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What games did you complete? 2019 Edition

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08/11 - Journey (PS4) - I've owned this for ages and never got more than 10 minutes in, so whilst waiting for Yakuza 4 to download I gave it another chance. It's quite the experience. You genuinely do feel as if you've been on a journey, through several pretty and differing landscapes and with a soundtrack that fits the game so well. As with all walking sims, there's not much in the way of actual gameplay, but this is all about the experience and in that regards it delivers. I did go back and read the game's thread on here, and quite a few people were going on about sharing their journey with others. I apparently shared my journey with three others, but didn't see or notice them, so not sure if I missed out on anything by playing this so late in the day.

 

10/11 - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) - Another game that I've owned for ages and never got more than 10 minutes in. Where this excels is in the world it builds and the feeling that you were there. It feels real. A most thought provoking and enjoyable experience. I'm glad I played this.

 

Previously:

 

01. 07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

02. 12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
03. 27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
04. 29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)
05. 11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One)
06. 16/02 - Late Shift (Xbox One)
07. 20/02 - The Gardens Between (Xbox One)
08. 25/02 - Super Lucky's Tale (Xbox One)
09. 02/03 - South Park: The Stick of Truth (Xbox One)
10. 13/03 - Devil May Cry V (Xbox One)
11. 21/03 - Beyond Two Souls (PS4)
12. 27/04 - Virginia (Xbox One)
13. 29/04 - Beyond Eyes (Xbox One)
14. 02/05 - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (Xbox One)
15. 13/06 - Shining Resonance Refrain (Xbox One)
16. 24/06 - Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4)
17. 06/08 - Judgment (PS4)
18. 10/08 - Firewatch (Xbox One)
19. 11/09 - Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)
20. 05/10 - Dragon Quest (Switch)
21. 10/10 - Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line (Switch)
22. 19/10 - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)
23. 02/11 - Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered (PS4)

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1. GRIS (Switch)
A beautiful and bittersweet experience with absolutely stunning visuals and music. I don’t really want to say much else as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The end really got me in the feels. Recommended. 
 

2. Katamari Damacy Rerolled (Switch)

Got a couple of constellations left, but the credits have rolled (LOL), so this is in the done pile. Recommended. 

 

3. What Remains of Edith Finch? (Xbox)

Enjoyed this just as much on my second play through. Excellent game.

 

4. Guacamelée 2 (Switch)

More of the same, really, which is fine by me. 8/10

 

5. Gato Roboto (Switch)

Cute little Metroid clone. Finished it in 3h30m with 75% completion rate. Well worth £6 if you want something simple and you like cats. 7/10.

 

6. Untitled Goose Game (Switch)

One of the most fun little games I've played in years. Being a dickhead is so much fun. 8/10

 

7. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Apple Arcade)

:wub: /10

 

8. Super Mario Maker 2 – Story Mode (Switch)

Really fun and great way to showcase some of the amazing ideas which can be realised with SMM2. A mix of fantastic levels in there with a few bastards. Still some courses to mop up to complete the 99 story challenges. It has been a bit since I started this and some QoL updates have made the game much more accessible, which is nice, and the SM3D World style still makes me want a port of the Wii U game or, even better, a new SM3D World.
Moustache /10

 

9. Luigi's Mansion 3 (Switch)

One of the most beautiful 3D games I have played, packed with incredible characters, animations, music and some of the most inventive boss battles I've experienced. Exploring the Hotel is always a delight, with each new floor successfully ratcheting up the silly on the previous one and mixing up the mechanics nicely to avoid repetition. There are so many nooks and secrets I've yet to explore, and will be going back for all the jewels and Boos. Highly recommended.
Poltergeist /10

 

–––

 

Abandoned Games

 

 

 


i. Bloodstained Curse of the Moon (Xbox)

From the gushing praise this was getting, I thought it was going to be great. I really didn't like it at all. Not because it's a retro game – I've actually enjoyed some of the NES games in the Switch Online service – but because of really dull, sometimes infuriating level design, uninspired enemies and an annoying final boss (dual-stage with un-skippable and overly long transitions!) which pushed it over the edge from diverting curio to load of time wasting balls. A couple of the bosses were OK, character swapping mechanic wasn't as good as it seemed at first. 
 

