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What games did you complete? 2019 Edition

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February 2019

Resident Evil 2 (PS4 - 2019)

As others have pointed out above, this is fantastic. The lack of the two stories intertwining in any meaningful way is a shame, but overall this is as good a modern re-imagining of the 90s Resi formula as you could hope for. 9/10

 

Previously...

January 2019: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PC - 2000) 8/10

January 2019: Resident Evil 0 (GameCube - 2003) 6/10

January 2019: Resident Evil (GameCube - 2002) 10/10

January 2019: Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! (Switch - 2018) 7/10

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A Way out (PS4) - 19/1/19

 

Damn I enjoyed this game. One of the best co op experiences I have played and it didn't outstay it's welcome at nearly 6 hours long. I was kinda hoping for more of the prison break stuff but there was some great storytelling and even the mini games where quite fun (it's a shame you don't get an option to play the mini games after you finish it). Not much replay value after you complete it though - but i want to see another game like this in the future.

 

Aladdin (MD) - 27/1/19

 

Felt like replaying one of my favorite megadrive games. Still looks and plays well and whilst it's not the hardest game to get through it certainly is challenging (frustratingly so sometimes). Thanks to save states i managed to get through it and "get gewd" before replaying it through only using a life or two. Still a quality game.

 

Aladdin (SNES) 3/2/19

 

After playing the MD version, I thought i'd give the SNES version of Aladdin a go considering I'd never played it and had heard it wasn't as good. Again, save states got me through it as the platforming can be a bit frustrating at times, however i am trying to do a clean run of it now. The graphics are decent, just not as film like as the MD version. The floating mechanic really helps when you collect the item, something i didn't realise till i finished the game the first time! With it, it really makes the game easier/quicker to get through. Aladdin's aero-acrobats are a bit fun addition to the game. Well worth playing if you like platformers and if you want to 100% it , it has some additional challenge there too.

 

Resident Evil 2 (PC) 3/2/19

 

RE2 is one of my favorite games of all time on the OG PS1 so I have been waiting for a remake for a long time. Well, thankfully the remake is as awesome as I could possibly have hoped. Whilst i do miss the zapping feature of the original, it still deals with the scenarios relatively well and the constant presence of Mr X makes this one tense atmospheric game. I loved the fact that it feels the most survival horror like RE for years, running low on health and ammo a lot of the time. Whilst most RE games have poor 2/3rd acts i feel this one does well to keep you interested throughout. Bring on Nemesis =) Is it worth me replaying a Claire A / Leon B though? I'm not sure just yet.

 

 

Previously...

 

 


Alan Wake 7/1/19

 

Hadn't played through it since originally playing it on the 360 back in 2010 or whenever it was. Great game, even if the game holds your hand a bit too much. The flashlight mechanic reminds me off Luigi Mansion.

 

Outlast Whistleblower 13/1/19

Nice dlc to the original game. More of the same really coming from the first game but perhaps goes a bit too far with the gore/shock factor. Still, i really enjoyed it.   

 

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Lego Indiana Jones (PC) - First game completed of 2019! I'd given this short shrift around the original release. Coming back to it now, though, in a desire to play through all the Lego games, I really enjoyed it. It gets the Indiana Jones-ness right and it's constant rewards and bite-size levels make for an enjoyable experience. It was a different enough experience to Lego Batman, which I played before, despite having the same underlying structure.

 

I've also been playing this through with my son, who took to it really quickly as his second Lego game. I'd have finished sooner, only for his insistence on playing the same levels over and over again which I had to oblige - ended up having to finish it off after he went to bed. The lack of split screen in the earlier games also became an issue when one of us wanted to wander off. Thankfully, they improved on that a couple of games later as we're now on to the sequel.

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Red Read Redemption 2

 

I had no interest in this for quite a while. As much as I enjoyed the original, I bounced off GTAV quite hard and just didn't have faith that Rockstar could deliver a decent story. Add to that what looked like a pretty by the numbers open world game, along with an insane price tag and I figured it could wait. After hearing people rave about it in podcasts and end of year lists however I felt I had to give it a fair shot, and some well timed Xbox credit deals and rewards brought the price down to a more manageable level. 

 

I'm so glad I did. I was maybe right to be wary about the structure and mechanics, which are pretty dull when viewed in isolation. It's also yet another case where the implied freedom of an open world is squandered in overly restrictive mission design. However, none of this seemed to matter when experienced alongside the wonderful story and characters, and that by the numbers open world was so well realised that it was a joy just to exist in. It felt like a real place, and I found myself treating it like that instead of viewing it as a big playground.

