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What games did you complete? 2020 Edition

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@Nequests Sounds like we both had similar experiences with this game (I finished it last month, review below). I'd been hoping for a lot more based on some comments I'd seen not long after the game came out, but I did find it overall a bit of a mess and in the end finished it through bloody-mindedness rather than enjoyment. I hadn't really mentioned the written plot issue in my comment, but I totally agree, quite how this managed to obfuscate so much while being so full of cheap exposition is astounding. 1 month on - on reflection - I'd probably drop my 6 down to a 5 to be honest.

 

On 16/03/2020 at 14:14, FiveFootNinja said:

8. Quantum Break (XB1) - I did like portions of the action, especially with the abilities in full flow (felt like decent Remedy action) and the story was okay. However ultimately I found it got a little repetitive combat wise and by the end was sort of wishing it to end. The 'TV series' bits are bobbins to. I certainly hope Control is better. - 6/10

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22 minutes ago, Soulstar said:

I kinda felt that way later into Horizon Zero Dawn where there were so many audio logs and text documents to help flesh things out. It did help flesh things out but even audio one's which I don't mind were beginning to annoy me as I remember I'd enter an area and find about 5 that I had to stop and listen to in order other wise the next one would override the previous and then I'd never find it again in the inventory as it puts a tick on the one's you haven't listened to, even if you have but just haven't gone separately into the menu to click it a second time in order to update the (checked already/not checked yet) status. There were bloody loads. But it was annoying because I also loved the story and felt the need to listen or read.

 

I'd agree there were far too many logs in the final third of Horizon, but at least they were fairly well written and added some colour to the world. I can still recall the content of many of them and I haven't played that game since launch, whilst I'm pretty sure I'll have forgotten everything about Quantum Break by this time next week. 

 

@FiveFootNinja Yeah, 5/10 is where I'm at. Still playable because Remedy are obviously a talented team, even when working on a botched project.

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Apr

 

21/04 Donkey Kong Jr (NES/Switch) Donkey Kong Jr was a game I really wanted to like more than I did back in the day. I played a friends version on the Coleco a lot but the 2600 port was awful and a C64 port wouldn't appear until 2014. Again, this is a great port but the second screen is just a bit of a mess with the bottom and middle sections feeling a bit spongy. Otherwise the mechanics here are sound. Mario is the villain of the piece and you as Junior have to save dad Kong. You're not as nimble as Mario but with vines and cables there's a great grabbing mechanic. Holding onto two vines will make you climb up quickly but down slowly with the opposite being true when holding onto one vine. In the end as much as I want to love this game, Donkey Kong 2 (the Game and Watch) and the mid 90's port of Donkey Kong with it's hidden levels take these mechanics further and polish them. At least the rewind feature of the Switch port allows you to save scum through level 2.

 

21/04 Donkey Kong (NES/Switch) I really like this port. It's said that the NES was designed primarily to run Donkey Kong. It's an incomplete port lacking the cement "pies" level and all the better for it. I'd always assumed they dropped that level for a lot of the home versions because it's a bit of a weak random level either proving to be too hard or too easy. Comfort gaming at its best.

 

21/04 Super Mario 2 (NES/Switch) I am way to late to the party on this one. I started playing this last year after listening to Jeremy Parish wax lyrical about it and....well for me the 80's were all about the C64, the NES being way too dear to stump up cash for. And while I can see the value in some NES titles this just left me cold. For me it felt like a lost C64 game (not surprising given some of the similarities between the NES and the C64) but it got way too hard to the point where I made it to the end by spamming the rewind function. I feel like I've marked it off my list of games to play before I die but the six month gap between starting and finishing it speaks more about my grim determination to finish what I'd started more than anything else. This very nearly ended up in the abandoned pile.

 

Earlier this month.

13/04 Black Mesa (PC) 

11/04 Arcade Moonlander Plus (PC)

10/04 There is No Game (Jam Edition 2015) (PC)

10/04 The Adventure Pals (PC)

 

Previously this year

 

 

23. 30/03 Bioshock Infinite:Burial at Sea (PS4)

22. 23/03 Bioshock Infinite (PS4)
21. 15/03 Bioshock 2 (PS4)
20. 11/03 The Supper (PC)
19. 08/03 Devil's Kiss (PC)
18. 07/03 Time Gentlemen, Please! (PC)
17. 04/03 Bioshock 2:Minerva's Den (PS4)
16. 01/03 Bioshock (PS4)
15. 27/02 Ben There, Dan That : Special Edition (PC) 
14. 21/02 You've to to be Kitten Me! (PS4/Dreams) 
13. 17/02 Art Therapy (PS4/Dreams) 
12. 16/02 Art's Dream (PS4/Dreams) 
11. 12/02 Juanito Arcade Mayhem (PC) 
10. 08/02 Wolfenstein 2:the New Colossus (PC) (plus The Freedom Chronicles DLC) 
9. 03/02 The Outer Worlds (PS4) 
8. 27/01 Quest of Dungeons (PC) 
7. 21/01 Feather (PC)
6. 20/01 Paperbark (PC)
5. 09/01 The Cat and the Coup (PC) 
4. 09/01 1979 Revolution:Black Friday (PC) 
3. 08/01 Wolfenstein:the Old Blood (PC) 
2. 03/01 Wolfenstein:the New Order (PC) 
1. 01/01 Detroit:Become Human (PS4)

 

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Previously...

 

1) AM2R - PC - 2016 (1991)
2) Ecco The Dolphin - Mega CD - 1992/3
3) Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - 3DS - 2012/14
4) Mega Man X - SNES - 1993
5) Super Metroid - SNES - 1994
6) Donkey Kong Country - SNES - 1994
7) Chrono Trigger - SNES - 1995
8) Star Fox 2 - SNES - 2017 (1995)
9) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES - 1995
10) Xenogears - PS1 - 1998
11) Sonic the Hedgehog - Megadrive - 1991
12) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - SNES - 1996
13) Kirby Super Star - SNES - 1996
14) Earthbound - SNES - 1995

 

 

15) R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 - PS1 - 1998/9

Completed the Grand Prix in normal and hard difficulties. Sorry, classic Ridge fans, R4 is where the series got good. Gone are the incomprehensible drift mechanics of Rage Racer and earlier; now sliding around corners is a breeze. The handling is easy to pick up, the tracks are fun, and the graphics and presentation are outstanding. Also, the inbetween-race storyline and dialogue rating your performance are surprisingly good. I'm pretty sure I only ever played the Japanese version before now so I missed out on all of that.

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19/04/2020 - Wheels of Aurelia (PC)

 

This is more a narrative experience than anything, and I'm putting it down as complete even though I only had the single 15-minute playthrough, rather than the countless it expects in order for you to get all 16 endings. You are in a car and pick up hitchhikers to hear little vignettes that you can shape through your responses. I think there's an overarching narrative around your character (she was kidnapped in her past) but I don't really care to find out. It reminds me a little of Night Call, which I played earlier in the year. There's slightly more to it than that (it's set in 1970s Italy, driving the Via Aurelia) but the actual dialogue was so jarring (I suppose necessary to cram detail into such short playthroughs) it meant people were exposition machines rather than actual characters and it hurts the experience.

 

There is a certain calming charm to it and the aesthetic helps with setting the mood and perhaps fleshing the story out more via subsequent playthroughs would make it all feel a bit more human, but, honestly, I didn't find it engaging enough - even with the scant demands on my time it wanted - to pursue. It's free on Epic Store though if you want to try (which is why I played it, having previously seen it on Steam and thinking it was a curio, at least, but didn't fancy spending the cash on it).

 

21/04/2020 - Call of Duty WW2 (PC)

 

Well, it's CoD. For most people that's probably all that needs to be said; you know you are going to get some bombast, solid production values and fairly harmless plot wrapped up in their signature cinematic style. For many, it's probably only about the multiplayer (which I didn't get into) and the campaign is barely touched or outright ignored. In mechanics they often compare unfavourably to the Battlefield series, though you could argue they cater to slightly different audiences (with a reasonable amount of overlap).

 

Me, though, I really like the CoD series. They deliver that shock-and-awe presentation that the Battlefield games - try as they might - can never emulate, being instead all a bit too serious, a bit too robotic. CoD games are always about pushing forward to the next set-piece, where tactics are more likely to be confused as a small sweet rather than approaching a situation methodically. Everything just works - usually with a rock-solid framerate - whilst not excelling in any area.

 

But yeah, I love 'em, though other than playing Infinite Warfare a couple of years ago on my brother's PS4 I think Ghosts or the original Black Ops was my last excursion - on PC they hold their price really well and it was only seeing this on Humble Bundle which got me to sign-up to that service.