 

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36. Sparklite
7-10 Nov
This started off very promising and it certainly looks and sounds the part. 16-bit visuals and sounds that reminded me of Secret of Mana as much as anything (although the music isn't that good). The combat and upgrading systems are also solid and there are some decent boss fights. But in the end it's all just a little bland. Exploring isn't that much fun when what you discover is rarely exciting. It works by procedurally shifting around the contents of the levels each time you return to the hub (although it's really not a Roguelike, as you're always progressing and keep stuff when you die), and in each area there's a new piece of equipment to find as well as other caves and grottoes with useful power ups. But once you've found the main stuff it gets repetitive traipsing around looking for minor treasures. It doesn't help that the level design never really requires you to use your Zelda-like inventory to solve puzzles either. Each item is really just a new kind of key to access more of the area. I still finished it and couldn't really dislike it, but it just didn't do enough.

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Dead Rising 4 - Another Game Pass one, I thought this was the one around the Xbox launch, but apparently that was 3 and this launched a couple of years ago, so must have really come and gone, and not without cause, I guess. This drops the time management so you can just go from story event to story event and that just kind of guts the whole structure, I completed the first half of this just going between waypoints and cutscenes and odd detective vision modes, there was barely any combat or gameplay.

 

Everything else is pointless, survivors are auto-generated "events" that level up shops in your shelters (I never went into a shelter outside of the ones on the critical path, or used the shops), bossfights might as well be avoided because they only give you currency, there's loads of pointless collectibles. And I mean, in the first DR (which is the only one I've played) saving and escorting survivors offered no rewards, so they actually have more importance here, but I've never seen one change to structure hollow everything out like this.

 

Still I whizzed through the campaign in about 8 hours, the one thing it succeeds at is being very funny, the ability to snap a gurning selfie with a confused soldier mid-stealth takedown is something I'm surprised hasn't been ripped off.

 

Spoiler

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Apex Legends

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

Elder Scrolls Online: Murkmire

Oxenfree 

Dragon Quest XI 

Forza Horizon 4 + DLCs

ABZU 

Sniper Elite 4

FFIX 

Hyper Light Drifter

Superhot 

Snake Pass

Yokus Island Express

Gears 4

Gears 5

Batman: Arkham Knight + DLC Episodes

Metro Exodus 

Rise of the Tomb Raider 

Bloodstained

Into the Breach

Ori and the Blind Forest

The Outer Worlds 

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17/11/2019 - Vampyr (PC)

 

Right, well, what can I say? I know this is a big favourite of @Mr. Gerbik, but I developed a real, proper hatred for this by the end.

 

It started well - the setting is oppressive, filthy and downbeat; the voice acting is good and it launches you straight into the story. Once you are through the tutorial and have got the hospital, fun was to be had walking around the battered corridors, talking to patients, picking up an investigation here and there and getting the main story beats down. And that was fine for the first few hours, perhaps helped by the fact I went exploring rather than immediately following the main thread. Sure, I could overlook the awful combat - that'll get better as I level up, right? I listened patiently to everyone I met - because some of these things will payoff at some point, surely? I could overlook traversal being a bit of a chore because of the enemies who were just fodder, because there would be ways to avoid them, because otherwise that would be stupid! Right? Right?!

 

I think where it completely turned for me (oh, a pun!) was the boss fight at the end of chapter 3 - that was really rubbish and frustrating and took a good too many retries. Once I did get through it though, fatigue had started to set in. The awful combat never got any better and having completed The Technomancer earlier in the year (and when typing this I realise it isn't in my list of completed games - hurrah, 1 more done this year!) the mechanics here aped Spiders' effort almost entirely (a primary attack with no combos, a secondary attack and some abilities that never felt very powerful). Add to that the spongey enemies (and the annoying religious folks who could almost stun-lock you for somebody else to come and butcher you) and each fight became a war of very dull attrition, with the whole attack -> dodge to safety -> attack that, yes, I know will be referred to by some as Souls-like but here, in this game I will refer to as crap.

