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What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

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As @Gabe said a couple of years back. Some very basic ground rules, when posting about a completion, if people could list their previously completed titles in a spoiler that'd help keep the thread from just turning into a series of ever-increasing lists to scroll through, think of the poor mobile users. Also, it'd be nice if people wrote something about what they've played as it's always good to hear opinions (especially for games that don't have their own threads). Obviously how much you write is up to you, but if it generates some discussion, even better!

 

Completed doesn't have to mean 100% completion, that would be madness. Don't get too obsessed. If you are playing a game that you find you are hating....just add it to your abandoned pile. Don't waste your time on something you no longer enjoy

Previous years

2017 https://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/296730-what-games-did-you-complete-2017-edition/&

2016 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/290301-what-games-did-you-complete-2016-edition/

2015 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/282982-what-games-did-you-complete-in-2015/

2014 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/276281-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2014/
2013 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/267607-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2013/
2012 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/256988-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2012/
2011 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/237405-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2011/#entry7614018
2010 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/236931-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2010/
2009 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/219264-what-games-did-you-finish-in-2009/
2008 http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/199358-games-youve-completed-this-year-2008/

 

 

 

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Completed Rise of the Tomb Raider this morning. Overall I really enjoyed it. It's like a mix of uncharted, assassins creed and metroid lite. The challenge tombs were too easy and there were far too many collectables but I ended up much preferring it to uncharted 4.

Graphics are a showcase on the one x as well. 

For reference, it took me about 20 hours playtime to get an 88% overall completion (I was very thorough on my playthrough!). The game encourages exploration whilst being linear enough to casually play, perfect game for me over the last few days off. 

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2018

Spoiler

deltarune

west of loathing

dragons trap

noitu love 2 devolution

katamari reroll 

quarantine circular

overcooked

passpartout

GRIS

detention

onrush

curse of the moon

behindthescreen

01/12 - Yakuza Kiwami (PS4) Not as good as Zero but a necessary step along the road that is Yak.

20/11 - RDR2 (PS4) Insane attention to detail, mad controls. Totally immersive, flawed, Rockstar.

30/10 - Trackmania (PS4) Buggies are shite, everything else is great.

30/10 - Here They Lie (PS4) Crap horror schlock that wouldn't get a look in if it weren't for the VR novelty. Pure shit.

30/20 - Destiny 2 (PS4) Preferred it to the first, as a largely single player experience for me. Bungie can still create fantastic, powerful moments and imagery, but tied to this manipulative, pestering grind....ehhhhh.

20/10: - 2046: Read Only Memories (PS4)  Still great, new voice acting is solid.

12/10 - Dishonoured - Death of the Outsider (Switch) Presumably the series' swansong, and a fitting end. Large open areas with multiple additional contracts are a smart addition that adds depth to a fairly lean bunch of levels. 

12/10 - Nintendo Labo Variety Kit 01 (Switch) - Picked this up around half price and really enjoyed my time putting it together, testing the Toy Cons out and playing the games. Will check out the garage later for my own projects. Not sure how I'd have felt at full price, as the games are slight, but I'm tempted to pick up the Vehicle Kit too.

10/10 - Bayonetta 2 (Switch) In terms of pacing, story and general presentation this is much better than the first. The combat feels easier and less rewarding somehow, but I think I enjoyed this more, really. 

05/10 - Mario Tennis (Switch) Must've been ploished up an awful lot since release, because I found this very enjoyable. Still not fulfilling the potential the series has, and I'd love to see the RPG style story mode return, but a solid release.

30/09 - Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch) - An unassuming Nintendo gem if ever there was one. Sheer fun in a wee package. 

25/09 - Into the Breach - (Switch)  Probably the finest, leanest turn based strategy game I've played since Advance Wars. I'm not hugely into the more roguelike nature of it, but the sheer polish of it won me over.

20/09 - Taiko no Tatsujin (Switch) Will never be done with this. Is amazing with the drum. 

25/07 - Skypeace (Switch) Just some mobile style collecty thing. Fine.

18/07 - Hollow Knight (Switch) - The best Metroidvania of all time, i think. An utterly compelling, exquisitly crafted masterpiece. 

16/07 - Pocket Rumble (Switch) Not really sure what completed would mean here, but there's not much to see or do, anyway. Eight characters and very limited, basic modes. The look is well executed for what it it, but sometimes so basic that it's hard to see what's going on. For a weekend's fun for about three quid, it was fine.

15/07 - Bomb Chicken (Switch) - A tight, beautifully animated little puzzle platformer. Makes good use of a core idea and gets out before it runs out of steam. Recommended.

08/07 - Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido (Switch) - A bizarre action puzzle battler that doesn't really come together quite as it should, and has a weird anime Pokemon-esque framing, but I enjoyed it immensely regardless. The story battles are varied and build upon the concept well and it kept m engaged right to the end. Might turn out to be one of those misunderstood Nintendo titles that flew under the radar.

28/06 - Super Bomberman R (Switch) - It's all right, this. Co-op story and local multiplayer are a good laugh, but they priced it too high for a barebones release.

25/06 - Shadow of the Colossus (PS4) - Looks lovely and is technically more robust, but lacks the compositional eye of Ueda throughout. It's still probably the best game ever made, though.

23/06 - Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4) - I refused to give EA any money for this, so I got it second hand. It's all right. The progession in the multiplayer is so slow that I'm tired of playing after a week, but I enjoyed the assault maps. I wish they'd dish the heroes, though. Utterly infuriating to come up against enemies flailing around with lightsabres that you can do NOTHING to avoid. Weirdly I enjoyed the story of the single-player, even though gameplay wise it's the usual rote, limited affair you exect from DICE.

17/06 - Opus: Rocket of Whispers (Switch) - A more compelling gameplay loop, with the scavenging and rocket-building, than its predecessor, but a much less captivating narrative, I thought. Story feels a bit underwritten and the central character is unpleasant throughout, with little to no redemption in his arc. Music is nice but the visuals are still a bit Flash-game.

16/06 - NieR Automata(PS4) A genuinely creative work and one that's experiments in structure and narrative pay off. I truly wish we could have more games like this, that never succumb to rote gameplay or story.

07/06 - Pokemon Quest (Switch) - A F2P Gatcha, but a surprisingly restrained one. Never felt like it was holding me back to push me to spend, and what in-app purchases that are offered are limited and reasonable. I never spent a thing and saw the credits in a few days, and enjoyed my time with it, as idle and basic as it was. Might return if they expand it later.

05/06 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) - An odd one. It has flashes of brilliance, and much of the later level design nears Nintendo at their best, but it's also frustrating, takes toolong to get started and the character design remains offputting. Will try to return later to finish off the extra areas but will need a significant break from it. 

24/05 - Yakuza 0 (PS4) - The finest of its series that I've played so far by some margin, and one of the best games of this generation. That it somehow manages to wrangle such tonal schizophrenia into something coherent and occasionally moving is genuinely impressive. Really fantastic localisation work, too.

08/05 - God of War (PS4) - Never cared all that much for God of War. Played most of them and found them average, 6/10 experiences. Flawed in combat and misjudged in tone. This achieves the remarkable by reinventing a series that had barely changed over numerous installments, and manages to make that same central character interesting without resorting to a reboot. The pacing is off in the final third, and they never quite struck the right balance between plot beat-driven linerarity and the minor open world approach, but I really enjoyed my time with this.

01/05  - Kirby Star Allies (Switch) - A solid, standard Kirby game. Fun, cute, simple. Enjoyed it immeasurably,

10/04 - Dragon Quest Builders (Switch) I enjoy the tighter focus of something like this to the open-endedness of Minecraft or whatever. Don't much like the bosses of this but the questing and crafting and building suits me just fine. An absorbing, delightful little game. The sort we maybe thought lost forever.

10/03  - Bayonetta (Switch) The fighting mechanics are still sublime, the characters and story still ridiculous, the QTEs bullshit and the bits between encounters pretty shallow and dull, but it balances out. Was an enjoyable return to this.

08/03 - Pokken Tournament (Switch) A surprisingly solid fighter with its own unique character. Simple inputs but a wealth of options and depth available in each character. The presentation, particularly the voice acting, is a bit naff in places, and the main solo campaign is basically an endless series of standard fights with little interesting happening, but there's a lot of potential for a game like this in Nintendo's roster, I think.

08/03 - Enter the Gungeon (Switch) - It's rare that I enjoy anything with procedural generation at its heart, but I loved my time with this. I'm too terrible at it to get to the end I suspect, but will keep plugging away. Really satisfying gunpay with great feedback to let you know the impact each weapon is having. Recommended.

03/03 - Subsurface Circular (Switch) - A really fantastic little narrative short. Convincingly written, with a sharp attention to the importance of sound design to generate atmosphere. A unique experience, well worth the four quid on the eShop.

01/03 - Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) - Played for eighty-five hours before I decided to give the final boss a good talking to. Was going to leave it until I'd mopped up as many side quests as I could, but it was sapping the momentum from a main story in which I found myself unexpectedly absorbed. A grand adventure, and despite appearances from trailers and the like, I think the English translation and dub does a marvellous job of holding the whole thing together. Nia in particular is a delight. Favourite JRPG in many, many years.

09/02 - RiME (PS4) - A weird one, this. Comes across as completely derivitive throughout, with almost every aspects cribbed from Ghibli, thatgamecompany or Team Ico, but it somehow hangs together well enough that I enjoyed my time with it. Most of the attempt to create some emotional resonance fell completely flat for me, though. I just liked exploring the world, I guess.

05/02 - Pyre (PS4) This seems to have had a mixed reception but I think it's my favourite Supergiant game. A real potent mix of cosmic wizard basketball, visual novel and party RPG that I found really engaging. The sport itself lacks depth, particularly at lower difficulties, but it largely seems like an mechanism for decision making in the VN side of things. Fucking stellar art, too.

04/02 - Picross S (Switch) - Think I'm done chipping away at this (arf) for now. It's Picross, it's great.

30/01 - Un Pueblo de Nada - (PC) - Another Kentucky Route Zero interlude. How many other series feature community television, electronic communication with the dead, broadcasts signal intrusion, psychedelic weather reports and analogue video effects processing?None, that's how many.  

30/01 - Prey (PS4) - A fantastic immersive sim. I think I'd happily explore a space station like this for hundreds of hours if the material were there, but the thirty hours I spent with this will more than do. Managed to find some weird solutions to quests by being a sneaker fucker, which is how I always roll in these games.

25/01 - Azure Striker Gunvolt (Switch) - Awful plot, terrible writing, weird visuals in places, but enjoyable enough. Nothing much to say.

23/01 - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PS4) - Ninja Theory finding focus through limitations. In terms of game mechanics serving their strengths in narrative and visual design, this is their best game by some margin. A compelling, unique story and theme that's married to robust, brutal combat. Effective sound design, too.

18/01 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - The Champion's Ballad (Switch) - I wish they hadn't recycled the bosses, because those are the weakest part of the main game for me, but the shrines and new dungeon were worth the admission price. Fleshes out some of the characters a bit, too, which was needed.

14/01 - Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence (PS4) - Super dense historical strategy. The UI general holds up pretty well with a controller, surprisingly, and the grand wars across provinces kept me totally engaged. Need to finish off taking over northern Japan eventually, but will give it a rest to play something lighter for a while.

09/01 - What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4) - An impressively executed and in places quite moving tale, which brings more variety and interaction to games of this style. I think I prefer Everybody's Gone to the Rapture in terms of atmosphere and exploration, as I found this a bit sickly and verging on a parody of the genre occasionally, but certain sections will stay with me.

08/01 - Little Nightmares (PS4) - Spellbinding, really. While it's not quite the masterpeice that Inside was, it's a stunningly well told story. Visually absorbing and paced almost perfectly, I ran through this in one sitting. A developer to watch. 

07/01 - Sherlock Holmes - The Devil's Daughter - I made it through three of the five cases but fuck this shit, I'm done. Just a tedious hunt for tiny clickables, which most the time you only need to find because you're way ahead of the game but it hasn't realised that yet. Also some baffling action sequences that are fucking abysmal because the developers think they're Naughty Dog now or something. I enjoyed the last game, too. A shame.

06/01 - Batman: The Telltale Series (PS4) - Same old Telltale. This is fine enough but the plot is riddled with holes and characters don't behave anything like real human beings, but that might just be Batman, I guess. It also leans on the same tired old story beats of dead parents and 'which is really the disguise' zzzzzz.....

02/01 - Thumper (Switch) - Just pure, aggressive rhythm action. The idea seems so obvious in hindsight, but it's the thrilling execution that really sells it. When you get a good run, slamming into corner after corner, it's utterly exhilirating.

01/01 - Doki Doki Literature Club (PC) - Nothing unusual about this game at all. It's also not very good.

 

Previous years:

Spoiler

 

2017

Spoiler

 

29/12 - The Sexy Brutale (PS4) One of the best of the year for me. Nice to see a game running with the potential of games like Majora's Mark, Gregory Horror Show and, errrr, Night Trap (kinda). The ending was a bit too 'magical' for my tastes but generally the whole thing hangs together brilliantly, with a real sense of place and atmosphere.

27/12 - VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action (PC) - A neat curio. Demands little of the player in terms of gaming reactions or the like. You just chat and make drinks at your own pace for the most part, but it oozes atmosphere and while I'm not a fan of the character art or some of the writing, the backdrops and music do much of the heavy lifting. 

27/12 - Cuphead (PC) - Exactly what I thought it would be. It's a stupendously well presented run-and-gun boss-rush with an art style that very, very occasionally takes priority over the game play, but so rarely that some of the complaints from sneering purists come across as a bit churlish. It's stuffed with inventive boss stages and animation that could only be the result of years of insane dedication and for that I applaud it. The platforming levels are decent enough but feel like a compromise they didn't need to make, honestly. 

26/12 - Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch) A great laugh, this. A daft anime melodrama played with enthusiasm over a swift, breezy musou. Combat always fun and just the right difficulty curve to make every level feel like an accomplishment. Really hope Nintendo bring over Hyrule Warriors to the Switch.

18/12 - Bound (PS4) Hated this. It's one of those games has a somewhat unique art style and good intentions , but is utterly worthless both as a game (due to lack of anything interesting for the player to do) and as an artistic expression (because it lacks any meaningful insight into its heavyweight subject and is stuffed with dull, trite imagery). It wouldn't be so bad were it brief, but it makes its hour run-time feel about ten times that thanks to every bloody level being the exact same fucking thing over and over again.

16/12 - Gravity Rush 2 (Switch) A stunningly beautiful game, with some sublime animation and a soundtrack of rare quality. It's central mechanic of shifting gravity to fall around its open world can be dizzying and confusing initially, but the game makes good use of it through a solid, lengthy story and some goofy, fun side quests. Falling sideways through a train station as you chuck benches and lampposts at monsters never got old for me. 

05/12 - Knight Terrors (Switch) Super cheap little runner, like Jetpack Joyride or whatever, with a snazzy Spectrum look to it and a careful balance of rewards and challenge. Nothing you couldn't just play on your phone, but nice to have on the Switch between bigger games.

05/12 - Opus: The Day we Found Earth (Switch) A brief little narrative game where you play as a robot operating a telescope in deep space, trying to locate humanity's long-lost homeworld. There's nothing overly impressive about any individual aspect of it, but things come together coherently and enjoyably enough that I played through in one setting. 

04/12 - Ittle Dew 2+ (Switch) A solid, unspectacular little Zelda style game. It looks nice enough, the music is catchy and the central conceit of everything taking place in a run down adventure park, with staff rooms, touristy gimmicks and faulty puzzles is neat, if somewhat under-explored. Improved on the first game in many ways but possibly too reliant on combat given the limitations of its fighting systems (hit and roll). Would give another sequel a try.

01/12 - Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) Maybe it's the fixes they put in place after launch, or the fact that this is likely the last Mass Effect game we'll ever see, but I think I approached this much more sympathetically than if I'd played it near release. It's flawed, particularly in the writing and voice acting in the opening hours, and also beyond that in places, and there's just too much redundant content to really respect the player's time and attention span, but the meat of the game is tremendous at times if you can accept the failed ambitions and last-gen realities of the game as it stands. Combat and the return of planetary exploration made it worthwhile for me, though others may be less enamoured with the fetch-quests that pad out the excessive run time.

19/11 - Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) A fitting send off. It feels more relaxed than the last game, somehow, and less desperate to impress at every turn. It's a better game for it in many respects, though it lacks the surprise and spectacle of 4's larger set-pieces. I also prefer Chloe and Nadine's characters to Drake's weird psychopathic tendencies, for sure, and would happily see them return after a bit of a break to head their own trilogy or whatever. Good stuff.

15/11 - Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) Nintendo's second genuine masterpiece of the year, and a game that recaptures some of the oddness and experimentalism of Mario after years of refinement in the NSMB/3D years. It just throws a million ideas around and lets the player discover them in its little sandboxes. I'm at 600 moons for now but I know I'll be back.

19/10 - Hue (PS4) Enjoyed this. It has well crafted puzzles and a neat central conceit. It may as well be called Indie Game: The Game, though, what with it being a puzzle-platformer with a silhouetted art style, plinky-plonk music and overblown narration. Doubt it'll live long in the memory because of that, but I had a nice time with it.

15/10 - Stardew Valley (Switch) Pure video game heroin. Ferociously addictive, but that's because it's a finely crafted homage to the likes of Harvest Moon that manages to transcend its inspiration in many ways. I'm not too fussed about the townsfolk and their lives, as the characters aren't so appealing, but I'll keep revisiting and working on my farm for the rest of the year and beyond, I'm sure. Great stuff.

