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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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On 06/04/2021 at 12:31, Pelekophoros said:

3/01: Night Slashers (Arcade)

13/02: Ghosts Of Tsushima (PS5)

20/02: Kitty Letter (Android)

21/02: Concrete Genie (PS5)

04/03: Maquette (PS5)

03/04: 198X (PS5)

 

07/04: Moonwalker (Arcade)

 

I remember this being a massive game when I was a kid and I never really got on with it. Figured I'd try it again now I have infinite credits, and turns out it was just a bag of shit. Also features giant green penis robots, which in retrospect may have been a cry for help.

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ESO: Elswyr - I keep saying they're getting better at the formula for these expansions, and this is probably the best one, even though the main questline is so full of twists and turns that it's a bit overstuffed.

 

Anyway, they had to add a bunch of Khajitt forms mentioned in an old lorebook for this expansion, the heist you do with this drunk one-eyed housecat mage is one of the best.

 

 

But overall, I think the spell is broken - I have approaching 400 hours in this game, we're unlocking and it's getting sunny outside. There's been like three new other expansions while I've been away, and it feels like an onerous commitment rather than the ersatz new-Elder-Scrolls feeling that it kindled before.

 

Spoiler

Doom (1993)

ESO: The Clockwork City

Superhot: Mind-Control-Delete
Genshin Impact

Sayonara Wild Hearts (twice!)

Control

Death Stranding

 

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The Medium

Having got myself a Series X, I thought I'd give this a spin, as it was just sitting there on Game Pass. From the mixed reviews, I didn't expect much, but I expected a bit more of an actual game than this. There's not much to do but trudge through the extremely linear series of events. The two or three puzzles that require even the merest jot of brainpower are kept until the final quarter, the occasional stealth/chase sections just aren't very good, and the confusing story is poorly told. On the positive side, the graphics are often great: some of the outdoor forest sections look amazing, and the "dead world" is quite imaginatively realised, but sadly the dilapidated hotel that you spend a lot of the time in isn't really much of a looker. Gotta feel sorry for anyone who actually paid the RRP for this. 3/10

  

Spoiler

01/01/2021 - Syberia

07/01/2021 - Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

11/01/2021 - Fe

13/01/2021 - The Touryst

19/01/2021 - The Gardens Between

22/01/2021 - Donut County

22/01/2021 - Virginia

23/01/2021 - The Witness

08/02/2021 - Trials Fusion

22/02/2021 - Streets Of Rage 4

14/03/2021 - Death Squared

08/04/2021 - The Medium

 

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Undertale

Long ago, two races ruled over the earth; Humans & Monsters. One day, war broke out between the two races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They sealed the monsters underground with a magic spell. Many years had passed and Legends say that those who climb the mountain never return. Now starts your adventure in Undertale! 

 

An indie role-playing game with a 2D art style and top-down camera. It also has an old-school soundtrack with some great tunes, definitely add the album to your Spotify playlist and enjoy the 100 tracks. The humour is very funny in this game and you will enjoy many laugh-out-loud moments.

 

When in combat you have either the option to attack or talk to the enemies. When selecting an attack you will need to ensure the attack line is pressed on the center of the bar to maximise damage. When the enemies attack, you will need to move your heart around the screen to avoid getting damaged, similar to an old-school shoot 'em up like Gradius or Space Invaders. If you select Act you will be able to talk to the enemy and depending on your choices they may decide to either attack you or not, whilst talking sometimes you will get an option to spare their life.

 

The game has many surprises that I do not wish to spoil but some of the boss battles are very memorable & you will not have played anything like it before, if you are looking for something a bit different in the RPG genre then Undertale should be at the top of your list. Go enjoy this classic!

 

 

 

Previously

Donut County https://youtu.be/yUxgq9bbJiU

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5 https://youtu.be/aQgiOjVhHr8

Slay the Spire https://youtu.be/UWV1vTsvdsc

Gorogoa https://youtu.be/PaCL3IxlIRE

Lost Sphear https://youtu.be/UHMVeN319aI

 

 

 

 

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One so far in April, and I'm going to mark it now while it's fresh in my mind because I feel it's worth a decent write-up.

 

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

 

What a game. It has its flaws: primarily a confused, opaque interface, and a few scrappy glitches experienced over its play time, but my god they're outweighed by the actual breadth and intentionality of the narrative design. An astonishing exploration of ethics and colonialism in the not-Caribbean of Deadfire, tackling interventions military and economic, caste systems and slavery, piracy and oppression, duty and empathy.

 

It features a best-in-class reputation system — both in terms of the reputation you forge for yourself by word and deed, and in terms of the relationships built between you and your companions, you and the various powers of the Deadfire, and even your companions and each other. And it then uses that system to fuel the story, drive events and reactions, and to build your empathy and sympathy with the various agents and agencies you encounter. It's astonishing.

 

The quality of writing is superb throughout, in its dialogue, its narration, and its wonderful illustrated 'storybook' sections. The game straddles the line between CRPG and fantasy novel; like a Robin Hobb novel come to life. It's just a wonder to experience.

