the heart with all four characters, which was easy enough with the familiar first three but much more tricky with the new girl. But finally this weekend I managed it, and so for the purpose of this list I have "completed" Slay the Spire.

 

Of course I immediately went back to the Ironclad and started the Ascensions (I'm on 3 or 4 now) but that doesn't matter. It's completed in my head and that's what counts.

 

Spoiler

1. Dragon Quest XI

2. Donut County

3. Tell Me Why

4. Slay the Spire

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Forza Horizon 4 - Lego Speed Champions & Fortune Island DLC packs - XB1 - 8.5/10

2. The Gardens Between - XB1 Game Pass - 8/10

 

 

3. Sea of Thieves - XB1

 

I feel compelled to include this even though my main sessions on this were approx 2 years ago because:

  • I wasn't contributing to this thread (or previous of this ilk) 2 years ago
  • It's now taken up a LOT of my time already in 2021
  • I fucking love this game

I went back to the Sea of Thieves thread recently and read pretty much all of it from the release of the game.  A HUGE issue back then was the lack of content.  Justifiably so too, I have to add - I bought this on release day and immediately, the beauty of the game just clicked with me.  Above all, with a full crew, this game is just insanely good fun regardless of actual content.  Just dicking around with a few mates doesn't actually need anything else to focus on.  But then - Rare started released the required extra content, and the many releases since that launch means that in 2021, Sea of Thieves has a pretty impressive catalogue of variety.  Extra PVE challenges such as skeleton/ghost ships, new factions to voyage with, pets, fishing, the BRILLIANT Tale Tales which I suppose act as the closest thing to a campaign mode, and for PVP there's the Arena mode, extra incentives to either team up or challenge other players in Adventure mode, Bilge Rat commendations etc etc.  The very latest update - Sea of Thieves Seasons - means that there's always progress to be made even if you don't manage to cash in your loot.

 

So in the 3 years since the game's release, there have been a plethora of content/QoL improvements.  

 

But I digress - there's a reason I came back to SoT after a long time away.  It's just too much fun.  It's fucking gorgeous to look at.  In some instances, it's also the most relaxing game I can think of.  You can go from listening to the tranquil sounds of the ocean whilst looking at a sunset one moment, to out and out carnage mere moment later.  No 2 sessions are the same - the game has this wonderful ability to ACTUALLY make a voyage a true adventure, regardless of what sort of mission you choose to undertake.

 

Also, I have introduced my son to the seas and he loves it.  It's actually got him away from Fortnite, which is a huge positive IMO!  There's no better game to play alongside family and friends as team work is essential for both logistics of the game as well as messing about.

 

Is it perfect?  No, of course not - no game is - it's nowhere near as fun when sailing solo and I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is contemplating playing it exclusively solo.  And as full as killing skeletons is, it could do with more land-based PVE threats.

 

I know this thread is about games 'completed' but like many other multiplayer focussed games with no real end goal, it's not ever going to be possible to complete Sea of Thieves.  There's always going to be new content, the seasons feature will also ensure things are kept fresh and the player base appears to be as deep as ever.  The development team are well engaged with the community and I always look forward to hearing what they're working on and the feedback they receive from the public.

 

This game is a wonderful experience and it reminds me why I love this hobby - it is aesthetically glorious whilst rewarding team work with an experience that is as fun as it's possible to have with a controller in your hand. 

 

This is easily one of my favourite games of the generation and there will be many more voyages to enjoy in the future.

 

10/10

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Gorogoa (PS5)

 

 

Next for me is Slay the Spire and I've also gotten back into playing Fortnite with my daughter & nephew.

 

Previously Completed

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

 

Lost Sphear (PS5)

 

 

 

 

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02/02/2021 - P.O.W. (Arcade)

 

I never really had the opportunity to play arcade games when I was a kid and I only remember ever completing a couple - Double Dragon and this. Well, I have a hazy memory of completing this, at any rate. This game actually replaced Double Dragon in a burger place I would sometimes go to (you got to choose your own fillings - it was great). I digress.