 

By that point I was tired of all the talking. So much talking. If it was interesting stuff to say I wouldn't have minded, but most was pointless chatter. I started skipping dialogue from that point.

 

The investigations, too, never amounted to anything. I know that, as a side quest, they aren't meant to form part of the main story, but even so it there was nothing inventive in there other than 'go to a place and kill something'. Some investigations had a completely pointless 'give item to x or y' but there was no consequences, no change to speech or anything.

 

Tonally it was all over the place, too. I didn't kill anybody in my playthrough (avoiding the gotcha near the start that I'm sure caught many people out) and so got the 'good' ending (what a terrible ending that was, too, reducing the agency of the other character to nothing more than a typical trope) - but I had butchered hundreds of humans along the way. Gee, I didn't feed on them, what a saint! I also took the option when presented to a couple of characters and somehow that wasn't seen as a bad thing either. Go figure.

 

And then there was the worst boss fight of them all, with magical burning light limiting your movement. That fight took over an hour because and that's where my frustrations morphed to proper anger and hatred. Thankfully the run to the end from that point wasn't too long (except for a horrible fight in the cramped morgue, with about 4 ranged fighters, swordsmen and a religious nut to contend with) and the final boss was a doddle. As mentioned though, the ending was really poor and didn't feel earned in the slightest. You also have this city full of danger and death and yet 60-odd NPCs happily stay out all night safe from the horrors that murder everybody else and at worst might have a headache. The fact that citizens could only die by your own hand (mouth) was a bit silly; perhaps a timed element to some illnesses might've added something different to the game.

 

I know I've been scathing - and don't get me wrong, my lasting impression is very, very negative - but I can appreciate that there were some clever ideas in there; making it such that trying to be 'good' made things harder was really cool (I did debate going on a murderous spree when I was struggling with the boss above, but I figured the actual abilities weren't much cop anyway); the voice acting, as noted, I thought was generally very good and the setting was great (walking the dark, wet streets of a rainy London - before you had another dull fight - was genuinely quite peaceful. But then I do love rain in games.)

 

Ultimately though, it just didn't hang together for me and I'm sorry to it is a case of fangs, but no fangs.

 

(:hat:)

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

06/11/2019 - Homefront: The Revolution DLC x3 (PC)

27/10/2019 - Bad North: Jotunn Edition (PC)

16/10/2019 - Homefront: The Revolution (PC)

20/10/2019 - The Terrible Old Man (PC)

27/09/2019 - Unavowed (PC)

05/09/2019 - Star Wars Battlefront: Resurrection DLC (PC)

31/08/2019 - Her Story (PC)

25/08/2019 - Battlefield V (PC)

03/08/2019 - Tacoma (PC)

10/07/2019 - Stars Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (PC)

14/06/2019 - The Technomancer (PC)

10/05/2019 - Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (X360)

30/03/2019 - Tyranny (PC)

20/03/2019 - Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PC)

03/03/2019 - Wulverblade (PC)

24/02/2019 - Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PC)

22/01/2019 - Alan Wake (PC)

21/01/2019 - Adam Wolfe (PC)

05/01/2019 - Simulacra (PC)

 

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Nov

 

21/11 Yoku's Island Express (PC) Combining two of my favourite things. Pinball and Metroidvania should have been a complete winner. And I did like it but the frustration of knowing where I wanted to go only to bounce off something at the wrong angle really frustrated. Finished in four hours I've no real motivation to go back and 100% it. But it was a pleasant four hours.