03/10 - Golf Story (Switch) - One of the best light-RPGs I've played in years. A joyful, genuinely funny blend of Earthbound and Camelot's GB sports games. A shame it's very, very buggy, and the final tourney is too hard, but I loved my twenty hours with it.

27/09 - Shantae:Half-Genie Hero (Switch) - Was a bit concerned about the move to 2.5D, but I needn't have been, as they managed it flawlessly. Maintains everything great about the series, with great sprites that retain the charm of the artwork, solid upbeat tunes and joyous platforming. The shift to polygons for background has allowed for a bunch more variety than previous games, even within the short run time, which can only be commended, really. Great stuff from Waypoint again.

25/09 - Steamworld Dig 2 (Switch) A vast improvement on the first, not only in scope and ambition but in absolutely nailing the movement in its various forms. Running, jumping, flying, hookshotting...all feel really refined and satisfying. It's not a long game by any means, but the way that it unfurls makes it feel expansive in some way, and the challenge rooms show that they really explored the limits of the concept. A fantastic game.

19/09 - Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch)  The game that Mighty No. 9 should've been, and I imagine would've taken a fraction of the time and money to make. Inti Creates manage to redeem the character and make the whole thing look easy, so confident is this game in what it does. It's ultimately fairly easy if you level up weapons by repeating levels, but there's challenge in there if you want to test yourself.

16/09 - Pan-Pan (Switch) A visual style like Monument Valley in some ways, but more of a brief, roaming adventure puzzler than anything. One of those games that drops you in a world with little guidance, so it's easy to stumble across puzzles that you can't do yet, but just trying something else nearby tends to result in progress. It reminds me of when I'd borrow odd Amiga games from relatives as a really young kid,  when I didn't understand games or come to them with many expectations of what I might encounter, and the mystery and sense of strangeness that came with that. It's pretty standard fare, puzzle-wise, but the delivery lends itself well to that vibe.

10/09 - We Are Doomed (PS4) A super generic Geometry Wars rip, but the music is nice I suppose. Nothing there to keep me entertained for more than half an hour, but there's not really an ending anyway, so here it is. PS+ filler if ever there was some.

08/09 - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch) - Just fantastic, really, and who would've thought that when the rumours surfaced? Just stunningly well presented, balanced and paced. The bouncing, dashing traversal adds a genuinely Nintendo, Mario-styled slant on the strategy genre. Found the music a bit too Banjo-Kazooie as first and a little distracting, but I'd really warmed to it after a few hours. Top five of the year so far, I reckon.

02/09 - Splatoon 2 (Switch) - I never played the original, much to my regret, as this is everything a Nintendo online shooter should be. It's stunningly presented and the music is some of the best they've put out in forever. The only thing I find disappointing is the standard of play online, with half the team frequently failing to pursue objectives. Single-player is suprisingly well-featured, given its reputation as a glorified training mode. Bosses were mad fun

01/09 - Sonic Mania (Switch) - Truly the Sonic game I've wanted since the mid-90s. That Sega dropped the ball for so long is such an incredible waste of a series that could've been much more, but this redeems them somewhat. A perfect distillation and development of the core ideas of 2D Sonic, with presntation to match. I'd work a little on the bosses, as they've swapped over-simplicity for frustration in some cases (Oil Ocean Zone 2, I'm looking at you), but I hope they're given the chance to develop these games even further. 

20/07 - Yoshi's Island (SNES) - A beautiful looking game, fantastic music, full of neat ideas and all using that great Yoshi move-set. It's just a shame I find the whole 'protect Baby Mario' mechanic super annoying at times. Like when he floats off in his bubble into an inaccessible wall, and you lose fifteen minutes progress collecting stuff in a level. Pretty infuriating. Drops it down into second-tier Nintendo, but that's still better than everyone else, I suppose.

18/07 - Neo Turf Masters (Switch) - Never finished, but played enough to know that it's absolutely amazing. They managed to make golf snappy and compelling somehow. Gloriously 90s arcade presentation, too.

15/07 - Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (MAME) - Just a great laugh. A dumb Saturday morning cartoon premise (literally), big beefy sprites kicking the crap out of one another and a driving chip-synth soundtrack. I could happily play stuff like this forever.

29/06 - Cave Story+ (Switch) - Kicking myself for not playing this before now. A truly lovely little game. Neat story, sharp platforming and chiptunes to die for. Perhaps would've liked a stronger Metroidvania exploration element to it but it's no biggie. Superb stuff.

24/06 - Kamiko (Switch) The simplicity and kinda short-n-sweet appeal of this reminds me of esoteric little Gameboy games I'd stumble upon sometimes. Really nice art and music, and a nice blend of gentle combat and puzzles. Good little Switch snack.

24/06 - ARMS (Switch) - Obviously I won't be done with this for absolutely ages, but it needs adding here at some point. I love it. Absolutely LOVE it. It's the boot up the arse that fighting games have needed for ages, and done with immense amounts of craft and enthusiasm. Did I mention I love it?

10/06 - Invisible Inc (PS4) A tight, polished, turn-based stealth game. I've enjoyed most of Klei's games to varying extents, and I enjoyed a couple of runs at this at middling difficulties. A more appealing art style than most of their titles, although a bit thin on captivating story beats. That's the nature of a more procedural approach, I guess.  

04/06 - Axiom Verge (PS4) The best Metroidvania I've played since Metroid Fusion, and rivals that in many ways. Massively enjoyable traversal and upgrades, solid bosses and a great map to explore. Brilliant stuff, and impressive that one guy made it alone. The final battle is a bit of a slog, but I'll forgive it for being so engrossing for the rest of the run time. Intriguing, ambiguous story, too.

01/06 - Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4) - A huge waste of potential. The last game was flawed, but also combined some of the madness of Resi 4 with Uncharted's rollercoaster ride. It had solid, frantic combat in arenas that encouraged continuous movement, but needed more traditional exploration and, well, tomb raiding. This doesn't go even halfway far enough to addressing the lack of temple looting, and has genuinely much worse, more linear combat areas and weird, laggy controller response. It's baffling. The writing and voice acting genuinely aggravated me, with cliche heaped upon cliche delivered clumsily. Lara never shuts the fuck up, killing any atmosphere and plot contrivances turn up every half hour so that Lara can engage in another bit of shooty bang bang. The few tombs that are there are glorious, though, and make me genuinely long for a game of just those and the occasional angry tiger or whatever. 

27/05 - Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (PS4) - While it lacks the ingenuity and tight pacing of Titanfall 2's campaign, I think I actually preferred this in many ways. There's some really potent sci-fi imagery in here and the writing, coiled around fairly prominent central themes, actually really impresses throughout. Lots of Battlestar Galactica wish fulfillment and seamless aerial to ground combat transitions that keep things exciting. It's a shame it doesn't fully explore the more open mission structure that's introduced in the mid-section, and Kit Harrington makes a crap villain, but I'm really disappointed CoD fans rejected this and we're now back to WWII again. I don't care about multi, though, so that might be why.

25/05 - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) - I'll still be playing this years from now, I imagine, but needs a write up eventually so here it is. It's the closest to a perfect Mario Kart game there's ever been. So, so many tracks and characters, such great handling and pure jam band music. I adore it completely. Feels incredible robust and slick at 1080/60 and is the first racing game my wife has ever played and enjoyed. Majestic. 

20/05 - Metal Slug 3 (Switch) - Still amazing, still brutal. Pixel art still blows my tiny mind and it's just relentlessly thrilling in a way that all its imitators have failed to be. Last level is a bit too long and the final boss is well boring, but I can forgive it.

29/04 - Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS4) - I've tried a few Lego games over the years and always found them fun for about four hours, before the clumsy, wooly controls start to get on my nerves a bit. This one wasn't much different, but it did keep me playing to the end of the story mode by virtue of the sheer variety of characters and settings. The cynic inside me thinks the Lego stuff adds little to the game and the whole thing reeks of the Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour, but I'm sure the eight year old me would've lapped this up. Just lacks the sort of depth I think kids deserve, and I wish it had a similar level of attention paid to the gameplay as it has on presentation and product placement.

27/04 - Dishonored 2 (PS4) - In terms of stealth mechanics and regular level design, this is a refinement of the original in almost every way. Levels are complex and provide myriad ways of approaching everything, and the upgrade paths and limited runes make you carefully choose a specialisation. There are some cool environmental gimmicks that work, like Jindosh's mansion, and some that don't, like Stilton Manor's time-shifting that quickly descends into a chore. Narrative delivery is much more blunt, also, but not in a way I found overly offensive.

21/04 - Curses 'n' Chaos (Switch) Not actually finished, but a days of single-screen crowd management punching is enough for me, I think. Neat little game but I'd only put more time into something like this if it were on a handheld I own, and I sold my Vita. Music is good, like the art style as with most Tribute Games' stuff.

20/04 - Blaster Master Zero (Switch) - I'm pretty wary of retro 8-bit stuff these days, but this felt like the real dealio, made by people who know what they're doing. The Metroid-esque structure is pretty light, but they've included a waypoint system if you want to just blast stuff and not worry about where to head next. Music is catchy, graphics are bright and appealing and the HD rumble stuff is kinda cool.  The gloopy sensation when you drop into the water is pretty satisfying. It also keeps throwing lots of little ideas into the mix to keep things varied.  It's perhaps a bit on the easy side, though. Bosses are trivial if you just spam the wave beam and diagonal fire, but a really enjoyable little game throughout.

18/04 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - That Nintendo finally, finally rebuilt my favourite series of games from the ground up, and did it nearly flawlessly, is just amazing to me. So much redundant tradition sliced off where it wasn't needed any more, and everything approached from a different angle, whilst maintaining the things that I love about Zelda so much.

It actually took me a while to adjust. I'd spend ages looking across valleys or at high ledges, wondering how to get there, forgetting Link can climb and glide just about anywhere he wants now.

There are things I'd tweak. I'd prefer a more direct, present tense telling of the story next time around. The narrative here is piecemeal and fractured, and the voice work clumsy. I miss delving into a vast subterranean dungeon and reemerging into the sunlight with new tools and skills. I'd like some more bustling towns, with side quests that revolve around NPC interactions like Majora's Mask. ...but, I understand why they haven't done those things here, and admire the focus with which the game approaches its pure, emergent adventuring in a more sparsely populated wilderness. 

The soundtrack is an understated marvel, too. It's use of light ambience in the overworld shows an impressive restraint on the composer's part. Particularly love the way it'll throw in the occasional motif from the blood moon music, just to fuck with the player every now and then.

So yeah, best game ever. 

12/04 - Snipperclips (Switch) - Just a wonderful little co-op puzzler. Immediately endearing and is the first console game my wife has ever played to completion, which is great. Would've liked another world of really tough levels, but maybe there will be some DLC.

25/03 - Titanfall 2 (PS4) Just the campaign done so far. Whilst I don't think this quite lived up to the surprise hype that spread when people first played through this, I do think it's one of the more compelling single-player FPSs of recent years. Traversal is great fun and the shooting is as tight as you'd hope, but it's the pacing, the relentless new ideas and the engaging friendship at the core of the story that makes it work. It is a bit too short, perhaps, but also very lean because of that. It never repeats itself, and that's something admirable in this day and age.

24/03 - Mortal Kombat XL (PS4) A aggressive, solid thwack of a fighting game that's enjoyable in short doses. An impressive array of single player content in there. The story mode is adolescent nonsense and all the characters look like they've been molded out of slimy orange clay, but it's technically slick, with fights transitioning from cutscenes smoothly in a way that embarrases Capcom's attempt with SFV... but... it isn't as good a fighter as that game, doesn't feel as well crafted in the end and it doesn't appeal to me aesthetically in the same way. 

21/03 - Inside (PS4) A significantly better game than Limbo ever was, and I quite liked that game. Genuinely disconcerting at times, skirting around blatant horror and settling on an atmosphere of unexplained, bleak weirdness. Stellar animation and sound design throughout; the industrial humming and throbbing a particular highlight. Teaches its puzzle mechanics incredibly well without ever explaining things explicitly, then moves on to the next set of ideas. So many images that I'd hate to ruin here, but that last section is, well straight outta nowhere. Madness.

21/03 - Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4) Genuinely amazed by what Guerilla achieved here. The premise sounds like something from a forgotten Metal Hurlant strip, but the writers treated it with enough sincerity and attention to detail that it becomes utterly absorbing from the offset. Characters have genuine personalities, motivations and are memorable parts of the world they inhabit. The main plot beats can be seen a way off, I found, but never the exact angle of approach, and as such remains surprising throughout. It cribs liberally from Far Cry, Fallout, The Witcher, Mass Effect, even stuff like Vanquish appears in the combat, but defines its identity through how genuinely the relationship between Aloy the character and her gameplay interactions actually make senses. You believe she's a great hunter of machines because the game patiently takes its time to sell you on the idea at the beginning. I haven't been this absorbed by the plot of a game since the first Mass Effect, I think. 

16/03 - Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4) I pick up a Musou once every five years it seems, and never actually finish them, but this was fine for what it is. I like the characters and the look of it, but it just gets a bit samey after about ten hours. Some things never change.

13/03 - Abzu (PS4) A genuinely beautiful game, and one that clearly had a lot of love poured into it, but also much too cautious in its retreading of Journey. Almost every memorable beat of that game is repeated here to lesser effect, which is a shame, because there's  potential in there for something more ambitious than its forbear. Soundtrack is nice but I think Austin Wintory's style better lended itself to the deserts of Journey than this. High hopes for whatever they go onto next, though.

08/03 - Steamworld Heist (PS4) I usually hate anything too steampunky, but found this quite appealing. Well balanced turn-based piracy, with some neat twists on the genre. Wasn't too keen to the inventory system and having to clear stuff out all the time, and would've liked to upgrade the ship a bit, even just cosmetically, but generally a neat little adventure.

05/03 - The Division (PS4)  There's a slightly icky subtext of conservative disaster fantasy in this, but nevertheless there are some fairly potent images of a quarantined New York in here. Christmas trees ablaze in department stores, abandoned stadia and the like. It's also much more willing to let you play it as a straight single-player adventure than, say, Destiny, and less overtly manipulative. However, the combat loop isn't nearly so satisfying, and the world much less intriguing. A decent enough open world cover shooter though.

01/03 - Battlefield Hardline (PS4) Couldn't even bring myself to actually trudge through the final few chapters, but whatever. A thoroughly awful game, and I have a fairly high tolerance for generic FPS campaigns. A stop-start series of thinly-veiled training exercises for multiplayer, with inexplicable character motivations at every turn. Bland, lifeless visuals and a forgettable soundtrack. There are hints at something better in there; the arrest mechanic should be more compelling than it is in execution, and there's surely a place for an episodic procedural cop drama in AAA games, but this is definitely not it, sadly.

28/02 - Resident Evil 7 Biohazard (PS4) It lifts ideas cleverly from the likes of Outlast and Alien Isolation, but maintains that distinctive Resi identity. Genuinely impressed by Capcom's willingness to experiment after the mediocrity of the last few Resi games, and I really, really enjoyed this, despite finding it a missed opportunity in many ways. I've always thought there were occasional moments of poignant horror in the series (the Lisa Trevor side story of REmake, the credit roll illustrations of Resi 4) that showed the way forward for the series, and with the tight focus on a single family, really hoped they'd explore their downfall thoroughly. Sadly it loses its way about two thirds in, and the whole F.E.A.R esque nonsense is just inherently less interesting to me, but the moments in that house are something special. 

25/02 - The Last Guardian (PS4) A staggering achievement in so many ways. A remarkable example of the power of games to explore ideas and feelings through simple interactions. I'm not surprised this took a decade to finish, as Trico is an insanely ambitious thing to have created. It'll be hard seeing ordinary, poorly animated and lifeless animals in games from now on. Once again, a story filled with evocative, potent imagery that reveals something, ever so slightly, of the broader world you inhabit without spelling everything out. There are issues with the frame rate and the camera, but I expected as much based on Ueda's previous games. It didn't really bother me. Game of the generation so far, and I'll be gutted if we don't see something else from them.

21/02 - Mafia III (PS4) Really dug the whole documentary framing device and was absolutely gripped by the plot of this. A great sense of time and place in its world and characters, and thematically pretty adventurous as these things go. A shame they felt the need to fill it with so much busywork, which I guess is a response to criticisms of Mafia II, but the main beats are great. AI are dumb as fuck, too, but enjoyable to slaughter.

15/02 - Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4) When I was a kid my dad used to rent out terrible action films from the video shop every couple of weeks. They weren't even Segal/Van Damme level, but somehow even cheaper and more generic that that. I don't know how he always found them. Anyway, this reminds me of those films. Utterly disposable and forgettable, but strangely, brainlessly enjoyable in the moment. There are some neat little moments in here, though, like the holographically camouflaged base in the forests of bulgaria, and the shrinkwrapped corpses in the med facility. Just interesting images frittered away on a dumb game, really. 

13/02 - Street Fighter V (PS4) Story mode is a bit rubbish, really, but it passed the time and gave me a way of briefly trying out all the characters. Actual plot makes little sense and some of the voice acting is miserably poor, though. Actual online seems good to me. Better than I'd expected from the backlash and it does a much better job of matchmaking me with people who are as rubbish as I am than SFIV ever did. Will probably dabble in ranked for the duration of this gen, just like last time.

04/01 - Titan Souls (PS4) I went from taking down nine bosses in a few attempts each, to hitting the limit of my own meagre abilities within about two hours. Not wanting to push myself into frustration, I'm calling it good. That's not the game's fault at all, mind. I enjoyed my time with it, and it's a game of admirable focus in a time of grotesque bloat. 