 

It's not perfect of course. Combat remained a little awkward and clunky no matter how much I played, and clearly the game would have been improved with a little more variety in the mission design, but taken as a whole it was definitely something special.

 

Previously:

 

January

 

Far: Lone Sails

Florence

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Wargroove [7]

1-9 Feb

Could also be called abandoned, as I haven't actually finished the campaign. Honestly, I got bored of it. But I got quite far into it, did arcade mode with one character, and played some multiplayer and puzzle mode, so that counts.

So yeah, in the end I wasn't as into this as I'd hoped to be. The balance is still just right as in Advance Wars, but a lot of the battles drag on too long. These days I'm used to turn-based strategy games that pack just as much into smaller spaces and time frames, and it can get tiresome shuffling units about rather than getting stuck in. It may be that I need to learn some better strategies, but it's often hard not to get bogged down.

I have played it a lot over the last week though, so it's not like I didn't enjoy it. It can still be great when the missions are a bit smaller. Puzzle mode is also a good change of pace. But whether Advance Wars is kind of outdated now, or whether they didn't quite do it justice here with the level design, it's not as quite as much fun to play as various other alternatives.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

 

Super Mario Odyssey [9]

28 Dec-1 Jan

Yeah, this is pretty special. Love the open levels and the cap mechanic, and there are loads of clever ideas to put it to good use. Some of the creatures you can capture are wonderfully inventive.

 

It does often jump from one thing to the next too quickly, before making enough of them, but that's less of an issue once things get a bit more challenging. The low point of the game (other than those awful rabbit characters) is New Donk City about halfway through, but every stage after that is excellent. And now I've reached the end there's an absolute ton more stuff to do. It's hard to know where to start, but I think I'll keep playing a while.

 

I still struggle with the controls and camera a bit in the trickier platform sections, but it does get slightly easier with practice. Mostly forgivable as well in a game that's trying so many different things and has so much content. Best Mario since 64.

 

Into the Breach [8]

3-6 Jan

Played 7 games in total (on Normal) and emerged victorious twice.

 

I always like a good turn-based strategy, so this was always likely to suit me and I immediately got drawn into it. I really like the way it reduces everything down to concentrated bite-sized chunks, and that it mostly ditches any kind of percentage based play for clear rules and outcomes. 

However, the downside of the small scale is a lack of variety, despite the different squads you can choose to control. I've had good value already, but I don't feel it has the replayability factor of the best in the genre, like Invisible Inc.

 

Mega Man 11 [7]

8-13 Jan

Completed on Normal difficulty. Same old Mega Man really, but with plenty more polish. Visually it's lovely, especially some of the bigger characters (special mention to inflatable frog mini-boss). Gameplay wise there's some tight level design that's mostly testing without being too vicious.

 

But there are leftovers of old design sensibilities and a generally odd approach to difficulty that don't quite work. It seems outdated now to make pits and especially spikes instant death hazards when everything else isn't. It makes certain screens difficult to pass at all while the rest are only likely to cause moderate damage if you mess things up. On the other hand you end up carrying a whole range of cheap useable items and equippable parts that can make many challenges insignificant. The big temptation is not to just stockpile a load of energy tanks for a boss encounter and then mindlessly blast through it, especially when a Game Over means repeating the whole stage again.

 

The best moments, as ever with MM, are when you do things properly, especially making the breakthrough against the first boss and then working out the weaknesses of the others using the new weapons you get from each victory. In fact, one of the highlights in the end was probably the boss rush, which I made myself do in one life without items.

 

Vane [4]

17 Jan

Stylish indie adventure that looks nice and has an interesting scenery morphing mechanic. But it's full of technical issues and feels like most of the content had to be stripped out to make it work at all.

 

Pikuniku [7]

22-23 Jan

Charming, funny, surprising indie game. The simple physics and character movement make some basic platforming puzzles more interesting, although never really challenging, and there's a good quantity of brief side distractions to discover if you explore the small game world. In the end, I was disappointed that some of the themes and ideas weren't developed enough, but by that point I'd had a few good hours of fun.

 

 

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Feb

24/02 Universal Paperclips (Broswer) I've completed this before but I couldn't resist trying it again after listening to a podcast talking about AI as an existential threat.

 

13/10 Florence (iOS) Incredibly charming short visual novel that everyone should pick up. You'll finish it in less than an hour but it weaves a lovely tale in that hour

 

10/02 Squidlit (PC) Cute platformer done in the old Gameboy style. Which is green monochrome shades, fat pixels and done and dusted in lees than an hour.