 

11/11 Tomb Raider (2013) (PC) Having played Shadow of the Tomb Raider I went back to the 2013 reboot for a quick comparison. 14 hours later...Shadow of the Tomb Raider is still more of a Tomb Raider style game than the reboot. But the reboot is the better game. It's been interesting going back and looking at it through fresh eyes, I think the last time the disappointment of the lack of large rambling tombs blinded me to the level design in the more open areas. It's very much a response to Uncharted but it also pivots and makes the game into an optional Metroidvania, but only if you want to approach it that way and not mainline the story. Last time I think I missed most of the  optional "tombs", most of which are centred around a single room puzzle. There's a few draw backs. It's very grey and brown as was the trend at the time for gritty reboots. It has some quicktime events which like all quicktime events are great if you get it the first or second time, but highly frustrating if you're in that zone of failure at the time. And it's incredibly violence to the point of feeling like a survival horror game. And at first this is incredibly tense but as Lara skills up the combat can become very satisfying which feels somewhat problematic. She goes from crying in horror at her first kill in self defence to almost relishing every kill. If you can stomach the violence (turning down the difficulty won't reduce or eliminate enemy encounters) it's well worth playing or re-evaluating.

 

Previously

 

Oct


61. 30/10 Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4) 
60. 26/10 Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Megadrive/PC) 
59. 18/10 Super Mario Bros (NES/Switch) 
58. 12/10 South Park:The Fractured But Whole (PC)
Sep
57. 22/09 Untitled Goose Game (Switch)
56. 15/09 NieR: Automata (PS4) 
Aug
55. 31/08 Song of the Deep (PC) 
54. 30/08 CAPSULE (PC) 
53. 25/08  A Normal Lost Phone (PC)
52. 24/08 Nier (360)
51. 21/08 Scanner Sombre (PC) 
50. 19/08 The Gardens Between (PC)
49. 11/08 Hitman:Absolution (PC) 
48. 06/08 Machinarium (PC) 
47. 04/08 Shelter (PC)
46. 01/08 South Park:the Stick of Truth (PC) 
Jul
45. 30/07 Warioware Gold (3DS) 
44. 20/07 Escape Lala (PC) 
43. 20/07 Holoscope:Another Day Another Data (PC) 
42. 20/07 Comedy Quest (PC) 
41. 18/07 VVVVVV (PC) 
40. 15/07 All Our Asias (PC) 
39. 13/07 Rumu (PC) 
Jun
38. 27/06 TIMEframe (PC) 
37. 18/06 Reigns:Her Majesty (PC)
36. 16/06 Escape Goat (PC) 
35. 12/06 Hotline Milwaukee (PC) 
34. 10/06 Roundabout (PS4) 
33. 09/06 Just Cause 2 (360) 
32. 06/06 Maniac Mansion (PS4/PC) 
31. 06/06 Abzu (PC)
30. 02/06 Armored Warriors (PC/Arcade) 
29. 02/06 Warriors of Fate (PC/Arcade) 
May
28. 28/05 Knights of the Round (PC/Arcade) 
27. 21/05 Spider Man (and The City that Never Sleeps DLC)
26. 14/05 Knack (PS4)
25.05/05 Captain Commando (PC/Arcade) 
24. 05/05 The King of Dragons (PC/Arcade)
Apr
23. 30/04 Battle Circuit (PC/Arcade)
22. 29/04 Final Fight (PC/Arcade)   
21. 22/04 Old Man's Journey (PC)
20. 18/04 The First Tree (PC)
19. 14/04 FAR:Lone Sails (PC)
18. 13/04 The Darkside Detective (PC)
17. 03/04 Final Fantasy 15:Episode Ardyn (PS4)
Mar
16. 27/03 Space Pilgrim (Episodes1-4)
15. 19/03 Red Dead Redemption (360)
14. 17/03 Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego (Browser)
Feb
13. 24/02 Universal Paperclips (Browser)
12. 13/10 Florence (iOS)
11. 10/02 Squidlit (PC)
10. 10/02 Plug & Play (PC)
Jan
9. 28/01 Killing Time at Lightspeed:Enhanced Edition (PC)
8. 28/01 Assassin's Creed Origins:The Curse of the Pharaohs (PS4)
7. 27/01 Awkward Dimensions Redux (PC)
6. 27/01 Home (PC)
5. 27/01 Explosionade (PC)
4. 13/01 Kero Blaster (PC)
3. 12/01 Bandersnatch (Netflix)
2. 05/01 Assassin's Creed Origins:The Hidden Ones (PS4)
1. 01/01 TRAUMA (PC) 