04/01 - Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power (PS4) - The best of its series by some margin. Moves from 2.5D into a more on-rails 3D platformer like Pandemonium or something, and gains a broader scope and more varied play whilst losing essentially nothing. A smart move, and the addition of mini-levels limited to a single character works well. Still has that ultra busy, ultra garish fantasy look to it, but I actually rather like it. Physics puzzles work much better this time, too.

01/01 - Sportfriends (PS4) - Hokra is crap, and we couldn't play Johann Sebastian Joust as we have no Move wands, but my god are Barabariball and Super Pole Riders funny. 

01/01 - Towerfall Ascension (PS4) Super fun, and the developer was absolutely right not to bother with a single player or bots for this. The low res pixel art actually makes this a better party game in an unexpected way. The lack of clarity kinda adds to the chaos and confusion in battle, and watching the replays is a real 'Ohhhh shit!' moment for everyone.

20/01 - Hotline Miami 2 (PS4) Tougher from the onset than the original, and a bit overlong, but I still really enjoyed this. Plot is nonsense but the music is golden and it retains that intense moreishness.

 

2016

Spoiler

 

31/12 - Unravel (PS4) A startlingly nice looking thing, and managed to just about evade annoying me with cloying sentiment. I enjoyed most of this. Sometimes the physics puzzles fall in such a way that you can't actually progress without a restart, which is a shame, as it uses the yarn motif better than Nintendo's efforts in many ways.

09/12 - Battlefield 1 (PS4) Just the campaign so far. Really enjoyed some of the little vignettes here. The tank and pilot sections are way better written than they need to be, Italian one is a woeful turkey shoot that belongs in CoD, though.Still, does a way better job of hiding the multiplayer training than the last few campaigns.

07/12 - Stories: Path of Destinies (PS4) A generic name for a action hack-n-slasher with a few neat ideas, the main being that every playthrough tells a different story, and the idea is to find the one in which the protagonist survives and saves the day. This'd be great if the story were interesting, but it isn't really, and the narration is fairly poorly written.  Visually a mixed bag; superficially appealing but gaudy and clashing in a way that makes it hard to read. Missed opportunity, I think

07/12 - Doom (PS4) - A game that understands the core appeal of the original, turns everything up to deafening volume and let's the player run wild. Nice pacing of red-hot action and cool exploration for secrets. Very little superfluous stuff there, other than an upgrade tree that's still fairly unobtrusive. Top-tier sound design, too. Everything sounds like the grinding of an infernal machine. One of the best of the year, I reckon.

06/12 - The Tomorrow Children (PS4) One of the strangest things I've ever played. A kind of surrealist digital gulag, with an art style both repulsive and alluring in equal measure. I don't know how it ever got made, but I'm glad it exists even if it isn't all that interesting to actually play in terms of mechanics, being a menial Soviet labour simulator of sorts. I've been playing the free-to-play version, but it doesn't seem like the paid version changes things up significantly. Really glad I played it but a couple of days are enough for me.

03/12 - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PS4) - Flawed in many ways, but I really, really enjoyed this. Haven't liked an AC game since Brotherhood, so I was surprised how coherent this is. Most of the missions and side-stuff is enjoyable if you ignore the collectathons, and most of the characters are endearing and memorable in some way. Love the madcap horse and carriage stuff, too. Could still do without the naff alien race bullshit but it's fairly light here. 

27/11 - Jazzpunk (PS4) - Genuinely irritating crap. How this got so much attention is beyond me. Utterly derivative visually of Blendo Games stuff, but ugly and incoherent with it. Cheap, lol-random humour and crap objectives devoid of meaningful interactions. Hateful and artless.

22/11 - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4) I was initially a bit disappointed that this hadn't moved on much from the last game, with much the same mechanics and somewhat dated voice acting and npc design, but it's won me over massively over the course of the story. Prague is so dense and the missions so engrossing that I was gutted when it ended. Managed to do the whole thing without killing anyone, too, which was nice. 

19/11 - Star Ward Battlefront (PS4) - Recently realised I'd stopped playing this, so i guess it's done. Enjoyed it for what it was, a casual shooter in the Star Wars universe, and unlike many others didn't really yearn for more modes or anything. Balance needs tweaking for the inevitable sequel and some of the power ups are open to abuse, but the only major change I'd like is for all the heroes and villains to be removed. Maybe this is madness, but I don't really need to see Darth Vader leaping around to enjoy a Star Wars game.

07/11 - Oxenfree (PS4) Great stuff. Sets a high bar for fluid dialogue that comes across incredibly naturally. I dig the whole spooky young-adult horror vibe that felt like a more true extension of 80s Amblin than nostalgia retreads like Stranger Things, and the mechanics all appear in service of the story. Controls are well mapped to the pad, too, which is kinda rare for this sort of thing.

06/11 - Undertale (PC) - I was put of by the naff fandom for over a year, but finally decided to crack on with this. It's really good. A genuinely funny game, that uses the slightest, most lo-fi of gestures to say loads about its characters. The way Papyrus spins off screen after his grid puzzle fails had me in absolute hysterics. Lovely.

04/11 - Kentucky Route Zero Act IV - Took me a while to play this because my laptop was knackered. I began the series a few months after moving to China, and I think I have an even stronger sense of attachment to it than I would otherwise because it's punctuated some of the most important years of my life. It's the most wonderful, transcendent experience and I'll be distraught to see it go after the next episode. This act lacks a true standout moment like the Junebug performance of III, but it still resonantes with me in ways I find hard to put into words.

03/11 - Virginia (PS4) - An ambitious and impressive near-miss. The soundtrack gives it most of its momentum, and the visuals are striking in their simplicity, but it's a bit clumsy in its storytelling and fumbles towards the end. Borrows jump-cuts from 30 Flights of Loving and implements them well, but the lack of voice-acting is a mistake, I think, making it hard to relay some of the more important story beats.

03/11 - The Deadly Tower of Monsters (PS4) - The name does it no favours, but like all ACE Team games this has a strong, heartfelt aesthetic that raises the game above its fairly average gameplay. It's your average top down dungeon actioner, but there's enough variety and gimmicks to keep things fresh. Framerate can be a bit ropey on PS4 (and no, I don't mean the Harryhausen stop-motion) but I enjoyed this.

03/11 - Parappa the Rapper 2 (PS4) - It's too easy, too short and has basically no improvements over the original, but I still love it. Songs are a bit more jazzy and chill than the first game.

29/10 - Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3) - Straight into the top three games I've played all year, and maybe my second favourite Platinum game after Vanquish. I bloody LOVED this. Funny, thrilling and ridiculous in perfect measures. The slicing feels like something that isn't quite suited to an analogue stick, really, but that's a minor quibble.

25/10 - Ratchet & Clank (PS4) - Flew through this in a couple of days and loved it. One of the most impressive looking things I've seen, though the character design is a bit too '2003' at times. The sheer amount of carnage on screen makes the combat so satisfying, and the pacing is generally pitched to keep new stuff coming all the time. Bodes well for Spidey.

18/10 - Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PS4) - A tragic missed opportunity, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. The open world is dull and used poorly, but the free running remains the best in class and it looks marvellous at times. Soundtrack is still that sterile Euro-electronica cheese but it totally fits.

14/10 - Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PS4) - Looks really nice, but absolutely no one playing online now as far as I can tell. Bit dull in single-player and I preferred the simple structure of the previous game over the hub-world of this. Giant dung beetle boss was kinda neat, rolling around on a giant flaming ball of poo. 

14/10 - This War of Mine (PS4) An inevitable misery simulator, like Papers Please or Cart Life or something. I  found the experience of eking out an existence under siege rewarding in a somber kind of way. They managed to get the controls working fine on the console, but I imagine it's much more intuitive with a mouse. Good art style, though, all pencil sketchy.

13/10 - Firewatch (PS4) Loved the look of this, the voice acting, the writing. Less keen on the corridor map and I've never thought that much of Chris Remo's music generally, but it's held together tightly by the relationship between the two main characters. Could've done without skipping so many days and building the relationship a bit more, but it still works.

11/10 - Galak-Z (PS4) Will never actually complete this but I enjoyed having a bash at it, flinging the ship around in daft manoeuvres. Think the procedural generation resulted in samey level design, though, and the art style that received so much praise seems pretty incoherent to me. Boots up like an old computer on ancient monitor, then does funny pixelly effects like a SNES game, then has a pause menu like a VHS, ships like old Macross but characters like an early noughties flash animation. It's not my cup of tea. Music is really nice, though. Synthy and sci-fi without being naff Youtube-level synthwave crap.

10/10 - Transformers Devastation (PS4) Absolutely loved every minute of this. It's Bayonetta reskinned with children's toys and made much more forgiving at default difficulty, but that's fine! Five hour story mode, loads of bosses, no bullshit. The sort of game we've been missing this gen. Absolutely mad soundtrack as well.

05/10 - Call for Duty: Black Ops III (PS4) First CoD I've played this gen. The campaign is still your standard CoD, and the whole fucking vision quest bullshit of the final third can do one. Somehow looks both really impressive and incredibly dated at the same time, too. Still, multiplayer seems decent enough, so I'll leave it installed for the occasional bash.

28/09 - The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PS4) A truly fitting end to the best adventure of this generation so far. There are tiny little fishing huts with nothing quest related about them that have more character and effort put into them than most of Fallout 4. I will miss this game so much.

19/09 - Retro City Rampage DX (PS4) Shite meme-humour nostalgia bullshit. I fucking hated it.

19/09 - Uncharted 4 (PS4) - Generally superior in the writing and acting departments, as per usual with Naughty Dog these days. The pacing is a little off in some longer stretches of the game, but I loved the combat in this more than any previous Uncharted, and my god is is an attractive game. A fitting finale.

19/09 - Nova-111 (PS4) - I enjoyed this a lot. Neat little sort-of-turn-based thing. Hard to describe, but well put together with good music. Perfect PS+ stuff.

19/08 - The Banner Saga (PS4) - A magnificent game, structured cleverly and written at an unusually literary pace and quality for a game. Some awful decisions to be made throughout and a smart, generally well-balanced battle system. A few minor flaws that I hope the sequel has worked out, but I adored this. Marvellously powerful soundtrack, too.

19/08 - No Man's Sky (PS4) - Retiring this until they add some more stuff to compel me further towards the centre of the galaxy. It's hard to argue this is finished, or that pricing it at fifty quid was a particularly good idea, but it utterly captivated me for about forty hours straight like nothing else. Genuinely reminded me of how engrossed I used to get into old British-made computer games that were old even when I was a kid, but I adored because they created entire worlds inside my mind.

09/08 - Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (PS4) Straight garbage, really. Looks like absolute shit, barely a story, no actual proper missions. Tries to get away with it by knowingly referencing all this with an ironic wink but that just annoys even more. Franchise deserves death at this point.

08/08 - Tricky Towers (PS4) Played until a got bored, which was only about an hour or something. Perfectly fine take on your Tetris thing, but with physics and that. Would've proved a longer lasting distraction were it on Vita, but on PS4? Nah. Same-screen multiplayer is pretty funny though, which probably explains the format choice.

08/08 - The Walking Dead: Michonne (PS4) Thought the second series was slipping into self-parody, but this really went for it. The hackneyed, cheap 'visions of dead kids' shit was actually making me a bit angry by the last episode. Engine still holding back basically everything, too. Telltale need a kick up arse.

07/08 - Driveclub (PS4) I'll likely come back to this occasionally to play through the single-player, but for now I'm done with it. Love the handling, like the fairly sparse presentation and complete lack of instagram lifestyle bro-dude bullshit you get with Forza Horizon and that, but felt it lacked a compelling hook to hang everything on. Still the best racer of this gen, though.

07/08 - Not A Hero (PS4) It's alright, I guess. Art style is appealing enough and the I liked the general sound design, but the try-hard speech from the wee shooty men did my head in pretty quickly. Like Olli Olli, it seemed to mistake fiddliness for depth.

06/08 - Bloodborne (PS4) - I think I lack the skill needed to finish this for now, so it's going on the backburner for a bit. It's glorious, though, and easily my game of the last year. Too much has been said about the glorious level design, combat and atmosphere for me to add much, but I'll say that it's all absolutely, utterly true.

01/08 - Tropico 5 (PS4) It's Tropico again, but very nicely adapted to the console's controller. I'll probably dabble in these sort of games every few years for as long as they're made.

01/08 - Switch Galaxy Ultra (Vita) - Shite lane-rhythm thingy. Wouldn't be surprised if it were a mobile port, but can't be arsed to find out.

08/07 - Volume (PS4) -  Really nice looking and fairly compelling stealth action, but not quite the distilled MGS-style VR Missions I'd hoped for. Lacking in depth somewhat, and occasionally pretty frustrating. Story is all too bitty and fragmented to really be enjoyable, too.

19/06 - Gone Home (PS4) - It's alright. A bit disappointing on the writing and atmosphere fronts, given some of the things I'd read. I like most of the music in it, though.

04/05 - The Order: 1886 (PS4) - I actually enjoyed this, flawed thing that it is, but that might have had something to do with the fact I paid a fiver for it. That's probably an unsustainable financial model, like. As a game it's terrifyingly slight, and at times comes across more like one of those walking simulators you get these days, but with insanely expensively rendered victorian interior decor. Guns are nice and satisfying though, and the basic premise is compelling enough in tandem with the frankly unbelievable visuals.  

02/05 - Mad Max (PS4) - A game that undoes a lot of good stuff by being horribly bloated and having zero respect for the player's time. There were frequent occasions on which I almost got up and flung the disc out the window because it was wasting my time on tedious unskippable animations or an obscenely long series of fetch-quests. There's some lovely visual stuff throughout, though, and it's a shame that so much work went into making really detailed camps and loot locations, most of which I'll never see because, well, there's about a million of them. Lighting is bloody spectacular, too. 

18/04 - Super Time Force Ultra (PS4/Vita) - A solid and interesting concept, the whole time looping/layering thing, but the tutorial is inelegant and fails to explain everything clearly. I suppose that goes some way to explaining the muted response this got on PS+, but it's well persisting with. Good pixel art, nice chiptunes, solid action. Reminds me of old Treasure games in some ways. 

16/04 - Home (PS4) - A pixel-drawn 2D narrative adventure. Sound design is basic but effective, I like the slightly grainy pixelated lighting and it's pretty concise in what it does, but the writing is like something from a middle school short story assignment. Wholly predictable and lacking in compelling hooks. 

16/04 - Broforce (PS4) - Completely took me by surprise, this. I expected to hate it, being some 80s dudebro action film parody pixel thing, but it's made with real charm and the presentation hides an attention to detail in the gameplay that was unexpected. Setting off a mad chain reaction of explosions and flying corpses before leaping aboard the chopper is immensely satisfying. Framerate doesn't half chug towards the end of the game, though. 

15/04 - Amplitude (PS4) - Probably the most disappointing thing I've played this year. I wanted to enjoy it so much, and it's mechanically sound, but a rhythm action game with terrible, unappealing music is an absolute failure for me. I managed to make it through the campaign once and it was an ordeal enough to put me off playing again.

13/04 - Shutshimi (PS4/Vita) - A solid enough idea, using the WarioWare structure for a shmup, but the execution here is a little off. The power-ups are cute and there's novelty in trying them all out, but the ten second limit per stage is just a bit too short. Needs a bit more variety in enemies, too.

12/04 - Peggle 2 (PS4) - It's Peggle with a fresh lick of paint. Nowt much else to say. The music is better this time, I suppose.

12/04 - Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (PS4) - I enjoyed this because I have a real soft spot for that core Resi action, but the episodic nature of this doesn't add much for the actual player and it feels pretty cheap throughout. There are no cliffhangers of any particular interest, and the level structure feels a bit formless and meandering, really. The dialogue is amusingly awful, though, and the bosses are a laugh. Could've done without the horribly flawed experiments of the extra episodes. Nothing worth bothering with there.

05/04 - The Witcher 3 - Hearts of Stone (PS4) - Possibly the best, most rewarding story DLC I've ever played. Obscenely good value for money in terms of how much work was put into it, and the writing is as strong as ever. Roll on Blood & Wine!

08/03 - Helldivers (PS4) - I wanted to like this more than I did. No idea if there's actually an 'end' to the game, as I just dropped in an out of multiplayer games when I had some spare time, but it does seem a bit aimless, really. With a good team it can become a really tight, tensely enjoyable experience at the higher difficulties, but too often it's a dull slog, of respawning and failure against a bunch of enemies you often can't see on screen because the camera is so zoomed in. Weird game.

08/03 - Cosmophony (PS4) - Became too difficut for me on the last of the five levels and I couldn't finish it, so here we are. It's a pretty straight-forward, low-budget tunnel rhythm action thing. Cheap, forgettable fun.

22/02 - SOMA (PS4) - That rare game that asks you to seriously reflect on the themes it explores. It's a real compliment that the comparisons I made when describing this game to a friend were to SF novels like Greg Bear's Blood Music, with that same sense of something unknowable having run out of control, forcing us to think about what it is to be human. Some of the horror encounters lay it on a bit thick, but are generally important in establishing the tension that heightens everything between. Does that thing of strongly conveying a hard fought journey, too, which I adore in games.

18/02 - The Witcher III - Wild Hunt (PS4) - Even setting aside the visuals, which are bloody spectacular, this is easily one of the most impressive achievements I've experienced in gaming for some time. The sheer scope and ambition of it is impressive, but it's the quality of the writing that really does it. Manages to be engaging, emotive and naturalistic even when you're engaging in the silliest of fantasy quests. I could write about it for days but this isn't really the thread for that, so I'll just say that this is the first game in about half a decade to keep me captivated for over a hundred hours, and is easily the game of the generation so far.