 

Still, how I got there isn't important, whether I enjoyed the game or not is. And I really did. I prefer the World War 2 incarnations as I find the more simplistic weapons and machinery more engaging than the whole macguffin-solving gadgetry of the more modern instalments, plus being a real conflict helps. This one is perhaps a bit more small-scale than other games, with no 'rah rah USA wins the war' (there's some more subtle drum-beating though), instead focusing on more limited operations. You have the usual invincible team alongside you for the ride and it's all as you would expect. What did feel a bit different though - in a good way - was that I felt less the standard CoD superhero winning the day and more part of an operation. It's all smoke and mirrors of course, but it just felt a bit more restrained and I appreciated that. Even the obligatory 'somebody has to die' bit wasn't overdone and that's probably best-reflected in the final mission; instead of some grand, exhausting attritional battle against massive odds, it felt like a 'normal' mission - so much so that I was actually surprised and thought 'That can't be it, can it?' Again, though, I actually respected the decision because it felt in keeping with the objectives I'd had in previous missions in the rest of the game.

 

All in all, this was a real pleasure to play. It helped, of course, that it looked really good and ran like a dream throughout and, like all CoD campaigns, it never outstays its welcome. What to pick up next, I wonder?

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

15/04/2020 - Sword Omen: Legacy (PC)

02/04/2020 - Mother Russia Bleeds (PC)

29/03/2020 - Operencia - The Stolen Sun (PC)

20/02/2020 - Ruzar: The Life Stone (PC)

20/02/2020 - Alder's Blood: Prologue (PC)

17/02/2020 - Universal Paperclips (PC)

15/02/2020 - Gris (PC)

21/01/2020 - Gears of War 5 (Xbox One X)

19/01/2020 - Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls (Xbox One X)

05/01/2020 - Night Call (PC)

02/01/2020 - Remember Me (PC)

 

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Previously...

 

1) AM2R - PC - 2016 (1991)
2) Ecco The Dolphin - Mega CD - 1992/3
3) Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - 3DS - 2012/14
4) Mega Man X - SNES - 1993
5) Super Metroid - SNES - 1994
6) Donkey Kong Country - SNES - 1994
7) Chrono Trigger - SNES - 1995
8) Star Fox 2 - SNES - 2017 (1995)
9) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES - 1995
10) Xenogears - PS1 - 1998
11) Sonic the Hedgehog - Megadrive - 1991
12) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - SNES - 1996
13) Kirby Super Star - SNES - 1996
14) Earthbound - SNES - 1995
15) R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 - PS1 - 1998/9

 

 

16) Tomb Raider III - PC - 1998

Finished it once, having not done so in about twenty years. Christ, it's a hard one this. Easily the worst of the first three classic Tomb Raiders. Despite the improvements in moveset and graphical effects, it's very much built to the same template as the first two, but somehow misses what made the first one so good, whilst doubling down on the sequel's mistakes. A globe-trotting adventure that often forgets its supposed to be about tombs, its dark and dingy environments make seeing your way difficult, while the more 'organic' level geometry often makes finding the path through the levels a case of trial and error, and not the reliable precision of its cubist forebears. There are some good moments and it's got the best classic version of Lara's Home, but this game descends into tedium, frustration and just bad design. I was pretty relieved by the time it was over.

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 April 

 

3. Celeste (PS4) - [Finished the main game]

 

My gaming completion rate has been quite slow this year so far, but this next addition only took a few days or so to finish the main game with a finish time of around 16 and a half hours or so. I pre-ordered this game back on the 1st Jan last year via Limited Run Games and what was supposed to be a few months wait turned into just shy of a year before I finally got my hands on the box. They even issued a special printed art card with an apology on the back for the wait and it seemed to come with some sort of special limited shiny card. Anyway, I had a few things on my plate to go through so have had this on the back burner for a few months.

 

There was a part of me that had lost the interest to play it due to the hype I had when originally pre-ordering it disappearing simply because it had been so long. I remember playing something called Iconocast around the time I decided to splash out on Celeste, and that too had this impressive pixel art style and platform gameplay with some similarities, however at the time I though Celeste was a metroidvania style game, which Iconoclasts is very much so (more metroid than vania). I purposely kept away from any footage if I could so it would be fresh, then there was a time I think I must have read about Celeste being more like Super Meatboy, in other words, the sort of game you replay the same area over and over countless times until you survive. Now going back to Iconoclasts, despite it not getting a great deal of love from many, I thought it was brilliant and then became worried over time that I may not like Celeste as much. Thankfully it's entirely different and as I'd mentioned, not a metroid vania, but merely borrow some graphical lay out styles and feels from that, but generally Celeste is a mind fuck of a journey designed to fill you with anxiety and frustration, a kind of fitting vibe for a game who's story is fundamentally all about depression and anxiety.

 

Now there was a time I played a game which actually got recommended in the Retro thread years ago for mobiles called something like Meganoid, a lofi pixel style game which involved a series of single play areas challenging the player to complete each stage within a time limit and collect all diamonds. These started out simple enough, but then became more and more frustrating as endless deaths and restarts were to be had. Each level could be done in half a minute or so. I finished that and remember spending 3 months on one of the later stages trying to finish off the last of the collectables. Well, Celeste kinda has that same sort of thing going on, except it's more fleshed out and rounded off with a nice story and fresh areas to visit. It's also got lots of progressive gameplay mechanics that evolve and really really do keep things new and exciting without getting stale. Celeste is bloody good I can say that, but it's bloody intense too. I've got two words to say that crossed my mind earlier today and I had to write these down here....Sweaty Hands. Yep, this is the first game I can think of in a while that's made my hand sweat like mad due to the intensity of having to replay areas constantly over and over trying to get that jump right or flight angle correct. Despite it's difficulty, I found it generally doable, however I also (while missing 38 of the strawberries) managed to get about 138 and successfully collected each one I saw. These are optional and always awkward to get, and those one's right near the end as you're climbing the final stretches of the summit drove me fucking crazy, but I did them. It felt good to finally get to the end, yet there are still a bunch more, and there are some other items missing too. Then there's this thing called B-Side which I have no idea about yet, and I've unlocked another bonus chapter called The Core (Chapter 8). It's supposed to be hard as well. I was also expecting to see DLC on here too as they were supposed to add it but I haven't done. It was the main reason for the massive delay getting them printed to disc. 

 

I love the variety between the stages and especially loved the hotel one. The crazy boss (type) characters were really cool and different, and the music is brilliant. It's got a cool homage to other games like Rayman and Yoshi's Island. I think I remember reading someone talk about the Yoshi's Island style levels on here, and it clicked suddenly when I'd been playing for a while. I'll probably go back and play some more again soon, but for now the main game is complete so I've added it to the list. 

 

While it did get super frustrating at times, most of these moments were trying to get the optional strawberry collectibles, of which there are loads to find, yet the main story progression, I'd say is quite doable but does have quite a challenge still. It was always praised for having assist mode, but there was no way I was going near it, and thankfully I didn't have to. It's great looking for the many hidden secret areas too and that forms a huge part of what this game it about. Often times you'll find hidden areas within hidden areas. 

 

It's an awsome game and well worth checking out. Reminded me of Spelunky at times too, yet very different and with it's own take on things. 

 

 

Score - 8.5

 

 

 


Jan

1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4)

First game of the year for me and one I've been chipping away at for the last few weeks or so. Overall it was a really good game and definitely made me think back to SotN I played through all those years ago. Graphically I think it looks pretty good, and while some were disappointed that they never went with the pixel aesthetic, it still has a nice sheen to it and flows really well. I've managed to 100% the map today after finishing it last night at 99.8% and using an image online to see the missing 3 rooms I had left which I'd not managed to spot. There's loads going on in this game as far as levelling and using weapons and shards etc. I mean every single enemy has it's own shard that you can use for some kind of effect/attack and each of those can be levelled in more than one way. It always feels like there's some progress to be made by attacking every enemy each time you walk by as there's something to be gained from doing so in numerous areas whether it be you're character level, gaining a new shard, building the grade, looking for money and item drops or leveling up a familiar. 

There's a part of it that doesn't take it self too serious and adds a lot of little quirky moments including many of the gimmicky but interesting items you can get such as the squeaky boots or fighting a chair that gives you the ability to spawn your own chairs and even level them up to spawn new chair types. It's bonkers but kept me entertained for the 37 or so hours I spent on it. My favourite moment was discovering the 8-bit world unexpectedly last night. The music was great and really felt like Castlevania to the point where some of it almost sounded familiar at times. 

I did notice the odd slowdown here and there but it wasn't that big of a deal generally and I think the PS4 is known to be much more solid in comparison to the Switch version from what I've been reading. I'd also notice flickering graphics on occasions too but it wasn't much of a deal either. Overall I'd say it was a solid Metroidvania title that captures the essence of Castlevania. The bosses felt quite difficult at the start of the game, but once I'd got to about the third one it became much easier to get through. Generally though I just managed to beat most of them by brute force as I rarely needed to repeat them but the first couple took a bit of getting used to due to being less powered. There are different difficulties here and I played it on normal where as the two above I can imagine would turn it into a situation that would require you to study what's going on a bit more. They do tend to get a bit hectic though and I can imagine the boss rush mode being really tough. I think while there were some interesting enemy types, generally many of the bosses were small typical fights you'd expect with the exception of the first one and last one, and while they each were quite different from one another, I'd like to have seen more epic ones with backgrounds involved and camera movement. The two dragons one I was also probably a bit better as well.

