Jump to content
rllmuk
Unofficial Who

What games did you complete? 2020 Edition

Recommended Posts

1. Death Stranding (PS4)

 

EPM9VdeXkAcNPPs?format=jpg&name=4096x409

 

I was enjoying this game immensely, until the end, that is. To quote @Jolly from the dedicated thread:
 

Quote

I finished this evening and thought the last five or so hours were truly, truly dreadful. I loved huge swathes of this, but do yourself a favour if you think you're near the end; stop.

 

I couldn't agree more - the ending of this game is just terrible: hours (literally) of interminable cut-scenes full of characters blathering on about the convoluted, tedious cliche-ridden mess of a story; approximately 5 different 'final' boss fights; two different sections where you are arbitrarily forced to back-track across the entire map; two unskippable, ten minute long credits sequences, including one where you have to just run across a featureless environment for minutes at a time in order to trigger another cut-scene and move the credits on a little bit more. I could go on. It really is shit. I started off watching the cut-scenes and trying to make sense of what was actually happening in a narrative that I'd long since lost interest in, but in the end I just started skipping them. In fact, I very nearly came close to ejecting the game and classing it as 'Finished', but, finally, at quarter to one this morning (after I'd started playing at about 9pm) the game ended.

 

Compounding the general crapness of the ending, the writing in this game is also awful throughout, often hilariously so, to the point where I made a Google Doc half-way through the game so I could record some of my favourite clangers. Lea Seydoux's character, Fragile, is a particularly consistent source of comedy gold:

 

Quote

I'm Fragile, but I'm not that...fragile.

 

Quote

I brought you a metaphor.

 

Quote

[After another character calls her 'Damaged goods']

 

No.

 

...

 

*You're* damaged goods.

 

Perhaps my favourite, however, is from one of the ending cut-scenes that I actually watched (very mild spoilers):

 

Spoiler
Quote

[Amelie to Sam]

 

You're Mario and I'm Princess *Beach*.

 

:sealclap:

 

They probably lose something out of context, but all of these (and others) had me snorting very loudly in shocked bemusement. I think the funniest thing is that all of them are delivered entirely straight-faced. Initially, I thought this was Kojima being super-ironic and meta, like he is at other points in the game, often with all the subtlety of a big message popping up on screen that reads 'LOOK! I'M BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL NOW. IN THIS BIT. RIGHT HERE. PAY ATTENTION PLEASE', but the more it happens the more you come to the conclusion that, no, he actually thinks this is good dialogue. It's like the videogame equivalent watching The Room.

 

ALL THAT BEING SAID, however, as I alluded to above, excluding the writing, the preceding 40 hours I spent with this before the final 5 hours of drivel, were great. Lots of other reviewers have dismissed this as a 'glorified walking simulator' or a game comprised almost entirely of fetch quests in a featureless open-world, and while I can definitely see some truth in those comments, the actual gameplay in this is unlike any game I've played before. At first, I thought the world and exploration were similar to Breath of the Wild, but whereas BotW (and lots of other open-world games) does everything it can to distract you from getting to your destination by populating the environment with all manner of different things to discover, this game doesn't really reward you much for exploring at all; apart from finding a lovely view, the environment really is as barren as it looks. Rather, the focus here is purely on getting to your destination as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible, going from A to B in as straight a line as you can. The game forces you to study a map and check the weather forecast, plot your route and prepare accordingly for differences in elevation, make allowances for various obstacles and contingencies if you suddenly find yourself compromised  half-way down the side of a cliff. And then, once you do eventually set off, keeping your cargo distributed evenly and reading the terrain ahead of you means that the trudge to your destination is always involving, never boring, and this is the case even if you don't encounter any enemies (in fact, avoiding enemies as much as you possibly can, and going out of your way to do so, is a central part of the game). Rather than walking simulator, the game is more like a hiking simulator than anything else, demanding patience, preparation and concentration, all of which I found satisfying and compelling. It helps that the different landscapes look fantastic, too, and combine with the excellent sound design and evocative use of licensed music to create a lonely, almost meditative atmosphere as you march towards the horizon.