02/02 - Papers, Please (PC) - Dystopian paperwork sim. Finally got round to playing this, and embarrassed that I left it so long. A genuinely original, well-made and emotionally and intellectually resonant game. Aesthetically, everything from the glum, gibberish vocal snippets to the colour palette is pitch-perfect. Everyone should play it.
01/02 - Yakuza 4 (PS3)- My frist Yakuza in the series and I loved it. Great combat, engaging story, fun diversions and a focussed, well-realised game world. I found myself more interested in the first playable character than the later ones, but the way the plot hangs together is surprisingly well done, even though it hinges on a ridiculous conceit that only makes sense in video game land. Sadly there's some pretty gross sexist crap in the game that taints the otherwise positive impression I had, but that's a much longer discussion to be had another time.
25/01 - Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - New 'n' Tasty (PS4) - I completed this a load of times as a kid, and the slow realisation that this is basically identical other than the audio-visual rebuild put me off finishing it again. It does a good job on that front, though, and retains that particularly 90s pre-rendered look in the real-time visuals along withall the benefits that brings. I approve of what I played.
24/01 - Game of Thrones (PS4) - The story was surprisingly riveting, perhaps because it plays out very faithfully to the TV show and feeds off the audience's investment in the characters, but in contrast with Tales of the Borderlands I often felt the wheels were coming off the Telltale wagon during this. So much ropey animation, stuttering sound and too many glitches, ropey graphical effects and dull QTEs by far. Voice acting can be a bit wobbly at times, too, particularly the accents of lesser characters. A bit less reliance on poor action and more on the strengths of the story and decisions and they'll have a true winner.
23/01 - Three Fourths Home (PS4) - A 'visual short story' that works well on the visual front but falls a little short on the writing. It's fairly convincing and develops its characters patiently but the actual story and mood wasn't sharp enough to hold my interest for the hour-long runtime. There are some neat little tricks with the visuals cued up to points in the dialogue, though, and the sound design is top notch.
20/01 - To The Moon (PC) - My third attempt at this because I really wanted to enjoy it, but it still misses the mark for me. I find it a mawkish retelling of Eternal Sunshine but with too much false sentiment, dumb self-referential humour and syrupy presentation. Little of it really rings true for me. I like the catty relationship between the two scientists, though.
19/01 - Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist - A cute and gently smart idea, performed succinctly. Really nice aesthetic and voice work, too. Simon Amstell should do more games.
19/01 - The Beginner's Guide (PC) - I like the concept of this more than the execution, but there's something to be said for the way it uses the unreliable, flawed narrator. Some interesting and clever uses of Source, too.
19/01 - The Stanley Parable (and Demo) (PC) - I found the main game pretty amusing, but actually found the demo way more funny and focussed an experience. A genuinely unique package, though, and I'd advise anyone to play them both. Difficult game to write about without spoiling something.
18/01 - Her Story (PC) - Really enjoyed this. I think I found the delivery much more interesting than the actual story, but it was compelling enough to keep me there for a solid three hour session. Without wanting to say too much, it's leverly written so that the truth exists around the margins somewhere, and points the way forward for use of FMV in games. Really glad I played this.
13/01 - The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PS4) - It looks nice, and the music is pleasant enough, but it really pales in comparison with something like Everybody's Gone to The Rapture. Lacking that game's sharper radio-play writing or eye for (period) detail, it comes across a bit wooden and naff. There's a bit more interaction in this than most of the genre, but there's also a reliance on just chancing upon certain moments in the middle of an otherwise uninteresting part of the map. Saw the ending coming from about half an hour into the game, too.
12/01 - Hardware: Rivals (PS4) - First online thing I've gotten into for a while. It's a very basic package of a few vehicles, modes and maps, but that works in its favour. The core vehicle combat is fun, the maps are well designed, it's nicely presented and technically robust. If they can deliver new modes and maps on a regular basis then I'll keep playing. Reminds me of Mari Kart 64's battle mode.
12/01 - SteamWorld Dig (Vita) - I dunno if it's possible to finish this. Is there an ending? I dunno, but I played it for about six hours and that was enough for me. It's a prettier, slightly more involved version of Miner Dig Deep from XBLIG, which probably ripped off another game. You dig, get loot, sell loot, dig deeper, get loot, sell loot...you get the idea. It's fine.
12/01 - Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) - All over the place, this is. The sheer amount of undercooked ideas makes me think the team wanted to experiment early on in development, but were curtailed by the need to hit the launch window and told to get on with making a linear corridor shooter. Hardly any of the little gimmicks are particularly interesting, but are made even worse because they never feed into the overall mechanics of the game. Semi-open levels with multiple objectives, gravity wells, hacking, sniper support, space combat, stealth; all just used briefly and then forgotten. Looks decent enough, I guess, but a generally a very forgettable game.
04/01 - Rogue Legacy (Vita) - I enjoyed the basic hacking and jumping action, but the progressions through the game felt more like grinding than learning and improving the way I played. Music is fairly decent but the pixel-art style is a bit inconsistent and unappealing. 
02/01 - King's Quest - A Knight to Remember (PS4) - Walks the fine line between old school put-this-item-on-this-thing puzzling and the 'choose your own adventure' style of the modern equivalents pretty well in the most part. The character animation and voicework in the is really top-notch, kinda old-school hand-drawn style stuff. Pretty tasty lookin', and surprisingly long for an episodic game. 
01/01 - Hatoful Boyfriend (Vita) - Genuinely great. Disarmingly funny throughout and well written enough to pull off the ridiculous conceit, this makes good use of the short run time to make repeat play-throughs attractive. Worth turning off the dumb 'human visualiser' that shows you how all the birds would look as naff anime characters. Embrace the birds.

 

2015

Spoiler

 

31/12 - Until Dawn (PS4) - Looks fantastic and unlike most (all) of David Cage's output, the writing is actually good. That might be because the developers aimed fairly low by making it pure slasher-horror in tone, but the absence of pretentious drivel is massively welcome. Narratively it didn't quite branch out as much as I'd hoped, but I think that was me reading too much into the psychiatrist scenes and assuming the tests were going to lead the plot in some way. Terrifically engaging throughout, though, and seemed like something of a technical feat. I don't recall seeing a loading screen at all, which is pretty fancy.

29/12 - The Last of Us: Left Behind (PS4) - Frightening, touching and, rarest of all, some story DLC that actually adds something to the experience of the main game. Not much new on the gameplay front, other than the mixed human/infected combat scenarios (which are great), but well worth every penny.

29/12 - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4) - As far as the actual gameplay goes, this is the open world stealth-action game I've always wanted. I must've spent about half my seventy hours with the game just fucking round, testing the limits of the system. It's the attention to detail that always pulled me into Metal Gear games, and that's here in spades, though the plot falls apart towards the end of the campaign and the mission filler is unfortunate. 80s soundtrack is pretty sweet, too.

22/12 - Everybody's Golf (Vita) - Played about as far as my meagre abilities will likely take me, though I might still chip away at it occasionally. Deliciously playable as usual and I bloody hate real golf. Online seems a bit dead these days, though.

14/12 - Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (Vita) - Everything about the 'comedy', the characters and the story is lame as fuck, and it has that naff Flash animation style that's horribly dated nowadays, but this surprised me by being a pretty solid Flashback-style 2D action-adventurer. A bit on the easy side perhaps, but not a bad PS+ game at all.

13/12 - Escape Plan (Vita) - A focussed, confident little gesture-controlled action puzzler, with a stark monochrome art style that serves to define the levels clearly and legibly. Story was much of a muchness and it requires juggling the Vita's front and rear touchpads more than I'd like, but I enjoyed my time with this.

13/12 - Apotheon (PS4) - I at least managed a couple of hours of this one. The art style is a nice enough idea and well executed in terms of looking attractive, but can be difficult to read in gameplay. The finnicky controls and ropey animation turned me off eventually, as the combat was just too much like hard work. A shame, because I sense there's a decent enough Metroidvania in there.

13/12 - Ether One (PS4) - Gave up on this after twenty minutes when it dawned on me I'd have to keep teleporting back and forth to store items because. you. can. only. hold. one. Fuck that. Also, it looks like a cheap PS2 game and has audio logs that you can only listen to if you stand in the otherwise empty room you found them in, doing nothing. What a load of shit.

12/12 - Life is Strange (PS4) - The writing is a bit tone-deaf at times and the acting needs better direction, but as a narrative-driven game this blows Telltale and their modern day Dragon's Lairs out of the water. Can't really fault the extent to which decisions have a payoff in later episodes, and what must've been tonnes of work going into various branching scenes. Nice painterly look and really robust, evocative sound design, too. The ending didn't quite hit the mark for me, and the lazy video game nightmare sequences appear once again, but by that point my emotional engagement gave them a free pass. Dontnod are one of the more interesting developers around these days.

10/12 - Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) - Loved this. Charming in its presentation and engaging in plot, it drew me in like few Japanese games manage these days. I could've done without the missions where an invincible opponent appears on the map without warning and annihilates half the squad, but the battles are usually beautifully crafted.

03/12 - KickBeat (Vita) - Almost impressively average in every way, and completely underwhelms in its inability to fuse the fighting and rhythm action genres in as meaningful a way as the premise suggests. The only thing that really stands out is the incredibly shit soundtrack. Papa Roach? Jesus fucking christ.

01/12 - Tales from the Borderlands (PS4) - Genuinely funnier than most supposed top-tier comedy films these days. Startlingly well written and acted, too. It veers even closer to being one of the FMV games of yore than Telltale's previous games, which is a bit concerning, but I can't fault the QTE action sequences in and of themselves, which are pretty amazingly choreographed throughout. The finger guns bit is so, so good. Shame about the horribly compressed audio and occasional jank, but that's Telltale for you.

28/11 - Outlast (PS4) - Went into this near blind, other than an awareness of the basic premise. Was expecting something a bit more grounded and psychological, but sadly it's pure schlock nonsense with little charm to compensate. I had no idea what was going on by the end and didn't care to find out, which sort of undermines the horror of it all, really. There were some pretty good sections that reminded me of Clock Tower 3 mixed with Condemned, and it does a fine job of primitive jump scares, but for the most part it paled in comparison with the cat-and-mouse tension of something like Alien Isolation.

25/11 - Resident Evil: Revelations (PS3) - Pure nonsense in every sense, yet hugely enjoyable for most of its runtime. Looks like pure shit at times, being a 3DS port, and there's disappointing lack of genuine creepiness, but it's a more traditional Resi than most these days. The bite-sized episodic structure probably made more sense on a handheld, but the character swapping kept up the variety I guess.

21/11 - Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4) - Real top-tier stuff from a team at the peak of its powers. The sheer ambition of it is pretty mind-boggling. Everything that irritated me in City was improved here, from reduced back-tracking, better side-quests and less-frequent, more useful radio chatter. Tank combat is overused but I can forgive it thanks to the sheer thrill of pursuit mode that the Batmobile brings. It's also wonderfully, wonderfully written throughout. The way you-know-who is used throughout the game is inspired.

16/11 - Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments (PS4)- Surprisingly well written and acted, with a real eye for detail, particularly in the interior scenes. I found this really engaging and most of the scenarios believable in a Conan Doyle kinda way, though the detecting relies on circumstantial evidence too often and sometimes I was ahead of the game and simply looking for the right bit of interactive scenery to make itself known before Holmes would 'catch up'. Good stuff, though.

13/11 - Dying Light (PS4) - Massively improved in terms of traversal, melee combat and pretty much everything else, but is still up there with Dead Island in terms of piss-poor writing and voice acting that skewers any atmosphere the game manages to build. Suffers from Icon-mania as well, with too many dull side-quests and distractions. The core parkour and hacky-slash is crazy fun, though.

04/11 - Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PS4)- Weirdly paced in a way that makes me suspect it was cobbled together from abandoned ideas for The New Order, but retains the same meaty shooting action that's so bloody satisfying.

03/11 - Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4) - Cribs so heavily from Far Cry, Arkham and Assassin's Creed that for the first few hours I found this incredibly underwhelming in its familiarity, but then the genius of the nemesis system took hold and I found myself relentlessly hunting down some captain who'd killed me five times from one side of the map to the other. Not much of a Tolkein fan but this had an genuinely compelling take on that world.

29/10 - South Park: The Stick of Truth(PS3) - Not a particularly amazing game in terms of mechanics of whatnot, but bloody hell did it make me laugh. It's basically a bigger budget Costume Quest in both concept and execution, with all the fetch-questing and simple turn-based battles that implies, but it's so compelling throughout. Strange that it's much more in line with the earlier TV series' style than the recent stuff, though.

27/10 - Far Cry 4 (PS4) - It's pretty much a re-skin of the third. The outposts are still the strongest part of the game by some margin, whilst everything else is mostly Ubi-filler. It does sort of piss me off the way that everyone in these far-flung lands speaks heavily colloquial English but whatever. It's AAA fluff.

05/09 - Grow Home (PS4) - Endearing little game of discovery and play, that drops you in a simple world with some satisfying traversal skills at your disposal and sends you on your merry way. Looks nice and sharp, the music is lovely and it felt like nothing else I'd played before. Perfect PS+ game.

13/08 - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) - I found there was a lot to like about Dear Esther in spite of all its faults, but this is much, much more successful at what it's trying to do. The small environmental details, the sound design, the varied regional accents (for games). All those things coalesce into something strangely moving, and which gave me the worst bout of homesickness I've has since leaving Britain three years ago. The ending is a bit naff and disappointing but the rest of the journey was wonderful, truly.

10/08 - Skulls of the Shogun (PS4) - There should really be more Advance Wars-ish games on consoles. The presentation in this one often takes priority over making the battlefield legible, which is a shame, but the battles tend to be pretty engrossing. It's a shame, then, that the last level is a massive difficulty spike that I couldn't be fucked to deal with at all. Eh.

06/08 - Stick It to The Man (PS4) - A brief game with a well executed aesthetic; I found myself enjoying this way more than expected. As an actual game it's a straight-forward adventure platform thing, and the little stealth interludes are pretty dry after the first one, but the characters are appealing in a 90s Nickleodeon kinda way and the sound design is great throughout. That was enough for me today.

05/08 - Infamous: Last Light (PS4) - Can't say I was looking forward to an extension to a game that ran out of ideas a third of the way in....and I was right not to get excited. Traversal mechanics are a bit more enjoyable and you don't have to keep draining energy every five seconds, but this does nothing new and the characters are still dull, whining children. At least it's short, as pretty as the main game and came with PS+.

03/08 - Dragon's Crown (Vita) - Super satisfying beat-em-up that doesn't quite hit the highs of Guardian Heroes but does loads of neat little things of its own. Music is epic, art is beautful (though the female characters generally are a bit...y'know) and has a moreish gameplay loop of fight>boss>loot>repeat that keeps things turning over quickly. The only real problem I had is that it's a bit hard to know if you're properly alligned with the enemies and I found myself missing regularly. The lane system in Guardian Heroes seems a bit archaic these days but it does solve that problem perfectly.

27/07 - Velocity 2X (Vita) - Couldn't really get into this properly, though I suspect that's just a mood thing. Everything about it is super refined and compelling and yet it never got its hooks into me. Plot seems a bit redundant but the music is super swish. Might give it another run later.

22/07 - Metrico (Vita) - Another game that falls over itself in its attempts to use all of the Vita's functions. Parts of this are neat enough, with a sharp look and devious little puzzles, but the infographic aesthetic leaves me cold and the need for simultaneous back-and-front touch gestures, motion control and button presses mean you end up twisting and contorting uncomfortably for fairly long stretches.

21/07 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita) - Or, Uncharted: Lowered Expectations Edition. Just because a AAA console game can technically be shoehorned into a handheld doesn't make it a worthwhile endeavour. In fairness, Drake is more bearable than usual and his relationship with Sully is still kinda charming, but this takes the flimsy combat and ropey climbing of the first game, takes out all the big set-pieces and crams touch and gyroscope crap between every five minutes of action. More than anything I'd describe this as boring, which is a stunning failure, really.

18/07 - Sine Mora (Vita) - Stupendously attractive for a handheld game and with some neat systems built around time limits and manipulation. Not the greatest schmup I've played but a surprisingly lavish one in this day and age. Weirdly pretentious story filler, though.

17/07 - Badland (Android) - The whole 'tap to flap/float/whatever' genre leaves me pretty cold to be honest. This has some nice ideas but like with Jetpack Joyride and others I got bored quickly. Presntation is weirdly dull and distant in a way I found unengaging, too.

17/07 - 80 Days (Android) - I did two runs through in a single sitting, which probably tells you how much I enjoyed it. Well written, unique choose-your-own-adventure game with some lovely sound design.

16/07 - Destiny (PS4) - I bought the base game and the two expansions together and it's a damn good game, Destiny, with probably the best feel of any shooter I've played. Everything about the experience is super slick, evocative and utterly intoxicating. The feel of controlling a sparrow or firing a hand cannon into a Fallen's face is so, so perfect it's hard to describe. There's not enough of it, though, and the manipulative stuff they've used to keep you playing is pretty sinister in its potency. I've never been one to get lured in by the promise of random loot drops, but this was starting to get its claws into me in a way that I find concerning, so we're done (for now...)

10/07 - Entwined (PS4) - Pretentious nonsense attempting to mimic thatgamecompany and falling flat in every way. Nasty new age rubbish with a single dull mechanic and unpleasant free-flight controls that it obviously considers a 'reward' at the end of each level.

