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What games did you complete? 2022 Edition


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15 hours ago, Arctic Feather said:

New Super Mario Land (SNES homebrew)
 


Not sure if this one counts, but having picked up an FxPak Pro recently, I decided to finally give this a go. It's a remake of the Game Boy Super Mario Land on the SNES in the style of New Super Mario Bros games. Wasn't intended to complete it, but it's very short and it's a game I have very fond memories of playing on the original Game Boy.
It's surprisingly polished for a homebrew game and well worth a quick play through.


Oh man, that Gameboy magical Mario music is as good now as it was back on day of release. A very underrated Mario game. 

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Vampire Survivors - Inlaid Library hyper, Mad Forest hyper, Green Acres hyper

 

Spoiler

Nekotosakana - 1cc

Moon Dancer - Normal 1cc

Moon Dancer - Hard 1cc (no miss)

Moon Dancer - Expert 1cc

Grand Cross: Renovation - 1cc

Operation STEEL - Normal 1cc, Hard 1cc

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1. COD MW (2019)

 

started it this year too. Black screen bug for the first couple of weeks. A dip into warzone. A plot that seems to borrow from CODs past.  A satisfactory conclusion to a reboot. Torture-porn, with misogynistic lean.

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2) Bioshock 2 (2010) - Xbox 360 via BC

 

spacer.png

 

For mildly obsessive-compulsive reasons, I find myself regularly going back to play old games instead of partaking of all the great new games on Game Pass. Case in point, this most recent game that I finished came out twelve years ago. Twelve!

 

I did play and enjoy the first Bioshock (TrueAchievements tells me that I started playing in September 2007, but only finished it November 2010) , and I recall @MalevolentPanda saying that the sequel was much better so I bought it, played a little bit of the first level (also in 2010) and then put it down for... reasons.

 

Anyway, after the New Year sale, I decided to buy the game digitally and start again from scratch, finishing it on Hard in about 10 days.


Whilst the game could be accused of being more of the same, it builds on the first game's foundation with new weapons, plasmids and enemies and introduces some new mechanics. For example, the Research Camera returns, granting you improved damage and other rewards against each type of enemy as you research them, except this time you aren't taking static images but film. Research points are awarded as you attack the enemy, based on the variety of weapons and plasmids used. There was a fair amount of weapon fumbling as you need to start filming before attacking for maximum points, but in the end I just defaulted to having the camera out until I knew that all the enemies in that area had been researched. Damn those teleporting Houdini Splicer bastards though.

 

The most interesting mechanic is the ability to adopt Little Sisters and use them to gather additional ADAM from corpses for you. During each "Gather",  you have to protect the Little Sister from a horde of Splicers who are hungry for ADAM and you must survive until the Gather has finished otherwise the whole process has to be restarted. You can just start the Gather, and shoot the Splicers as they come or you can plan a proper defence strategy and use the various traps that you pick up to cover entry points. Whilst completing a Gather rewards you with more ADAM for EVE-related upgrades, you have to burn ammo, first-aid kits and EVE hypos to do so and this can be a problem in the early levels of the game. For anyone who really enjoys this part of the game, the Protector Trials DLC has a variety of Gathers set in various game locations where you start with a specific load-out and are rated based on how much ADAM you can extract in each trial.

 

In terms of criticisms, I only have a couple of minor ones. I did feel as if there were too many plasmids to think about and ended up just using a handful, although I recall having the same problem with the first game. The bigger issue is that enemies don't scale with you enough as you upgrade your health/EVE/plasmids/weapons and so the game gets progressively easier rather than remaining a challenge throughout. On Hard, the game was a bit of a grind at the start, even with Vita-Chambers turned on, but by the end the game was practically throwing first-aid packs and EVE hypos at me and I was dispatching enemies with ease. Even the toughest enemies became a minor inconvenience when I could summon bots with the Security Command plasmid to distract them whilst I blasted them with a mix of Electrobolt, Incinerate and Winter Freeze.

 

Currently working on the Minerva's Den DLC and the Protector Trials in parallel, and at some stage a second playthrough of the main game with Vita-Chambers turned off. This will be on Easy or Medium, as I'm not sure I can be arsed to try and grind through on Hard without dying.