I've been considering trying to aim for the platinum and have about 80% of the trophies so far, map all complete and have fought every demon available but there are so many items that I'm not sure if it's worth attempting to try and get all of that too. 

I'm going to give it an 8.5 

 

March

 

2. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

 

Horizon Zero Dawn is quite simply a beautifully made open world action RPG which gave me loose vibes of Fallout 4 and hints of Mass Effect, yet adds it's very own flavours that sets itself apart and feels very rooted as it's own franchise managing to pull something really special off. 

 

Generally this game has a lot of love for it from most who have experienced HZD and I can easily see why, and while not perfect (but what game ever is) it's well worth checking out for many reasons. Firstly the music is amazing and the sound in general has been really well thought out. I absolutely love the sound effects and how they are implemented into the noise of the machines while you fight. You get that rise of darker music, but then the actual battling sounds have this real weight to them and texture of mechanical chaos. There's a thing I love where the sound during the chaotic fighting almost kind of does this silence effect where there a super quick momentary sensation a bit like how when games and films do that temporary ear buzzing tinitus noise after an impact, the sound outside of this dulls. In HZD there isn't any of that but there's a very very subtle thing with the audio almost imploding on itself creating a slight attenuation in the audio. I also like the sound of something revving up or down. Simply put, the sound is massively on point and possibly the best I've heard as far as weighty mechanical sfx go. The music is also great with most importantly, a sense that it has a proper memorable theme to it, rather than just a load of orchestral music. It evokes emotion well and gets stuck in your head after a while, (for those who've played this you know, the one with the female adlibbing ooohhh ohhh ooooh ooooooooooo.) 

 

The story lived up and really sucked me in, and in fact later on when you really start to pick up the pieces of the puzzle as to what's actually going on, It kind of blew me away as to how intricate and fresh it felt. While you spend a lot of time among the primative tribes, there's a lot to learn about the past (our near future) and the whole concept of Zero Dawn. It proper drew me in, especially later on as you learn a lot of information especially if you are listening to and reading all of the logs you come across. It has the whole futuristic AI shtick going on, and while often this is hard to work with in a way that keeps us entertained or refreshed as it's been done to death, I really liked what they do here. 

 

Th graphics are fantastic and so colourfully dynamic. There's a photo-mode there for a good reason and it gives you a lot of flexibility to alter the scene where you are stood to get the perfect shot. The sun cycles and weather changes all really add life and emotion to the world itself. 

 

The gameplay, i.e. one of the most important elements of a game is fresh, or at least for me I was experiencing things that I'd not done in a game until now. The enemies for a start are all robots based around animals and they have been really intricately designed with so many parts and just explode into many bits, however this is also incorporated cleverly into the game play where you are forced to pick spots, find weaknesses and sometimes even shoot off a weapon in order to pick it up and then use it against itself. The weapons are cool, and while there aren't loads, what is there is great to use. The bow feels amazingly fluid to use and once you upgrade things and allow it to slow down while running and sliding or jumping, it just all comes together nicely and slick. One of my favourite weapons is the tripcaster which shoots out like a cross bow, however has two shot phases and a connecting wire between each shot effectively allowing you to shoot a trip wire in place across a huge distance. These allow for trip explosions or electric shock traps. Often it's great to go in quit and set up lots of traps in advance, only to have many of the enemies fall right into them and take loads of damage before the fight even begins. 

 

Somethine else I like about this game is the sense of freedom to be able to jump up mountains and really go where ever you want and being able to neatly fit through small gaps to get past the sort of thing that is always always blocked/clipped in many other games forcing you to work another way around. For example there are many ruins and places with twisted metal and broken concrete creating lots of small places to get through and this rarely posed any problems. 

 

So onto weaknesses. 

 

I read a few bits on occasion in the main HZD thread, and some of it rings true. A weaker element to the game are definitely the fights with the humans by far. They all felt boring and were always much easier in comparison to taking down the robots which often had more strategy to think about. The map can get full of icons and feel like an Assassin's Creed game. You get access to several maps very early on which give you the locations of all the main collectables, and they just take over the map instantly. I know you can remove this, but it also gives me that sense of a chore, knowing I'm inevitably going to end up having to go everywhere to get them all which I did. I'd rather they were either not given out at all, or split up into a series of smaller maps drip feeding the locations so as to not overwhelm the player. In fact I wish games didn't show you things in general in advance, like the outline of the whole map, or the total number of item x's you need before you finish the game, or the ability to read every single upgrade right from the word go. It's something I've grown to dislike over the years and it affects the mystery of progression and can give a good indication of how far you are in the game which can be a bad thing. Not a major thing but just more a personal preference thing. 

 

I felt that there could have been a bit more going on in place on the map rather than samey settlements with people asking for things, particularly off the beaten track as far as side quests go. There was a person who needed help on the side of a road very early in the game, but this sort of thing didn't happen later on. It was a more predictable collection of people all together in a settlement who'd ask you. Fallout was great for doing this right. Like finding a house and ending up in a random encounter with a family who you get talking to who then end up being cannibals, who their neighbour is scared shitless of. They could have done more with the bandits to add story elements to them I think too. 

 

I often found it difficult to scroll through my items to get to the health potions fast enough due to too many things to cycle through while in a panic. I initially didn't like this, but came to the conclusion that this is a toss up between keeping your eye on the ball and being prepared in a way like the Souls games do when having to change the weapons and stances or whatever you do (it's been years since I played) while fighting a boss. 

 

Another thing is that later on it felt like there were way too many digital readers and audio logs to go through all around the same time. Difficult one as it tries to give you a lot of the added weight of the story of Zero Dawn and the people of the past, however it just slows everything down almost too much if you want to see it all. There's just so much of it. But then it's also the reason I got really invested in the story too so that's a difficult one. 

 

Anyway, I'm going to conclude here as it's quite a long write up, but considering it's a longer game and a fantastic one at that, and that I'm stuck inside with little to do, it was worth it. HZD took me about 95 hours to get through and I played it on hard which can be tough early on until you get to grips with the best strategies to use and level up more. These types of games I generally prefer though when the threats are greater since playing FO4 on Survival. 

 

9/10 for me. 

 

[Edit] - To add to this quickly, I have the complete version which comes with Frozen Wilds as part of it but decided to completely ignore this space and come back to it at a later time to avoid over staying its welcome. The main section of the game is long enough if (like me) you do all side quests and collectibles. I do have those training grounds yet to finish though, and as I'm not far off the platinum if I get a blazing sun in every challenge, I might try and pull it off. 
 

 

 

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1. Resident Evil 7(XB1) 8/10

2. Batman Arkham Asylum(XB1) 7.5/10

3. Halo: CE Anniversary(XB1) 5/10

4. Life is Strange(XB1) 8/10

5. Luigi Mansion 3(Switch) 8/10

6. New Super Lucky’s Tale(Switch) 7/10

7. Catherine: Full Body(PS4) 8.5/10

8. Untitled Goose Game(Switch) 6/10   

9. Sleeping Dogs(PS4) 9/10

10. Doom 2016(PS4) 9/10

11. Peggle 2(PS4) 7/10

12. Spider-Man(PS4) 9/10

13. Crash Bandicoot(PS4) 7.5/10
14. Resident Evil 3 Remake(PS4) 8/10

15. Spyro the Dragon(PS4) - 6.5/10

16. The Order 1886(PS4) - 6.5/10

 

17. Resident Evil 2 Remake(PS4) - Had the urge to play through this again after playing through Res Evil 3 Remake even though I completed it on XB1 late last year, I did a first run with both Leon and Claire which took me around 10hr30mins to complete. Not much I can say about this game other than I love playing it and it is probably my favourite ever game. I’ll come back and play a proper second run at some point to see the true ending. 9.5/10

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I’ve just blasted through Battlefield 1 and battlefield 5 on pc

and uncharted 4 and lost legacy again great fun 
started the original trilogy also 

last of us next but I’ve just been un-furloughed so won’t have so much time 

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Been a while since I updated as the lockdown has left me with less time to game as opposed to more and y’know… Animal Crossing. Anyway the completion of Murder by Numbers gave me the impetus to finally update.

 

GTA V 27/03
Completed back at release but it being on GamePass prompted another scoot through with flashier graphics. That world is just a thing of beauty, I would love to see a San Andreas remaster with this engine.


Tomb Raider Go & Monument Valley 2 03/04
These games went free on iOS for lockdown and it was the perfect time for me as I was testing some particularly intensive reports for work so spent the down time barrelling through two pretty cool puzzle games. I did feel MV2 was not as good as the first though.


Journey to the Savage Planet 10/04
Another GamePass experiment after hearing good things here and elsewhere and what a pleasant surprise. Got a real Hitch-hikers Guide vibe from the script and really enjoyed the exploration aspect. Could have done with a map and the ability to holster your gun and ESPECIALLY your off-hand items; but overall was a great couple of sessions of gaming.


Ori and the Blind Forest 24/04
Got browbeaten in to finally playing this by a mate and kind of glad I was. I forgot how beautiful this game was and to see it in motion was incredible. Playing wise it was mostly lovely; challenging and fair right up until the last dungeon which made me want to punch my daughters blow up penguin that shares my games room. That shit was hard for my aging fingers.