 

10/02 Plug & Play (PC) What. Was. That. Reminded me of the sort of thing that would have been shown on Liquid Television in the early 90's.

 

 

Jan
28/01 Killing Time at Lightspeed:Enhanced Edition (PC)
28/01 Assassin's Creed Origins:The Curse of the Pharaohs (PS4)
27/01 Awkward Dimensions Redux (PC)
27/01 Home (PC)
27/01 Explosionade (PC)
13/01 Kero Blaster (PC)
12/01 Bandersnatch (Netflix)
05/01 Assassin's Creed Origins:The Hidden Ones (PS4)
01/01 TRAUMA (PC)

 

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Completed these so far...

monster Boy In The Cursed Kingdom (Switch)

brilliant and the best Wonder Boy game

 

Katamari Damacy Reroll (Switch)

Always loved this and now I can sell my PS2 copy

 

Forgotten Realms Demon Stone (Xbox)

Started off strong but the later levels are naff. Will sell it.

 

Golf Story (Switch)

got a physical copy from limited run games. It’s really charming.

 

Salamander 2 (Saturn)

Just got a PVM so wanted to play something to show it off.

 

 

 

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First of the year:

 

Middle Earth: Shadow of War - This feels like the game they wanted to make with the first one, it's vast, epic, far more varied and makes some surprisingly audacious story choices, particularly the ending. I've come to the realisation I really like games that let me recruit and level up a team of allies, Pokemon, SMT, and this series. The gameplay loop here is just great fun, jumping captains out in the world, branding them into your squad and then using them as a bodyguard, spy, assassin, or an essential component of your army to topple forts, helped by the sheer amount of personality in your units and the interesting pushback the Nemesis system gives you - every play session felt like it generated unique little stories.

 

I remember on release a lot of people had trouble with the postgame where you're on the defensive against big armies, but I think those players probably conquered the forts early in the game, left them to rot and then got stomped, whereas I had gotten a bit obsessed with the Fight Pits, the bit that makes the Pokemon analogy explicit: take your Captains, set them against another in a match with permadeath and if they win they'll gain a load of levels, and if they lose you can just capture the stronger victor anyway. Choosing the best matchup from your diverse candidates and customising them with training orders is a bit addictive - when those invasions came coming, they were crushed by my Lv 50 forts.

 

Verdict: really good, this one ends the series pretty definitively, but I'll be interested in whatever the Nemesis system ends up in next.

 

Apex Legends - I won my first ever Battle Royale match, so that must count as complete, right? Terrible name, great game.

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Bit late with the update but:

 

26th January

New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe (Switch)

 

Just the Mario part so far. It took me a while to adjust to the mid-air tap of jump activating the spin jump. By the time I found out there was a cheat to turn it off I'd already completed the main quest 100%. Oh well; at least it'll help with New Super Luigi U.

 

I'd always felt NSMBU was absolutely the best of the NSMBU series (as someone who really disliked the DS one). I'd even go as far to say it's just behind Mario World as my favourite of the 2D games, mainly due to its excellent Challenge Mode. I was worried my enjoyment would dampen with a replay. It did not. It's wonderful.

 

I only played in handheld mode and, for all the criticism of the series' aesthetics, its beautiful on the Switch's screen. Looking forward to obsessing over the challenges all over again!

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1st January

Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4)

 

2nd January

Overcooked (Switch)

 

3rd January

Super Punch Out!! (SNES)

 

4th January

Florence (Android)

 

5th January

Gorogoa (Android)

 

6th January

Super Mario Bros (Switch)

 

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Done some more shooters.

 

Hyper Duel

Super Saturn conversion with some ridiculous bosses. Noticed for the first time that the entire game has continuous levels that flow into each other which seems quite novel for the genre.

 

Sexy Parodius 

another great saturn conversion with some dodgy bosses. Shooting a raccoon in the nuts will never get tired.

 



Completed these so far...

monster Boy In The Cursed Kingdom (Switch)

brilliant and the best Wonder Boy game

 

Katamari Damacy Reroll (Switch)

Always loved this and now I can sell my PS2 copy

 

Forgotten Realms Demon Stone (Xbox)

Started off strong but the later levels are naff. Will sell it.

 

Golf Story (Switch)

got a physical copy from limited run games. It’s really charming.

 

Salamander 2 (Saturn)

Just got a PVM so wanted to play something to show it off.