 

It's also a gorgeous game, its 3D modelled dimetric graphics an asset in evoking this strange, but not so unfamiliar world. It's a pleasure to explore, and a large part of this comes from the fantastic and fantastical landscapes you get to see.

 

The combat is deeply enjoyable too: as in-depth or throwaway as you want thanks to the broad range of difficulty settings, with plenty of opportunity for strategic character building and tactical set up — or, if you'd prefer, for fire-and-forget auto-destruction of your enemies. Stomping around the endgame with my level 20 brawler detonating enemies with her fists, while the party herald tanked every hit while singing songs of inspiration and our friendly neighbourhood scout picked off distant enemies was a delight. Also, while the game is definitely designed around the semi-realtime active pause system, but the inclusion of a turn-based mode for those who prefer it is a thoughtful inclusion.

 

Still, in the end it's the writing that's the star of the show, and the simplest praise I can offer is that, after 60+ hours of play, my first thoughts were to immediately replay the game to try and bring about different outcomes: not in terms of redoing the final section to 'pick a different ending', as so many so-called consequence-led games are designed, but in terms of the many seemingly small decisions made from start to finish which sculpted the entire route, and thus the range and shape of the conclusions that were available to me come the end of the game.

 

As I said, an astonishing game. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

 

(Incidentally, if you're playing the PC Xbox App version of the game — i.e. Gamepass version - you'll almost certainly come across the 'save bug' where you'll play, save, have a nice time, quit the game, then when you come back the Load/Continue buttons will be greyed out. This is unique to this version of the game and will hopefully get patched, as I've had no such issues with the Steam version, but after experimenting there's a fix I found worked 100% of the time: wait for the loading circles to finish, then after you're left with the greyed out Load/Continue icons, hop into the options menu. Wait a few seconds, hop back, and voila! Your save options have returned. Bizarre and annoying, but there we go)

 

On 20/03/2021 at 20:06, Wiper said:

No games finished in February (not all that many played, to be honest), but today I played and finished one game:

 

Adios

 

What the writer of Paratopic did next. Both are first-person stories told in interactive forms, but where Paratopic was a multi-perspective, creeping-horror of a drama steeped in a mid-90s aesthetic, Adios is a gentler, albeit deeply morbid slice of life. You're a pig farmer. You're also, on the side, a convenient disposer of body parts for a crime boss. Only, you've decided to stop helping with that. Enjoy your last day, your last conversation with the erstwhile friend who'll be tasked with killing you should you follow through on your refusal.

 

It remains a rare pleasure to play a story-based game that doesn't feel the need to run for tens of hours and pad itself out with melodrama and/or Exciting Gameplay Experiences, but instead contents itself with exploring a single character's life and relationships, drifting in and out of vignettes of his life.

It's a touching piece, and while the "criminal underworld as exploration of man's nature" is a trope I've long since tired of in film, it's rare to see one so fixed on the periphery, so uninterested in bombast, and specifically focussed in the life, losses and priorities of a single man. In its ~80 minute runtime, where the average game may have just gotten to the point of giving its hero whatever justification it needs for them to spend the next few tens of hours murdering fodder, Adios manages to explore the fragile nature of being at macro and micro-level; public/performative expectations of grief; hobbies as mindfulness; and the conflict between personal relationships and power dynamics. Amongst other things. That it does all of this without feeling like a parable at any point is all the more impressive.

It's a game with a lot to say, but no conclusions. And it's distressing for me to realise just how rare that is. I can't wait to see what Mischief do next.

(also, the dialogue and voice work throughout was fantastic, and I will never tire of games where I can pick up and rotate items at will; thanks, Shenmue, for setting off that lifelong source of pleasure in games. More in-game handling of inanimate objects, that what I say!)

 

On 31/01/2021 at 19:44, Wiper said:

Two games in January:

 

Nightshade - ninja-themed dating sim, played through to one happy ending (opting for the Hanzo Hattori route, because of course I did). Will probably try a couple of other routes at a later date, as it was enjoyable, if pretty by-the-numbers.

 

Star Renegades - two successful playthroughs; enjoyable and tactical, but frustratingly, er, unfrustrating. Playing for 12+ hours and winning twice without loss made it a tad dissatisfying, as roguelites go. Still, a very enjoyable setup (in terms of deterministic strategy, unlocks and general presentation).

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It's April, and I've finally completed a game. I'm sure there was something else earlier in the year but I've completely forgotten. Good

 

Circumstances have led to me getting a lot of gaming time out of Things That Never End - jumped back into Hearthstone, a private server for Phantasy Star Universe, and I spent a bunch of time playing Magic. Anyway:

 

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

 

Latest in a line of RPGmaker extistential nightmares. Notable for having HP and MP bars but also not a single battle sequence. That's not to say you won't die; you'll die a lot, by opening a box, or getting executed, or opening a box and finding black holes inside... boxes are pretty dangerous it turns out. Best not eh.

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On 10/04/2021 at 16:12, strawdonkey said:

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

 

More RPGmaker nightmares.

 

Ages and ages ago I played the first Danganronpa game. While a lot of it focuses on solving murder, you also spend a lot of time traversing a deserted and unnatural building. On occasion the antagonist will just appear out of nowhere. He's not scary and it doesn't make you jump, but the feeling of traversing the abandoned corridors made my skin crawl, and reaching a destination without incident was enormously relieving.