19/06 - Never Alone (PS4) - A worthy enough idea, combining the indie game and the documentary, but neither side is particularly satisfactory in and of itself. A cumbersome platformer with occasionally stubborn movement and few interesting ideas doesn't particularly inspire me to learn about a culture. Looks really nice, though.

19/06 - Dead Nation (PS4) - Solid twin-stick shooter with a solid arsenal of weapons and enough variety to keep things fresh. Still looks very PS3 in its visuals but the lighting is nice enough. Not sure why they even bothered with the story, though.

17/06 - Shadow Warrior (PS4) - Ridiculous 90s mega-carnage sprint-everywhere fuck-em-up. A genuinely brilliant update of an old classic and shows how Duke Nukem should've been done. Garish in a charming way and occasionally quite pretty, with a daft, funny script and varied, powerful set of weapons. Didn't like it when I'd accidentally dash down some stairs and kill myself from fall damage, but that's my own fault. Ending goes on forever, too.

15/06 - Costume Quest 2 (PS4) - It's barely more involving than the first in terms of the battle system and quests, and there's too much back-tracking and fetch-questing for such a short game, but there's so much to love about Costume Quest. Funny little script, a cute premise about a dental hygeine dystopia in which candy is illegal make it a winner for me.

13/06 - Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Man, I loved this. Somehow manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time as brutal and dumb. Both stealth and boom-bang approaches are satisfying and the whole 'kill the commander' system is inspired. Sound mix is a bit off and recharging the energy weapons is tiresome, but there's just moment after moment of brilliance in this.

11/06 - The Swapper (Vita/PS4) - Enjoyed the look and feel of this but had to give it up after a point. Puzzles were wrecking my head and cheating didn't sound like much fun, so it's done with for now. Really nce atmosphere, though.

09/06 - Resogun (Vita/PS4) - Played this across both formats. Furiously addictive and visually astonishing. Holds up surprisingly well on the Vita, and only really loses the whizzy effects.

08/06 - Futuridium EP (Vita) - Shit, boring concept that should never have made it past the demo stage. Gave it half an hour.

08/06 - The Binding of Isaac Rebirth (Vita) - It was great on PC and it's still great. The new art style is nice but doesn't blow me away or anything, but the music is pretty sweet.

08/06 - Modnation Racers (Vita) - Horrendously ugly and the frame rate is so bad it's like looking at a zoetrope. Dull races that have no sense of urgency or thrill.

08/06 - Titan Attacks! (Vita) - Dull, ugly 'update' of Space Invaders that no one asked for or needed in a post-Space Invaders Extreme world. Pointless.

07/06 - Kick & Fennick (Vita) - Ugly game in terms of art style and visually monotonous, but I like the core concept of using recoil to bounce around. Good little game.

07/06 - Monster Bag (Vita) - One of those games that probably only exists because Sony need to fund quick little games to throw on PS+ every month, and one that has very few mechanical ideas, but it's nicely presented and makes the most of its core concept.

06/06 - Murasaki Baby (Vita) - Some of the touch controls don't work too well and the spooky-wooky Tim Burton style does nothing for me, but I enjoyed some of the novelty of this. Doesn't run its ideas into the ground and left me satisfied enough.

06/06 - Race the Sun (Vita) - Boring as hell endless....flyer? I dunno how people play this shit. Has that flat shaded polygonal style that's back in vogue for indie games but does nothing interesting with it.

06/06 - Killzone Mercenary (Vita) - Shouldn't really work on a handheld, and the sticks struggle a bit with aiming and turning in general, but this is somehow the most enjoyable Killzone of the lot. Neat little bursts of shooty brutality. Gets a bit flickery with the frame-rate but it's an impressive technical feat.

04/06 - Battlefield 4 (PS4) - Indistinguishable from every other military FPS campaign I've played in the last however-many years. Sound and visuals are super impressive but that's about it, really. The whole plot is baffling and vaguely offensive at times, and I have to wish they wouldn't keep wasting resources on this stuff. I'll keep playing the multiplayer until the next one is out, mind.

03/06 - Alien Isolation: Crew Expendable/Last Survivor DLC (PS4) - Slight and adds nothing new to the actual gameplay, but there's a thrill and novelty in the attempt to render the latter half of the movie in game form. Worth the few quid I paid for it.

03/06 - Counterspy (PS4) - Neat Saul Bass-ish visuals and twangy soundtrack for a game with an interesting Xcom-lite structure and fun action platforming. Enjoyed pretty much everything about this, so will have a few runs more on the Vita version whilst I'm on holiday next week.

03/06 - Aaru's Awakening (PS4) - Has a beautiful hand-animated style that really deserves to be seen and....little else. Awkward controls, poor level design and annoying bosses. There are some neat ideas with the teleporting but it's badly implemented. made it as far as the last boss (I think) and gave up. Life's too short.

03/06 - Tower of Guns (PS4) - Yeah, I didn't finish this either, but I did play long enough to work out what it is. FPS rougue-like level-up blah blah blah. It's pretty boring, really, though there's something about its rough N64 look that I quite like, for some reason.

03/06 - Secret Ponchos (PS4) - Was interested in this but couldn't find anyone to actually play against. It's dead, I guess.

02/06 - Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4) - I never would've bought this, being a non-SNK/Capcom 2D fighter themed around a universe I care nothing about, but it was surprisingly fun. I only played through the story mode, though, having no desire to master it enough to play online. It's charmingly daft and the cutscenes are awful but I've wasted my time on worse.

02/06 -Valiant Hearts - The Great War (PS4) - Tonally this veers all over the place, unable to decide if it's some slapstick steampunk lark or a grim, sober retelling of historical facts. The art style is nice but I found it jarred badly with the photos of really facial disfiguration and bodies in the menus, and the bloodless presentation and timid storytelling often came across as dishonest. There's a serviceable but dull adventure puzzle game underneath it all, but that's faint praise.

29/05 - Transistor (PS4) - Loved pretty much everything about this, from its art nouveau/deco/cyberpunk hybrid art style and loungey electronic score, through to the well-realised, unique battle system. Found it utterly captivating to the point that I played it in two sittings, and I wasn't massively taken by Bastion. Highly recommended.

27/05 - Strider (PS4) - One of those games that just has the sheer joy of interaction and motion to it. Cartwheeling over some dudes and unleashing a barrage of swooshy sword attacks never gets old. The metroidvania stuff is very light and they don't even bother with a plot as such (probably for the best), but for half an hour every few nights this was golden. Music was a bit underwhelming, though.

26/05 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (PS4) - Wonderfully well crafted. I bombed hours into this without blinking, it was so bloody compelling. This is that rarity in online gaming in that I rarely felt cheated or frustrated by other players, so it's shame that people only play a handful of modes, then, as they all seem fun in their own way.

26/05 - Pix the Cat (PS4) - Colourfully presented in an effort to convince you it's fun. It isn't, though, unless you like memorising routes and repeating them from scratch each time you make a slight error in order to have the chance of a decent high score, which is the focus of the entire game. Played for about two hours and it barely deserved that.

18/05 - Infamous: Second Son (PS4) - It's basically Prototype or Saints Row IV but not as fun and more repetitive. All the powers are much the same and I barely bothered with the side missions because Sucker Punch had barely bothered to put any effort into them. It is stupidly pretty, though, and I enjoyed faffing about with the photo mode, so at least it taxed the PS4 a bit.

18/05 - The Unfinished Swan (PS4) - A highly attractive game, but one that wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be an austere, visually-coherent artsy affair, but it was another one of those twee, storybook-indie games with awful narration like Trine or Brothers or whatever. I don't understand who it's aimed at. Most kids will find the wandering around slow and boring, and adults will likely find the whole thing pretty simplistic. Eh.

10/05 - Alien Isolation (PS4) - It's so damn good. A perfect retro futuristic recreation of the original film, intense stealth mechanics and an epic journey. Rudi pretty much nailed it with his big post in the GOTY thread, so...errr, what he said.

09/05 - Hohokum (PS4) - My first PS4 game finished, if for no reason other than it was quick to download and pretty short. Enjoyed it, even though it has a complete lack of variety in its interactions. It has a tactile, sensory quality that makes it more like playing a picture book than anything. Lovely soundtrack, too.

01/05 - R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1/VitaTV) - This is about a million times better than most contemporary arcade racers if only for the soundtrack. The fact that you don't so much race as glide elegantly through the courses only makes it all the more special.

30/04 - Splinter Cell (PS3) - In terms of the actual stealthing it was probably the best of the generation, but that isn't saying too much, as it still relies way too much on flawless, easy to execute takedowns and other magic powers, It's the Ubisoft nonsense that hurts the game most, though. UI-mania, a million side missions and unlocks, obnoxious characters talking in a baffling military jargon that so many games seem to fetishise in their scripts these days. It's a tasteless contemporary action game gruel.

27/04 - God of War: Ascension (PS3) - Pretty much by-the-numbers God of War, but with some subtle changes that make QTEs and powers more enjoyable in use. There's some horribly embarrassing stuff around the portrayal of women and the tone continues to be very one note, but I found this a more satisfying playthrough than the last game.

24/04 - Gears of War: Judgement (360) - Makes some sensible changes to the controls and adds some nifty modifiers for those of us that have been playing Gears for years, but fails to wow in any real sense. Looks stunning at times but far too many levels take place in small indoor locations, the four players cramped together. The focus on Horde-esque waves in the campaign and move away from turret sequences of sheer spectacle and frustration is much appreciated, though. AI seemed much better than in 3, too.

21/04 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) - It's so bloody good. Handling is pitched just right, the difficulty curve masterfully implemented and the races are not only fair and legible but also stupidly, chaotically thrilling (something that most arcade racers of the last few years have struggled to balance). The soundtrack is awful shite but there's a custom soundtrack option and the game isn't full of the kind of obnoxious lifestyle bro-dude shit that Forza Horizon suffers from, so it wins the open world arcade racer title for the last gen.

18/04 - Dead Space 3 (PS3) - A lavishly attractive but disappointing end to a series that started incredibly, diluted by the sad compromises that came with each iteration. Dead Space didn't need human enemies, co-op or weird on-rails Space Harrier flying sections, but to the detriment of what made the game special, it got them. There's still some of that tense, cosmic-industrial body horror in places (the ruined flotilla) but there are also near-endless waves of enemies that rush at you, flailing about, putting a stop to the dismemberment combat that set the series apart. Oh, and a potentially great crafting system made too finnicky and costly in a push to sell DLC, so that I made about four guns during my entire playthrough. The ending is laughable garbage, too, but it does look and sound absolutely marvellous in the main, so that's something.

14/04 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) - It's kinda hard to defend the decision to sell a vertical slice of an upcoming game for twenty quid, no matter how replayable it might be. This should've been the intro to The Phantom Pain. It is bloody great, though, and refines many of the things Metal Gear has attempted over the years, to the point that I'm worryingly excited about the main game. Eeeek.

09/04 - Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)- Fun things: Destruction-filled speedy arcade racers with lots of vehicles on the track of different shapes and sizes and wooshy weather effects. Fucking annoying things: Clipping some debris you couldn't reasonably be expected to avoid, crashing out, respawning right in front of a wall so that you crash out again, respawning, then having fourteen other drivers smash into you. There's a game almost as good as Split/Second in here but it's difficult to see it sometimes.

07/04 - Resistance 3 (PS3) - A patchwork of ideas from better games, with no deeper, core mechanic tying everything together. It's unmemorable to say the least. Story is corny and it seems a shame to go the post-WWII alien invasion route and then smear everything in brown, dim lighting, but whatever. It's also startlingly low-res, which isn't something I tend to notice too much. Guns are fun enough, though, and it's mindless in an enjoyably '90s kinda way.

06/04 - The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS3) - I get the feeling the writers settled on having Clem as the protagonist before really figuring out how it would work. Too often the adults around her are asking her to resolve problems that I find difficult to imagine a child understanding. It's kinda uncomfortable in places, like when she's blamed for someone's death unfairly. and not in a way that seems intentional. Episodes feel shorter and even less interactive than before, too.

02/04 - The Last of Us (PS3) - I've not really thought too much of Naughty Dogs games, generally, but found this frighteningly absorbing. It's not the deepest thing mechanically, but it is coherent and balanced in its combat in a way that makes every encounter thrilling. Everything to be said about characters and plot is said better elsewhere, but I'll say that the pacing of plot and the ebb and flow of suspense and relief was just about perfect. Probably my favourite third person action-adventure since Resi 4.

13/03 - Guardian Heroes (360) - It's still the greatest of its kind by a long way. Everything about it just has that Treasure magic, from music and animation to, well, everything. The remix mode makes some decent changes, though I couldn't bring myself to use the nasty sprite filter they included. Was lovely revisiting this, though.

12/03 - The Cave (360) - Nice enough adventure-puzzle-platforming thing. The actual puzzles are enjoyable in a simplistic way, and flirt with adventure game logic without too much of the illogical nonsense of old. It's very underwhelming in terms of presentation and writing, though, given the heritage.

10/03 - Catherine (360) - Captivating to the the extent that it surprised me. The narrowed scope on one guy's commitment anxiety and its crazed manifestations plays really well given the initially bizarre combo of chat and block puzzling. The only real criticisms I have are that it needed a better training mode to practice the 'techniques' and the controls can be pretty awkward. Really solid dub as well for the English version and it looks neatly stylish.

09/03 - Papo & Yo (PS3) - A game of measured, clear puzzles and platforming in an interesting little world. I'm always happy when developers play around with abstractions of the game space, so this kept me pretty happy throughout. The ending is a little over-egged but I appreciate the more personal nature of the story than what we usually get. Another little treat from PS+.

06/03 - Thief (PS3) - You can see that they wanted to take some of the template of Human Revolution and apply it to another old PC series, but it doesn't work here. There are neat little ideas and systems but they don't come together in a coherent whole. Though the stealth is often satisfying in a simplistic way, the actual thievery boils down to cupboard searching in most instances and the AI isn't much fun to play about with. There are also loads of naff horror-ish 'visions' as well, which are pretty much the lamest things in AAA games of late. That said, it looks pretty nice even on PS3, and they did a good job of making you feel like someone with a body, rather than just arms floating around in front of the camera.

03/03 - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) - Played through the story mode and tried some of the more popular community levels. The story is more a demo of the potential of the level editor, though it's craftily inventive at times. The cumbersome control you have over Sackboy is still present, which is a shame, but it's an enjoyable, ambitious game.

02/03 - Here and There Along The Echo (PC) - A kind of radio play interlude to Kentucky Route Zero, featuring a phone that only dials one number. Gently, weirdly comic and enjoyable tactile to play around with. Will Oldham does the voice acting, which is just perfect, really.

02/03 - Killzone 3 (PS3) - The whole 'genocide LOL' thing is a bit weird and the Space Zyklon gun that makes people explode is never explained at all, but I enjoyed the story of this in a dumb, almost Warhammer 40k kinda way. Actual gunplay is still brutal, heavy and lacking in any kind of depth or finesse, but the game throws enough variety in the way to keep things interesting for a few hours. It does feel like Guerilla are coasting, though.

28/02 - Dead Island (360) - Couldn't bring myself to finish the last few quests, but I'm counting it anyway. Occasionally dreadful atmosphere (in a good way), a laudable variety of environments and meaty melee combat can't disguise the fact that the actual gameplay doesn't change at all throughout the game. There's no development and it lacks a compelling enough feedback loop or plot to pull me through. It's just hitting guys the same way until they fall over.

25/02 - The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (360) - Restarted the whole thing after pausing mid-season about a year ago. Really enjoyed it for what is was; a fun noir with a cute premise. Didn't reach the emotionally engaging heights of The Walking Dead but it did keep me pretty gripped throughout. Optimistic for the next season.

25/02 - SSX (360) - Not finished at all, as I couldn't be bothered to put more than a few hours in. Hated it. Try hard extreme-bro presentation, naff cutscenes and utterly charmless characters. Loathsome, wooly controls and difficult to read slopes that seem throw you off the side to your doom with little warning. Nothing of the joyful arcadey flow of the old games. Urgh.

23/02 - TxK (Vita) - Played sporadically over the last few months. It's lovely to behold and clearly well crafted, but just didn't hook me like I thought it would. Something missing, I guess.

23/02 - Tearaway (Vita) - Marvellous. Just relentlessly throws ideas in front of you, lets you mess around a bit and then moves onto the next lot. It's a perfect demonstration of what creative teams could be doing with the console given the chance. Presentation is sometimes a bit twee ukulele bollocks but never too irritating.

22/02 - Super Stardust Delta (Vita) - Ports the experience well to the handheld, though I had to avoid the touch and motion controls where possible (at least they included the option). Much the same as the PS3 version, really, but that's no bad thing.

20/02 - Luftrausers (Vita) - Thrilling, smart and sharp little blasts of aerial action, using a construction sets of pixel ship parts and a lovely sense of 2D flight. Totally thrilling when you scrape through an intense battle, taking out blimps and battleships in a arc of carnage.

18/02 - Surge Deluxe (Vita) - Tries to use the Vita well and is nicely presented, but this block puzzler completely fails to raise the intensity or the pulse. It's boring more than anything, sadly.

16/02 - Woah Dave (Vita) - Dull, below par Super Crate Box kinda thing that held my attention for less than an hour. Finished as I've seen everything it can do.

16/02 - Wipeout 2048 (Vita) - Mind-bogglingly beautiful, refined future racing with a sensible structure for the handheld. I played this for about ten hours straight on a sleeper train/plane combo across China. If it's the last Wipeout it'll be a fitting farewell.

14/02 - DmC: Vergil's Downfall - Kinda rote DLC, really. Cheap looking animated cut scenes and a naff script don't help, and there's little new added at all. Disappointing.