 

On top of that, the way in which this game integrates online multiplayer elements into a single-player experience is the best I've encountered since Dark Souls. I said as much in the dedicated thread, but through encouraging you to make life easier for your fellow porters by leaving climbing ropes at useful  points, or ladders across otherwise impassable rivers, and then, later in the game, entire structures which allow you to traverse in seconds terrain that would otherwise have taken you twenty minutes to negotiate, Kojima and co have gamified the sense of warmth and satisfaction you feel when you give someone a gift you know they'll truly appreciate. It's lovely, and also very addictive - if you're anything like me you'll go out of your way to gather the materials to rebuild roads, set up zip-line networks across mountain ranges, construct bridges across canyons, all so you can get that burst of oxytocin when your screen flashes up with another 1000 or so Likes from other players across the world who you never meet or interact with in the game apart from through what you leave behind for them. It's a game that makes you feel like a good person.

 

Overall, then, it's a shame that (like MGSV, now I come to think of it) the ending and narrative in general mars an otherwise unique and compelling experience, but this is still a game that I'd recommend to anyone. It takes a little while to warm up, and there are times where you have to forgive it its excesses, but there's a solid 20-30 hours of gaming gold to be had here. If I'd managed to finish it last year, it  would definitely have been high on my GotY list.

 

8/10

  • Upvote 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up @Jamie John! Honestly can't remember the last time I played a game that fluffed the landing so badly. An absolutely magnificent 30 hour game trapped in a 50 hour game's body. Who could have possibly forseen this.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

26/01/2020 - Final Fantasy X (Switch)

 

I hadn't played this since its original release on the PS2, which I loved, so I thought I'd give it another run. I got bored and left it alone for a while a few months ago, but went back to it recently and played through to the end.

 

In retrospect this has a lot of the same problems as Final Fantasy XIII. A lot of the game sees you running down linear paths designed to get you into random battles, with towns being few and far between. Instead the combat is broken up with optional blitzball matches and dull puzzle sections. Luckily the combat is actually pretty cool, and the fully turn based system allows for some neat tactical options. Every character is either strong against certain types of enemy too, or at least has a unique support ability that sees you giving all of them some time in the sun. The Sphere Grid is a neat take on levelling up, even if it doesn't present too many customisation options in reality.

 

The story's okay as Final Fantasy goes, but nothing special. It's also actively hampered by some truly weird script issues and voice acting. This was the first voiced acted game in the series, and obviously the first time that had to be localised too, and it really shows. It doesn't have the best cast of characters either, with Tidus being a bit too whiny a lead for my tastes. Yuna is far more interesting, although I found her frustratingly passive until a certain plot point came to light late in the game. Despite the story's shortcomings I was surprised to find that the ending still got to me after all this time, as it seems I'm still a sucker for a bit of melodrama. 

 

Anyway, I'm glad I replayed it, along with VII and IX last year. I'm looking forward to playing through XII later, as I never got very far when it came out.

 

 

January

07/01/2020 - Control (Xbox One)

26/01/2020 - Final Fantasy X (Switch)

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Batman Arkham City.  Well the main story at least.  Not sure I have the will power to do the catwoman/side missions that are left.  Having a break now with Yookie Layla that was free over christmas and then it'll be either Batman Arkham Knight or something else.  Quite fancy another go on Shadow Complex.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jan

 

27/01 Quest of Dungeons (PC) Pretty simple but neat rogue like. Once I adjusted a couple of bits (bigger map and auto pickup) I whiled away some hours playing this while suffering from insomnia. The Assassin I played was a bit OP though compared to the other classes I tried. In any case it's filled the hole left by Sword of Fargoal.

 

21/01 Feather (PC) I don't know if this counts. This is a free form "game" which just allows you to fly around a landscape with little to no risk. Sometimes if you're online you see other players flying and you can follow them and cheep. So no real ending although on opening it did immediately unlock the single achievement "Thanks for playing." 

 

Previously

 

 

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)

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/01/2020 at 23:12, strawdonkey said:

01: Shovel Knight

02: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

03: Racedierun

 

04: Super Mario Maker 2

 

I have a weird relationship with Mario games. They're quite rightly held up as the pinnacle of the 2D and 3D platformer genre and for some reason I can only muster up a bit of enthusiasm for them. I still haven't finished Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario 3D World had lost my interest before the end and this one... I booted it up on more than one occasion and then immediately turned it off because I could not be dealing with it.