Murder by Numbers 28/04
Well this was just brilliant. An original idea executed very well indeed. I won’t say perfectly as, for me, some of the script was a little ‘try hard’ but mostly it was bang on and the characters were top class. I really hope to see more of this in a refined sequel.

 

Previously

Spoiler

 

01/01 – Lego Builder’s Journey
28/01 – The Outer Worlds
01/02 – Untitled Goose Game
04/02 – Wandersong
11/02 – Ghostbusters

28/02 – Darksiders Genesis

04/03 – Slay the Spire

 

 

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29/04/2020 - Inside (PC)

 

Okay, I'll come out with this right off the bat - I definitely preferred Limbo to this, though this is still a good game.

 

Still, good is not great and I felt that the lack of a central conceit (I'm running somewhere but I have no idea why - even after completing it and seeing the secret ending) pales to the more emotive storytelling of Limbo (I'm trying to reach my sister), even if both games are really there to be interpreted as you see fit. As a result I felt less fulfilled and devoid of feeling, well, anything here, whereas their previous title left me feeling sad. The soundtrack in Limbo was better, too (I still listen to Machine Gun Tranquility fairly often).

 

What this does right though, is build a fuller world (even if the geography of it makes no sense), adds some colour and provides a sense of menace. Who are these people? Why the masks? Why do they want me? Questions that sadly received no resolution. I enjoyed the puzzles in the main and the controls - especially at the end - are super smooth and responsive when you need them to be. It did look very nice, too - Playdead certainly have a certain style, which is very nice.

 

Ultimately though, it comes back to that real lack of understanding why I'm running left to right, so I couldn't really get invested in the task a hand and, for that, Limbo remains my preferred game from their stable.

 

Certainly relishing what they come up with next though!

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

21/04/2020 - Call of Duty WW2 (PC)

19/04/2020 - Wheels of Aurelia (PC)

15/04/2020 - Sword Omen: Legacy (PC)

02/04/2020 - Mother Russia Bleeds (PC)

29/03/2020 - Operencia - The Stolen Sun (PC)

20/02/2020 - Ruzar: The Life Stone (PC)

20/02/2020 - Alder's Blood: Prologue (PC)

17/02/2020 - Universal Paperclips (PC)

15/02/2020 - Gris (PC)

21/01/2020 - Gears of War 5 (Xbox One X)

19/01/2020 - Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls (Xbox One X)

05/01/2020 - Night Call (PC)

02/01/2020 - Remember Me (PC)

 

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25/04 - Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone (PS4) - more Hatsune Miku! This acts as a best of collection of the earlier games in the series although which games depends on which song packs you purchase. Future Sound covers the previous home console Project Diva games whilst Colorful Sound covers songs from the arcade and Project Mirai. However, at it's core it's a port of the arcade game - so gameplay is not as complicated and is thus far more accessible/easier than the specific console releases. I cleared all 224 songs - 216 on Normal difficulty and a further 8 on Hard (that for some reason didn't have a Normal difficulty option). For the sheer volume of songs, this is a brilliant value for money package that I'd heartily recommend.

 

 

01. 01/01 - Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PS4)

02. 03/01 - Sayonara Wild Hearts (PS4)
03. 11/01 - Yakuza 3 (PS4)
04. 11/01 - Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (PS4)
05. 12/01 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan (PS4)
06. 21/01 - Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One)
07. 24/01 - Storm Boy (Xbox One)
08. 10/02 - One Piece World Seeker (Xbox One)
09. 10/03 - GRID (Xbox One)
10. 01/04 - Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3)
11. 07/04 - Resident Evil 3 (Xbox One)
12. 11/04 - Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Xbox 360)
13. 12/04 - Duck Tales Remastered (Xbox 360)
14. 14/04 - Song of the Deep (Xbox One)
15. 15/04 - Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd (PS3)

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On 19/04/2020 at 01:45, strawdonkey said:

01: Shovel Knight

02: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

03: Racedierun

04: Super Mario Maker 2

05: Muv-Luv Extra

06. Untitled Goose Game

07. Glass Masquerade

08. Pokémon Sword

09. OneShot

10. Gorogoa

11. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

12. Hylics

13. LiEat

14. Sonic Robo Blast 2

15. Hustle Cat

16. Universal Paperclips

17. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

 

Yeah - I know. You don't just "complete" Animal Crossing, and by no means am I done with it either. I've got the 3-star rating for the island and seen the credits, but my whole family are playing this, my son is still stealing any furniture that gets left outside and god forbid he gets to the fruit trees before you do because he is going to eat them and shit them out in record time.

 

Animal Crossing has been the most welcome diversion amidst this shithouse of a time we currently inhabit. It's just an interactive dollshouse, no there isn't really much of a point but I love it and every little amazing thing that happens brightens my day up, from one of the islanders chatting shit about the kids, or finally getting a first hybrid flower of a particular colour, or getting hold of that last arcade machine...

 

I completely adore it and it being in my life has made coping with existence way easier - and I'll still be on it for an hour every morning (at least) for a long time to come.

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May

 

The Division 2: Warlords of New York (PC)

 

So after my two month epic run though of AC:Origins, what better way to pallet cleanse than with erm another Ubisoft open world game.  To be fair, The Division plays pretty differently from the AC series in basic gameplay loop and well I'm a sucker for Ubi's open world formula anyway so I like the familiar whistles and bells.

 

Anyway The Division 2 was one of my highlights of last year, it basically it took what the first game did and basically did everything (from a PvE single player sense anyway) significantly better.  It is probably the best 3rd person cover shooter I've ever played, with crunchy gunplay, a real emphasis on battlefield placement and of course guns lot of guns.  I spent 80 happy hours in the game and played every piece of single player content all the way to World Tier 5, all 3 episodes and even the Kenley College stuff; and loved pretty much every minute of it.  The Division 2 is a curious game in that it wants to be an endless loot/MMO shooter but it packs so much genuine new single player content that even those who have little interest in grinding get far more than their money's worth.

 

So after the year 1 content (which was generously largely free, the season pass only granting some extra side mission (pretty decent ones) and a bit of exclusive high end gear; its paid expansion time.  As I have Uplay+ this was all available for me day one on release day along with the season pass, but 25 notes if you are purchasing; which is not cheap for an expansion pack.

 

However, this is a fairly generous expansion.  We get the setting moved back to the superior environment of |New York (the base games biggest weakness being Washington DC is not quite the iconic city NY is) and exploring a new section of the map in lower Manhattan that the original didn't cover (spoilers yes you do get to visit a certain statue, although no gun fights in the torch which seems a missed opportunity).

 

This is a decent slab of new content - we get 4 new areas which is about a 3rd of the base games map, and each with their own control points, SHD caches and bounties to complete.  The new campaign takes in 6 new main missions, all of them taking an hour or so to complete and another 7 side missions which are somewhat shorter.  They are almost all good and the new main mission are perhaps the best content in the game to date, taking in an oil refinery, an underground park and the previously mentioned statue as eye candy for the battles.  In a slightly surprising turn, this time we get some actual boss battles with personality and unique game play mechanics (although rogue agent numero uno Keener is a flipping irritating battle).

 

Its very much more Division 2, and this was absolutely fine with me.  We get the fun of starting again with the loot grind as you level from 30-40 (definitely the best bit of the original), the new map is an impressive post apocalyptic environment (this time in the Summer but following a hurricane) and all the mission are great fun to play through.  As a devoutly solo player, I happily progressed through without significant difficulty (which is just as well as only a month after release matchmaking for the campaign on story wasn't really happening); the SHD caches have developed significantly from the base game with almost all of them presenting a slight environmental puzzle to solve.

 

And so 20 or so happy hours were spent - perhaps slightly annoyingly its fairly easy to reach level 40 before reaching the climax of the campaign but the new levelling system doesn't kick in until you finish...there's a story reason for this but yeah, meh.  The plot such as it is serves its purpose but the conclusion feels rather empty given the shadow Keener has cast to date and the new big bad really comes out of nowhere but lets face it no one plays The Division for the story.

 

Perhaps most disappointingly the  post game gives little reason to play on; I was all ready to give the new season content manhunt a go but it basically consists of replaying content I've just done or did previously with no alterations....yeah nah.  There is sadly no equivalent of the WT levels of the base game or the remixed missions that offered.

 

But I did thoroughly enjoy this return to New York and the rock solid foundations of the series - I will be back but only when there is something new to play.

 

Lots of fun but maybe not £25 worth of content / 10

 

 

 

Spoiler

January

 

1. Darksiders Genesis (PC)

 

So mystery of the week.  Why is no one talking about this game (seriously the thread has about a dozen posts (two of them by me before I even bought it).  I guess that's because no one is playing it.  And why is no one playing it?  Well fcuk'd if I know because its absolutely fantastic.