13/02 - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - Fun little twin-stick, kinda light Metroidvania thing that I found surprisingly atmospheric. Really nice sound design throughout. Communicates everything wordlessly yet clearly and when it runs out of ideas it ends neatly.

12/02 - Dragon's Dogma (PS3) - Bombed fifty hours into this in ten days, which is unheard of for me these days. Adored it. There are minor annoyances, but the adventuring and combat is so damn thrilling throughout. Some will find it bland but I found the art style and world to be of a kinda fundamental fantasy that I find appealing in its simplicity.

02/02 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3) - The first episode was too predictable and similar to the main games to be of much note, but I enjoyed the second's foray into stealth, something which Infinite-proper had flirted with briefly and abandoned. Story-wise it seemed too desperate to tie up the loose ends in a Lucas-prequel kinda way, but nothing that caused any major damage in my opinion.

22/01 - DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3) - A divisive game, but one that I felt elegantly adapted the combat and controls of previous games, layered on some genuinely arresting visuals and a plot that was silly in a way that remained interesting. Probably too easy on the default setting but I really, really enjoyed this.

20/01 - Saints Row IV (360) - Hated the opening few hours of this, due mostly to the weak training exercises disguised as missions that have you backtracking repeatedly. It's clearly padded-out DLC throughout, but there's enough of the Prototype-ish chaos to entertain in the most part, and the main quest missions are consistently fun.

15/01 - Crysis 3 (PS3) - Played the second, more linear, game a while back. This one attempts to be a bit more open and succeeds in places, but really funnels you through others. Plot and some of the later environments are hackneyed nonsense, but the bow is fun.

13/01 - Crysis (360) - Lovely open environments in which to piss about, with a thin enough story to keep things ticking along without being a nuisance and a solid set of skills and weapons. Good stuff. Enemies are hawk-eyed little shits, though, able to spot you from a mile off.

 

2014

Spoiler

 

October 24th: Borderlands 2 (360) - Really loved this, even playing it solo throughout. I found the original a little undercooked, a little repetitive, but this one just kept throwing fun in front of the player constantly. Some of the quests are blatant padding, the vehicle handling is pretty horrible and once again I could do without the nerdy 'reference' humour, but generally found this really compelling.

October 10th: Heavy Rain (PS3) - I actually really enjoyed the first half of Beyond: Two Souls until it flew off the rails. This one goes the opposite way and does its best to recover from an abysmal, embarassing opening. I can see what this was trying to do and I'm actually quite keen to see how these narrative experience evolve, but I found most of this poorly written, directed and generally quite boring.

October 3rd: Joe Danger (Vita) - Has a nice, tactile, compulsive feel to it. Shame it only really presents a challenge when going for the pro medals. Individual standard medal challenges just feel like going through the motions, and the scoring system feels too easy to exploit.

September 30th: Frobisher Says (Vita) - Been dabbling with this and the DLC since getting a Vita and it's fun enough for what it is. Basic Warioware-style micro-games that use the Vita's various functions.

September 28th: Resident Evil 6 (PS3) - An absolute mess of a game, but I still managed to get through every campaign. Not sure why, really, other than that I used to adore Resident Evil games. So many poorly implemented and pointless excursions into QTE setpiece nonsense. Capcom need to take a long hard look at what made this series enjoyable, because they've lost their way. Reminds me of Lost Planet 2's bloat and general inability to excecute its ideas in anything other than a frustrating, awkward fashion.

September 24th: Puppeteer (PS3) Reminded me a lot of Dynamite Headdy. A solid, enjoyable and lovingly presented game. It's well behind recent Rayman games and Nintendo's stuff in terms of pure platforming, but all the mechanics tie together pretty well. Shame the head-swapping gimmick is really superficial.

September 24th: Proteus (PS3) - Was wandering around, finding this nice enough but a bit underwhelming and then it suddenly started to give me the damn shivers. Weirdly atmospheric in a way that's hard to describe, so I won't.

September 21st: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) - Nothing to say that hasn't beeen said a million times. It's the sheer detail and cratmanship of it that impresses, really. It's still struggling with the controls and I wish you could grab people/objects and have more physical interactions with the world, but it never felt truly lacking. Worth the money just for the radio stations, if you ask me. Online refuses to work here in China, unlike most PSN stuff, which is a shame.

August 1st: God of War III (PS3) - Aside from a few spectacular, stand-out boss fights, this may as well have been PS2 game. The combat is functional but dated, the graphics are nice but feel very much like looking at an elaborate diorama, and there's a frustrating amount of padding. Maybe I'll prefer Ascension.

July 27th: Killzone 2 (PS3) - Paint-by-numbers FPS. Looks impressive for a game that's about six years old now, but does absolutely nothing interesting. Shooting is solid enough, AI is fine, but it's bafflingly mediocre for a big budget first party title. Why is the level design so pedestrian? Why is the player character so short? Why would anyone care about this game?

July 22nd: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Found the first few hours of this really weak. Treacle-paced and fragmented, with loads of weak puzzles and tepid action sequences. If this series is going to be a linear spectacle it may as well do it with some gusto, which thankfully it starts to do in the latter half. The things I disliked in the first two games are all there, though. Armoured-up bullet sponges, poorly designed arenas, wooly aiming, auto climbing. The fact that Naughty Dog persist with the whole running-into-the-camera nonsense is fucking ridiculous, too. It's all nicely presented, though, I'll give it that.

July 15th: Alan Wake's American Nightmare (360) - It's not bad, but the story mode felt a bit lifeless and lacking in challenge. The excuse for tracking through the same environments three times felt flimsy and clichéd, and it failed to evoke the creepiness of Wake's main game. Arcade action mode seems fine but having to unlock weapons through the campaign collectathon turned me off.

July 11th: Motorstorm RC (Vita) - Furiously addictive little game. Wish it didn't dangle DLC stuff in your face all the time but it's no biggie. Rinsed through the main game and will eventually get around to doing everything, but I'm done for now.

July 3rd: LocoRoco (PSP) - A few hours of squishy-squashy joy. I have no problem with games that are tactile audio-visual delights more than they are mechanically deep. The flaws are there in the controls, which I found myself fighting during the more fiddly platforming sections, and the idea of replaying every level over and over to collect everything fills me with dread, but as a one-shot playthrough it was a lovely.

June 30th: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - Beautiful-looking and frequently thrilling game with solid combat mechanics. The story is weak but the translators have done their best with what was given to them, with some genuinely surprising and funny lines.

June 26th: Sound Shapes (Vita) - Found it a bit of a disappointment, really, but that might be my own fault. I thought the music would respond to the way I played, but really it's just triggering stuff in a linear way. That's fine but not terribly exciting. It does look and sound bloody lovely, though. The Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers levels are particularly wonderful. Level editor seems pretty decent and the community have made some nice stuff, I just don't have time for all that is all.

June 21st: Pixeljunk Shoter Ultimate (Vita) - A well-balanced, varied game that surprised me with how many little ideas it had. The fluid physics are impressive, while the visuals are simple but appealing and very readable. The only major issue was that sometimes an enemy would fly into me from the side of the screen with no warning, just as I was about to finish a level. Great game, though.

June 15th: Gravity Rush (Vita) - A beautiful little gem of a game. It doesn't do anything outrageously new, nor does it do everything perfectly, but it's one of the few open world-ish games in recent years that's captivated me enough to finish all the side quests. I dunno how long I spent just shifting around the city, freefalling and catching myself at the last minute. It's so relaxing. Made with love, this one.

June 14th: Hotline Miami (Vita) - Played this ages ago on my laptop, but it buggy as fuck. This was much better, and surprisngly well suited to the Vita's controls. It's just ridiculously satisying kicking down doors and fucking up everyone's day, and in such a perfectly gross, bleary, nauseating world.

May 24th: Prototype 2 (360) - The pinnacle of the smash-the-crap-out-of-everything open world games, at least as far as I've played. Takes the template of the first, fixes some of the frustrations like being attacked from off screen all the time and lets you run riot. Story is bobbins but it rattles along at a fair clip so it hardly matters. Surprisingly good looking, too.

May 20th: Asura's Wrath (360) - QTEs annoy the shit out of me when they're thrown into the likes of Halo 4 for no particular reason, but often find myself letting it go if the game is built around them. I had a lot of time for From Software's Ninja Blade and this isn't too dissimilar, really. Basic action game scrapping, big QTEs and dumb set pieces. It's a flawed curio for sure, but there's something hilarious about millions being spent on this barely interactive vanity project in which a a man has a hissy fit every three minutes and punches everything to bits.

May 19th: Rock of Ages (360) - A decent game, but one that needed a bit more work to really make the most of the concept. I always felt too rushed to strategise in any meaningful way between rounds, so I'd end up randomly chucking towers around so I could get the next boulder rolling. Still, it's unique in its presentation and I had a few hours of fun with it. Not too shabby at all.

May 10th: Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (PC) - It's just so eerily evocative of... something. One of the few games with a genuine sense of mystery to it. All you really do is colour the story as you go through, but it's so confident in taking its time, letting you bathe in its oddness, that it doesn't matter. There's one scene in this act that is among the best I've ever experienced. Lovely.

May 8th: Syndicate (PS3) - Nowt much to do with the old games, but that doesn't bother me much. Seems like they just tacked the name on to a typical Starbreeze shooter about half way through development or something. It has that really physical brutality that they're so good at, and using the active reload mechanic from Gears as an attack is pretty neat, but it's otherwise really forgettable. Oh, and the bloom is bloody ridiculous.

May 6th: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - So much better than the first game it's unreal. Everything polished until it gleams, few bullshit instadeaths out of nowhere and some damn fine set-pieces. It's such a shame I find Drake one of the most repellent characters ever created, as the game seems to think he's charming or something.

May 4th: Rayman Legends (PS3) - Absolutely bloody pristine platforming. The only one in recent years that's come even close to Nintendo's best. Such a shame this seems to have sold fuck all, because it feels so well crafted.

April 29th: Saints Row: The Third (PS3) - Steamed through the story missions, couldn't be arsed with the filler. This is true of most open world games for me, these days, so it's no big deal. Though much of the zany American humour fell flat for me, I bloody loved the main missions and found the game full of so many satisfying little moments, like jumping straight off the side of the penthouse, parachuting at the last second and then bombing through the windscreen to pinch a car. Feels good, man.

April 24th: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - It's a bit of a mess, there are too many cut-scenes, too many turret sections, the bosses aren't as good as they should be and it all feels a little bit archaic BUT... I bloody love Metal Gear games.. I like tinkering with them, finding the little quirks they've included if you play around with the items and enemies. I'd take a lesser Kojima Metal Gear over your standard action fodder any day. It's really no Snake Eater, though.

April 21st: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) - Pretty much hated the first half of this. Stiff, dull combat with the occasional bit of automatic jumping, interrupted only by something popping up and killing me out of nowhere or Drake completely failing to do what I asked. The plots not even very good, really, and I was lead to believe was quite well done. Picks up the pace a bit in the latter half but even then it felt a bit shonky. Everyone says the sequels are better though. We'll see.

March 27th: Noby Noby Boy (PS3) - Daft little toy thing, but I found myself messing around with it for way longer than expected. Rough around the edges but really charming and amusing at times. Controls are mental, though.

March 27th: Guacamelee (PS3) - Really nicely drawn and concise Metroidvania with nifty combat. Didn't really notice the difficulty spikes I'd read about, just had to watch the attack patterns of some of the later bosses. Could've done without the naff memes and games references scattered about, but you can't have everything I suppose. I had a really enjoyable couple of evenings with this.

March 25th: Flower (PS3) - Looks like a fabric softener advert and the music is occasionally a bit 'early-90s motivational video', so why is this so bloody lovely? I dunno, but it is. Relaxing in a way that games so rarely attempt, let alone achieve. Kinda wish it wouldn't grab the camera to show something happening when you're mid-'flow', but it's no biggie.

March 24th: Flow (PS3) - A pretty mesmerising experience while it lasted, and I'm glad they were smart enough not to drag it out longer than the concept deserved. Enjoyed one of the later creature that had me dashing around, gorging on other creatures in a ravenous blood-lust.

March 24th: Rain (PS3) - A simple, slight but very charming little game in which you find yourself visible only under rainfall whilst evading a seemingly immortal monster. There's nothing mechanically original about it, and the presentation is a little cloying at times, but it all hangs together very well. Reminded me of Clock Tower for some reason.

March 21st: Killer is Dead (PS3) - By the numbers Grasshopper, really, which is bit of a disappointment as I usually love their games. The combat is simple yet satisfying, but it lacks the madcap daftness of Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned for which I forgave those games their flaws. Here, it's disjointed action vignettes punctuated by self-consciously zany cut-scenes, when really I yearned for Killer7's pervasive weirdness. Gigolo missions seem more like clumsily executed Bond parody than works of outright misogyny they've been reported as, but are still boring and unnecessary. Bosses were mad fun, though.

March 17th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (PS3) - An enjoyable game. Nice to play something that lets you play at your own pace, even if it does feel like you're faffing about when the narrative is telling you to hurry the fuck up. Mass Effect has the same problem, though. Good things: Enjoyable stealth, interesting upgrades, decent dialogue, looks pretty nice. Bad things: Bosses are shit, ropey cut-scenes, repetitive hacking and locations, meandering plot. A solid foundation for a follow up, I reckon.

March 10th: Tomb Raider (PS3) - Does so many things well yet disappoints equally. There's a better, more open and more ambitious game in there, somewhere. The entire hunting/camping/crafting side of things has little to no underlying systems yet feel like they should, while the traversal is slick but streamlined to the point of being inconsequential. Combat is satisfying due to the auto-cover and the wonderful bow and shotgun, but the arc of 'traumatised by first self-defence kill' to 'wiped out about a thousand guys because survival' feels really weird and gross. Could've done with cutting out about half of the enemies and going for more abandoned spaces. Still, the animation is lovely, I found the plot engagingly silly for most of it and the soundtrack is some primitive Einsturzende Neubauten industrial thing in places. Highs and lows.

March 5th: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) - An under-appreciated game, I feel. It loses some of ModNation's more unique approach to kart racing but gains the vastly more appealing world and powerful creation tools of LBP. A fair trade, I reckon. Inherits some of LBP's woolliness in the controller response, which is a shame, but the story mode was pretty enjoyable throughout. Some really neat community levels to mess around in, too.

March 3rd: Journey (PS3) - ...aaaand from the ridiculous to the utterly sublime. A stunning work, it really is. Visually it's along the lines of Gwen, ou le Livre de Sable or some of Moebius' desert vistas, which would probably be enough for me. The fact that it's also a brilliant, brilliant game is the most wonderful bonus. The feeling of companionship you have with other players is genuine but also really difficult to explain, as is the rather odd sensation of loss when you lose someone. I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it, but it's one of the only games that I would consider perfect.

March 3rd: Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - I don't really mind these narrative experiences and I thought the initial third of the game was pretty great, to be honest. Genuinely enjoyed some of the sequences in which you're on the run. Then it flies off the rails and never recovers, mostly through bad writing, but the gameplay, as flimsy as it is to begin with, never really evolves at all. Oh, and they do that thing where they put a bunch of racial caricatures in a game and then invent a country in an attempt to make it all okay. Fuck off.

Feb 28th: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) - Favourite thing I've played all year, this. Played Normal Ironman a found it just wonderfully absorbing and utterly gutting when you'd lose a long-serving squad member. A few technical problems with the camera but nothing too distracting. Heading back in soon for another run...

Feb 21st: FTL (PC) - Put about ten hours in and probably done with this. Utterly and completely absorbing while its charms lasted, but the randomness of it just wore me out after a while. Nothing wrong with it, as the brutality is the nature of the thing, but I just don't have the will continue.

Feb 21st: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (360) - A bit flat and lifeless, this episode. Minimal interaction even by Telltale standards and few decisions seems to be of real consequence. Hopefully it picks up again. Still bloody love the score.

Feb 15th: Bioshock Infinite (PS3) - I loved it. It would've been nice to have a few more open arenas and a little more response from the enemies when you hit them, but I don't get the harsh criticisms of the combat. Swinging around on the skyrails was endless fun, bounding off and chucking some vigors all over the shop I found some of the old ultra-violence a bit off, but it's a small matter. More than anything I admire its ambition, and Levine done good in my book.

Feb 11th: Metro: Last Light (PS3) - I absolutely loved this, if for nothing other than the atmosphere and sense of place. I do have a weakness for grim Russian apocalypses and atomic mysticism, though. There are faults, like the overpowered stealth, linearity and abundance of supplies, but it all came together well. Would appreciate more freedom to wander the surface in a follow-up. Here's hoping.

Feb 8th: Remember Me (PS3) - A game of linear traversal and simple, satisfying combat. Punctuated nicely by the memory remixes, which were interesting even though they failed to live up to their potential. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it looked spectacular throughout and thought it had some neat ideas (like the customisable combo strings).

Jan 29th: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360) - The story was jingoistic rambling nonsense, and half the game felt like a tutorial for multiplayer or something, but it perked up once it let you have some freedom. Nice to see a game that accommodates different strategies, if only in certain sections.

Jan 27th: Shoot Many Robots (360) - Abandoning this but I kinda consider it finished as I've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer. Generic 2D run-and-gunner with an admirable number of levels and upgrades but a woeful lack of variety throughout. Boring.

Jan 27th: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360) - A somewhat confused but heartfelt 80s pastiche. I reckon I'd have preferred it if they'd played it straight, to be honest. Could've done without the lazy internet meme humour, too. Enjoyed the boosted pace and lack of fall damage but wish they hadn't walled-off the bases as it seemed to limit the ways in which you could approach them. Feels like an idea that could be better fleshed out with a sequel, though.