 

I hadn't felt that way about a game in years until I played this. Everything about it is designed to be unsettling. Not scary, just uncomfortable and challenging. Nothing quite makes sense, the gameworld is incredibly bleak and it is difficult to tell what, if anything, is real. It's absolutely brilliant and nothing makes sense and everything is awful

 

There's a third and final entry in the series too. I guess I'll be back to talk about that soon.

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So far:

 

Spoiler

 

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)
2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
3. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
4. Don't Look Back (iOS)
5. Bowser's Fury [Story] (Switch)
6. Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (SNES/Switch)

7. Yoku's Island Express (Switch)
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Museum Collection Complete(Switch)
9. Donut County (Xbox Game Pass)

10. The Medium (XSX, Game Pass)

 



11. GTA V (XSX)

So I bought this a week and a bit before the Game pass announcement, but don't regret it at all. I got $2.5m GTA Online cash and a bonus pack, so looking forward to getting robbed within 30 seconds of going online. 

Having completed this on PS4 when it was re-released, I had more fun this time I think. The gameplay is still good fun and fast-paced, driving is a joy, the game looks incredible at times and I still can't quite believe how the hell they managed to pull this off on a 360/PS3. It's a superb technical achievement. The characters are arseholes at first, but they are arsehole criminal scum, so I just went with it. The parody of LA/USA still holds up through the ads and the radio stations are all still excellent. Can't wait to see what they do with the new-gen update.

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No 10 for the year was last week and that was Genesis Noir. 

 

Was ok, not much game tbh but I liked the esoteric way it told it's tale of the birth and death of the universe.

 

Still ploughing through Ass Creed Val but have encountered the A brewing storm glitch so need a patch if I want that ever to get that one reported in this thread as complete. 

 

Have started Maneater today though and may get that done before assassin's creed.

 

I think I'm doing well to have hit 10 completions before the end of April.  

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1 hour ago, cassidy said:

No 11 of the year and it’s Maneater. Really enjoyed my time with this, just chill gaming and fun. 
 

 

So it's worth the current (LOL) £16.74 asking price then?

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Yakuza 0 (2015)

I feel really conflicted about this. I wanted to like this so much more than I did, but I can’t get around the fact that, while it held my attention, the moment to moment gameplay didn’t hook me and, I’m sorry to say, I didn’t find it to be an overall fun experience. 
 

The main plot was fine, but things are dragged out by overly long scenes of ripped guys talking smack at each other while you sit there doing nothing. Likewise, the side-stories are cute, and occasionally laugh out loud funny, but are ultimately just irreverent shaggy dog stories that feel like their purpose is to lengthen the play time and give you more to do in the (beautifully realised) Tokyo and Osaka locations. I found them to be unengaging and somewhat alienating. 
 

Where the game does give the player opportunities to engage are in the exploration - which, as a former resident of Yokohama who was forced to cancel a holiday to Tokyo last year, I found gratifying - and the fighting. Sadly, here too, I found I couldn’t get on board. The fights are fine when you’re wailing on some low-level chumps, but as the game progresses, so too does the difficulty, and the game employs the following means to achieve that goal:

 

- Unblockable/uninterruptible/undodgable enemy attacks

- Attacks that stun-lock the player

- Enemies who can’t be knocked or thrown down, making heat actions inaccessible

 

I don’t mind a challenge - I’ve beat Bloodborne and Dark Souls this year - but this quickly became frustrating. Proper controller-out-window, sweary, ranty hissy fits. I’m willing to accept that I’ve not understood something about the fight system, but I don’t think that’s it. I put it on easy for the last few chapters just to get it done without blowing a fuse. 
 

I feel like I’m being overly harsh here, but I just wanted to like it so much more than I did. And there is a lot to like - the setting and tone is exciting, it’s got real bravura swagger at times and the characters are enjoyable company, but a lot of the time I felt like I was just going through the motions while playing it. Forgive me, Nagoshi-aniki! 
 

Spoiler

 

09/01/2021 - Bloodborne

10/01/2021 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

10/01/2021 - Halo 2: Anniversary

13/01/2021 - Little Nightmares

26/01/2021 - Donut County

27/01/2021 - Astro’s Playroom

06/02/2021 - The Medium

13/02/2021 - Paper Mario: The Origami King

21/02/2021 - Spider-Man: Miles Morales

28/02/2021 - Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

03/04/2021 - Dark Souls Remastered
03/04/2021 - Halo 3

15/04/2021 - Yakuza 0

 

 

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06/04 - Sam & Max Save the World

Any Green Hill Zone alumni may (most definitely wont) remember how obnoxiously excited I was when the original version of this game was announced, it didn't let me down. It was far from perfect but it nicely captured the essence of Sam & Max in a classic P&C formula. It was a game I had waited for since completing Monkey Island 4 (don't judge me). 

 

The remaster/remake stays true to the original while making a few changes that really iron out some of the more irritating issues of the early Telltale title. The graphics have been given a good shake up, especially the lighting, now everything looks like a newly de-mylarred comic. A special mention to Chapter 5 - Internet 2.0 and it's new Tron like visuals. The script has been tweaked to remove a few of the less inclusive jokes that may have seemed passable in 2007 but it loses nothing in the process; the jokes are still absurdly great and well delivered. 