 

Spoiler

January

1) Control: AWE (2020) - Xbox One

 

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Jewel Fever 2 (Switch)

 

I picked this up on a whim for about 89p and it has provided me with a good 10 hours of entertainment. It's a match 3 with a... actually it has no twist or narrative or additional gameplay element other than giving you 15 challenges to complete like 'hit a score of 100,000 plus'.

 

It is as basic as they come (I can't imagine what the first Jewel Fever was like given how standard this is) but it is the perfect game when you need some digital crack but can't be bothered engaging the brain. Having said all that It'd still be nice for it to have some ultimate goal or progression system.

 

5/10

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5. Forza Horizon 5 - 5/10

 

First things first, I'll put it out there that my score for this is mostly dictated by how it was to complete. For a casual gamer or racing fan, I'm sure you'll find a lot of fun here and it'd easily get anywhere from a 7 to a 9 or 10. However, to get all the achievements it has been a truly miserable experience. 

 

For a start, the formula this time round really was starting to get boring for me. I was hyped going in, hoping for a more interesting map/biomes etc after FH4 being pretty bland but it didn't really do anything new over FH3 in terms of map design or anything. Everything gets thrown at you from the get go and you can reach the "end-game" by not even completing half the races if you wanted. The tracks didn't really bring much to the imagination either. 

 

Then, there was the bugs and technical issues. Oh my. Playing this around the same time as Halo, with both games being AAA and both suffering major technical issues really pissed me off. It's a bad practice for so many big studious to release games in this state, and people saying "oh itll be a good game in x time" shouldn't even be an argument. 

 

There were disconnects from lobbies, time outs and the ludicrous expectations of the horizon arcade which replaced Horizon Live for no real reason. Achievement wise, there were multiple that had completely wrong descriptions. "Photograph 200 cars" was actually "Photograph 50 legendary cars." "Complete every championship in a series" was actually "Complete every activity in a series." 

 

Then we had the good old festival playlist requirements. The first series, I got enough points to reach the goal only for PG to patch ON THE DAY THE SERIES ENDED to require every single activity completed. This wasn't possible as one of the dailys had bugged...so that was 4 weeks of completing content down the drain. Series 2, there was a bugged treasure hunt so again, another 4 weeks wasted. Only now at the end of Series 3, almost 12 weeks of doing every stunt, race, trial, arcade etc is it finally over. A total shambles. 

 

There were challenges that didn't register, didn't count and/or didn't work without lots of messing round. The Trial has been a horrid chore every week as the average FH5 player plays a team race like GTA, consistently slamming you into barriers or off the course, it's been maddening. 

 

I've already uninstalled it as a minor celebration to myself, running an S console, this has taken 110 GB of my space for months I can finally have back. Assuming PG do what they did with FH4 and keep adding more cheevos through title updates etc, I won't be revisiting this one at all now unless the DLC is really something stellar like the hot wheels one. 

 

Total time to 1000: 152 hours 42 mins

 

Previous Completions: 

 

Spoiler

1. Train Station Renovation - 1000/1000

2. Resi Village - 1000/1000

3. Death's Door - 1000/1000

4. Double Kick Heroes - 1000/1000

 

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01/02 - Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Well this was much better than I was expecting! I put of playing it because I was expecting massive disappointment but for some reason decided now was the right time to break it out. Glad I did as it was great. Seeing those characters and places brought in to the future was very cool indeed, especially Wall Market which was perfectly realised. 

 

The battle system is very much 2020 Square, a halfway house between turn based and real time. It can be a bit chaotic to track but is very satisfying when you break out a load of specials at once to decimate a boss.

 

My biggest issue is with some of the characterisation. You could see it from the first trailer but Barrett is just awful. A bargain basement Mr.T. who tells everyone how much he hates them upon first meeting them, though I do like it when he sings.

 

Tifa and Aerith are fantastic but the devs just couldn't resist making Tifa's body proportions eye-rollingly ridiculous.

 

All in all though, a fun, gorgeous game with a decent story and some sweet additions. I might even play the DLC next while I wait for Horizon to drop.

 

8/10

 

 

Spoiler

26/01 - Gorogoa 9/10

25/01 - The Gunk 7/10

23/01 - Control 7/10

11/01 - Rise of the Tomb Raider 7/10

07/01 - Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space 9/10

 

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Jak & Daxter (PS3)

 

Playing on PS3 as part of the HD collection. 