 

Maybe it's the fact that I've been through so many Mario games in the past, but it feels like the barrier to entry for One Of Those Great Mario Moments is getting higher and higher. Mario Maker 2 definitely hits on a number of occasions, to its credit, and the number of stages that you had to puzzle your way through was way higher than a normal Mario game which was often really refreshing. On the other hand, I've been at it for over ten hours now and still seem to have unlocked only a fraction of the stuff that you can use in the build mode, which was pretty much the main reason for buying the game - my daughter really wants to play around in the level editor, but most of the material is still locked off to me, let alone her.

 

If the weird problem with my Switch disconnecting from the wifi resolves itself, I'm intending to dive head first into Course World. I'm hoping that gives me that glut of Great Mario Moments that I've been craving.

 

Is this what getting old feels like?

  • Upvote 2
  • Empathy 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

Previously

 

Spoiler

New Year.  New resolution to stay on top of this thread and actually update it as I go rather than a six month blow out after the event so I forget half the things I wanted to say.

 

Anyway on with:

 

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

 

 

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Simpsons Hit and Run - Gamecube

 

I owned it back in the day, but had only played it for a couple of hours, decided it was pretty good and then promptly moved on to some other game that I almost certainly didn't complete either.

 

Anyway, I liked it more when I hadn't played it to the end. For the first couple of hours I was just enjoying the Springfield setting and relatively ok gameplay thinking "this is a pretty fun little licensed game" but as you go on you realise a couple of things.

1) The missions are extremely repetitive and you spend 95 percent of your time doing one of about 3 types of timer based mission.

2) This is fine for the first half/two thirds of the game when the game isn't stressing you out but the timers get increasingly stingy as the game progresses as it seems that's the only idea the devs had on how to increase the challenge. The last few missions are pretty traumatic in terms of being really difficult(because of extremely stingy timers) but not satisfyingly so. The mechanics don't hold up to the stress of the later challenges and it's just a case of failing missions a lot while memorising the only route that will beat the timer. Some of the missions have multiple parts and if you fail the 3rd part you get sent back to do it again from the

1st part..

 

It's a weird one. I'd give the first two thirds 7/10 and the last third or so 4/10 or less. When I beat the last challenge and saw the ending I felt happy that I'd never have to play it again :)

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, January for me (so far, may squeeze another short one in)...

 

1. Jedi: Fallen Order (XB1) - Simply everything I want from a Star Wars Jedi game. I know people had some issues with it, but they absolutely nailed the feeling of the Star Wars universe and captured this fanboy 100%. Currently planning a lego BD-1 build so I can keep my little buddy next to me at work and will replay it later in the year. 10/10

 

2. Untitled Goose Game (XB1) - A delightful little puzzler. I felt compelled to keep at it to complete everything on the list, and once that was done I was about done too. It doesn't need to be any longer in my opinion (one of the criticisms I've seen). Honk! 8/10

 

3. Gorogoa (iPad) - One of the most beautifully crafted and creative game experiences I've had in years. Pop this on the shelf with The Witness and Unfinished Swan for talented people finding new and innovative ways to use this medium to entertain us. Wonderful. 9/10 (lost a point for lots of crashes)

 

4. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (XB1) - It's a really bold game and they have executed it with absolutely astonishing aesthetics, and tackle a pretty brutal topic/narrative with great confidence. Combat wise however it sort of bored me a bit, and wonder if it would have been better for me as a pure narrative game. Even so... 8/10

 

  • Upvote 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

Paw Patrol On A Roll (XB1)

 

A bit short, but my four year old loved it. My eldest now wants to 100% it. 7/10

 

 

Ooh, nice. I was wondering if it would be okay for my Paw Patrol obsessed 4 year old actually. Will give it a whirl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, FiveFootNinja said:

 

Ooh, nice. I was wondering if it would be okay for my Paw Patrol obsessed 4 year old actually. Will give it a whirl.

It's a very, very simple platformer. My kids don't really play games, but they all got on really well with this. It's a good introduction to gaming, I'd say.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2020-01-19: Sisters Royale-- [Switch]

2020-01-20: Vader Immortal episode 1-- [Rift]

2020-01-26: Grid-- [PC]

 

The great unknown. Game, that is. It just seems to have no cultural presence at all, and I'm not sure why...? Even this forum's not arsed with it; the thread only hit two pages and the last update's from October. Some mention the graphics being a bit crap, but I'm playing on PC and they were uniformly excellent. Bit of an ugly stepchild on console, perhaps? Or people just thinking it's a re-release of Race Driver: Grid?