 

The Switch interface is also very well thought out, using the R-Stick to point to hotspots for easy navigation around the screen in addition to plain old walking around pressing A.

 

So a great update of a great game, I urge you to give it a shot if you haven't already. I do hope this has been successful enough to warrant SkunkApe doing Beyond Time and Space & Devil's Playhouse as well as I really want to play them with the improvements made in this game.

 

13/04 - Avengers: A-Day

 

This prematurely dropping on to PSNow was all the reason I needed to finally give the single player a go. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, this game is so disappointing. Not for what it is but for what it could have been. Maybe it was a mistake to play this so soon after playing Arkham Knight but the contrast is *ahem* stark.

 

Avengers shows flashes here and there of what it should have been - a bombastic, exciting, single-player, set piece laden power fantasy - but most of the time I'm punching the same robot I've punched a thousand times in the same Utah Badlands dust bowl I've punched him a thousand time in.

 

"There's a chest near by with some gear in" pipes up a terrible Paul Bettany impersonator; well that's great but as have been discussed ad nauseum, loot is next to pointless in this game, it throws so much at you that it's mostly redundant and, of course, doesn't affect the look of your character. "There's an elite AIM unit near by, he may drop something if you can defeat him" Nah, you're alright JARVIS I just want this to end.

 

I pushed though, James Farley style, as I was enjoying the pulpy story for what it was and wanted to see the end, but I wont pretend I enjoyed the majority of it, and the only time I touched a side quest was when I had to for some materials for the chortlesome Stark Suits. Had they the variety of say, Mass Effect 2, then I would have cracked on, but there's that robot again... thousands and 1.

 

It's one saving grace was the acting (save the aforementioned Bettany-lite). Yes, Nolan and Troy were doing what they do but it worked and Kamala was great. The scene where she and banner went on their road trip was a particular highlight.

 

Verdict: Glad it was "free".

 

 

Spoiler

01/01 - Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

15/01 - Immortals: Fenyx Rising

22/01 - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

27/01 - Yooka-Laylee: The Impossible Lair

19/02 - Cyberpunk 2077

06/03 - Final Fantasy 14 ARR Quests

21/03 - Final Fantasy 12 Zodiac Age

31/03 - Batman: Arkham Knight

 

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8. Monster Hunter: Rise (2021) - Switch

 

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I thought about writing a proper review on this for MHG, but I haven’t really got a review for it so much as a jumble of thoughts, most of which won’t mean much to those who haven’t played Monster Hunter before.

 

The bottom line is this is as addicting and satisfying as Monster Hunter has ever been. The addition of the wirebugs - a rechargeable ability that allows you to zip about like Spider-Man - adds a lot of verticality to the different zones and dynamism to each encounter. Wirebugging out of the way of a charging Tigrex at the last moment or using one to set up a punishing silkbind attack on a flagging Diablos is brilliant fun.

 

This is also the most streamlined MH has ever been, too. Everything has been designed to get you fighting monsters as soon as possible from the moment you start a quest. Your rideable dog allows you to charge across levels more quickly than you’ve ever been able to before. Wirebugs, great and small, let you launch yourself across massive sections of each map without ever touching the ground. And, most significantly of all, you don’t even actually have to track the monsters down anymore as your owl will mark their exact location on the map from the moment you begin the stage. Gone is the need to look for a monster’s footprints or dig through its faeces in order to find out where it is. Likewise, there’s no longer any requirement to throw paintballs at a monster to keep track of it once you’ve found it. Instead, you just look at the minimap and make an immediate beeline for the particular monster you’ve been tasked with ‘hunting’. You can even turn on directional arrows in the menu that show you exactly where you need to go, in case the big flashing icon on your owl GPS wasn’t obvious enough. Indeed, there’s so little friction between beginning a hunt and finding your target that Monster Fighter would be a more suitable name for the game than Hunter.

 

As much as the core gameplay loop has been streamlined, however, the game still remains obstinately inaccessible to newcomers, or even veterans of the series who have had a break. I put about 80 hours into Monster Hunter World back in 2019, and for all that Rise is extremely similar to World, it still took me a good 5 hours to remember how to play the game properly.

 

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Outside of something like Civilisation, I don’t think I’ve played another game that has quite as many systems to wade through as this one. There are 14 different weapon types, all of them available from the very beginning, each with their own combos, special attacks and wirebug skills, and most with secondary or even tertiary weapon gauges. There’s crafting, a food system, two different types of currency, decorations, talismans, skills, ‘petalaces’, elemental bonuses and critical hit bonuses. There are Village quests, Hub quests, Training quests, Arena quests, Rampage quests, Sidequests and Optional Sidequests. There are two different types of buddies, palicoes and palamutes, who you interact with mostly via the Buddy Board or in person at the Buddy Plaza. Here you can also visit the Buddy Dojo, or speak to the Buddy Handler to arrange for Buddy Scouting, or talk to the Felyne Chief to arrange for your buddies to go out on Buddy Meowcenary missions, or chat with Rondine the Trader, captain of the Argosy, to send your buddies off to hunt for materials. Once you actually begin a quest the map is populated with a veritable cornucopia of icons, ones for Endemic Life, for Gathering Points, for Spiribirds, Mining Outcrops, additional Wirebugs, Account Items, Hunting Helpers, and more. When you come face-to-face with a monster, in addition to just walking up to it and smacking it in the face with a giant hammer you can freeze it, burn it, poison it, paralyse it, shock it, tranquilise it, blast it, ride it, exhaust it, capture it and sever its various body parts and appendages. In fact, just killing it seems almost like a missed opportunity.