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Mortal Kombat XL 

As with all fighting games, you never really complete it. But I've now beaten the traditional tower with every character, to get all the ending videos, and got everything out of the Krypt. Working through the characters shows there's some amazing imbalance and shoes why you see the same characters over and over when playing online. I'm calling that done. Just in time for Mortal Kombat 11.

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11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One) - short and pretty average walking sim, where you control a vixen looking for her cubs, whilst the loser narrator struggles with the relationship he had with his father. Looks quite nice and the music is very good. It cost me the equivalent of a pint of beer and I think I'd rather have had the beer.

 

Previously:

 

07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)

 

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Resident Evil 2 (Remake)

 

Completed is a strong word, but I've played through Claire A and Leon B. I'll go back at some point to get through everything else. Anyway, this was fantastic. 

 

I loved the PS1 Resi games, and as good as Resi 4 and 7 were I think I've been missing a classic survival horror experience. This really did feel like a modern take on that style of game, managing to be surprisingly faithful to the original while feeling completely current at the same time. It was also pretty scary and incredibly tense, although I found it had less power over me the more I learnt its systems. That didn't make it any less fun though.

 

Previously:

January
Far: Lone Sails
Florence

 

February

Red Dead Redemption 2

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February 2019

Ice Climber (NES - 1985)

Finished the game and still don't really understand how the jumping works. The music's pretty bad too, but for some reason I was compelled to do a couple of mountains a day until I saw the end. An interesting play from a historical perspective. 6/10

 

Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X (PS2 - 2001)

What a slog this was. Sprawling, unmemorable maps that are a sea of barely decipherable greens and grays. Way too long and backtrack-y - plus the stupidest plot and characters you can imagine. Nemesis feels light years ahead of this, even though it predates CV. 5/10

 

Previously...

Spoiler

 

February 2019: Resident Evil 2 (PS4 - 2019) 9/10

January 2019: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PC - 2000) 8/10

January 2019: Resident Evil 0 (GameCube - 2003) 6/10

January 2019: Resident Evil (GameCube - 2002) 10/10

January 2019: Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! (Switch - 2018) 7/10

 

 

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2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4)

 

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I have a strange relationship with this game. On the one hand, I've played it more or less exclusively since early December, for what must have been at least 70 hours (with no in-game gameplay clock, I've no way of knowing for sure). It's consistently the best-looking game I've ever played; whether you're riding through rolling expanses of spectacular open countryside or walking among the hyper-detailed, authentic streets of the game's settlements, the graphics are never anything short of incredible, and the much-eulogised lighting really is something else. Saint Denis, in particular, is a revelation of audio-visual fidelity that no other form of interactive entertainment I've experienced has bested, especially if, like me in the screenshot above, you ride into it the first time just as the dawn is breaking through the mist, following a tropical storm. That was a staggering moment. For me, the script, voice acting and character development is also unmatched; I can't think of another game whose writing is so sharp, or whose protagonists you ultimately care about more (except, perhaps, Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us). It's like an HBO drama. Most of the time you'd be forgiven for forgetting that you're playing a game instead of watching a lavish, mega-budget TV series.

 

And therein lies the rub, because despite the length of the campaign and the amount of time you'll spend wandering this astonishing rendition of fin de siècle America, the truth is that there isn't really a huge amount of game in Red Dead Redemption 2. 95% of missions follow the same structure: you ride (without fast-travel) to the mission initiator, travel from that location to another location (without fast-travel), often with one or more of the other members of the gang, arrive at your destination, shoot some people, and that's pretty much it. Essentially, this game is an exceptionally-detailed walking (or horse-riding) simulator with (to steal another forum member's description - @Mr. Gerbik's, possibly?) the occasional shooting gallery. The few times you deviate from this structure you are given next to no agency as a player and essentially move to a particular place and press a context-sensitive button to activate a unique animation in order to succeed, and the only way of not succeeding is if you don't press the relevant button quickly enough. Beyond that, there's the mini-games, but whether it's fishing, playing cards, hunting, horse racing or half a dozen other distractions, all of them are novelties: something you'll try once or twice (if at all) before not bothering with for the rest of the game, unless a mission you undertake dictates that you must play them, in which case you'll follow the on-screen prompts to win. In this respect, at least, RDR2 reminded me very much of Yakuza 0, only in that game the arbitrary fighting sections are replaced here with arbitrary shoot outs.