Played through most of this last year, but lost interest a bit when I was backtracking to pick up any missed collectiables. But managed to find everything and bit the (rather dissappointing) final boss.

I somehow completely missed the series back in the day even though I was a Crash Bandicoot fan, so it was good to finally give it a go.  It's definitely a bit janky in places, but was enjoyable. I'll probably give Jak II a go sometime later in the year.

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2. Perfect Dark (Series X, via BC)

 

Playing an Xbox 360 port of an N64 game on a Series X. Money well spent.

 

One of the Rare's big hitters that I didn't play on the N64, because sod forking out for that expansion pak when I was 18. It's a lovely port and the core gameplay has aged well, while the occasionally confusing level designs, characters, plot, voice acting and final boss all left me cold. I suppose I just prefer Bond.

 

Shooting people in the bum is still fun though.

 

6/10

Previously...
 

Spoiler

1. Yakuza Zero (PS4)

 

I've been immersed in this for months, to the exclusion of all else. It's my introduction to the series and despite some misgivings about missing out on references to future events, it has been excellent. It commits the cardinal sin of making me play multiple protagonists (a pet hate) but I loved Kiryu and Majima so completely that it wasn't an issue.

 

A very well-written plot, a stellar localisation, great sense of humour, extremely memorable characters and it's just sheer fun to play. The digital tourism of wandering the streets of Kamurocho and Sotenbori has also been very welcome as I continue to stay indoors. The only blots were the obvious parallels between Real Estate Royale and Cabaret Club (grinding through one and crushing one set of bosses to find that you have to do the same again for Majima was annoying) and events like the catfights, which I found distasteful and gave up on. I adored the rest of it.

 

I'll need to take a break from the series after spending so long with this one but I'll be back to see where Kiryu and co. go next in Kiwami. I hope time will be kind to Pocket Circuit Fighter, the purest (ahem) of all men.

 

8/10

 

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Deathloop (PS5) cop out time....sometimes 8/10 more often than not 9/10

 

I have had so many ups and downs playing this game.  When the action gets going and you're combining your trinkets/weapons/slabs to take out wave after wave of enemy it really sings. 

 

Spoiler

I preferred Harriot/Alexsis scenarios for this reason e.g. break into a heavily populated space and take the visionary out. I loved the art style, the humour, the voice acting, multiple routes to achieve objectives.  I love how often this game made me laugh whether it was what happened when I was playing it, the hidden treasures e.g. man laying cereal boxes like dominos to knock a mine from the roof onto an Eternalist's head or the writing.

 

It lacks polish in a few areas like the UI e.g. the visionary leads/arsenal leads, the graphical glitches e.g. gas, water, when you start the loop again.  It feigns that there is freedom to end the loop any way you want but eventually funnels you down a particular route.  I didn't mind this particularly but particularly hated visiting each powerstation to get the code for the door to the rocket - total garbage.  There's no way around that - it was required (to the best of my knowledge).  There is this very slight air of "you are not fully delivering what was promised".  We are nowhere near a Peter Moleneux situation though.

 

I wish each visionary had better AI and their character was somehow built up more in the game.  Maybe not quite to the level Julianna is....but a little bit more than it was.  I thought Frank was pretty funny but some of them seemed innocuous.

 

It's almost like you need to speak in the games language to enjoy it...or understand what it requires from you as a player.  I think this makes the first few hours a little bit of a struggle.  I can see why people bounced off it.  But once I got past that I had a tremendous time - I don't spend 35 hours playing a single game too often.  I just wish it had the kind of polish you would expect such a highly rated game to have.

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Feb

 

05/02 Final Fight (PC/Arcade) I seem to complete this once a year at the moment so I don't have too much to add this time. Played through this to try and get a points achievement on Capcom Arcade Stadium (it ended up netting me two.) I remembered this time round the first time I saw it and saying to my girlfriend at the time that it looked rubbish because the animation was not that smooth. What an idiot I was, it's a masterclass in dropping animation frames in favour of fast snappy controls. To this day Guy's kicks just feel so good.