 

I could go on, pretty easily, too. It all adds up to make something that must be utterly baffling for people who have never played one of these games before. If I suddenly started playing Destiny 2 today, a game I’ve never played before in my life, nor its prequel, I imagine it would be as overwhelming for me as Monster Hunter is for someone who’s never been near the series. The game does a piss-poor job of explaining anything to you, as well, to the point where I spent the best part of 20 hours playing through the challenge-free and rather dull Village quests because I’d got the impression that the far more interesting Hub quests were only for online play. It turned out that this was entirely incorrect, despite the game strongly suggesting otherwise. These quests can all be completed solo, which is what I went on to do, but only after inadvertently playing through what is essentially the game’s easy mode.

 

HOWEVER. All that being said, if you’re prepared to teach yourself how to play the game by looking at various Wikis, watching YouTube videos and asking questions on the forum (or if you know what you’re doing already anyway), then this truly is an excellent, compulsive, unique game that I would recommend to anyone. There really is nothing quite like repeatedly smashing a big red dragon around the head with a large bagpipe until it falls over, then doing it again several more times while it’s struggling to get up. That's enough to make this my GOTY so far.

 

TL;DR: Very much recommended. Just be prepared to put a bit of work in first.

 

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Completed this year:

 

Spoiler

1. Hades (2020) - PC/Switch

2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020) - Xbox Series X via Gamepass

3. Tetris Effect/Tetris Effect Connected (2020) - Oculus/PC/Xbox Series X via Gamepass

4. Black Mesa (2020) - PC

5. Astro's Playroom (2020) - PS5

6. Return of the Obra Dinn (2018) - PC

7. Demon's Souls (2020) - PS5

8. Monster Hunter: Rise (2021) - Switch

 

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On 12/04/2021 at 00:08, strawdonkey said:

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

 

I mean I don't even know where to start. This game is a walking nightmare of intense paranoia and unease and confusion. I adored it but I still don't really know what just happened during much of the four hours of my life that was devoted to it. When you think you've got a handle on things, it turns out that you actually don't have a handle on things at all.

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17/04/20 - Mega Man X4

 

This could very well turn out to be the year of Mega Man for me (and I still have the ZX Collection to play). X4 is the last game in the X Collection Part 1 and while I had no issue completing X1-3 on the standard difficulty, for X4 I had to turn on the Rookie Hunter mode so I could make it through. There was something about the move to Saturn/Playstation era where something didn't quite feel right with the movement. Wall jumping felt off and just the general controls of X didn't quite gel for me. As the series went on it seemed to get worse, so I'm not sure if I'll pick up the second part of the X Collection. Maybe I will if it's in a sale.

 

5/10

 

Spoiler

January

10/01 - Spiderman: Miles Morales

23/01 - Yakuza Like A Dragon

 

February

14/02 - Concrete Genie

18/02 - Mega Man 11

21/02 - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

 

March

21/03 - Persona 5: Strikers

31/03 - Mega Man X

 

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15 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension


Something a little more light-hearted! There Is No Game starts off as daft experiment, in which a game actively tries to stop you from playing it, before something goes wrong and you are transported to a variety of other game-worlds. These must be traversed and overcome (and frequently completely broken apart) before you can get back to where you started and, er, not play the game?

 

It does a good job of being knowingly very stupid and convoluted as a homage to old puzzle games, but also doing some fun fourth-wall breaking throughout - and isn't afraid to give genre tropes a lot of grief in the process. It does a lot of clever stuff in the confines of the game window, rather than something like OneShot or Pony Island which do things both inside and out.

 

This has just come out on Switch which will hopefully bring it to a whole new audience, though I get the feeling it's already done pretty well, and deservedly so.

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6 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon

 

Free 2D platformer/exploration thing on Steam that I've been meaning to get around to playing for approximately forever. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

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February 

 

5. Ziggurat (PS4) [2014]

 

I've got a couple of completed games I've been meaning to add but putting it off and as I'm now approaching the end of a new one, decided it would be best to get these up on here now. Back in Feb I downloaded Limbo and Ziggurat from the PSN Store, while already familiar with Limbo but not with Ziggurat thought I'd take a punt especially as it was quite literally about 79p. Turns out it's well worth checking out and has a lot of replayability. Ziggurat has been around since 2014 and plays very much like Hexen but exists as a rogue-like. That is to say that it's a oldskool fast paced FPS style game in a modern engine (Unity), where you can choose from numerous characters to play as and try to get past 5 stages with 5 bosses where a death spells the end of the game requiring a restart.