 

I totally agree with complaints that the structure is lacking. There's very little incentive to complete every stage: dozens of challenges, but the career mode is threadbare and the number of tracks limited. I disagree with any complaints on handling, mind. To be fair, I've never got gamers' problems with Codemasters' handling models as they tend to click with me right away.

 

All that said, it's the best arcade-style racing game of recent years by far: even more so than Driveclub, which became one of the best racing experiences ever, by the end of its life. I loved Grid enough to put 49 hours into completing every event. Ok, so I was a bit fed up of the grind by the end, but that's on me - I'd already done all the major milestones, and was just being a completionist. 

 

It cost me £9.99 for a code on PC, and I got an abnormal amount of value out of that. With a few tweaks in the menus, this effectively becomes a very slightly more sophisticated Ridge Racer game, particularly on the city-based stages. If that sounds appealing to you, I'd urge you to pick it up. One of those releases that'll be scattered all over 'Great games you never played' lists in 2-3 years' time.

  • Upvote 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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) - Started this game on multiple occasions over the last few years and never got past the 1st episode, finally committed myself to playing it all the way through and I’m glad I did, baring the odd slow moment it kept me gripped throughout it’s 9-10hrs, it has a good story, interesting characters and a fantastic soundtrack. Recommended for those who enjoy a story driven adventure games 8/10

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 28/01/2020 at 10:59, FiveFootNinja said:

Okay, January for me (so far, may squeeze another short one in)...

 

1. Jedi: Fallen Order (XB1) - 10/10

2. Untitled Goose Game (XB1) - 8/10

3. Gorogoa (iPad) - 9/10

4. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (XB1) - 8/10

 

 

Managed to squeeze one more in :D

 

5. Abzû (PS4) - It certainly has moments of tranquil beauty, but for me this one felt half way between Flower and Journey (but not as good as either) - 6/10

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Luigi’s Mansion 3 (02/01)

2. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (03/01)

3. Jenny LeClue (04/01)

4. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (11/01)

5. Rise of the Tomb Raider (29/01)

 

Well, that’s the trilogy done in a slightly odd order but I reckon I saved the best for last. Really good, exhausting romp that was, although the ending was shiii iiiittt (like, the last five minutes, the bit leading up to that was brilliant) a violent, relentless best of mix of the first and last games. Glad I finally ignored my slightly snooty “poor mans uncharted” view of these as at their best they’re just as good. 
 

Definitely need a Tomb Raider break now though. Although the thirty odd quid cost for all three games was a bargain. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just completed Quake II for the first time. First played it in 1998 and have started it many times down the years, but had another go when I got one of these RTX ray-tracing graphics cards and had a play through Quake II RTX, which looks absolutely stunning by the way. Good old-fashioned FPS, probably the peak of the mid-90s ones before things like Half-Life changed things for the more linear. THE END.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guacamelee

 

First game of the year completed just before the start of Feb.

 

What a great little game. Ten hours of focused, refined entertainment. A superb combat system - almost rock, paper, scissors in its simplicity - but also crisp and beautifully precise. I also loved the backdrop, characterisation and snappy dialogue.

 

Ocassionally the plane shifting mechanic (linked with so many abilities, powers and button sequences) threatened to slip into irritating rather than fun. Indeed, a couple of times I found it more difficult than Celeste, but it's a minor criticism because I rate Celeste as one of the best games of the last decade.

 

Looked back and discovered I only paid £5.99 for this. An absolute steal.

 

Not sure I want to play the sequel though. Maybe give it a few years.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loved Gucamelee! I've got the sequel sat on the Xbox from Game Pass ready to try (but also need to get to Celeste and Hollow Knight at some point too).

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of updates:

 

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

 

I originally completed the base game in local co-op with a friend back in 2017 but never got around to the expansion. Well, now I have! And I didn't think a great deal of it, to be honest.