 

652688-final-fight-arcade-screenshot-1-1

 

Previously

 

Spoiler

8. 31/01 Dynasty Wars (Arcade/PC)

7. 31/01 Mega Twins (Arcade/PC) 

6, 29/01 Superhot:Mind Control Delete (PC) 

5. 16/01 The Forgotten City (PC)

4. 09/01 Mr Driller Drill Land (PC)

3. 07/01 Olija (PC)

2. 07/01 It's a Knockout! (C64) 

1. 02/01 Katamari Damacy REROLL (PC)

 

Abandoned games

04/01 YIIK: A Postmodern RPG

 

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On 31/12/2021 at 22:03, DarkCrisis said:

3. 05/02 - PS5 - Life Is Strange: True Colors - 8/10 - After really enjoying the original Life is Strange I haven't played the others however I decided to grab this in the Christmas PSN sale last year and I am glad I did. I enjoyed the story, characters, settings and music, I also really like the sensing Emotions mechanic. Not sure if I enjoyed as much as the original but would still recommend for anyone who has enjoyed the previous games before.

 

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Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020)

 

Phew! This was a toughie. Everything about it is quite challenging - the traversal, the bosses and (of course) the escape sequences, which return from the first game, but are notably less frustrating this time. Gone is the ability to save anywhere by spending energy to create a save point, and introduced are a range of new fighting and traversal abilities that can be mapped to the face buttons. The drip-feed of Ori’s new abilities keeps things interesting as you explore a sprawling world much bigger than the first. 
 

It’s all quite twee, but navigating some of the trickier environments is very enjoyable - it doesn’t quite reach the sadistic levels of Hollow Knight’s later stages, but it’s not far off. The bosses are probably too long, and frustrate on occasion due to the relatively imprecise nature of the way Ori moves; the wall grab is just a shade too sticky, and will often see you unintentionally grab a passing ledge or branch, instead of falling as intended. It can’t be faulted, presentation-wise, and moments when beams of bright, orange sunlight shoot through the gloomy trees can be breathtaking. Excellent stuff. 
 

As soon as I killed the last boss the game crashed on me! I loaded it back up and the achievement for finishing it flashed up, so I’ll take it, but the game hasn’t registered that I did the deed. 
 

Spoiler

06/01/2022 - Halo Infinite

09/01/2022 - Hyper Light Drifter

05/02/2022 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

 

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06/02 - Hades (PS5)

 

While I noticed theirs a trophy for some sort of "Epilogue" (I'll get that eventually), credits have rolled so I've officially completed the main story. Absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed Bastion, wasn't a fan of Transister, and didn't play their previous game, so this could've gone either way. It's their best game and the first one of these types of games that has just clicked enough for me to see it through to the end. Wonderful story, combat, with plenty of stuff to collect meaning I'll be mopping up trophies throughout 2022. Masterpiece.

 

10/10

 

Spoiler

January

05/01 - Starfox 64

14/01 - Resident Evil 3

15/01 - Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

30/01 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

 

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Resident Evil 2 Remastered After thoroughly enjoying RE8 I realised I’ve had RE2 in the backlog for far too long.  I had a brilliant time with this too, the police station is such a great character, the puzzles are satisfying and while not super scary it got a few jumps out of me.  Looking forward to both an RE4 remake and RE9 now.

 

It Takes Two Sunday afternoons have been made significantly better over the past few weeks with my 9 year old and I working our way through this pleasure of a game.  It’s a shame the two characters are dislikable but the co-op gameplay is second to none. Except perhaps for…

 

Deep Rock Galactic ROCK AND STONE TO THE BONE!! I don’t play online much at all but playing this with a couple of buddies has provided some of the most tense and hilarious gaming I’ve had in years.  
 

Spoiler

1. Resident Evil Village

2. Spider-Man Miles Morales

3. Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds DLC
4. Resident Evil 2 Remastered

5. It Takes Two

6. Deep Rock Galactic

 

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17/1/2022 - The Gunk (XSX GP)

I gave this a go after I saw a bunch of people mention it in the Gamepass thread as a bit of a ok but simple/quick game to play.  I played this alongside a more "serious" game as a bit of light relief.  Yeah, it was ok - nothing amazing, but a quick and enjoyable enough experience.