 

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In true RL fashion, the dungeon crawl style layouts always randomly generate with many different weapons and abilities becoming available every restart. You pick up cards which give you an option of choosing one of 2 or more which enhance various abilities such as faster attack speed, or being given the location of a hidden room on the map, sacrificing weapons to gain another random set and loads of others. The more you play, the more types you unlock in addition to unlocking new available characters each providing their own stats. The level progression has the player traversing through many different rooms where you'll either find some sort of pick up item inside (for example to unlock a boss encounter) or more commonly fight a wave of enemies. Once a room is cleared you can then move on and try the next, but once you enter a room of enemies you can't leave until it's complete or until you die. To make it more interesting there are many times that a caveat will be placed on the battle for the room you enter whereby every enemy and yourself take on a special set of rules and sometimes this puts you at an advantage then other times you will be put to the test as the enemies have the upper hand. There are loads of these and some are truly annoying such as only being able to fire when in the air. Additionally there are several possible bosses that you can come up against per stage, so it keeps each play fresh as there's no way to know who you'll be fighting until you get there. It progressively gets harder, but you also build up abilities to try and balance that difficulty in hope that you can make it past the fifth and final boss. 

 

I've only completed it once, but actually managed it quite quickly after around 6 attempts as I got a good run. I got the last boss another time on a separate playthrough but was much weaker and found it very tough. It's quite addictive due to the nature of this style of game and all the unlockables you get after continuously replaying. There's also a daily challenge which is different each time but you always get one chance and no more to see how far you can progress on an endless run. Visually it looks nice and the controls are tight. It can often get really hectic but there's this itch to get back on and try again if you like these sort of games. I think the actual standard price is less than £3 so would recommend it for those wanting quick blast game play with a focus on action. A full run may take about 2 hours at the most but there's a trophy to make it through in about 45 mins so it can be done quite fast. Kept me entertained for a week or two and I can see myself coming back to this on and off, although I'm spending more time with other consoles so haven't touched it in a while. 

 

7.5/10

 

6. Drakengard 2 (PS2) 2005/06

 

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Currently I've been really getting back into my PS2 and PS3 buying games again that I've missed and bagged this on ebay a while back some point late last year. As a fan of the first game and owning that for years, I've wanted to try out the other two games but this one has always been pricey, often around the £60 mark when I last looked. I was fortunate enough to get it for just under 30 and having now fully finished it completely, it's time to talk about it here. Originally I was supposed to add this to my last few games I finished last year, but I never actually got round to writing those up, however I can justify it being here this time because to get the true completion, you are required to play the whole game from start to finish 3 times in total, each time gaining a different end boss fight sequence and a different story ending and I've done just that so here we are. 

 

I think Drakengard 2 has often been regarded as a hit and miss, partly because it's not very well known anyway but I seem to recall comparisons made between the overall tone of this one vs the grittier nature of the first and better protagonist. Whilst it's true that the this comes across a little that way, it's really cool how you meet the protagonist from Drakengard 1 in here along with his dragon Angelus, and it's such a cool badass entrance which paints a reminder of that title. It isn't quite as mental as the first one either as I distinctly remember fighting a giant baby fetus or something like that and the music was a darker too, but it's still a decent game with a really good story that sucked me in. The style of D2 remains very much like the first with huge waves of enemies in open areas but also progressions through smaller corridors in caves and buildings that switch it up with a Dynasty Warriors vibe about the action but with a style of story and tone I prefer over ancient Japan. It's also got the flight stages too which play out very like Panzer Dragoon. You also build up your character's levels and also build up the level of weapons you use, gaining new combos as you go similar to the first, however a big difference this time is that you journey through the land building up a small team of 4 characters who can be switched on the fly, each with their own weapon types and health/magic bars. Each person is suited to their own enemy types and situations so you find yourself hopping between each one a lot if the situation arises. 

 

One of the things I loved about the first Drakengard was how it brought in the 5 endings without the need to actually restart from the beginning. You'd go through a bunch of chapters, but there were gaps missing and upon completion of the first ending, you'd learn it wasn't over and that you needed to play specific stages prior to the hidden chapters/verses and qualify a challenge (finishing a stage under a certain time limit I think) before being given access to a completely new story branch that not only had new stages and new ending, but also a new final boss and new key characters who would come into the story. Drakengard 2 makes it a pain in the arse because it means completely restarting again as a new game+ or ++. Each time you start though, you continue with your stats and get given a bunch of money and keep all weapons. There are also new one's to be found and you find yourself improving the characters as you go along. It also starts off with you being overpowered but then that changes further into the game as the difficulty increases beyond the last play. It's challenging but doable and doesn't have a super annoying final boss encounter like in the first game. If you know the game then you'll know exactly what I'm referring to (those black and white rings). It is a pain in the arse at times though but I managed to pull through and get it done. Turbo feature on a pad massively helps with the fluidity of pulling off combos without constantly bashing the buttons over and over destroying your fingers. It should be a standard feature in the game. 