 

I know Diablo is never about the story (which is just as well, because I have no clue what went on) and is all about that sweet, sweet loot, but I never found it much fun to actually play back in 2017 and, in 2020, I can't say that has changed. Yes, the core loop has an appeal (the little thrill of seeing what legendary/green you can get *is* fun), but the actual skills are largely rubbish (well, that's how I felt playing a Barbarian and Monk) and all very button-mashy, it looks pretty ugly and the kicker, for me, was that I never felt I was getting more powerful.

 

My friend was a mage and obliterated everything, whilst I couldn't touch stuff. I know this is gear related, but nothing good was ever dropping to help me bridge the gap (we were both level 70, though his paragon level was double mine). It made for a dull experience of mainly trying not to die/getting to enemies before he killed them with his beam and then, when I got there, seeing damage at about 1-10% of his level.

 

That said, would I have enjoyed it more had we been on equal footing, damage-wise? I'm not so sure; whilst that core-loop did mean we continued to play rifts after completing the chapter, running around fairly dull maps mashing whatever button wasn't on a cooldown did not satisfy my predilection for narrative-led content. That's on me of course and, despite everything, for co-op purposes I will probably look at Diablo 4 when it comes out so they're showing me, I guess.

 

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

 

So here's what I wrote about completing part 4 at Christmas:

Quote

26/12/2019 - Gears of War 4 (PC)

 

My last completion of the year is possibly one of the most derivative - this could easily be any Gears titles, they never really change much. It looked nice and ran superbly on my hardly state-of-the-art PC, so kudos to the team at Coalition for their wizardry there. I played most of it in co-op with a friend, with the intention of then doing the same for 5, but I think I need a bit of a break, because I feel it's going to be very much more of the same.

 

Incorporating some horde-like sections was about the only variety we got, so it was just a case of running from kill-box to kill-box and, considering that I never really think the weapons are all that much fun, it was quite dull after a while - so needed to be played in small doses, for which the bite-size chapters was a boon.


It's hard to say much about it really because it is all fairly unremarkable. I suppose, much like COD, it's a series that is now better appreciated for its multiplayer content and so expectations should never be that high - something to remember when I finally get around to playing 5.

 

Well then.

 

This was somehow even more derivative than 4 and, even worse, removed the only bit of variety in that game (the horde-like sections - and the robo-stomping) - making this an even tougher slog to get through. We did get the pointless open-map skiff sections though - they were fun! /s

 

Again played through in local co-op, this was perhaps the dullest of all the Gears series, coupled with - by far - the longest levels. Gone were the short, snappy chapters (epitomised best not by the mainline series but in the spin-off, Judgement) and instead we had much, much longer sections. Whilst it shouldn't matter - you're still playing the same amount of game - it just gave the perception of progress being slow. At least they increased the speed of the roadie-run.

 

It looked great, as you would expect (lots of light and colour) and it had some funny lines, but this really was exactly the same weapons, encounter areas and tactics as every previous game. Hell, even things like FIFA show more evolution and change than this series! And did I mention that chapters were far too long, too? I did? Ok, good.

 

As night follows day we'll see Gears 6 at some point, somehow continuing to find the same enemies to kill in the same ways with the same group of people (well, less one - and my friend accidentally picked the wrong peep to save!) Whether I'll care enough to play it though is another matter. Though it'll be on Game Pass, so of course I will (then I'll moan about it more again in here).

 

And we never did touch the multiplayer.

 

Gears of Bore, more like! /original

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

05/01/2020 - Night Call (PC)

02/01/2020 - Remember Me (PC)

 

  • Upvote 2
  • Empathy 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just a few games so far...

 

1) Borderlands 3

picked this up in the post Christmas sales and... it’s only OK at best. Lots of backtracking, way too many bullet sponge bosses and a much less witty script than prior instalments. 
 

2) Super Mario Bros Lost Levels

this one has been on my pile of shame since (gulp) 1993. I’ve got completed saves of everything else on Mario All Stars, but I’d always start this, hit the difficulty wall and give up in frustration. Digging my heels in (and using a LOT of continues) saw me through. Well, through to the end of 8-4 anyway - I’m not a total masochist. 
 