 

6/2/2022 - Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Anniversary Edition (XSX GP)

I'd never heard of this game - although I understand this is the 10 year anniversary edition, it had completely passed me by.  I'd actually been browsing through the available Gamepass games and saw some screenshots of it (there's no trailer) I actually thought it was a rhythm action game!  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Wow, this one really sucked me in - if you haven't tried it, think Phoenix Wright crossed with a Japanese Dating Sim... but where people get bumped off and tortured in quite extreme ways!  Anyway, I really loved this one - a little unexpected gem from clicking on something and having a punt.

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8 hours ago, CurryKitten said:

6/2/2022 - Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Anniversary Edition (XSX GP)

I'd never heard of this game - although I understand this is the 10 year anniversary edition, it had completely passed me by.  I'd actually been browsing through the available Gamepass games and saw some screenshots of it (there's no trailer) I actually thought it was a rhythm action game!  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Wow, this one really sucked me in - if you haven't tried it, think Phoenix Wright crossed with a Japanese Dating Sim... but where people get bumped off and tortured in quite extreme ways!  Anyway, I really loved this one - a little unexpected gem from clicking on something and having a punt.

 

This is another one on my ever expanding to-do list. If you enjoyed that, you should play AI: The Somnium Files if you haven't already. I believe it's by the same studio, which is the reason I'm going to check this one out off the back of that ^^. It's on GP also. 

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Lake

I thought this was just about okay.  Fundamentally I guess this is a story driven adventure. The events within the game though are of such insignificance, that it's not a terribly engaging experience. Lead character Meredith is likeable enough, but she doesn't get involved in anything terribly interesting and the characters are not strong enough to make the slight story engaging. Delivering the post is, as you would expect, extremely dull and it almost feels like filler to lengthen the game. About three songs on the radio too, not irritating at all.

 

I enjoyed one particular cameo which did make me smile.

 

Four damaged parcels out of ten.

 

 

 

 

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Previously...

Spoiler

1.) Lego City Undercover - PC - 2017 (2013)
2.) What Remains of Edith Finch - PS4 - 2017
3.) Superliminal - PS4 - 2020 (2019)
4.) Untitled Goose Game - Switch - 2019
5.) One Finger Death Punch 2 - PC - 2019

 

6.) Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - PC - 2011 (2010)

Yes, I'm a little behind on the Assassin's Creed games, I know! :lol:

After 100%-ing AC2 back in... err... 2013, I think, I needed a much-needed break from it and just never got around to it. Brotherhood is the 'middle' part of the Ezio trilogy, so I've got one more to go. I have to say, it is showing its age a little. The graphics aren't as impressive as they once were, and the controls are very clumsy, sluggish and awkward. To be honest, I wasn't really enjoying it at all until I got fair way into it and it started to click. Going around the city, rebuilding businesses, recusing potential recruits, finding treasures and whatnot, these are quite fun. Also most of the interior tomb-like levels are good as well, and the climbing is generally fine. But I couldn't bring myself to get anywhere near 100% this time and I'll probably stop getting any more of these games after the next one. It's all so samey and bloated. Just give me some plot closure, please.

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Spoiler

01. How We Know We're Alive (Mac)
02. Gorogoa (Game Pass)

 

image.thumb.png.35502fa49fa8f3e0b430897bf078f410.png


03. The Procession to Calvary (Game Pass)
This point & click is wonderfully silly, very Monty Python and you should all play it. It's not very long, has three different endings and is genuinely funny in places.


04.Shadow Warrior [2013] (Xbox)
I've owned this on GWG for years now and  wasn't sure about starting it as it seems a bit... well... off. And it is. And isn't. I don't know. Overall it's a solid game with some behemoth bosses that clocks in at around 8-10 hours, so not too much of an investment. I did have fun with it so I'm going to start the second one now before the third part releases at some point this year. It does get bonus points for using Stan Bush's The Touch.

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04/02 - Final Fantasy 7 Remake Episode INTERMission

Hmmmmm, disappointing. After enjoying the full game far more than I thought I would this is..fine. It's about a third shorter than it should have been without with most of the action taking place in an Undercity factory and then an Uppercity factory. I think it was made worse by the only real addition to the base game was a reimagining of the Fort Condor RTS which didn't really float my boat.