 

Okay I will admit a modicum of bias here.  I adore the Darksiders series.  Its the mix beautiful mid 90s Imagine comics style art with the po faced but at times hilarious story beats and the way it the series realises that basically any genre is improved if you mix a bit of Zelda in there.  Here comes a history lesson:

 

Darksiders I - basically God of War meets Zelda, during and after the apocalypse.  Run around dungeons, hit things with a comically over powered sword, get items and solve clever but never terribly tricky environmental puzzles.  All with a chunky gorgeous art style.  And Vulgrum - everyone loves Vulgrum. 

 

Darksiders II - basically the above with a more mobile lead, and lashes of Prince of Persia style platforming,  an open world to join the dungeons and a dash of Diablo style loot.  Its undoubtedly one of my favourite games of the last decade, even though its oh so terribly clear how the budget gradually ran dry as the game moves towards its conclusion (massive impressive first open world area with loads of side dungeons, much more linear second map, by the third we're down to a single path).  It has its weaknesses (the plot never really goes anywhere, Death is as far less interesting character than War, its obsessed with 3 McGuffins being the key to move forwards and as a prequel it fails miserably to deliver on the best ending to a game ever (No, not alone...)).  But its great really.

 

Darksiders III - as above, but with about a 10th of the budget and no horses, less platforming, a rather shoe horned in Dark Souls vibe  but a quite nicely executed Metroidvania level design.  Its the weakest of the trilogy for sure but I still love it.

 

So yeah the Darksiders series has had a bit of a rough ride.  The first game managed to be something of a sleeper hit for THQ, surprising everyone who expected another God of War/DMC/Dante's Inferno knock off with basically the best non Nintendo version of a 3D Zelda.  It sold far better than expected.

 

Slightly desperate at this point, THQ basically threw all their money at the sequel hoping for a mega hit (they even bought all the advertising space on Time Square on release).  This was never likely for a niche title like Darksiders.  The sequel did good business despite everything but it wasn't enough.  THQ went bust.  Tragically no one saved Virgil Games but Nordic bought the IP.

 

Virgil dissolved and about half the company drifted off to form Gunfire Games whilst the other half became Airship Syndicate who made the also rather wonderful Battle Chasers.

 

A couple of HD remasters and the now THQ Nordic (because when you've bough most if the IP of a defunct company why not also take their name?) released Darksiders III from the Virgil off shoot Gunfire.  Teeny tiny budget was evident and it is comfortably the weakest of the trilogy, but it was still more Darksiders and therefore great by default.  Suggesting that AA games do have a future, despite modest sales it turns a healthy profit.

 

Which leads us to back to Darksiders Genesis.  As noted earlier half of Virgil (or so) ended up as Gunfire, but the other half of the senior team founded Airship Syndicate.  And made the really rather great SRPG Battle Chasers (basically a modern Vandal Hearts if you've not played it).

 

So we have half the creative team who made Darksiders, they are making games for THQ Nordic, they have a overhead isoometricc engine, they have the lead artist from Darksiders.  Why not make a Darksiders Diablo game?  You could even introduce the 4th horseman we've barely met (Strife)?

 

I'll admit I was a wee bit sceptical when this was announced at E3.  Darksiders has always been about genre mix, but I was far from convinced that Diablo dungeon crawling was a good fit.

 

I was wrong.

 

Mainly because this is not a Diablo style dungeon crawler.  Its a Darksiders game.  A proper Darksiders game.  More of a Darksiders game than the threequel in fact. It basically plays like a mix of 1 and 2 from an isometric perspective.  Or a 2D Zelda game with more hitting things and platforming.

 

Its bloody brilliant.  The combat feels great - War is just as he was from the original and despite the change of perspective the combat feels just as visceral  Strife meanwhile adds a dash of twin stick shooter to the proceedings.  The campaign is 16 levels long and meaty.  There are a shit load of secrets to find in the maps.  You get to ride you're horse(s).  The puzzles are never really full on Zelda head scratchers but keep you on your toes.  There's a surprisingly complex levelling system with the creature cores which has loads of potential for messing about with builds..  Oh and an arena mode for pure combat chaos.  And War is back and is still the best horseman by a mile.  And Vulgrim.  And Samael too.

 

If you even got a smidgeon of enjoyment out of the three preceding games you owe yourself to get this.  Its about £17 from CDkeys right now on PC.  Its out on console (would be great on the Switch) in February.  If you never played them the first 2 are free from Epic Games store until tomorrow evening so off you go.

 

Its my game of (last) year - hey I played most of it over Xmas - by a country mile.  After 33 hours and managing to get almost all the items from the maps and clocking all of the arena levels aside from the endless final one I saw the credits last night. Loved it.

 

Of course its not perfect.  Its another prequel (really, a 3rd one, after that ending?).  War rather overshadows Strife despite this being the latter's debut.  The plot doesn't really go anywhere (as its a prequel) and the MacGuffins are all present and correct.  But its just so much damned fun.

 

Phenomenal / 10

 

2. Jedi: Fallen Order  (PC)

 

So onto game number two and a game I have waited a very long time to play.  Its no secret that I am a big Star Wars fan and its also no secret that I love the Uncharted games.  So I have long waited for a Star Wars X Uncharted game where I could live out my Jedi role playing fantasies.  No really I have...

 

And it has been a long old wait full of disappointment.  Fist there was Star Wars 13:13 which looked amazing but was cancelled along with Lucasfilm games.  Then Visceral, the developer behind another favourite series of mine were entrusted to deliver a single player Star Wars game with design by Uncharted creator Amy Hennig.  Very exciting - no wait that's cancelled too.

 

So when Fallen Order was first teased from Respawn (another favoured studio of mine) my expectations were tempered - its never coming out is it?  And there hasn't ever been a decent single player Star Wars game has there?

 

Well actually that last point is patently untrue - leaving aside KOTR 1 and 2, we had Dark Forces and the Jedi Knight series, the Rogue Squadron games, Super Star Wars, Star Wars Arcade, the original wire frame Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, The Force Unleashed and its sequel (well loved them).  Me personally I even enjoyed Star Wars: Bounty Hunter but I'll admit that last one was probably was just me.

 

But it would be fair to say that since EA has had the licence there hasn't been a good single player Star Wars game.  And my dream of a Uncharted style 3rd person Jedi platform adventure looked lost to the wilds of time.

 

But no Jedi:Fallen Order is pretty much exactly the game I was looking for and is about a million times better than anyone could have expected.

 

There is no huge amount of reinventing the wheel here.  Respawn basically took what they were good at, constructing a well designed and written campaign with lots of wall running (c/f Titanfall 2); added a hugely authentic Star Wars aesthetic (say whatever else you want about this game, it looks like Star Wars) and dropped in everyone's personal Jedi  power play fantasy and et voila; you have one of the most entertaining titles of the last 12 months.

 

This is to all intent and purposes Star Wars X Uncharted; if you had any doubts then the opening level that has you scaling a massive tower before plunging you into a train chase where you end up dangling precariously from destroyed sections of the vehicle should leave you in no doubt.  It goes further however and mixes in lots of other games DNA into the gloriously tasty gaming soup.  There's more than a touch of the rebooted Tomb Raiders in the well um, Tomb sequences, complete with environmental puzzles, we get a whole dollop of Metroidvania with unlocking abilities allowing you to access previously inaccessible parts of the map.  The attempt to work in some Dark Souls both in the combat and the meditating (camp fire) mechanic is perhaps the most ill fitting addition (narratively it makes no sense whatsoever) but the combat is fast, fluid and once you are fully powered up dazzlingly entertaining.

 

Its not perfect of course; the games momentum is a little jerky moving from the on rails but striking intro level to the rather ponderous first planet but it soon gets a grip on the pace.  The absence of fast travel is inexplicable and hurts the pre end game where you want to mop up missed secrets.  The unlocking of force powers too is a bit slow, granting you only force slow for the first few hours of the game was an odd move - surely would have been best to lead with push.  Technically it generally looks fabulous (admittedly I am playing no doubt post a couple of patches and with a decent PC) but the odd sinking into the environment on occasions on Dathomir feels out of place and which idiot forgot to have BD1 move off your shoulder when you are swimming but still kept the animation of the chests  suggesting he had jumped in?).

 

But all of this is relative nitpicking.  The game is a long, well designed campaign full of fun set pieces, snappy combat and free running platforming.  Its surprisingly well written and acted, probably telling a better story than well the last two Star Wars films for one.  And the Star Wars fan service is second to none.  Despite warning of a Dark Souls vibe, on the moderate difficulty level  the game is never more than slightly challenging (the bosses all have blatant tells and weaknesses and the hardest moments tend to come when you are mobbed or forget your force powers).  I had an absolute blast.

 

May the force be with you / 10

 

3. Halo: Reach (Master Chief Collection) PC

 

So the journey is over, I have finally completed all the main line (i.e the FPS ones) Halo games.  Dare I say it, it ended with a little bit of a whimper rather than a bang.

 

So I was late to the party with the Halo series.  I did have CE on the original Xbox, but I (whisper it) wasn't really that keen.  I got as far as driving the Warthog , found it near impossible and gave up.  As far as Halo 2 goes, for some reason I never played the campaign, although I did spend many hilarious hours playing couch VS with @Gordzilla

 

And I may have bought Halo 3, Reach and indeed 4; but I never actually managed to play them.  You know just because.  And I developed a distinctive 'obviously' correct opinion that the Halo games were well a bit meh really.   Despite never really actually y'know playing them

 

So when I got a Xbone I bought the MCC collection - mainly because it was like £6 and I had a shiny new console.  But I was actually keen to give the games another go, because well all that noise about Halo.