I remember this game for mainly for the fact that you got weapons - including an assault rifle - and that enemies suffered from friendly fire. I don't know if that was particularly unique at the time or not, but being able to have the enemy grenade their own troops could be helpful in a pinch - and it's needed, as this is a classic coin-muncher, with dubious hit boxes, attacks from off-screen and spongey enemies.

 

As a little short blast from the past it was okay, but not something that really makes me keen to play other arcade titles from the era.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

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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4. Black Mesa (2020) - PC

 

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Full review here, my second for the site.

 

TL;DR:

Quote

Black Mesa is a game that’s easy to recommend to fans of the series. Those who played the original will want to see how one of their favourite games of the last quarter of a century has been successfully updated to meet modern standards, while those who, like me, only developed a love of Half-Life from the second game onwards will appreciate the opportunity to track the pedigree of this most acclaimed series to its source. Both groups, however, and indeed those who have never played a Half-Life game before, will enjoy a robust and thrilling sci-fi shooter in Black Mesa. At 17 hours from start to finish, Crowbar Collective might be accused of perhaps overleaping their ambitions when it comes to the extent of their expansions on the original game (the penultimate level, Interloper, is especially drawn out and threatens to disrupt the game’s otherwise excellent pacing). But this notwithstanding, Black Mesa represents the best way to experience Half-Life in 2021.

 

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Day of the Tentacle Remastered. Gamepass. Unlike @Isaac I have played the original many times, which is perhaps why I still enjoy it so much. The peak of point and clicks for me, with only some wonky controls on using things with other things in the same room being an issue. Still love the main setpieces of the present and future.

 

The Medium Gamepass. Unfortunately just found myself getting bored a lot, and then getting frustrated. I've seen a lot of people say it's old school, but I don't think that's the case. Old school horror games had much less talking and much more traversal.

 

(Completed Gamespass games rankings updated)

 

Spoiler

1. The Outer Wilds

 

2. HypnoSpace Outlaw

 

3. Subnautica

 

4. Monster Train

 

4.4 Day of the Tentacle Remastered

 

4.5 Maniac Mansion

 

5. Frostpunk

 

6. Dishonored 2

 

7. Donut County

 

8. Observation

 

9. Control

 

9.5 The Medium

 

10. Deliver us the Moon

 

11. Call of the Sea

 

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On 15/01/2021 at 10:08, Fletch said:

January

 

Portal: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve finished this game and each time  I absolutely love it, there’s always a part I’ve forgotten about even despite it’s brevity. 
This play through was a little more special as I was playing it through with my son for the first time as he is obsessed with the concept of portals at the moment. We are moving onto the sequel next, which I’m really looking forward to. 


February

 

Portal 2: After playing through Portal with my son we decided to go through Portal 2 together and it really is such a step up from the first game, I love the fleshing out of Aperture Labs finding out more of the history, it’s an absolutely brilliant game from start to finish. We need more Bristolians in games too they are definitely under represented. 
 

I would love a new game set in the Aperture Labs, maybe not even a Portal game but something different as it’s such a brilliant world for a video game. 
 

We have moved onto the multiplayer mode and I’m still struggling with thinking about 4 portals rather than 2, also my son loves sending me to my doom. 

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1. Immortals: Fenyx Rising

 

2. Control [Game Pass]

 

image.png

 

Another Game Pass banger. I completely missed out on this at launch, because the only real interest seemed to be from the Remedy die-hards and the PC crew wanting something to flex their RT GPUs on. It looked like a pretty by the numbers 3rd person shooter.