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Halo 3 (Xbox One - MCC version):

 

I've always thought of Halo 3 as a refinement of Halo 2 instead of an attempt to make good on the promise of Halo:CE. Vehicle combat gets another layer of polish and the scale is pushed out a bit further. More enemies on screen. More systemic carnage. Key moments that are scripted in Halo 2 are recreated dynamically in combat in 3. Like CE and 2 it shines in full 1080p at 60fps. The weightier, more deliberate moment to moment feel of Halo 1 doesn't return, but generous hit detection that lets you systematically headshot an entire squad of grunts with a bit of concentration and consistently pull off one/two shot combos on shielded jackals sort of makes up for some of that lost magic.

 

But while I think it's a more consistently enjoyable, finished game than Halo 2 in terms of overall structure and encounter design it somehow arrived at that state on the back of a couple of terrible design decisions.

 

First up: No elites as enemies. It leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the combat sandbox - a tough but highly manoeuvrable enemy that demands a high level of situational awareness and on the higher difficulty levels you need to be constantly thinking about what they could be up to when you lose sight of them in the heat of battle. The revised Brutes are a valiant attempt to fill the hole, with lots of new behaviours, equipment variations (and they don't glitch on the corners of scenery either which is a big step up from 2) and armour that has a pseudo shield effect - but they just don't have the character, menace or dynamism of the Elites.

 

Second: The flood. I appreciate all the tiny details and tweaks made to the basic flood forms over the course of the original Halo trilogy. Cool little extra behaviours and properties. This attention to detail and trying to add layers of interest and interaction is always appreciated and it can sometimes be easily forgotten. But I don't appreciate giant bullet sponge flood that can only be effectively taken out with power weapons, or weird pseudo sniper flood forms. Or pairing these with terrible hard to navigate (or even look at) level geometry.

 

Then there's the treatment of Cortana as a character and the weird pseudo romance between her and the Master Chief which I'll save talking about until I write up Halo 4 so I only have to moan about it once.

 

Like Halo 2 it's a game with some incredible moments. The opening level is superb - great environment design, pacing, juggling of enemy types and an all out finale with loads of covenant reinforcements dropping in. Later on they pull off a great homage to the Silent Cartographer beach landing but this time you get a big fuck off laser that decimates enemy turrets at a distance. It's also got the biggest vehicle firefights the franchise ever pulled off.

 

It's great when you're fighting the covenant, which is most of the game. Not so great when you have to slog through a final 2 levels of the flood. You do get a proper ending this time round though.

 

It disappointed me more than Halo 2 on it's original release, despite it being the better game, because it was the second time a Halo sequel didn't live up to the original for me. Taken on its own merits though it's still a superb FPS, with the arcadey physicality and varied enemy behaviours that are the series' hallmarks still in the mix and a step towards even greater things to come.

 

2019 so far:

Spoiler

 

January:

Ashen (Xbox One)

Celeste (Xbox One)

Assault Android Cactus (Xbox One)

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice (Xbox One)

 

February:

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Xbox One)

The Division (Xbox One)

 

March:

Bad North (Xbox One)

Minit (Xbox One)

 

May:

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (Xbox One)

Dandara (Xbox One)

Crackdown 3 (Xbox One)

 

June:

Sonic Mania (Xbox One)

World War Z (Xbox One)

R-Type Tactics (PSP)

 

July:

Steam World Dig (Wii U)

Panzer Dragoon Orta (Xbox via BC)

 

August:

Assassin's Creed Origins (Xbox One)

Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One)

Blazing Chrome (Xbox One)

 

September:

Yoku's Island Express (Xbox One)

Hollow Knight (Xbox One)

 

October:

Control (Xbox One)

Halo:CE (Xbox One, MCC version)

Halo 2 (Xbox One, MCC version)

Halo 3 (Xbox One, MCC version)

Halo 3: ODST (Xbox One, MCC version)

 

November:

Halo 4 ((Xbox One, MCC version)

 

 

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