 

Graphics are obviously dated but they still look good and I felt very much in control when I got good at it. There are some annoying moments where I'd spend half an hour on a stage only to die and have to start over, but I was determined to keep on going. It does get repetitive with the hordes of enemies but I still love it. If you die then you get chance to restart with no experience lost, although the biggest flaw is that you can't save it until the level is complete. This means if you're on a stage and have spend a couple of hours trying to get past it and still struggling, you're either going to lose ALL the experience gained or must keep going. It seems stupid not to let you save. 

 

Music wise I love it, really really love it. The main theme for example is outstanding. Orchestral and really full of emotion and cool melodies and energy. 

 

I'll conclude here, and say that it's a really good game, but that's because I'm a massive fan of the series. The bosses are enjoyable as they are quite different and present their own challenges which can appear tough but are doable. The last playthrough really pushes you though and by the time I got to the last boss, I initially found it impossible until I switched a certain item that helped massively and did some more levelling up. I did pretty much every optional quest and must have spent a total of about 130 hours or so going through it three times. It's long but I've played many RPG's that take me just as long to do them once. I'm the kind of player who hates to repeat games more than once but did so because I got every ending in the first game, so wanted to try and get the most out of this too and for the price I paid, I easily got something out of it. While I was playing this, a friend of mine suddenly asked to borrow the original from me and finally got all 5 endings for the first time and I've just lent him this one a few days back. I'll definitely be getting Drakengard 3 at some point. 

 

Score 8.5/10

 

Previously completed... 

 

 

Spoiler

 

January

 

1. - Summoner 2 (PS2) 15/01/2021

 

I really fell off this thread last year for the first time since I started recording my completions and part of it was due to building up a back log of text I needed to write but ultimately couldn't face. Therefore I've started afresh for the new year. At some stage last year I decided to go back and return to my PS3 for a few titles and that then led me to go back further and start buying for and resurrecting my original PS2 again. I've been through Siren which was strange, extremely slow paced but fascinating and Drakengard 2 and more recently, Summoner 2. 

 

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Some years back around 7 or so I played the first PS2 RPG Summoner game and while it was clearly dated, I did really enjoy it, and now I've had chance to take a stab at what the 2002 sequel has to offer. Overall it's pretty good once you get past the fact it's from 2002 and evidently quite dated and jankey. There are definitely improvements over the first game graphically as it feels as though there's much more variation in locations and more vibrant colours and better looking environments. One of the biggest changes though is the action which presents itself as a straight up action RPG. The original game from what I vaguely remember was more of an automated battle system where your characters would engage in battle but there was a system which allowed you to chain together multiple successful hits by timing presses. You'd physically walk but not attack in the same way as you do in the sequel which is straight up typical action orientated, allowing you to strike enemies with equipped weapons, use items and scrolls and various types of magic abilities. I did quite like this change and it pauses the game while you are in selection mode for whatever item or magic you are choosing to use. This adds an element of strategy. There are a bunch of characters that quickly get involved in the storyline and usually you'll have up to 4 on the go at one time whilst having several reserve characters in the wait. 

 

I'd say there's definitely quite a bit of challenge going on as it wasn't a breeze to get through, but there's a particular way it has been made that can really land you into trouble if you aren't prepared properly and happens a lot. Generally the game, while open to visit areas you've previously been is quite linear. In many cases once you start the next section of the main story, you're often prevented from going back until the whole segment is complete and this can vary as to how long you'll be unable to do things like shop for items or change characters. It allows you to save at any time apart from when there are enemies around and this can be dangerous as you'll end up saving but then realising you can't turn back to better prepare unless you've got a second recent save. This is made worse when it decides to split you up sometimes even solo or have you cycle through small teams making you utilize character who may be unprepared. Sometimes it auto assigns roles but others you get to choose and if you make the wrong choice I can see this leading to problems. There was a bit near the end where the main character has to leave and I was left with two characters who couldn't use any support magic including healing. Luckily I had heal items, except within moments of tackling some fairly difficult enemies, you end up in a scripted fall scene and suddenly it tells you all of your magic potions and health potions have broken, literally ALL of them so you have nothing. Fortunately one of my characters had a weapon equipped which caused 20% instant death (luckily) and it worked on the enemies I was fighting at the time. I think I'd have massively struggled if I didn't have that. One of my characters during the second to final boss was constantly healing the enemy just by fighting and I had to keep him dead in order to get by. It just felt like the sort of thing generally that wouldn't wash these days, but getting by felt good. 

 

It contains a lot of lore and things you can read and there are some references to the first Summoner game including one of the characters being from the old game, albeit the one I kept dead at the end as he was trying my patience. The cinematics are pretty good such as the opening sequence and the final showdown is great, although I wasn't too sure about the sudden twists in characters you fight at the end as they make a sudden entry into the action very unexpectedly and don't feel as though they are integrated well, especially the last boss character who is barely mentioned in the game at all and so has no real connection and impact. Still it's a pretty decent game with a lot of quirky sidequests, many of which I've not fulfilled but can often almost feel like a point and click in the way you try to suss them out with very little hand holding, but often you'll feel really great when figuring out something unexpectedly. 