 

And in some ways, it is. The combat is basically juggling your paranormal gun with your other powers, which are your basic telekinesis fare (throw stuff, float, etc), but it works surprisingly well as a core gameplay loop which sits along one of the most stylish and intriguing games I can remember playing in years. It all takes place in the Oldest House, a building which apparently predates its current occupants, the Federal Bureau of Control, and the setting and its occupants are the real star of the show. The Oldest House is a fantastic place to be and which continues to throw surprises at you until the end of the game.

 

Well worth playing, and I'm honestly slightly sad I didn't pay for it directly. I now also have it on PS5, so may well replay it in the future, with the fancier graphics.

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31st Jan 2021

Immortals: Fenyx Rising.

There's a metric shit-tonne to be said about this, but ultimately I'd just be talking at length about another Ubisoft Icon Collect Em Up(tm), albeit one that was good enough to compel me to play for 56 hours. I'm pretty sure it was made by the B team on AC: Odyssey, because it's obviously had some time put into it but things like the animation is really stiff, and the cutscenes are just 2d illustrations, Not that there's owt wrong with that but it's telling this was made on something of a budget. Probably more than the GDP of a small country, mind.

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Donut County

 

At this point it feels sorta shitty to call something a perfect for Gamepass but this was perfect for Gamepass. It being on the service means you don't have to think about the "value" of a game and can just enjoy what the game offers.I hop that as the service grows we'll see Microsoft start to put more money into short experiences like this (I know this didn't debut on Gamepass before anyone gets pedantic)  built around a simple mechanic where you can see all a game has to offer fairly quickly in addition to bigger games like Halo and Rallisport Challenge 3. Its a fun toy to spend an evening playing with and easy to recommend to anyone who has access to it via the service. 

I'm sure people won't like the idea of calling a game a toy but I don't see anything wrong with the term. I like the look of the game, thought the writing was fine while the music was great but there isn't much to the game. Most levels have one trick in them that isn't that hard to figure out and you'll breeze through the entire thing in a few hours. Mopping up the last few achievements won't take long after that. 

 

I'm doing a shit job selling it here but people should play it. It's cool. Cool things are good and people should try cool things. 

 

7/10.

 

I'm never getting a job at Edge. 

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Feb

 

02/02 Stories Untold (PC) Bounced off this back when I got it, possibly because I was doing a lot of typing at work and didn't want to continue that at home. However after enjoying Observation I had to give it a second look. Like Observation No Code are really good at allowing you to interact with their story using old equipment. And like Observation I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it. I was surprised though with having to use a 

Spoiler

microfiche reader.

A piece of equipment I used a lot pre-internet.

 

If you have it in your library and you loved Observation (or the interface design in Alien Isolation) it's only three hours long.

 

There's a great interview with the developers here for those that have finished the game here. (Spoilers of course.)

https://www.pcgamer.com/crafting-the-unique-genre-defying-horror-of-stories-untold/

 

MvsFxDPwZFZjMkepN52fAc-970-80.png

 

Previously

 

Spoiler

9. 31/01 Katamari Damacy Reroll (PC)

8. 28/01 2020 Game (Browser)

7. 26/01 Observation (PC)

6. 25/01 Hades (PC)

5. 23/01 Donut County (PC)

4. 17/01 The Touryst (PC) 

3. 13/01 My Friend Pedro (PC)

2. 03/01 Tell Me Why (PC)

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

 

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3. Fez (PS4) - This indie darling is a game I've bounced off previously for no other reason than losing momentum with it, however since buying the PS5 and moving the PS4 into the office it became the perfect lunch break puzzler during the week so I started it afresh. In summary it really is a great little enigmatic and creative game, especially given how small the dev team was, and deserves the various plaudits it received. Its core rotational mechanic is one of those simple but genius concepts that works solidly and even now is pretty much unique to this game. I'm not sure I have the time, dedication or brain power to find all the anti-cubes, codes and secrets, but if you like puzzle games (like Jonathon Blow's excellent Braid) you will really like this. - 8/10

 

 

 

Quote

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

2. Gris (PS5) - 9/10

 

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