So many dead Marios though. Hundreds for some levels.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2. Mark of the Ninja Remastered (Switch)

 

EPwqbb_U8AIwwz5?format=jpg&name=large

 

This was largely enjoyable for the 8 hours or so it took me to complete. It's a remaster of an 8 year old 2D stealth game where you creep your way across broadly linear levels, slitting throats and using all manner of ninja gadgets to maim, mutilate and mangle nameless guards as you go. Its USP is that you can (mostly) only see what the ninja sees, so if you're standing below a ledge, for example, the top will be shrouded in darkness and you can only see what's up there if you climb up and peek over. With no mini-map or MGS-style radar, it's a system which keeps things tense, for the most part, although an ability you unlock two-thirds of the way through that allows you to see everything at the touch of a button ruins this to an extent.

 

Elsewhere, it's very much a pure stealth game: although you can survive if things go to pot and you're discovered, it's very unlikely that you will, and typically your only recourse is to run away and hide again, although more often than not I found myself reloading my latest checkpoint, which, to the game's credit, is more or less instant. Being discovered also has a detrimental effect on the arcade-style scoresheet that you get at the end of each level, and getting the top rating all but requires you to remain undetected and to complete the three extra challenges per stage, which include things like killing guards in particular ways or limiting your use of certain items. I did all of these extra challenges in all the levels save the final two, and I think that speaks to how the game outstays its welcome by an hour or so; the final act sees things turned up to 11 where the slightest mistake more or less guarantees certain death, and it's here where issues with the occasionally glitchy checkpointing and somewhat 'sticky' controls become more noticeable.

 

If you enjoy stealth games and want some ninja action then this is a definite recommend and can be bought for less than a tenner in sales. After recently playing Sekiro, The Messenger, Katana Zero and now this, however, I'm a bit ninja'd out, I feel.

 

7/10

 

Completed this year:

 

Spoiler

1. Death Stranding (PS4) - 8/10

2. Mark of the Ninja Remastered (Switch) - 7/10

 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Feb

 

03/02 The Outer Worlds (PS4) I generally love Obsidian rpg's but this one left me a little cold after a promising start. I loved the setting, it had a fantastic start and Pravarti is so lovely. I just didn't warm to the other characters at all. I think part of this might be because I preceded playing this by playing Death Stranding and Wolfenstein, both games that made you feel very much in the environment while in this I did feel a bit like a floating camera. Frustrations included a clunky inventory, some very samey quests (I completed two major quests in two different places using the same solution which was disappointing.) The loading times between areas are incredibly slow. And I almost never complain about loading times. I didn't get on with the combat as well as I do with VATS and spent most of the game getting my sidekicks to do the shooting for me. My biggest issue? It looks very pretty but very busy. There's so much on the screen that I'd never spot potential hazards until it was too late and would sometimes have trouble picking out enemies among the landscape. Also the big text patch did nothing to the text in the inventory which was where I needed it. I still enjoyed my time with it but it's not going to be the most memorable thing I played this year. Still my partner is doing a run through, maybe watching her playthrough will cause me to re-evaluate. In short good but not great. (Weirdly it reminded me a bit of how I imagined Liberation on the CD32 would look on a modern system.)

 

Previously

 

 

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)

 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/01/2020 at 21:57, strawdonkey said:
On 19/01/2020 at 23:12, strawdonkey said:

 

01: Shovel Knight

02: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

03: Racedierun

04: Super Mario Maker 2

 

05: Muv-Luv Extra

 

It turns out I really like visual novels, but I was pretty late to the party. Muv-Luv is apparently a genre classic, spread over three games, which has a slow beginning and then gets interesting later.

 

Muv-Luv Extra seems to be the "slow beginning" part. So far I have:

Spoiler

 

- Winced at just how unlikeable the protagonist is on several occasions

- Coached a lacrosse team

- Helped smooth over some interpersonal issues

- Eaten an artisanal yakisoba sandwich

- Been very surprised as the game kinda ends out of nowhere

 

Weird Shit happens constantly (the town you live in becomes deserted and razed to the ground, with the exception of your house) and nobody seems to bat an eyelid - there's s moment where someone walks home with you and it plays out against this bizarre backdrop of a barren wasteland with a suburban Japanese house in the distance.

 

There are also seven endings! I will probably watch the remaining six on YouTube or something. Next up: Muv-Luv Alternative! In which more Weird Shit will almost certainly happen.