 

And well I was wrong 18 years ago or whatever it was.  Halo is a fabulous game.

 

Anyway I have gradually made my way through the series from CE onwards and played the entire series available of the MCC (and 5 too, although the less said about 5 is probably the better).

 

I've had half an eye on playing Reach (for which I still have a 360 disc on my gameshelf) through BCC - but once the game was confirmed for the MCC collection and y'know remastered and all that jazz I decided to wait.  And as these days I have an all singing all dancing gaming laptop the PC version beckoned.

 

Not sure on balance whether that was the correct option.

 

So yeah Reach.  Its well okay.  But turns out a little anaemic.   Some this may well be down to the gimped sound; its still not fixed as far as I can tell and everything sounds well a bit tinny.  And I know the soundtrack for this is much admired; but I badly missed the actual Halo theme - it nearly appears on a couple of occasions and well its kind of frustrating.

 

Which ultimately fits with the way the game presents.  Its all a bit clinical and well lacking something. As you may be aware Reach is a tragic war movie prequel as presented through a video game, or basically Rogue One the videogame.  I may have played all of the preceding and succeeding games but I still failed to care much about Noble squadron.  I knew they were all going to die and it had very little impact when they did.  Your character, Mr proto Master chief is an ambivalent cipher (oh and look Cortana chooses him and he was second only to the Chief in various war games) but he fails to develop any personality of his own.

 

And its a pretty short campaign, definetly shorter than the numbered titles; and whilst I've heard comment that it has some of the best set pieces in the series, I wasn't quite feeling it.  I mean yes it has the Halo dynamic, it doesn't feel divorced from its predecessors like say 5 does.  But there were far more memorable moments in well, Halo 4 for example.  It feels like Halo, I was enjoying myself but I never had that feeling of wow what I am I playing like I got from say Halo 3.

 

So yeah DLD Halo rankings: Halo 3 > Halo 4 (its really good no really it is) > ODST > CE > Reach > Halo 2 > Halo 5 / 10

 

4. Shadow Warrior 2 (PC)

 

And now for something completely brainless and explosive.

 

I loved SW1, whilst I played it later, turns out it was the original prototype for the Doom reboot.  Nineties FPS game design meets 2010s graphics.

 

This wasn't as good.  Mixing Shadow Warriors vibe with the looter shooter genre ends up being slightly more miss than hit.  By having procedurally generated levels some of the fun of exploring the maps of the first game was lost.  The game also badly misses the lovely anime seriousness of the originals plot and cut scenes ; this time it goes straight for silly cock jokes with little or no messing about.  Hoji is much missed.

 

But it does have guns, lots of guns.  And the swords are still phenomenal.  Some reasonable improvements with the controls makes the special moves a lot more intuitive to pull off too.

 

It never even tries to rise above, go here, kill some demons, go over here and kill some more as far as level design goes, but it still manages to be entertaining as you blast and slash from A to B.

 

And my word it does look very pretty in places.

 

Meh I had fun but the first game was better / 10

 

5. Assassin's Creed Origins + The Hidden Ones + The Curse of the Pharaohs (PC)

 

Well that's one way to slow down my completion rate for the year, play a game that literally feels like it will never end.  In a good way mind, although after 95 hours of it I'm very ready to play something else.

 

So literally two months it has taken me to get through this, and that's with a weeks annual leave in lockdown not doing a great deal more than play it.  This is, if you let it be of course, a ridiculously long game.

 

I've only a passing acquaintance with the AC series, still harbouring a slight resentment for the fact it killed off my beloved Prince of Persia games.  I did play the original at the time of release and was not wildly impressed.  Looked stunning but not a huge amount to do.  I also plated the sequel on release but found it took an inordinate amount of time to get going, too long in fact so I got bored and gave up.

 

Fast forward 10 years or maybe more, late to the party with the PS4 my new console came with a copy of Syndicate.  And I finally completed my first AC game, and really enjoyed it too.

 

Anyway, I've had a thing for classical and ancient history (and a degree to show for it) since I was a kid, so had been meaning to play this for a long time.  I was attracted by the the RPG stylings and the reports of many of the irritants or past AC games were a thing of the past (tailing etc - although some of the sub Benny Hill chase sequences that I experienced in Syndicate were probably worth the price of admission in their own right).

 

Anyway, this is all largely true.  This doesn't feel an awful lot like the earlier games at all.  In fact it comes across more like a third person version of Far Cry (endless enemy camp infiltrations), with some incredibly expansive exploration in a fascinating and incredibly realised period of history.

 

Playing on a pretty decent PC, its hard to underestimate how pretty this game looks.  It captures Ptolemaic Egypt perfectly and the extent of the world map is just stunning.  The plot does rather stumble along, rather lost in the fun you have from uncovering question mark after question mark, exploring long forgotten tombs in the wilderness, skating down Pyramids, climbing temples and dealing silent death from above to the guards.

 

The game is neatly simplified and tweaked to make the core gameplay; get to area, scope out with your bird, silently dispatch the guards being sneaky a la Batman Arkham or with some carefully placed arrows and then killing your quarry and then go explore some more endlessly inviting. 

 

One can not stress just how huge the map is; even after finishing the main quest line I still had a third of the map to explore.  The plot is  slow moving for the majority of the game and then suddenly accelerates in a slightly odd tangent but this ultimately matters little given the engaging nature of the game loop.  The two leads however are unusually well developed, even if I didn't see the eventual twist in their relationship coming.

 

And even more surprisingly the DLC is almost equally as well done as the main game.  The Hidden Ones is a nice little expansion to the main game but clearly more of the same but Curse of the Pharaohs' is arguably the best content of the entire game - Thebes, and what they did with the tombs of the kings being a massive highlight.

 

Perhaps playing it all through was a little too much of a good thing, I have Odyssey all lined up but I need a break for now, but this was cracking stuff.

 

Hidden Blade / 10

 

 

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03/05/2020 - Streets of Rage (PC)

 

It's late and I'm tired, so I'll just copy what I put in the thread:

 

Quote

Anyway, just finished this (on Easy, because I suck at games, so a lot of the nuance of the systems they've put in place didn't impact me). It was enjoyable enough but still hate the art style, I think it's really ugly. Mostly used Floyd, though his slow lumbering around made the last few boss fights a bit longer than they needed to be. It's the best beat-em-up I've played in the last few years, but that doesn't say anything really as I've played some trash.

 

Not as good as Target Renegade. 

 

From posts in the thread I can see it's quite a technical game so I'm sure there's plenty to enjoy for those that want to replay it, but I've no interest in score attacks or S-ranking stuff so I'm happy enough with my Easy play-through and being done with it.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

29/04/2020 - Inside (PC)

21/04/2020 - Call of Duty WW2 (PC)

19/04/2020 - Wheels of Aurelia (PC)

15/04/2020 - Sword Omen: Legacy (PC)

02/04/2020 - Mother Russia Bleeds (PC)

29/03/2020 - Operencia - The Stolen Sun (PC)

20/02/2020 - Ruzar: The Life Stone (PC)

20/02/2020 - Alder's Blood: Prologue (PC)

17/02/2020 - Universal Paperclips (PC)

15/02/2020 - Gris (PC)

21/01/2020 - Gears of War 5 (Xbox One X)

19/01/2020 - Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls (Xbox One X)

05/01/2020 - Night Call (PC)

02/01/2020 - Remember Me (PC)

 

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7. Resident Evil 3

This does well in distinguishing itself from the Resi 2 remake year and making something different of Nemesis after Mr X. The first couple of hours in particular set a great pace, with some nice set pieces and the relentless threat of the big guy creating an almost Terminator-like atmosphere. It's a shame it can't keep that up, and the back half of the game is almost all indoors, with Nemesis relegated to boss duties. The curtailed length isn't necessarily an issue on its own, but some sections just aren't interesting enough because they lack substance. It's still a solid game because the foundations are there from last year, but also pretty disappointing. 

 

8. Final Fantasy VII Remake

This gets so much right as a remake of one of my favourite games, and works well as a modern JRPG. Most of all it gets the locations and characters spot on, fleshing them out in ways that feel consistent with how I always imagined them. Sometimes it's enough to simply look up, or down, in Midgar to be struck by the remarkable structure of the place. And if the incidental dialogue and verbal sparring isn't Naughty Dog level, it does more than enough to give the main cast plenty of personality. It's great to see something with such iconic design as FFVII re-realised with current gen tech, while retaining the unique tone of the original.

 

Not that that would count for much on its own, but fortunately the adjusted combat is really very good, especially the way materia is deployed again to add tactical considerations to a more action heavy fighting style. Best of all, it feels like something new and yet faithful at the same time, as you switch between characters and wait your turn for moments to trigger powerful attacks and spells.