Jan 27th: You Will Die Alone At Sea (PC) - Spend a minute floating in a red wireframe ocean, doing nowt. I have a fair tolerance for pointless indie curios but this does nothing and says nothing. At least has the decency to so succinctly.

Jan 25th: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 (360) - An intriguing story, remarkably well executed visually, with a neatly understated synth-pulse of a score. I was bound to like this. I see the recent Telltale games more like choose-your-own-adventure books than the point-and-clicks of the past, and enjoy them on those terms. Besides, I always hated the obtuse puzzles of most adventure games so I'm glad those are out.

Jan 24th: Spec Ops: The Line (360) - By-the-numbers gameplay that disguises (or allows for) a surprisingly subversive take on the strange appeal that video game conflict has to so many. Or at least, that's how I read it. The execution is a little uneven but it's encouraging to see a big budget title try to tackle these things.

Jan 18th: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (360) - Not a bad take on the 2D Castlevania formula. Having three playable characters might have been more interesting if they'd had significantly different weapons and move sets, and I wish they'd gone with the art style in the cut-scenes, but the combat was pretty decent. Story is too boring to mention in any detail.

Jan 14th: Deadlight (360) - This has possibly the worst writing and voice acting I've encountered in a long, long while, along with too much trial-and-error bullshit and inexplicably unresponsive controls. The last one isn't too much of an issue when the game lets you move around at your own pace, but once it starts expecting you to perform flawlessly at speed the game falls apart. A shame because there's a decent contemporary Flashback-style platformer in there, somewhere.

Jan 14th: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360) - Curious little game with some neat, simplistic ideas coming and going before outstaying their welcome. Wasn't convinced the storytelling was much more than a generic mishmash of over-familiar fairy tales, but it was enjoyable enough.

Jan 13th: Halo 4 (360) - Really, really enjoyed this, but I always enjoy Halo. Nothing drastically different and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I had certain problems with the Prometheans, as I always seemed to end up fighting them in much the same way, but nothing that can't be ironed out in the next one.

Jan 6th: Outland (360) - Love the animation and fluidity of movement in general. Probably could've done with a heavier emphasis on the Metroidvania side of things and I almost lost patience with the final boss, but a solid, enjoyable game.

Jan 4th: A Dark Room (Browser) - Finished in the sense that I got bored of waiting for something interesting to happen. Not even sure if there is an ending. I'm not averse to text-based games but there are better uses of my time than watching numbers go up, waiting for a smidgen of revealing information somewhere down the line.

Jan 3rd: Night Rider Turbo (Browser) - Basically EnviroBear 2000: Operation Hibernation with an 80s vibe. Pretty funny for a few minutes.

Jan 2nd: Peggle Nights (360) - It's more Peggle. Nowt more to add, really.

Jan 2nd: I Am Alive (360) - It tried hard, but ended up being a pretty hollow experience. Archaic in most areas and the combat never really lived up to its potential. I liked that climbing actually a required a bit of thought and effort, though.

Jan 1st: Dishonored (360) - Beautiful, fascinating and a bit flawed. Felt it gave you a vast arsenal of stuff for a chaotic play-through but was lacking interesting stealth options. Probably still one of my most enjoyed games of recent years.

 

2013

Spoiler

 

Scribblenauts Unlimited (PC)

Red Steel 2 (Wii)

Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

DLC Quest (PC)

DLC Quest: Live Freemium or Die (PC)

Company of Heroes (PC)

Trine 2 (360)

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (360)

Sleeping Dogs (360)

Far Cry 3 (360)

Kentucky Route Zero Act 1 (PC)

Kentucky Route Zero Act 2 (PC)

Limits and Demonstrations (PC)

The Entertainment (PC)

Dear Esther (PC)

Bastion (PC)

Botanicula (PC)

Drill Dozer (GBA)

Capsized (PC)

Half Life 2 (PC)

Half Life 2: Episode 1 (PC)

Half Life 2: Episode 2 (PC)

Half Life 2: Lost Coast (PC)

Hotline Miami (PC)

Kairo (PC)

Little Inferno (PC)

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (PC)

The Walking Dead: Episodes 1-5 (PC)

 

 

 

 

 

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Here we go again.

 

JANUARY

04.01.18 - Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4)

19.01.18 - Horizon Zero Dawn - The Frozen Wilds (PS4) *DLC

24.01.18 - Guardians of the Galaxy (Telltale Games) (PS4)

 

FEBRUARY

27.02.18 - Yooka-Laylee (PS4)

 

MARCH
N/A

 

APRIL

N/A

 

MAY

02.05.18 - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4)

04.05.18 - A Way Out (PS4)

08.05.18 - Rime (PS4)

 

JUNE

26.06.18 - Far Cry 5 (PS4)

28.06.18 - Pokemon Black (NDS)

 

JULY

01.07.18 - Snake Pass (PS4)

 

AUGUST

03.08.18 - Batman: The Enemy Within (PS4)

 

SEPTEMBER

04.09.18 - Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PS4)

25.09.18 - Spider-Man (PS4)

 

OCTOBER

08.10.18 - King's Quest (PS4)

 

NOVEMBER

N/A

 

DECEMBER

04.12.18 - Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4)

 

________________________________________________________

 

PREVIOUS LISTS

 

2014

 

JANUARY
03.01.14 - Tearaway (PS Vita)
07.01.14 - Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
08.01.14 - The Last Express (PC)
09.01.14 - Guacamelee! (PS Vita)
13.01.14 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

FEBRUARY
14.02.14 - The Last of Us - Left Behind (PS3) *DLC
16.02.14 - Resogun (PS4)
21.02.14 - Final Fantasy III (DS)

MARCH
14.03.14 - Gone Home (PC)
23.03.14 - Secret Files: Tunguska (PC)
24.03.14 - Papers, Please (PC)
27.03.14 - Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (PC)
28.03.14 - South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC)
31.03.14 - Syberia (PC)

APRIL
13.04.14 - Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS3/PS4)
25.04.14 - Syberia II (PC)

MAY
04.05.14 - Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis (PC)
19.05.14 - Infamous Second Son (PS4)
20.05.14 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)
21.05.14 - A New Beginning (PC)
24.05.14 - Transistor (PS4)
25.05.14 - Still Life (PC)
27.05.14 - Half-Life (PC)
30.05.14 - Portal 2 (PC)

JUNE
24.06.14 - Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse (PS Vita)

JULY
09.07.14 - The Wolf Among Us (X360)

AUGUST
25.08.14 - Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4)
28.08.14 - The Walking Dead: Season Two (X360)

SEPTEMBER
01.09.14 - Crash Bandicoot (PS1)

OCTOBER
23.10.14 - Destiny (PS4)

NOVEMBER
09.11.14 - Machinarium (PS Vita)
11.11.14 - Hotline Miami (PS Vita)
12.11.14 - Watch Dogs (PS4)
20.11.14 - Fallout 3 (X360)

DECEMBER
06.12.14 - Assassin's Creed Unity (PS4)
09.12.14 - Lost Horizon (PC)
26.12.14 - The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
29.12.14 - Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS)
 

 

 

2015

 

JANUARY
14.01.15 - Bravely Default (3DS)
15.01.15 - Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) (PS4)
28.01.15 - Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)
29.01.15 - The Blackwell Legacy (PC)

FEBRUARY
04.02.15 - Grim Fandango (PS4)
05.02.15 - To the Moon (PC)

MARCH
N/A

APRIL
N/A

MAY
01.05.15 - Far Cry 4 (PS4)

JUNE
N/A

JULY
N/A

AUGUST
N/A

SEPTEMBER
N/A

OCTOBER
N/A

NOVEMBER
10.11.15 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4)
25.11.15 - Broken Age (PS4)
29.11.15 - Game of Thrones (Telltale Games) (PS4)

DECEMBER
16.12.15 - Final Fantasy VII (PS4)
27.12.15 - Life Is Strange (PS4)
 

 

 

2016

 

JANUARY
02.01.16 - Her Story (PC)
04.01.16 - The Blackwell Convergence (PC)
07.02.16 - Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (PS4)

FEBRUARY
N/A

MARCH
N/A

APRIL
N/A

MAY
12.05.16 - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

JUNE
01.06.16 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone (PS4) *DLC

JULY
N/A

AUGUST
12.08.16 - Pokemon LeafGreen (GBA)
23.08.16 - Firewatch (PS4)

SEPTEMBER
N/A

OCTOBER
05.10.16 - Pokemon SoulSilver (DS)

NOVEMBER
06.11.16 - Pokemon Omega Ruby (3DS)
15.11.16 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine (PS4) *DLC
20.11.16 - Tales from the Borderlands (PS4)

DECEMBER
09.12.16 - Pokemon Sun (3DS)
 

 

 

2017

 

JANUARY
01.01.17 - Rise of the Tomb Raider - Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch (PS4) *DLC
09.01.17 - Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
14.01.17 - The Last Guardian (PS4)
19.01.17 - Ether One (PS4)
25.01.17 - Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PS4)
27.01.17 - Heavy Rain (PS3)

FEBRUARY
N/A

MARCH
02.03.17 - Batman (Telltale Games) (PS4)
05.03.17 - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4)
20.03.17 - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PS4)

APRIL
16.04.17 - Pokemon Diamond (NDS)
30.04.17 - Mass Effect: Andromeda (PS4)

MAY

07.05.17 - Dishonored (PS3)
26.05.17 - Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

JUNE
07.06.17 - Dreamfall Chapters (PS4)
14.06.17 - The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (PS4)
28.06.17 - Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

JULY
25.07.17 - Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PS4)

AUGUST
N/A

SEPTEMBER
N/A

OCTOBER
12.10.17 - Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)
 

NOVEMBER

N/A

 

DECEMBER

N/A

 

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Completed Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on 3DS.

Only the last boss gave me hassle, so after 12 attempts at beating it I simply switched to easy mode to complete it. Finished with 23 hours on the clock, which wasn't too shabby. It's a great remake and the extra controls and touch screen actually make it more enjoyable than the gba original.

ive not played much of the Bowser's Minions mini game, but it wasn't very interesting.

 

now for something else...

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Fully intend to play more games than just Street Fighter this year so I've completed one game already: What Remains of Edith Finch. Very, very much enjoyed it. Short enough to play through in one sitting and wonderful throughout. More variety than I anticipated, coming from other games in the genre. I'm glad I listened to the people singing its praises.

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January

 

Hellblade: Sennua's Sacrifice (PS4)  Well that was dark.  I think I liked it.  I'm glad I played it.  The rune puzzles irritated.  The combat was fluid and intense once I got the hang of it.  The ending...god knows.  Worthwhile/10

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January:
1/1 Pony Island. I have no idea what the hell that was but it was worth the 3 hours I put into it. Couldn't be cunted to do the whole achievement/ticket things so I may have missed something but it had some fantastic ideas of how to fuck with the player.

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Hope to include a number of 2017 purchases on this list:

 

01/01 - Doki Doki Literature Club (PC) - Certainly a unique experience!

 

05/02 - Celeste (Switch) - Finished Chapters 1-7 with about 2,600 deaths.. As for Chapter 8 fuck that I'm classing this as complete 

Overall a really tight and accomplished platformer. One that has that magic ingredient of making you feel incredibly smug when you finally master a stupidly difficult part.

 

24/02 - Assassins Creed Origins (PS4) - Totally epic experience. Over 100 hours on the clock and enthralled until the very end. Stunningly beautiful game too. Pics of my journey can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmcGQfUF

 

28/02 - Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice (PS4) - A stunning technical accomplishment (especially for such a small team). Whilst the gameplay may be quite one note its theme and representation of mental health issues, such as psychosis, should quite rightly be praised. Definitely hard going at times in terms of themes but well worth sticking with. Sound design is simply superb throughout and as for the graphics my photo journey can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm2rUnnN  

 

09/03 - Uncharted Lost Legacy (PS4) - Despite the absence of the enigmatic Drake this has ended up being my favourite game in the entire franchise. It contains all the factors that make the Uncharted games so popular but packaged into a much tighter experience. I'm one of those who although loved Uncharted 4, thought it was a bit bloated and overstayed it's welcome, so the runtime of 8-10 hours (more if you include phototaking) actually works in it favour.

As expected its a graphical tour-de-force throughout with the final chapters showing once again why Naughty Dog are unparalleled when it comes to action set pieces.

Pics of my travels can be found here: 

https://flickr.com/photos/26457251@N07/sets/72157688707888236

 

17/03 - Life is Strange Season 1 (PS4)

I'm late to the three year anniversary party for this one, but definitely a case of better late than never.

The physical release of Before the Storm prompted me to revisit and start this from scratch again, having only completed Chapter 1 upon original launch.

Thankfully I'd somehow managed to avoid all spoilers, so every plot twist and turn had its desired full effect on me.

Was captivated by the story and Max/Chloe's relationship throughout and the game on a whole for me exceeds Telltale Games similar efforts... and must admit to having a bit of something in my eye by the end of it all.

I also set myself the added task of photographing the journey despite there being no photomode. So this was made extra challenging having to avoid snapping subtitles and onscreen prompts. Results of which can be found here: https://flickr.com/photos/26457251@N07/sets/72157693632235954

 

24/03 - Assassins Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones DLC (PS4) - More Assassins Creed Origins, whats not to love! A nice self contained small area to explore that's just as detailed as the main game. Doesn't really introduce anything new but paves the way nicely to move onto Curse of the Pharaohs next.

 

08/04 - The Lost Bear (PSVR) - Took a break from exploring Hope County to give this a try. Picked it up for £3.50 in the sale and played through it in one sitting, taking just over an hour. Well worth a try and lovely example of how to make an engaging platformer in VR. The whole stage/play setting was quite unique and gameplay wise it has a lot in common with Limbo (just not as dark). well worth a go, especially for the price of a pint.  

 

13/04 - Life is Strange: Before the Storm (PS4) - I'm always quite wary of prequels, so went into this not expecting a great deal and I must admit after the first hour or so it basically felt like a story that didn't really need to be told. However by the end of the first chapter I was hooked. Thankfully Deck Nine (who took over from Dontnod) have managed to tap into what made the first season so compulsive. It was never going to be a happy jolly story but deals with the topics at hand (friendship, loss, grief and love) well and crafts a well told and surprisingly grounded story. There are a few plot holes that still don't sit well with me, but overall it was a fitting conclusion to the series.     

As usual photos can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskyThA5w

 

23/06 - Onrush (PS4) - 100% & Platinum - A brave and bold attempt to shake up the arcade racing/combat genre. It definitely takes a bit of time to click but once it does it offers some of the most fun and intense arcade gameplay on offer this year. Coupled with a contender for soundtrack of the year and a feature filled photomode it ticked all the right boxes for me. 

Really hope more people pick it up and give it the time it deserves, would be such a shame for such genuine creativity to go unrewarded.

All of my Onrush photos can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhT81R2 

 

25/06 - God of War (PS4) - What can I say that hasn't already been said. A truly phenomenal journey and a technical masterpiece. A benchmark title for the generation and one that really hammers home just how far gaming has come in recent years. 

Photos from this unforgettable adventure can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmesQUKA   

 

27/06 - The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (PS4) -  Just finished it and felt it was a perfectly suited little prelude to Life is Strange 2. Dontnod really have nailed a certain feel to their games that just grab you from the moment you start playing... and as has been mentioned multiple times already the music selection is once again perfect.

Quite glad this one wasn't much longer though as the subject matter of Chris' loss was a little too close to home for me.

 

12/07 - Far Cry 5 (PS4) -  Another of this years big hitters done and dusted. Ended up enjoying Hope County so much that I even mopped up all side quests and collectables. Ubisoft really do seem to have nailed the formula for engaging open worlds. Both this and Assassins Creed Origins had me exploring every inch of their lovingly crafted maps. The overall storyline in this was bobbins but the lush visuals and freeform gameplay more than made up for it. 

Photos from my exploits in Hope County can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskyuJftU

 

29/08 - Assassins Creed Origins: Curse of the Pharaoh's DLC (PS4) - A really meaty and substantial piece of DLC. So much so it would have actually made a nice standalone game. Manages to mix things up a bit with the addition of various "afterlife" locations to explore. each one offering plenty of stunning photo-op moments. 

Still surprised how much this edition of the franchise has grabbed me, ended up totaling 150 hours of gameplay for the main game and all DLC. Along with over 400 photos that can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmcGQfUF

Sad to say farewell to Bayek of Siwa.

 

27/09 - Spiderman (PS4) - 100% & Platinum - Another absolute powerhouse of a title and a perfect example of an open world game done right. Thanks to a relative lack of padding in the collectables/sidequest department it helps maintain the focus on the excellent story throughout. Any diversions that are on offer (backpack collecting, crimes and research stations etc) all feel perfectly in keeping with the world, without ever becoming an all consuming distraction. 

Traversing the city is an absolute joy, so much so I don't think I ever used fast travel.. and in terms of the visuals, Oh my! Its up there as one of the best this year. An absolute beauty that's allowed to shine even more thanks to an ever expanding photomode. 

Roll on the New game+ and DLC.

All pics from my Amazing Adventures with Spiderman can be found here:  https://flic.kr/s/aHsmpCVgSB    

 

07/10 - Wipeout HD / Wipeout Omega Collection (PS4 / PSVR) - Having gradually chipped away at this for months the VR update proved a revelation in terms of playability and control. I always struggled in the higher speed classes but VR actually makes them perfectly playable, so much so I was easily beating all previous leaderboard times and elite golding a number of events I'd previously never dreamed possible... resulting in my actually completing the thing for the first time ever.