 

By far the game's most egregious crime, however, is how, in a world this beautiful and amazing, you're not really given an incentive to explore. Yes, exploring means that you occasionally come across collectibles, whether they're cigarette cards, or fossils, or cave paintings (although I admit I only stumbled upon one of these the entire time I was playing the game), but there's no real, meaningful reason to leave the beaten track: it's perfectly possible to complete the game with the weapon you have from the very first mission; health and stamina upgrades are acquired from simply getting shot or running; drugs, medicine and food are all plentiful enough in the missions, or can be purchased in shops; you quickly acquire more money from completing missions than you ever need, and incidental events or strangers are, with very few exceptions, found near roads that you will frequently be travelling back and forth along (without fast-travel). Apart from the occasional interesting note or letter that you may or may not happen upon when nosing about, there's not very much at all to motivate you from doing anything but going to the closest mission giver when the one you're currently playing comes to an end (after the obligatory gun battle, of course). This is especially frustrating when you consider that setting out by yourself to see what you can see, and being satisfactorily rewarded for doing so, is the most fun you can having with an open world game, as Breath of the Wild, The Witcher III, Skyrim and lots of others have proved. Having got to the credits in this game, and without any more mission markers on my map, I've no desire whatsoever to return to the game and explore the far corners of the world because I know that the rewards, if there are any, won't be worth the effort (and time) it takes me to find them.

 

Sadly, the lasting impression I'm left with after finishing this game is one of disappointment. Rockstar have built an unbelievably rich world here that is ultimately a bit dull, and filled it with missions that are a bit repetitive, eked out by shooting gameplay that is, let's face it, a bit ropey and overly-dependent on auto-aim and slowing down time. It just feels like a huge waste. All that being said, however, the excellent graphics and compelling story were enough to keep me playing, and based on these two factors I'd recommend anyone to give it a go for at least a dozen hours or so, if only to coo at how gorgeous the world is.

 

Overall, It's better than the first game in the series, which I enjoyed to an extent but always thought was overrated, but it's not as inventive, varied or simply as fun to play as GTA V. And I don't care what anyone says - the lack of (proper) fast travel is a huge pain in the arse.

 

8/10

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16/02 - Late Shift (Xbox One) - budget interactive gangster movie where you get to choose the main protagonist's actions. It's passable in a perfectly mindless budget movie way, but nothing special and I had no urge to play through again to try and get a different ending. It's on Gamepass, so worth a watch/play if you have a spare couple of hours.

 

 

07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)
11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One)

 

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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Xbox One):

 

Finished normal and nightmare modes on veteran difficulty.

 

I played a lot of 8 and 16 bit Castlevanias last year as well as Shovel Knight and then Celeste this January and B:CTOM didn't hold up against them for me. It looks the part and has some superb boss designs, the character switching mechanic is slick and can be played with to find all sorts of mini combos and exploits, there's branching paths mid-level, navigation puzzles, some imaginative secrets based around sub weapons, superb soundtrack etc. etc.  But it never really does anything as well as those other games. The navigation puzzles aren't as good as Shovel Knight or Celeste. The secrets aren't as imaginative as Super Castlevania IV or Dracula X. The branching paths are too similar to each other to really matter. The tunes are good, but they're not Castlevania good.

 

The meat and potatoes of old school Castlevania level design is taking one or more enemies you're familiar with and pairing them up in a new combinations or in new platforming contexts. Done right this produces memorable, tough as nails encounters  that stay with you long after the ending credits. B:CTOM usually just throws one enemy type at you at a time. Or two on the same screen that don't really interact, so you kill the first one, then the second. Occasionally it pulls it off, but never with the frequency or ingenuity of Castlevania at its best. 

 

And then the character switching mechanic has a major flaw which gets worse towards the end of the game. If you lose a character you go back to a checkpoint and have to carry on with the remaining characters until all 4 are dead. In the middle of a stage you stand a decent chance of getting to the next checkpoint, even if you're down to one character. But on the final checkpoint before the a boss once you've lost two, or a boss critical character, you're almost certain to die on the boss, so it's quicker (but still an irritating bit of gaming dead air) to just chuck your remaining two characters down a pit until you get all 4 back. This becomes a real pain in the arse on the last few stages where there's some tricky platforming sections between the checkpoint and the boss. This one small design detail really soured me on the whole game and what makes it even more frustrating is the obvious solution, to just have a shared health bar for all characters, was already there in Castlevania 3, which B:CTOM is a thinly veiled remake of in the first place.

 

A decent game that I enjoyed playing it but it still felt like a huge missed opportunity. It packs so much in, and is so slick and polished at face value that it's a mystery to me why it isn't just... better.