 

The problems come from stretching out the original's opening section to a full length game. There's padding, bland side quests, and a lack of pace in some of the important story sequences. It's also very linear for the most part, because you're mostly restricted to a particular area at any given time. Still I'd rather have the excess than trim it right down, because at least it has the scope of an RPG this way. It doesn't take too much out of the story and themes either, which are mostly well delivered, with some emotional punch. Even the ending, as overblown as it is, promises interesting things going forward.

 

In all honesty, I know it's not that good if you look at the overall quality compared to some other modern AAA games. But a lot of the issues are also what make it work as a remake, such as a commitment to making room for traditional JRPG dungeons, which I really appreciate. Most of all, the first play through I had of it was one of the most incredible gaming experiences I've had in years. I don't think that's pure nostalgia, it's also down to the enduring excellence of the source material, and the care with which it's been treated to create another hugely memorable adventure.

 

9. Streets of Rage 4
A perfectly judged sequel after all these years. Does enough to feel modern and add some extra depth, but always feels like it's building carefully on the original foundations. It's great that they made it reasonably short and replayable, rather than bulking it up too much. But really pretty much everything about it just feels right and the new visual style, soundtrack and mechanics make perfect sense. Perhaps they could have done even more in terms of characters and enemy variety, and there are some minor frustrations with uneven difficulty, but that's being picky.

10. Uncharted 4
Got this on PS+ and thought I should see what it's all about, although I've not really wanted to play it before. It's pretty much what I expected, which is very impressive on one hand and not really fun or interesting to play on the other. It's the kind of game style I associate with the early 360/PS3 days, where it's like a movie, but a movie where you've been asked to stand in for the leading actor at the last minute, and sort of bumble through as best you can.

 

It nearly always wants you to do something very specific, so you spend most of the time looking around for the thing that you can interact with and then interact with it. Sometimes it's not obvious what that is, so you get confused and wish it would just tell you what it wants. A lot of the time you find the thing and interact with it, and you've not had to think about what you're trying to achieve or why that's the solution. You just know it's right because it's there and has a button prompt next to it. This all takes place in the most incredibly detailed environments I've seen in any game, and yet it never asks you to think about how they fit together. You can pretty much tune them out for the most part to focus on the one path forward.

I've also never seen a game with cinematic pretensions make the same things happen so many times. It's basically a running joke within the game that bridges and platforms collapse, or another bunch of mercenaries turns up exactly when you expect, but that doesn't make it any less absurd or tiresome. The many combat scenes throughout the many chapters barely evolve either. By the end, some of the enemies have more armour and bigger weapons, but otherwise the fights are the same as the ones at the beginning. They're often really confusing too. It's a strange decision to have so many battles against large groups of enemies, when fewer battles against fewer, more interesting enemies would make more sense narratively and be more enjoyable. They could also cut out nonsense like recharging health then, which makes the whole thing feel farcical.

Still, the animation is really good of course. The chatter between characters is as advanced as anything I've seen anywhere (although the game drags on so long, even that's wearing thin well before the end). The views are often stunning if you stop to look around. And there are a couple of good set pieces that aren't repeated to death.

But it's such a strange beast overall. It goes to all that trouble to build believable places and characters, then almost none at all to maintain the illusion as soon as it has to be a game. It's all so perfectly streamlined and user-friendly, with everything considered to make the experience run smoothly, but at the same time it can be hard to follow what's going on, and it somehow manages to make an exciting, exotic adventure feel bland and tedious. That's actually quite an achievement.

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1. Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet

2. Resident Evil 2 Remake

3. Donut County

4. Assemble With Care

5. Persona Q2

6. Witcher 3

 

7. Persona 5 Royal. Its no surprise I loved this having played the original twice to get the platinum and being a huge fan of Persona and all it's spinoffs. It tidies up so much of the original game and makes it flow a lot better, you feel like you have more control over your decisions early one. And then the new stuff they have added post original game is a joy. Add in some nice new features like Challenge Battles which are more like puzzles than fights, a new hangout to see a gallery, videos and various bits and bobs you have picked up on the way and it's a fantastic game.

 

2 really nice touches though. They have simplified the platinum trophy so that it's easy to do in one run. The old challenges are there but in a different way in the Thieves Den hangout, they can be ignored easily but completists can grab them. The other was that Atlus sends out packs of themes and avatars when you reach 4 different points in the game, and they are belters. Its a nice little incentive, I'm just waiting on the last set for the platinum to come through.

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Gears Tactics: There's a fair few little things I could moan about here - how the readability of enemies is poor, how fitting out gear uses way too many embedded menus and gets unwieldy quickly, and the repetitive side quests which feel like filler.

 

But it comes recommended regardless simply due to a very solid and fun core ruleset. As with this genre, it's a little rollercoaster of highs and lows, when everything pops off perfectly you grin, when you miss that 80% shot you curse. And the biggest improvement here is that enemy behaviours are a bit more predictable - you can learn their ruleset through familiarity, that snipers can only pin if they haven't moved, that disciples get a free overwatch even if interrupted, and react to that, which is something I never found in X:COM.

 

And while I was never a fan of this series, I think this isometric perspective suits the world well, creating these little dioramas of ruined buildings, burned out tanks and tiny chunky men that you could expect to see in some Games Workshop window.

 

Spoiler

 

Grandia 3

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Wave Race 64

Slay the Spire

Halo CE: Anniversary 

Crackdown 3
Kingdom Come: Deliverance + DLC

God of War (2005) 

Resident Evil 2 RE

Grandia 2 

 

 

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Dead Cells (Switch)

 

Absolutely loved this and I can't imagine ever taking it off my Switch. I've beaten the last boss three or four times now so in that sense I feel like I've finished it. However, I'm really struggling to make the jump up to the next run. With so many quality games on the Switch in my backlog I'm going to have to put it on the back burner.

 

I've never played anything quite like it and although I realise it owes a debt to Rogue it really is its own beast with some of the best 2D platforming and combat I've ever experienced.

 

 

 

 

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Arizona Sunshine (Quest)

 

I also just realised I finished this recently. It was quite poor really. If it wasn't for the VR aspect it would be laughable. I saw a review on Oculus' own website that said the graphics were PS2 standard and I thought it must be an exaggeration. It's not.

 

It scratches an itch I had to shoot zombies in the head but everything feels weedy, from the sounds the guns make to the frustrating loading mechanic. If it were £12 then fair enough but I believe it is just under £25, which is taking the piss for a game that looks 2 decades old.

 

 

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04/05/2020 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

 

Well now. 

 

I long regarded the original Final Fantasy VII as my favourite game of all time. I picked it up second hand from a Gamestation, basically because the cover looked striking and it came on three discs. I had never played a JRPG before, or any RPG for that matter, and I'd never experienced any game that attempted to tell an epic story in the way this did. It was a special experience, and it was still pretty great when I played it last year.

 

It's for that reason that I'm glad this wasn't just a simple remake. The combat took a bit of getting used to, but once I got into the flow it became immensely entertaining. There were a few difficulty spikes sprinkled around, some of which were frustrating, but some forced me to find more interesting materia combinations and really get to grips with all my abilities.

 

It was great to see so many familiar locations realised in detailed 3D, although some didn't quite live up to my expectations. The Sector 7 slums were a bit of a featureless maze, where the original screens are basically burned into my brain. This wasn't helped by me forgetting that the minimap existed after I accidentally dismissed it at some point early in the game.

 

The other issue is that the game is dragged to a halt on occasion by chapters clearly designed to stretch things out, and it's just not necessary. The remake takes about fourty hours to cover what's basically the introduction in the original, and I don't think anyone would complain if it was cut back to thirty or less. There's a lot of good stuff added in with the padding, fleshing out minor characters and increasing the impact of certain events, but it didn't need the padding to feel like a complete game.

 

And it does feel like a complete game. I'm already viewing the following parts to be sequels rather than simply new episodes of a single release, and I can't wait to see how they handle the wider world. 

 

I loved it, and there ain’t no getting offa this train we on now.

 

Spoiler

January

07/01/2020 - Control (Xbox One)

26/01/2020 - Final Fantasy X (Switch)

February

10/02/2020 - Disco Elysium

22/02/2020 - Frostpunk

March

10/03/2020 - Darksiders: Warmastered Edition

29/03/2020 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

April

07/04/2020 - Yakuza Kiwami

 

May


04/05/2020 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

 

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January

Injustice 2 (story)

 

February

Don’t Die, Mr Robot

Untitled Goose Game

Titanfall 2 (campaign)


March

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

 

April
Rogue Aces

Burly Men At Sea

COD: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

Prey (2017)

 

May

 

Prey: Mooncrash

 

I’ve unlocked everyone, but pretty much fell off it. It’s a really exceptional piece of DLC for the most part but find its biggest strength - the randomisation - is also it’s biggest flaw.

 

Because you can never rely on certain quest items being found, a full run becomes more luck than skill. However, I did unlock the time loop plans so may attempt a run once I can just cheese those, but found attempting a run without them more of a lottery.

 

Spoiler

Moon Shark can get fucked too.