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

03/02 - The Outer Worlds (XB1X) - I went into this wanting to play as a mostly pacifist, sarcastic space arsehole. That the game accommodated this throughout the  play-through is massively to its credit. Visually it's wildly inconsistent (some of the interiors look fantastic - outside, less so) and there's not much to be gained from exploration, but the flexibility of so many of the quests drew me in, after Fallout 4 proved to be such a huge disappointment.

 

Previous:

Spoiler

 

29/01 - A Plague Tale (XB1X) - Essentially The Last of Us with rats, as you stealthily escort someone through a bleak environment occasional engage in some brutal stoning. Even shares some of the same story beats. It's well executed, though. The soundtrack is of particular note, with it's scraping, scratching strings and rough percussion, and it's one of the prettiest games I can recall playing. The rudimentary combat doesn't really support the greater emphasis on combat in the final hour or so, and it became a little frustrating there, but it's amazing to me that this comes from the studio behind  a bunch of licensed games and Fuel (which I fucking loathed).

24/01 - Sunset Overdrive (XB1X) - Enjoyed this about as much as Spider-Man, which surprised me. The humour is, well, a bit zaaaaany, which usually puts me off, but it has its heart in the right place and the core grindin', bouncin' and shootin' is really satisfying. Some tasty boss-battles in there, too.

24/01 - Lonely Mountains - Downhill (XB1X) - A nice little game, this. They got the feeling of slinging the bike around corners just right, and avoided the temptation to fill the later levels with novelty shite as a way to add variety. It's a neatly pure experience.

19/01 - Afterparty (XB1X) - A disappointment after Oxenfree. The same neat little dialogue system is there, and the voice acting is great, but the central characters are unappealing, the game itself is riddled with bugs and there's some rough stuttering between areas. Mostly it just lacked the compelling mystery of Oxenfree, though, and I was bored long before the end.

14/01 - Untitled Goose Game (XB1X) - It's slight, but my daughter laughed like a loon throughout the whole thing, so it's a winner in my book.

 

 

Ongoing:

Persona 5 (PS4), Forza Horizon 4 (XB1X), Luigi's Mansion 3 (Switch), Demon's Tilt (XB1X), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (XB1X)

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

January 

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 - XB1X 

 

I bounced off this game for a long time after buying it day one, and buying a 4K telly and another One X just to play it. I eventually returned to my save near the start of chapter 3 and I decided to just mainline the story and see it through. It has any number of mechanical issues which have been widely discussed but by the time I was done, I was almost heartbroken to have to put the controller down. The characters and the world are almost peerless in gaming. It genuinely moved me and changed my (fairly recent) dismissive perception of story-driven games.

 

Battle Garegga (Rev. 2016 Premium Mode) - PS4 

 

This is a legendary shoot em up which  is commonly heralded as the origin of the bullet hell genre. There's still nothing quite like it. It's uncompromising in its vision and one of the most cohesive and complete experiences in any genre. The soundtrack is a genuine all-timer, somewhere between rave and Japanese midi jazz. Aesthetically, it's a kind of militaristic matte steampunk with 'natural' coloured bullets which are really difficult to see until you get your eye in. In terms of gameplay, it's got some of the deepest scoring and player-controlled difficulty mechanics ever seen. It's a fucking miracle of game design, to be frank. Maybe one day I'll clear Arcade Mode but for the moment, I'm really happy to have cleared the Premium Arrange Mode which does away with the complexities of rank management for a fixed (pretty stiff) challenge. One of the most fun 1CCs I've ever enjoyed.

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

February

 

DariusBurst Another Chronicle - Arcade 

 

Having fairly recently got into the Darius games with the Cozmic Collections on the Switch, I went back to DariusBurst Chronicle Saviours which I bought ages ago on the PS4. It struck me as quite unspectacular and austere first time around but having grown to appreciate and indeed love the original games, I went back to the PS4 game and got a lot more out of it. Last Friday, I went to Arcains in Liverpool where my brother lives and I was lucky enough to play on the ultra-wide screen DariusBurst Another Chronicle cab, which is also the loudest, bassiest arcade machine I've ever played on. The bass rumbles as the bosses arrive are genuinely awe-inspiring. While I did clear this last month when I went to visit him, that was in 2P which doesn't quite count. This time around, while he played on Mario Kart GP Arcade, I sat down, got the 1CC and left with a very vibrated arse.