 

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)

 

 

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Persona 5 - PS4 - Platinum Trophy

 

First one of the year, and not my first completion of it, but I got the platinum of P5. This is the first game I've really gone for a platinum and put the effort in to get it, but it felt extraordinarily satisfying. I started the platinum run fairly jaded but found myself sucked back in to the plot, and with the overpowered weapons and personas, the bits that were a slog first time were a breeze. Maxing out the confidants was great, was nice to complete all of those stories, and the optional boss fight was a complete hoot.

 

The Persona games are just a joy (well, from 3 onwards, I've never for far into 1 or two as they aren't my cup of tea), they are now by far my favourite games series. Now I need to figure what to do to tide me over until PQ2, Ni No Kuni 2 is looking at me from the shelf......

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Completed:

 

Resident Evil 2 remake - PS5.

A nice walk down memory lane. Tense. Scary. Fun. More like this please. 

 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild - Nintendo Switch. 

A delight from start to finish. 

 

Katamari Damacy Reroll - Switch.

So silly. So fun. So addictive. Soundtrack is beyond amazing. 

 

Yakuza zero - PS4. 

I put hundreds of hours into this and I'm not even entirely sure I like it. Story is crap. And the presentation is so primitive. I usually just skip through all the talking. And the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. It's good how much different shit there is to do, but most of it isn't even remotely fun. Even the fighting mechanics are a bit ropey. Still though, hundreds of hours. 

 

Playing but not yet finished:

 

Super Mario maker 2 is coming in the post. 

 

Abandoned

 

Bayonetta 1 and 2. Double abandonment. Loved Bayonetta on 360 just couldn't get into it at all. 

 

Kirby's Epic Yarn. Dunno why I abandoned this cause it was charming as fuck. Just can't be bothered with the Wii's controls I think. 

 

New super Mario brothers. As above. 

 

Sekiro. Don't think I played this for more than two hours. Will definitely come back to it.

 

Ass screed Odyssey

 

Spiderman

 

Diablo 3

 

BF5

 

No man's sky..

 

 

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20/02 - The Gardens Between (Xbox One) - a fairly mediocre puzzle game, which relies a little too much on trial and error and having a few too many obtuse puzzles. I was pretty fed up with it by the end. Thankfully it's short in length.

 

Previously:

 

07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)
11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One)
16/02 - Late Shift (Xbox One)

 

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The Division (Xbox One):

 

I played the Division and now I have some thoughts...

 

I started this on a whim then discovered it was leaving Game Pass about two weeks later, so I thought I'd just burn through the campaign in that time, and enjoy roaming about a semi deserted New York with some fancy snow and lighting effects. A quick google brought up loads of people saying it was a 15-20 hour campaign, all good!

 

They must have re-balanced the absolute shit out of this game over the past two years because playing solo on normal difficulty it took me about 40 hours to get to the end and I ended up buying a second hand copy so I could keep playing.After an easy start the amount of levelling between missions got more and more, to the point where I had to do a couple of hours between each one. I'm not complaining since I was enjoying myself the whole time but I can't shake the feeling that I missed some obvious way to level up faster or I wasn't fully engaging with systems that would have made progress quicker. Then I hit level 30 before the end of the game was able to equip some level 30 gear I'd got earlier in the game (for reasons...?) and ploughed through the final mission with no trouble at all. I settled in to using turrets and seeker mines fairly early on and I could decimate roaming bands of enemies in seconds if I was lucky at the start of a firefight. I usually had a light machine gun paired with either an assault rifle or marksman rifle on the go. Between the abilities and the weapon choices I could keep up a near constant wall of fire. I don't know how viable other builds are playing solo but this was a fun way to play through the game. Once I'd finished the main game I did some dicking around in the dark zone, finished upgrading my base, explored a couple of post game "missions" which turned out to be just lead-ins for post game content, wrapped it up at about 50 hours.

 

Then there's the lighting and the weather... From moment to moment on an Xbox One S the scenery can look pretty rough. Textures loading in, fairly noticeable pop-up etc. But the environmental effects go a long, long way to making up for that. Spot light haze in blizzard conditions. A couple of stray snowflakes at dusk. Turning a corner in to blinding sunlight. I love weather and natural light done right in games, and this is some of the best I've ever seen.

 

So all in all, very good game, I liked it loads but... just don't think about anything that's happening in this game past a mechanical and visual level. Stick to that and you're fine. When you start thinking about what you're doing and what the game is saying that's when things start to get weird.