The VR update is without a doubt one of my landmark gaming moments from the past few years.. having been there day 1 for the original Wipeout PS1 release to see just how far things have come has been a privilege. I recommend that anyone who has the means to try it do so ASAP.

As usual all of my Wipeout photos (from the non-VR version) can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWK2QM3

 

02/11 - Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PS4 / PSVR) - 100% & Platinum - PSVR's killer title has finally arrived! A totally joyous experience from start to finish and one that play to all the strengths VR gaming has to offer. Its inevitable that the game wont get anywhere near the exposure or love that it deserves purely due to the issue with most VR games, in that you can't really explain what makes it so good, its something you just have to try. 

It's no exaggeration when I say this may very well pip Red Dead, Spiderman and God of War as my GOTY. It feels like another genuine landmark moment in gaming. One thats up there with stepping into Mario 64's gameworld for the first time. 

Really can't wait to see where they take this next!  

 

05/11 - Spiderman The City That Never Sleeps DLC (PS4) - 100% - More Spiderman.. what's not to love. A nice bite-sized slice of Spidey action. looking forward to parts 2 & 3. 

 

09/11 - Tetris Effect (PS4 / PSVR) - Journey Mode Normal Complete - Yet another PSVR highlight. Had been earerly awaiting this one since that original teaser trailer landed. Pleased to say it didn't disappoint and exceeds expectations in terms of the sheer volume of options/game modes available. Plays and looks great in standard mode but in VR its elevated to a whole other level. 2018 continues to be the year PSVR really takes off.

 

22/11 - Spiderman Turf Wars DLC (PS4) - 100% - Even More Spiderman.. although this latest offering is a bit of a mixed bag. The positives are that all three of the new suits are great and incredibly photogenic. The challenge level also seems to have been ramped up, with Hammerheads hideouts offering some of the toughest challenges offered by the game so far. On the negative side I found the story to be incredibly weak, very little happens and it suffers from not having the likes of Black Cat in Chapter 1 to mix things up a bit. Expectations for chapter 3 have been lowered slightly as a result. 

 

05/12 - Shadow of the Colossus HD Remake (PS4) - I revisited as a virtual photography challenge. Set myself the limitation of sticking to the same photomode settings and to document each of the 16 Colossus in sets of 4 photos. The results of which can be seen here:

 It was a total delight to revisit this classic and I just wish there were more remasters of this calibre out there. Can't wait to see what Bluepoint do next (please be MGS1).

 

18/12 - Hitman 2 (PS4) - Completed the story mode but this is one of those titles that will never be 100% complete. The amount of content and replayability is simply staggering. The way it incorporates all of the Hitman 1 content (assuming you already own it) is really nicely done as well. Without a doubt the best Hitman package since Blood Money, or possibly ever. Just pray that IO get to continue to support and expand upon it.

 

28/12 - Gris (Switch) - A hauntingly beautiful experience. Stunningly animated visuals matched by equally stirring music make this an essential purchase. It may only be short, full playthrough took about 3 hours, but I definitely don't feel shortchanged. 

 

31/12 - Into The Breach (Switch) - Another game that I don't think you can ever fully complete. However managed to playthrough the campaign a couple of times now. Wasn't interested in this title until I read the buzz around it on the forum and so glad I gave it a try. Definitely scratches that Advance Wars itch and almost feels an insult to have paid under a tenner for it.  

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January

 

What Remains of Edith Finch

 

Moving, uplifting, imaginative, a mechanical reinvention of the genre. It would have made my top ten of last year. The house itself was endlessly surprising and kept me open mouthed. 

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January:
1/1 Pony Island. I have no idea what the hell that was but it was worth the 3 hours I put into it. Couldn't be cunted to do the whole achievement/ticket things so I may have missed something but it had some fantastic ideas of how to fuck with the player.

 3/1 Doki Doki Literature Club. Well. That was... something. I vomited more spoiler filled words at my blog if anyone gives a fuck because if you played this you know why.

https://videogamesarefuckinggreat.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/002-doki-doki-literature-club-spoilers/

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Well, first game of the year done.

 

04/01

Assassin's Creed Origins

 

I feel like this game is a return to form. Probably the first Assassin's Creed I've truly enjoyed since Brotherhood. Hopefully they take some time again to make the sequel and not push for the yearly AC games.

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January:
1/1 Pony Island. I have no idea what the hell that was but it was worth the 3 hours I put into it. Couldn't be cunted to do the whole achievement/ticket things so I may have missed something but it had some fantastic ideas of how to fuck with the player.
 3/1 Doki Doki Literature Club. Well. That was... something. I vomited more spoiler filled words at my blog if anyone gives a fuck because if you played this you know why.

 4/1 Titanfall 2  - The single player was generally fantastic with some wicked ideas, but just stopped being ace because of Repetitive Death Syndrome. Totally worth it for Effect and Cause and the final assault with the 6 - 4.

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January

 

13/01 Yorkshire Gubbins:Episode 1 (PC) It's really short (playing the prequel and episode 1 clocked in at about an hour and a half) but it's incredibly charming. Well worthe the price of a cup and a half of coffee.

 

11/01 Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) It looks the business but there's three things that Guerrilla really got right. The movement of Alloy is so good, I always felt like I was in complete control. For an open world game they really designed it carefully so you wouldn't get overwhelmed. But the thing that really impressed me in this game was the writing. For me at least even small sidequests were interesting with tiny little stories. And the big story, and it's revelations didn't disappoint. I loved it all, alongside Edith Finch it's in my top two games of 2017.

 

06/01 Universal Paperclips (Browser) I thought I'd placed myself in an unwinnable spot playing this late last year but opening up this morning I realised I'd misread one of the options. In no time I launched for the stars, now all is paperclips.

 

03/01 What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4) Someone gave me an EB voucher for Christmas and this was in sale and I really wanted to show it off to my wife so I went for a second bite. Still amazing (with the excpeption maybe of one story that didn't quite hit.) In terms of both "walking simulators" and telling narrative through level design Edith Finch has raised the bar a lot. If it's in your to play pile bring it to the top, it's really short and well worth experiencing before someone spoils it for you.

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Finally can join the party for 2018!

 

06/01/18 - Einar (PC)

 

It's a free-to-play, 15 minute student project where you are a Viking who has to kill some villagers-turned-monsters via third-person hack-and-slash. It's very basic, with iffy controls/collision detection/movement, but looks okay. It's not really a game, as much as a short experience. Still, I finished it (despite the final area requiring a few attempts because of the aforementioned issues) so I get to count it. Hurrah me. 

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2/1 - Doki Doki Literature Club: a wonderful examination of classic Shakespearean influences on Japanese culture. And I totally dated 3 of the 4 available young women! Recommended!

 

6/1 - Superhot VR: just a mind-blowing VR experience that's so, so good. I know there's loads of arcade stuff to revisit, and I will, but that's going down as a 'complete' now I've destroyed that pyramid. 

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First one of 2018 

 

06/01/18 -Shadow of War (PS4)-  Overall really enjoyed this and definitely feel I've got my moneys worth with about 30 hours of game time put into it and that was without even touching the end game. Would recommend to anyone who was a fan of the first or simply wants to run around Mordor decapitating orcs.

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What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)

 

I didn't originally intend to play this, but having started Shadow of War a few days earlier and having been so completely unmoved by that opening, I thought a short simple narrative game might be a pallet cleanser before giving another go to the sprawl of an open world game.

 

So this is by turns one of the finest narrative games I've played and perhaps something of a disappointment.  Its clever, at times beautiful, and shows a masterstroke of imagination in turning a story book into a game with each sequence so individual but also its well not quite the game I hoped for or perhaps not quite the masterpiece I was promised.

 

It does suffer from some technical blips which particularly mar the opening 20 minutes (I'm not normally too sensitive to this story of thing but in a walking simulator where the atmosphere is everything, stuttering frame rate and slightly heavy feeling controls don't help.  It gets worse when the first story sequence suffers from illogical and inexplicable controls/mechanics which never really click as the narrative takes flight, which is a shame because from a story perspective I think I liked Molly's tale the best (I particularly liked wandering around the room afterwards and finding all the subjects of her transformations).  From a mechanics point of view I found Sam's story frustrating too.

 

It does improve, massivly and I found Barbara's, Gregory, Gus and particularly Lewis' stories to be stunning; by turns tragic and yet compelling with outstandingly different ways of expressing their respective ends and all giving striking but engagingly physical ways with interacting with them.  But then I hated the conclusion.  

 

Killing Edith in childbirth seemed particularly unnecessary, particularly if the game was trying to break the cycle of the misfortune of the Finch's, and I was massively frustrated that we didn't get to go into the old house

.

 

So yeah by turns loved and was disappointed - whilst I think its an amazing experiment in conveying narrative in a game I felt saddened and slightly unsatisfied by the end and combined with the slightly fiddly mechanics in more than one place, its not worthy of quite all the plaudits it has earned... 

 

 

Previously

 

 

 


January

 

Hellblade: Sennua's Sacrifice (PS4)  Well that was dark.  I think I liked it.  I'm glad I played it.  The rune puzzles irritated.  The combat was fluid and intense once I got the hang of it.  The ending...god knows.  Worthwhile/10

 

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In an unprecedented feat I just completed two games in one evening:o

 

Horizon Zero Dawn is the first current generation game I've properly played and woah, what a way to start. A great experience generally speaking. Unfortunately the last few battles were so fucking infuriating it ended on a sour note for me. Would have called it an all time classic. Instead I'll say it was pretty awesome.

 

Did Soma earlier this evening. Only criticism is that it runs like shit on the ps4, really disappointed with all the jittering during the autosaves. Real cool game though. Good atmosphere, on point voice acting (swearing was bit excessive for me), intriguing story, and it got creepier as it went on. The puzzles make you feel smart and the stealth makes you feel ninja. Also, and this is a big one, it's the PERFECT length. If only more games were this concise.

 

Oh yeah, great ending too.

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Only 9 days into 2018 and two games already 'complete' !

 

Super Mario Odyssey - As good as everyone says it is - now to play the end game and get those moons! (Jan)

 

What Remains of Edith Finch - Great experience all round and the perfect length for some after work gaming.  Loved it. (Jan)

 

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Bound (PS4)

 

Well 10 days into 2018 and 3 completions, thats quite something for me.  Okay I am cheating a little by only playing games so far this year that are a few hours long but hey ho.

 

Anyway what the hell did I just play?  Bound is a stunning looking and sounding game which visualises a child's imaginary world as a fractal, shifting landscape of incredible beauty populated by a graceful ballerina and huge stalking giants.  Just like Edith Finch its as much an experience as a game - although there is distinctly more 'game' here, albeit mechanically more than a bit ropy.  

 

Its basically a platformer crossed with a walking simulator - only the narrative is deliberately clocked in metaphor and deliberately obtuse and the platformer bits veer between the sublime (mainly any sequence that involves the dangling ribbons which feel lovely to interact with and the closing sequence of each level which basically steals a significant part of Journey wholesale, but is all the more lovely for it) to the ridiculous (on occasion you just fall through platforms for no reason at all and its often head spinning hard to work out where the next path might be).  The controls feel slightly awkward throughout which is odd given the grace of the lead character.

 

The plot when boiled down is basically a return to conquer childhood demons and after everything was done I was unconvinced it said anything particularly profound to say but its intriguing to untangle all the same.

 

So yeah, interesting stuff and I'm sure its even more breath taking in VR but when you stand apart from the visual and audio spectacle its neither narratively satisfying nor all that much fun to 'play'. 

 

Previously

 

 

 


January

Hellblade: Sennua's Sacrifice (PS4)  Well that was dark.  I think I liked it.  I'm glad I played it.  The rune puzzles irritated.  The combat was fluid and intense once I got the hang of it.  The ending...god knows.  Worthwhile

 

What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)

 

So this is by turns one of the finest narrative games I've played and perhaps something of a disappointment.  Its clever, at times beautiful, and shows a masterstroke of imagination in turning a story book into a game with each sequence so individual but also its well not quite the game I hoped for or perhaps not quite the masterpiece I was promised.

 

It does suffer from some technical blips which particularly mar the opening 20 minutes (I'm not normally too sensitive to this story of thing but in a walking simulator where the atmosphere is everything, stuttering frame rate and slightly heavy feeling controls don't help.  It gets worse when the first story sequence suffers from illogical and inexplicable controls/mechanics which never really click as the narrative takes flight, which is a shame because from a story perspective I think I liked Molly's tale the best (I particularly liked wandering around the room afterwards and finding all the subjects of her transformations).  From a mechanics point of view I found Sam's story frustrating too.

 

It does improve, massivly and I found Barbara's, Gregory, Gus and particularly Lewis' stories to be stunning; by turns tragic and yet compelling with outstandingly different ways of expressing their respective ends and all giving striking but engagingly physical ways with interacting with them.  But then I hated the conclusion.  

 

 

 

Killing Edith in childbirth seemed particularly unnecessary, particularly if the game was trying to break the cycle of the misfortune of the Finch's, and I was massively frustrated that we didn't get to go into the old house

 

 

So yeah by turns loved and was disappointed - whilst I think its an amazing experiment in conveying narrative in a game I felt saddened and slightly unsatisfied by the end and combined with the slightly fiddly mechanics in more than one place, its not worthy of quite all the plaudits it has earned...

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Decided around Christmas to really try to play through games instead of forever looking to the next thing and never enjoying most of what I buy.
So, having started it over 6 months ago,  I finally dispatched Wolfenstein new order on the 30th, and purposely picked something that looked totally different to start the new year:

 

Life is Strange - Had some idea about the mechanics and basic setup of this from reviews, but nothing about any specifics of the story.
Anyway, played 1 episode per night over 5 nights. On finishing 4, I could barely sleep with worry, and on finishing 5, was basically crushed.
I've been playing games for most of my life and none (nor any other piece of fiction i can think of) has ever had the impact this did. 
This is ridiculous to me -  its tropey and melodramatic, sometimes the dialog seems clunky and performances overwrought.
I engaged with it though, and in the end: 

 


I had to save the town, but hated doing it. and felt grief for my imaginary friends and what I'd made them do. 

One of the really cool things about the game is that although the ending is a essentially fixed binary choice,

what that choice means to a player will be very different depending on the choices they've made throughout the game.


It made me ask questions about my own life that have opened up possibilities for real improvement.
Is that a recommendation? I dunno', its unlikely to have that much of an effect for most, 
plus I've barely functioned for a week, let alone wanted to play another game.

Nice to get that off my chest. Thinking maybe Titanfall 2 next.
 

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01 – Gorogoa (iOS)

Wow. This blew my mind. Short but perfect.

 

02 — Game of Thrones Episode 3 (PS4)

One of the worst-looking games I’ve played but dammit I like me some GoT. 

 

03 — What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)

Absolutely loved this. Played through in one sitting, just the right length for a narrative-based game. 

 

04 — Game of Thrones Episode 4 (PS4)

 

05 — Game of Thrones Episode 5 (PS4)

 

06 — Game of Thrones Episode 6 (PS4)

Meh. I basically got everyone killed, so think I played it right. 

 

07 – Full Throttle Remastered (Mac, Steam)

Aces.

 

08 — Vostok Inc. (Switch)

Just brilliant fun. Recommended to anyone who enjoys twin stick shooters and/or mind-numbing clicker games. 

 

09 — Steamworld Dig 2 (Switch)

Splendid. 

 

10 — Monster Hunter World (PS4)

All the goodness. 

 

11 — Bayonetta 2 (Switch)

First Climax playthrough. Love this game and now the real playthroughs can begin.

 

12 — Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)

As much fun as Hyrule Warriors, though a bit more complicated and not as charming. The music is nowhere near as good either, but it does have Camilla. 

 

13 — Streets of Red (Switch)

Fun little brawler with a cool art style and feel. Completed it on my second go with Paladin as I found a roll/grab is not only unblockable but has invincibility. It was a bit easy, so will try Hard mode next. For £5, though, this was great value and I can imagine it’s more fun in multiplayer. 7/10. 

 

14 – God of War (PS4)

Yeah, it's very good, but none of the gameplay is revolutionary and has been done better elsewhere. Baffling crafting system. Lots of fun, though the story drags near the end and never lives up to the first encounter with The Stranger. 7.5 or possibly 8/10

 

15 — Legend of Zelda: BotW Champions’ Ballad DLC (Switch)

Just bloody great and now I have a fucking motorbike. Aces. 

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13/1 - Mad Max: I've had this a few years now and barely started it, so wiped my save and started again. I did a fair amount of side mission stuff, but concentrated mainly on the story campaign. God, there's just so much in here. I thought it was fantastic from start to finish. If I had a couple of criticisms they'd be that one of the major characters needed more story missions spent with her (to develop the relationship further), and that the northern section of the map is somewhat beset with technical and framerate issues. But, just fantastic. Had the same inverse difficulty as Shadow Of Mordor as well, which I loved, because I felt like a ROAD WARRIOR by the end.

 

 

Spoiler

2/1 - Doki Doki Literature Club: a wonderful examination of classic Shakespearean influences on Japanese culture. And I totally dated 3 of the 4 available young women! Recommended!

6/1 - Superhot VR: just a mind-blowing VR experience that's so, so good. I know there's loads of arcade stuff to revisit, and I will, but that's going down as a 'complete' now I've destroyed that pyramid. 

 

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13/1 - Uncharted 4. Third time lucky for Uncharted 4 after not getting very far on two other occasions. There’s not much in the way of gameplay, a lot of pressing forward, some pressing of the jump button and occasional shooting. However as an experience it’s pretty awesome. Took me just over 12 hours, so didn’t overstay it’s welcome.

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