 

Kirby Star Allies - Switch

 

I can't remember if I bought this day one but it was very soon after release, in any case. I regretted it for a long time and felt that it was a retirement home game, at best. I've downloaded and uninstalled it countless times over the last two years but recently, I decided to put it to bed. At its very best, it's a fun, chaotic, joyous, daft game. I wish the whole game were at that high level of intensity. For the most part, it is very pedestrian and requires you to try to make your own fun. All the different character interactions and abilities are fun if you're in the right mood but this is wholeheartedly a children's game. I have no issue with playing a game for kids, except that it's often simplistic and quite boring. That said, it did pick up in the final world and I enjoyed the last couple of hours. I would love a Kirby game with the chaos of Lapis X Labyrinth, I think it would be spectacular.

 

Untitled Goose Game

 

I bought it day one, chuckled for five minutes and then realised that it was a slightly frustrating, simplistic stealth game. I don't like stealth unless it's very well done and while I appreciate the cohesion of the artwork, delightful piano and the irreverent tone, I didn't really find it funny and I found the miniature sandboxes very simplistic. I decided to see it off today having uninstalled it a few months ago and I really enjoyed the very last section. It was clever and perfectly suited the tone of the game. It tied it all up with a very neat red ribbon and the final punchline was actually great. Had I not heard anything about it beforehand, I would have been a little kinder in the first instance, I think. It's not really my thing but it's a pocket-sized triumph of form and function.

 

Neko Navy (Hard 1CC) - Switch

 

Speaking of which...This is a low-budget flying cat-themed shmup which has no right to be as great as it is. Graphically, tonally, it's spot on. It has an odd sense of humour and the posterised, cartoony sprites work extremely well. It's fun and accessible and encourages you to bomb like mad and cancel waves of bullets and collect lots of power ups and points, all of which push my buttons. There are plenty of different ships/cats and a few difficulty modes which are all fun and offer something different. It's a great beginner shmup but it's also satisfying and challenging as you move up. It's no Battle Garegga, but it more than holds its own and I'd recommend it to literally anyone with a Switch. 

  • Upvote 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 01/01/2020 at 09:39, SuperBrother said:

I missed out on this thread last year but found the 2018 edition a great reference for my year in gaming so definitely in for 20.

Indeed I just clocked one I’ve been working on for a while now so without further ado;

 

  Reveal hidden contents

01/01 One Piece World Seeker (Xbone X) - an open world action / RPG lite in the mould of later AssCreed games. Middle of the road gameplay, repetitive fetch quests but sky high production values with nice HDR implementation. The story is written by Oda so fits well, this could easily be an arc in the anime. For fans of the show I would say a solid 8/10, for every body else,  WTF is this weaboo shite / 10.

 

13/01 Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (Xbone X)

This has been done to death in terms of explaing the game so I won't waste time. Suffice to say it was a nice breezy diversion and a hell of a lot more fun than the last movie (not hard TBH)

Overall 7/10 - a bit derivative, and didn't do anything particualrly well enough to warrant some of the more sensationalist hyperbole out there about the game.

 

19/01 Shenmue 3 (PS4 Pro)

I really wanted to love this, really. Unfortunatley the Edge review was about right, nice for sentimental reasons and great to see the story continue but it's painfully outdated in terms of mechanics and gameplay. Some very tedious "I need to scrape together a load of cash for macguffin x" sections which tested my patience to the extent I'm not sure if I even really enjoyed the last third or so.

I'm not going for a score here as objectively it's a hard 5/10, with the rose tinted glasses on perhaps a 7.

 

02/02 Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout (PS4 Pro)

My first atelier game in quite a few years. There’s a lot to like in here for JRPG fans, lovely presentation, really good soundtrack and solid game mechanics.

Unlike previous games there is no time limit on completion so you have as much time as you may want to grind up alchemy skill, farm ingredients and generally noodle about.

Give it a go while waiting for FFVII Remake!


Another game bites the dust

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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) - Started back in October when it first launched and fell off it after 8hrs, came back on it last week and finished it off, typically Nintendo first party game, full of polish with fun gameplay. I would have given it a higher score however I have played 6 other games since I stopped playing it originally so it clearly didn’t blow me away last year. 8/10

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.