 

As far as characterisation goes; Yuffie was a great extension of her original character and the VA did a great Tara Strong impression. Sonon was dour and uninteresting and Scarlett was too over the top in personality and cleavage.

 

Story wise it is literally a set up for introducing Yuffie and her motivations in to Remake Part 2 so leaves a lot to be desired in terms of payoff, the ending even focuses 90% on Cloud and the gang.

 

Glad I played it so I have the info going in to part 2 but for 16 nicker it feels very undercooked.

 

6/10 

 

 

Spoiler

01/02 - Final Fantasy 7 Remake 8/10

26/01 - Gorogoa 9/10

25/01 - The Gunk 7/10

23/01 - Control 7/10

11/01 - Rise of the Tomb Raider 7/10

07/01 - Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space 9/10

 

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Spoiler

1. The Gunk - XSX Game Pass - 01/01/22 - 7.5/10

2. Gears 5 - XSX - 04/01/22 - 8/10

3. It Takes Two - XSX - 08/01/22 - 9/10

4. Forza Horizon 5 - XSX - 16/01/22 - 9/10

5. Halo Infinite - XSX Game Pass - 19/01/22 - 9/10

6. Doom Eternal - XSX Game Pass - 21/01/22 - 9/10

 

7. Ori and the Blind Forest - XSX Game Pass - 08/02/22

 

 

“This looks like a nice, fun, stress-free, pretty game to occupy four or five hours” I thought to myself last week when I installed Ori and and Blind Forest onto my Series X internal hard drive.  Oh my sweet summer child, indeed.

 

Ori and the Blind Forest is a tremendous game, a real high in 2D platforming in the modern age, but it’s anything but stress-free.  In fact, I can safely say that I’ve never died as often or as frequently as I did in this – and at times, the frustration surpasses the feelings you get when conceding a 95th minute equaliser in FIFA, being denied a kill in Halo due to lag, scuffing a corner on the final lap in Forza etc etc. 

 

I persevered with it because although it’s incredibly frustrating in parts, not once did I ever feel that the deaths were the game’s fault.  Indeed – the feelings of blame and frustration were at myself.  As you progress across various sections of the interlinked 2D maps, you’ll acquire new abilities which make areas previously shut off become available.  I loved every single one of these new abilities.  You may start off as a fragile little thing unable to do much more than fire sparks at bad guys, but by the end, the fluidity and freedom of movement is sublime – and the game trusts the player to use the correct ability to get through each challenge.  Enemies become invaluable stepping stones to reach higher areas, their projectiles become the solution to ‘opening’ various doors etc etc.  It’s beautifully designed, and that’s before I even come to the actual aesthetics.

 

Ori and the Blind Forest is drop dead gorgeous to look at and listen to.  This is essentially what lulls you into a false sense of ease, because behind these lush first impressions is a devilishly difficult game – three ‘escape’ sections in particular will see you die.  A lot.  But even here it clearly succeeds as a game because when you finally complete these sections, the relief and feeling of accomplishment is palpable.  Ori rewards your patience, and along with the fluid movement, sumptuous visuals and gorgeous orchestral music throughout, I wasn’t ever able to give up on it.

 

There’s no way I’m ready to start on Will of the Wisps yet, because I need to take a bit of a break from Ori and let the adrenaline recede somewhat!  But this was 9-odd hours of intense, high quality platforming.  Recommended.

 

8.5/10

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8 hours ago, BabelRich said:

04/02 - Final Fantasy 7 Remake Episode INTERMission

Hmmmmm, disappointing. After enjoying the full game far more than I thought I would this is..fine. It's about a third shorter than it should have been without with most of the action taking place in an Undercity factory and then an Uppercity factory. I think it was made worse by the only real addition to the base game was a reimagining of the Fort Condor RTS which didn't really float my boat.

 

As far as characterisation goes; Yuffie was a great extension of her original character and the VA did a great Tara Strong impression. Sonon was dour and uninteresting and Scarlett was too over the top in personality and cleavage.

 

Story wise it is literally a set up for introducing Yuffie and her motivations in to Remake Part 2 so leaves a lot to be desired in terms of payoff, the ending even focuses 90% on Cloud and the gang.