 

So firstly you're basically killing civilians with military grade weaponry for most of this game. There's some rogue soldiers near the end, but mostly it's civilians. Yes they always attack you first, but there's a strong whiff of survivalist nut-job, cleaning up New York with a gun, "If shit went down this is how we'd deal with rioters" rhetoric. They lean in to this juuuust enough that you can't quite pin them down for it in that disingenuous way Ubisoft games seem to do at the moment.

 

There's this thing where the division agents can recognise each other because they all have fancy watches.

 

Out of the three enemy factions, one group are rogue soldiers. Another is an ultra cartoony bunch of lunatic sanitation workers who figure that the way to save New York from the killer virus is to go around burning people with makeshift flamethrowers. They're led by an actual giant. He could only be more ridiculous if he was green, like that one boss in Double Dragon. The last faction is just a bunch of lads in hoodies.

 

So that's a series of choices that were made.

 

At one point a gang boss shouts "I'm just another black body to you!" in the middle of the boss fight in an allusion to Black Lives Matter but if it's an attempt to make you question what you're doing and the situation the game is presenting then, holy fuck, they don't stick the landing... She's the only character in the game that says anything about racism (in the main campaign content at least) and she's also a psychopath who tortures prisoners and runs a gang who go around spray painting "fuck #justice we want revenge!" everywhere. So who knows if that was a botched attempt to humanise an enemy character or if it's just a Brietbart+++ take on the Black Lives Matter movement slotted completely at random in to the game.

 

Also at the start of that mission there's the body of a dead Division agent lying in the entrance way to a building with something like "our rules now!" written above it on the wall in blood. Except the texture is hilariously unconvincing and it's obviously just been written free hand in Photoshop using a graphics tablet, to the point where I was taken out of the game completely and for the next five minutes just played on autopilot while I ruminated on what brush settings they might have used (I reckon they had Dual Brush and Texture ticked. They maybe played about with the transfer settings. At a guess they probably had shape dynamics turned... off?).

 

So it's a great game, but it can also be really weird and gross when it wants to be. Which I imagine is exactly how the Division 2 will turn out.

 

---

 

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)

 

 

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Spoiler

 

Gravity Rush (Vita)

Titanfall 2 (PS4)

Hue (PS4)

Just Deal With It (PS4)

Rime (PS4)

Nairi: Tower of Shirin (PC)

Resident Evil 2 (PS4)

Conarium (PS4)

Momonga's Pinball Adventures (PS4)

Rollers of the Realm (PS4 and Vita)

 

 

Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4): I really enjoyed this but it wasn't really an evolution from 2 in most respects. The Disney fan-service was well handled, the Gummi Ships were improved immeasurably but the button mashing combat and ridiculously over-portentous Organisation stuff was at its worst. The final exchanges with groups of bosses where defeating each one triggers a cutscene where the others presumably sit down and check their emails whilst you chat was the most egregious example of bad storytelling getting in the way of the game. But, it is fun and I'm enjoying exploring the worlds after finishing it to look for collectables. Might actually be better to play it the way my son is by skipping all the bullshit black coat crap.

 

Roundabout (Vita): Somebody described this as like Kururin mashed up with some porno story outtakes and that sums it up really. Silly story played for maximum camp and quick arcadey spinning limo action levels. Played this through in a couple of sessions whilst nursing a fractured ankle and it was fun.

 

Digimon: Cyber Sleuth (Vita): This is pretty much Persona-Lite and made for perfect handheld gaming. Goes on a little too long and the mechanics of types and attributes could be better explained but I quite liked the surprisingly mature storyline and the battle system was pretty good once it got going. Got the sequel on PS4 but will probably play it on Remote Play while the kids and wife watch TV.

 

Iconoclasts (Vita): More Vita fun whilst I was recuperating in bed. This was a nice little Metroidvania with pretty good design and neat mechanics. Some overly wordy dialogue and little need to dig out all the collectables (crafting materials when there was nothing left to craft) but fun nonetheless. Impressive that it was pretty much a solo production. Bonus points for organic LGBT+ representation.

 

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Forgot to stat! I've got one on the board:

 

12th Feb - Spider-Man (PS4)

I took an eternity on this (ok, about 4 weeks) as I was determined to get the platinum. I've given up though, with my betes noire holding me back: frikkin drone challenges. I actually found the stealth and bomb challenges remarkably easy, once you equip the right skills, but the drone stuff is not only incredibly hard, it's dull.

 

That's preeeeeety much the only negative I can level at the game, though, which is essentially an old fashioned arcade game skillfully blended with a modern AAA open world game. Doing that fixes the two problems those genres have: the lack of depth/sophistication in the former; the uneventful plodding around that the latter. Some people have got a bit sniffy about this game, especially in the 2018 GotY list, but it honestly deserves all the plaudits and gongs its been getting, in my opinion!