That said, the construct is mostly wonderful, and a really smart reinvention of the core game. If key story items remained in a fixed place I’d wholeheartedly recommend the DLC. As it is, it’s ‘just’ very good.
 

Far Cry: New Dawn

 

Not afraid to admit I like the recent Far Cry gaming loop. Stalk outpost, take outpost, upgrade, repeat. There’s other story guff here, featuring a post-apocalyptic Pepsi & Shirlie who are up to no good and really fucking boring at it.

 

Still, there’s some nice threads connecting to 5, and if you liked that there’s something here for you. I mean, it’s Far Cry with a neon lick of paint. It does Far Cry things for about a dozen hours.

 

The expeditions are a cool addition though, especially...

 

Spoiler

Alcatraz!


If anyone wants to do some online together, add me :)

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May

 

09/05 deltarune:Chapter 1 (Switch) So last year I finally sat down to play UNDERTALE after putting it off. Why? Because despite everything indicating it was up my street some incredibly annoying people in my life kept nagging me to play it to the point where I was almost repulsed by the game. It didn't help that I'd been spoiled loads. If there is anything more annoying than Portal memes its UNDERTALE memes. But last year I rolled my sleeves up and then....right at endgame...my PC died. And there are no cloud saves. The end. Except not the end, on a whim I picked this up this afternoon (on Switch purely because there's no trophies, all the ports are near identical and out of the three platforms the Switch eats up the least electricity,) I ran through this in one sitting. Almost all of the characters were annoying at first but Toby Fox seems to have this way of turning things around. The Earthbound style pixel art is as spare and as lovely as ever with just the right amount of detail and nothing more. The writing is more charming, the battle mechanic more interesting. As always the music is fantastic. I don't think playing UNDERTALE first as recommended by the writer is really required, the risk being that playing deltarune first will make UNDERTALE feel not as polished by comparison. If you have played UNDERTALE and not this what are you waiting for? It's more of the same but better. It's short. It's free. If you're an Earthbound fan it's also worth a shot.

 

Previously

 



30. 21/04 Donkey Kong Jr (NES/Switch) 

29. 21/04 Donkey Kong (NES/Switch)

28. 21/04 Super Mario 2 (NES/Switch)

27. 13/04 Black Mesa (PC) 

26. 11/04 Arcade Moonlander Plus (PC)

25. 10/04 There is No Game (Jam Edition 2015) (PC)

24. 10/04 The Adventure Pals (PC)

23. 30/03 Bioshock Infinite:Burial at Sea (PS4)

22. 23/03 Bioshock Infinite (PS4)
21. 15/03 Bioshock 2 (PS4)
20. 11/03 The Supper (PC)
19. 08/03 Devil's Kiss (PC)
18. 07/03 Time Gentlemen, Please! (PC)
17. 04/03 Bioshock 2:Minerva's Den (PS4)
16. 01/03 Bioshock (PS4)
15. 27/02 Ben There, Dan That : Special Edition (PC) 
14. 21/02 You've to to be Kitten Me! (PS4/Dreams) 
13. 17/02 Art Therapy (PS4/Dreams) 
12. 16/02 Art's Dream (PS4/Dreams) 
11. 12/02 Juanito Arcade Mayhem (PC) 
10. 08/02 Wolfenstein 2:the New Colossus (PC) (plus The Freedom Chronicles DLC) 
9. 03/02 The Outer Worlds (PS4) 
8. 27/01 Quest of Dungeons (PC) 
7. 21/01 Feather (PC)
6. 20/01 Paperbark (PC)
5. 09/01 The Cat and the Coup (PC) 
4. 09/01 1979 Revolution:Black Friday (PC) 
3. 08/01 Wolfenstein:the Old Blood (PC) 
2. 03/01 Wolfenstein:the New Order (PC) 
1. 01/01 Detroit:Become Human (PS4)

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1. Resident Evil 7(XB1) 8/10

2. Batman Arkham Asylum(XB1) 7.5/10

3. Halo: CE Anniversary(XB1) 5/10

4. Life is Strange(XB1) 8/10

5. Luigi Mansion 3(Switch) 8/10

6. New Super Lucky’s Tale(Switch) 7/10

7. Catherine: Full Body(PS4) 8.5/10

8. Untitled Goose Game(Switch) 6/10   

9. Sleeping Dogs(PS4) 9/10

10. Doom 2016(PS4) 9/10

11. Peggle 2(PS4) 7/10

12. Spider-Man(PS4) 9/10

13. Crash Bandicoot(PS4) 7.5/10
14. Resident Evil 3 Remake(PS4) 8/10

15. Spyro the Dragon(PS4) 6.5/10

16. The Order 1886(PS4) 6.5/10

17. Resident Evil 2 Remake(PS4) 9.5/10
 

18. Sayonara Wild Hearts(PS4) - Completed all songs on gold and found all the squares, overall I really enjoyed the game. I liked the music and the simple yet addictive gameplay, I would definitely recommend for anyone into rhythm music games. 8/10  

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On 30/04/2020 at 21:27, Gabe said:

Ultimately though, it comes back to that real lack of understanding why I'm running left to right, so I couldn't really get invested in the task a hand and, for that, Limbo remains my preferred game from their stable.

 

 

  Hide contents

21/04/2020 - Call of Duty WW2 (PC)

19/04/2020 - Wheels of Aurelia (PC)

15/04/2020 - Sword Omen: Legacy (PC)

02/04/2020 - Mother Russia Bleeds (PC)

29/03/2020 - Operencia - The Stolen Sun (PC)

20/02/2020 - Ruzar: The Life Stone (PC)

20/02/2020 - Alder's Blood: Prologue (PC)

17/02/2020 - Universal Paperclips (PC)

15/02/2020 - Gris (PC)

21/01/2020 - Gears of War 5 (Xbox One X)

19/01/2020 - Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls (Xbox One X)

05/01/2020 - Night Call (PC)

02/01/2020 - Remember Me (PC)

 

 

Spoiler

When you're playing, you think you're running from something. An escape, something so common in games. But you're actually being controlled by the blob, who rather dies as a free creature than being experimented on in captivity.

I see the game as a meditation on the lack of free will.

 

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2 hours ago, Vemsie said:

 

  Hide contents

When you're playing, you think you're running from something. An escape, something so common in games. But you're actually being controlled by the blob, who rather dies as a free creature than being experimented on in captivity.

I see the game as a meditation on the lack of free will.

 

 

I've read that interpretation but it is only that - an interpretation. But also

 

Spoiler

I only ever thought I was running for the first couple of bits. As soon as I started breaking into the city (I've forgotten already) I then thought I was trying to res ue somebody (perhaps a parent or sibling).

 

Besides, none of that happens early enough to be a motivator for progressing. Or at all, if you don't *get' that ending interpretation. 

 

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

 

I've read that interpretation but it is only that - an interpretation. But also

 

  Hide contents

I only ever thought I was running for the first couple of bits. As soon as I started breaking into the city (I've forgotten already) I then thought I was trying to res ue somebody (perhaps a parent or sibling).

 

Besides, none of that happens early enough to be a motivator for progressing. Or at all, if you don't *get' that ending interpretation. 

 

 

Sure, a lot of it is interpretation, but I like that. I guess the mystery of the world and the bleakness was enough of a motivator for me.

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January

Injustice 2 (story)

 

February

Don’t Die, Mr Robot

Untitled Goose Game

Titanfall 2 (campaign)


March

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

 

April
Rogue Aces

Burly Men At Sea

COD: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

Prey (2017)

 

May

 

Prey: Mooncrash

Far Cry: New Dawn

 

Potata Fairy Flower

 

Played and completed this for review, pretty much in a single sitting. It’s a 2D platform adventure with some puzzles thrown in. Not really sure who it’s aimed at because it feels too simplistic for most adults, yet has the odd difficulty spike that I think would frustrate younger gamers (some frustrated me and I’m old)

 

Has some charm and is fairly breezy to play through but is a bit slight and lacking enough polish to really recommend.

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Figured I might as well start putting a few updates in here. 

 

Steamworld Dig (Switch)

I'd played this before when it came out on the 3DS so it wasn't anything new but still enjoyable. Latter stages feel drawn out but it was still an enjoyable experience.

 

Steamworld Dig 2 (Switch) 

The main reason I replayed the original was because I'd heard that the sequel built on the originals story and I'd forgotten almost all of the original story. It clearly builds on the story from the original but I don't think you'd need to have played it to enjoy this. 

Anyway, this is a clear step up on the first game with more interesting environments and character upgrades. The boss fights are a bit meh but apart from that its very enjoyable. 

 

Untitled Goose Game (Xboxone)

Its solid. I think listening to the Bombcast helped me enjoy the game more as I wasn't going in with ridiculously high expectations. Its probably more fun as a toybox than an objective driven game but its still enjoyable. Replaying sections in order to get the last few achievements highlights the slightly clunky nature of the controls but they aren't an issue when playing normally.

 

 

Not sure what to try next. I'm just trying to play through stuff and then delete it off the console. Limit my choices that way so I don't just look at the list of games for half an hour before playing nothing. Maybe Virginia, I hear its short.    

 

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