 

Glad I played it so I have the info going in to part 2 but for 16 nicker it feels very undercooked.

 

6/10 

 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

01/02 - Final Fantasy 7 Remake 8/10

26/01 - Gorogoa 9/10

25/01 - The Gunk 7/10

23/01 - Control 7/10

11/01 - Rise of the Tomb Raider 7/10

07/01 - Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space 9/10

 

 

I've been sitting on the fence on this - I enjoyed Remake, in the end, but it was a bloody weird game - but I think I might just leave it based on what I've heard, especially as it's all new stuff and I won't have the nostalgia rush that carried me through the main game.

 

Does the stuff at the end regarding Cloud and the gang take place after the events of Remake, or does it take place concurrently but from a different perspective (or similar)?

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On 09/02/2022 at 10:39, Boothjan said:

There’s no way I’m ready to start on Will of the Wisps yet, because I need to take a bit of a break from Ori and let the adrenaline recede somewhat!  But this was 9-odd hours of intense, high quality platforming.  Recommended.

 

I preferred Ori 1 to Ori 2. The sequel is still very good, but it goes on for a bit too long at too high an intensity. Gorgeous to look at, though. I one hundred percented the first game but never felt compelled to do the same with the second.

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25 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

 

I've been sitting on the fence on this - I enjoyed Remake, in the end, but it was a bloody weird game - but I think I might just leave it based on what I've heard, especially as it's all new stuff and I won't have the nostalgia rush that carried me through the main game.

 

Does the stuff at the end regarding Cloud and the gang take place after the events of Remake, or does it take place concurrently but from a different perspective (or similar)?

I would leave it and just look up the story/cutscenes. 
 

The ending is all after the Remake ending. There is the odd bit of ‘during Remake’ stuff while you’re playing though. 

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31/01 - Punch Line (PS4) - video game adaptation of the anime of the same name. To put it mildly it's odd in a very Japanese way (if you stare at girls underwear for too long you die as well as all of humanity). Provided you can get past that oddness, there's a very enjoyable game. Set up tricks (which act as puzzles really) to get the other characters to do what you want, interspersed with a lot of story both in visual novel and video form. 

 

04/01 - Uncharted 4 (PS5) - remaster of the PS4 game. I think I enjoyed this much more than the first time around. Not sure if that's due to it running at 60 FPS (all games should run at 60 FPS) or that having since played Uncharted 1-3 I knew more of the back story. I still prefer the Tomb Raider reboots, but this comes close.

 

 

Previously:

Spoiler

01. 02/01 - Death Come True (PS4)

02. 04/01 - Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (PS4)

03. 11/01 - Song of Memories (PS4)

04. 20/01 - Vostok Inc (PS4)

05. 25/01 - Steins Gate 0 (PS4)

 

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Previously: 

 

 

 

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

 

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Originally released in the wonderful Indian summer of the PS2's late life (that also saw the likes of God of War 2, Bully and Dragon Quest VIII come out when the Xbox 360 was already sitting in the homes of many) and at a time when a new Final Fantasy game was still a genuine show-stopping event in the video game calendar, Final Fantasy XII stands as perhaps the boldest reinvention of a mainline entry in the series that there's ever been.

 

Forgoing the turn-based random battles that had defined the most prestigious JRPG series of them all for nearly two decades and replacing them with an amalgamation of MMO-like wandering mob engagements and real-time inputs in more open and expansive environments, it's easy to forget just how experimental and brave the approach that Square took with FFXII was at the time. With the exception of rabbit-eared viera Fran, the main cast were all resolutely human as well, which was also reflective of its more grounded approach in terms of storytelling, character and setting. The tale it weaves, although still featuring that old FF staple of magical crystals, mostly avoids apocalyptic threats of immense power and unknown origins and instead focuses on a war between nations and empires, played out in lengthy cutscenes of Imperial Senate meetings with rum accents and suitably flowery and portentous Shakespearean language.

 

At the time I recall being a bit underwhelmed and disappointed in the game and thinking it was all a little boring, but powering my way in a little under a week through this remastered version that adds a rejigged job system, I found myself re-evaluating and appreciating it a lot more.