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25/02 - Super Lucky's Tale (Xbox One) - this passed me by on release (releasing it at the same time as Mario Odyssey probably wasn't the brightest idea), but this is a delightful little game. Yes, in many ways it's a by the numbers 3D platformer, but it's polished, colourful, runs at 60 FPS and was a lot of fun from start to finish. I'd love a sequel.

 

Previously:

 

07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)
11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One)
16/02 - Late Shift (Xbox One)
20/02 - The Gardens Between (Xbox One)

 

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Oooh, I'm going to do this. 

 

2/19 - Super Mario Maker 3DS - 3DS - bizarrely picked this back up just before the reveal. The campaign is still the most underated Mario to date. Finished world's 17 - 18. Starting the post end-credit scontent. Just stellar. 9/10.

 

2/19 - The Mummy Demastered  - Switch - came back to this, after stopping at launch due to a stupid boss difficulty spike. The game had been patched, making it far more welcoming, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the game. Poor boss design though. Took far too much ammo to kill. Sometimes less is more. 7/10

 

1/19 - Pikuniku - Switch - simple, basic, slight, short - but all in the best possible way. Games are rarely as funny as people say they are, but the tone of this was an absolute delight. 8/10

 

1/19 Wolfenstein II - Switch - My 'xmas game'. Paid £50, rather than tuppance on my PS4, but that meant I could play it to my hearts content. Enjoyed it far more than I would have otherwise I think. Loved it's craziness, what it had to say, and I dearly miss the old-style single player games this is (I didn't have to unlock a single tower to see a map!). That papered over some cracks in the level design. 9/10.

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Sat 2nd March - Picross S 2. I managed to do normal and Clip unassisted but there were 3 or 4 in the Mega Picross that made me look fucking thick. There were a lot that required a more roundabout way of thinking that I've never had to use before. I enjoyed most of it, just not the ones that made me feel stupid.

IMG_20190303_202155.jpg

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02/03 - South Park: The Stick of Truth (Xbox One) - Enjoyable enough South Park RPG.

 

 

07/01 - Spider-Man (PS4)

12/01 - Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk (PS4)
27/01 - Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One)
29/01 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Xbox One)
11/02 - The First Tree (Xbox One)
16/02 - Late Shift (Xbox One)
20/02 - The Gardens Between (Xbox One)  
25/02 - Super Lucky's Tale (Xbox One)

 

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Spoiler

 

Gravity Rush (Vita)

Titanfall 2 (PS4)

Hue (PS4)

Just Deal With It (PS4)

Rime (PS4)

Nairi: Tower of Shirin (PC)

Resident Evil 2 (PS4)

Conarium (PS4)

Momonga's Pinball Adventures (PS4)

Rollers of the Realm (PS4 and Vita)

Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)

Roundabout (Vita)

Digimon: Cyber Sleuth (Vita)

Iconoclasts (Vita)

 

 

Lego Movie 2 VideoGame: Had to review this and it was awful. Uses the Lego Worlds engine so everything is plain and empty. Lacks all the character and detail of every other Lego game. Characters are just skins so have no effect on gameplay (unless you get stuck in a house because of Batman's ludicrous shoulder-pads) and the whole thing is uninspired and phoned in. Would may be have been acceptable as £10 DLC for Lego Worlds but as a full price retail release it can get te fuck.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, earlymodernsteve said:
  Reveal hidden contents

 

Gravity Rush (Vita)

Titanfall 2 (PS4)

Hue (PS4)

Just Deal With It (PS4)

Rime (PS4)

Nairi: Tower of Shirin (PC)

Resident Evil 2 (PS4)

Conarium (PS4)

Momonga's Pinball Adventures (PS4)

Rollers of the Realm (PS4 and Vita)

Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)

Roundabout (Vita)

Digimon: Cyber Sleuth (Vita)

Iconoclasts (Vita)

 

 

Lego Movie 2 VideoGame: Had to review this and it was awful. Uses the Lego Worlds engine so everything is plain and empty. Lacks all the character and detail of every other Lego game. Characters are just skins so have no effect on gameplay (unless you get stuck in a house because of Batman's ludicrous shoulder-pads) and the whole thing is uninspired and phoned in. Would may be have been acceptable as £10 DLC for Lego Worlds but as a full price retail release it can get te fuck.

 

 

 

This explains why it was so cheap. That's such a shame.

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