 

The Gambit system, whereby you create a series of automated AI instructions for your characters to follow in battle, I can now appreciate as a work of genius that in one fell swoop makes that foundational pillar of the JRPG (the many, many hours of scything through literally hundreds of enemies) a painless experience. When you consider that in the previous turn-based entries in the series you were only ever inputting the same commands for your party in each random battle anyway, the Gambit system is an elegant way of streamlining that activity. Once you become proficient at creating a carefully curated sequence of Gambits the game does, to a large extent, 'play itself' but there's something immensely satisfying about seeing the arcs of aggro lines automatically connecting your party with hostile mobs and then sitting back as you watch them blithely take care of business as dictated by your pre-set instructions.

 

You can pause the action at any time and manually enter commands if needed, and this is absolutely required in the boss fights that throw all manner of hurdles in your way, but really the bulk of the game lies in delving into the thousands of possible Gambit combinations and using your nous to figure out the most efficient and ruthless algorithm that will cut a swathe through whatever comes your way. Coupled with the absolute God-send of a very welcome 2x speed button that sees your party positively haring across its expansive world and blitzing their way through lengthy dungeons, it makes for a version of the game that is for the most part an enjoyably relaxing experience.

 

I also enjoyed the story much more this time through as well. Its characters are well drawn and although the plot has your party going after one MacGuffin after another that only really seem to provide an excuse for you to travel across the expanse of its world, the machinations and backstabbing of its Imperial ne'er-do-wells and their complex web of plots and schemes makes for an engaging tale. It's notably more mature in its stylings than the often overly-anime leanings of its forebears and concludes with some truly stunning FMV cutscenes of impossibly frantic airship battles high above its vast and opulent cities.    

 

Where it stumbles badly in the gameplay department though is in the latter stages of the game that see you making your way through a sequence of mind-numbingly tedious, appallingly designed and incredibly overlong dungeons that are absolutely crammed full of monsters that hurl every known status effect under the sun at you relentlessly. This final 20% or so of the game is simply not fun and really soured what had up to then been a very enjoyable experience, so it loses a mark or two for that. 

 

It's a shame that FFXII's bold reinventions were met with a mixed reception from a lot of the FF fanbase and within the halls of SquareEnix it's probably remembered as something of a failed experiment, but time has shown it to be a lot more influential than many give it credit for. It took the definitive single-player JRPG and incorporated elements of MMOs into its systems and design that marked an inventive and innovative step forward for the genre. You can see its DNA clearly threaded through the likes of Xenoblade Chronicles and Final Fantasy XIV, which are today held up as feted examples of their type. They and others owe a debt to Final Fantasy XII and despite some unfortunately misjudged late-game stumbles it's a game worth remembering as a risky endeavour from such a high profile company and one the likes of which we probably won't see again.

 

7/10

 

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Enjoyed your write-up @pinholestar and agree with a lot of what you've written. It's a shame that we'll probably never see this sort of FF again.

 

If you completed the game in just under a week, however, then I'll assume that you didn't do that many of the monster hunts. These are, by far, the best part of the game for me, and where the gambit system truly shines; as you've mentioned that this was a part of the game you really enjoyed, I'd definitely recommend it. Completing all the hunts turned a 7/10 experience into at least a 9/10 for me.

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3 hours ago, Jamie John said:

Enjoyed your write-up @pinholestar and agree with a lot of what you've written. It's a shame that we'll probably never see this sort of FF again.

 

If you completed the game in just under a week, however, then I'll assume that you didn't do that many of the monster hunts. These are, by far, the best part of the game for me, and where the gambit system truly shines; as you've mentioned that this was a part of the game you really enjoyed, I'd definitely recommend it. Completing all the hunts turned a 7/10 experience into at least a 9/10 for me.


I did all the hunts back in the day (apart from maybe one or two of the espers) but was just looking to replay the story this time before it left Game Pass in a week or two. I do agree that really burrowing down into the depths of the Gambit system is where it really shines and if you include the pretty extensive post-game content (I think FFXII probably has more than any other game in the series) it’s probably worth an extra score. But I was grading it predominantly on a story-led playthrough, so my 7 stands. 🤓

 

I’m glad I replayed it though because it’s raised the game in my estimations and elevated it above the fairly mediocre regard that I’d held it in for a long time. It absolutely shits all over XIII and XV that’s for sure.

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