 

It's not an overly long game at I'd say probably around 40-45 hours, but still enough to get involved. There are some really quirky moments like the city of masks which has you changing what mask you wear in order to speak to specific people in a strange world beyond. I'd probably have not bothered with this game except of my curiosity since having played the first and knowing it's also the last in the series, however I'm not quite sure which of the two games I prefer. I had really fond memories of the first and pretty sure that one lasted a bit longer. The more I got into it, the further away it felt from the first, but I liked how the first started from the perspective of a guy who had nothing compared to how you're a queen who has a lot of allies and power at her disposal. It felt like it could have been longer in some ways too where as I felt it was about right in the first game. They aren't the sorts of RPG I usually tend to go for as I'm more of a JRPG person when it comes to RPG's as a whole, but it's pretty good.

 

I think I'll give it a 7/10. 

 

February 

 

2. - Forbidden Siren 2 (PS2) 02/02/2021

 

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I've started creating a backlog of completed games to write up so I've got a few, but the main game I finished a few weeks ago was the PS2 game (on the console itself) Siren 2. In fact I'll talk a bit about both Siren 1 & 2 because I went through that later on last year but never updated the thread. 


Siren is quite an obscure, in fact very obscure and forward thinking survival horror title that's mostly forgotten about or unknown generally, however is in some respects an amazing series, but at the same time super frustrating. Interestingly it was created by one of the original guys behind Silent Hill 1 and is very obvious once you start playing as the general atmosphere, designs and even some of the enemies (such as the nurse in 1) are all reminiscent of that title. The difference here though is that they have added a lot of innovation and abstract thinking when it comes to game play and really tried to make something different. In some ways it's good but definitely won't appeal to many unless you're quite a hardcore survival horror fan of the older stuff. Siren 2 also only ever got localised in Europe and didn't make it to the US so it's quite rare really. 


The general way both games work is that you play out a series of individual stages which represent a part of the bigger story, although they are always played out of order and regularly switch between different characters each doing their own thing but merging towards a common aspect to the overall story where often they pair up with one another. Sometimes you'll be on your own and other times with a second character guiding them along a dangerously cautious path. It's very hard to get your head around even after completion but there's a village in 1 and an island in 2 which both end up suffering from some mysterious goings on where the cast of characters get dragged into and end up between worlds just like in Silent Hill with there being a dark and sinister world. There's even a warning "siren" sound just like can be heard in Silent Hill (from what I vaguely remember). The game play involves a really interesting concept where you "sight jack" into other people's vision including enemies and see their point of view as you stealthily attempt to make your way past them or take them on at the right time. It's really well done and adds a massive fear factor which genuinely comes across extremely effectively, but the biggest problem is that general movement and actions in the first game are extremely slow. Factor in the fact you mostly have to restart the whole mission if you die or you're spotted by a rifelman and shot dead instantly. Fortunately, the sequel manages to improve on a lot of things as there are many issues that let the game down but I still really enjoyed the first a lot. One thing for sure though is that it takes a huge amount of patience to get through especially if you aren't using any guides which is pretty much what I did. 


Both games have very similar styles of game play with very similar menu navigation and level select methods, but it took me forever to figure out how everything properly worked in the first game. There's far too little to aid you in that one and it's led to me playing levels and being stuck for a couple of hours only to realise there is no solution available until a condition is met on a different stage first. The sequel never allows you to fall into this trap and purposely goes out of its way to give you more guidance and hints. Not only are you playing lots of stages out of sequence and jumping between characters, but each stage also has a parallel alternative mission which differs a little from the first run through as though something new happened in the story which didn't occur the first time round and can only be activated by carrying out a specific task on another level. Essentially there's a lot that really hadn't been properly thought about in Siren 1 and it makes the game much more of a chore and a headache as a result. 


Another massively frustrating thing about Siren 1 is that when you die, if you happen to have found any collectibles, you lose them all and have to find these again. What's more annoying is that say you reach a checkpoint, if you start the checkpoint, you can restart it but will still be missing those items. This comes across like bad design more than anything else and all of this was fixed in the sequel fortunately.I have to point out that from what I've heard online, it's known as one of the hardest survival horror games out there. Siren 2 is definitely easier but still can be tricky but the first one is ridiculously frustrating and will require lots and lots of attempts like a dark souls game until you really get to know the level and what's going on. I love though how every character is different and control different, has their own weapon or no weapon at all. The rifle on Siren 1 is ridiculously bad to control, like the worst I've ever known for a sniper style sight shot because of the speed and lack of finesse of control. They fix this a great deal with Siren 2. 

 

I have to point out the really unique character model aesthetic design choice to go with modelling real japanese faces onto characters. It can often look goofy and hilarious but also often it really works well, especially in Siren 2 and the fact their faces are animated smoothly, makes it look very real and radiates that emotion perfectly, you know that emotion technology they always talked about (whatever that was) well this is better. There are some brilliant moments that will leave you in tears of laughter. The voices in the first are an odd mix of English over Japanese characters and it does feel out of place, but the sequel has Japanese voice actors who try to do the English in some odd accents. 


Despite the negatives, I was absolutely fascinated by them both and really got sucked into them and the atmosphere. There are several endings and each can be found by just trying to complete all the missions for each stage. It was really odd when I got the first ending the first time though (in Siren 1) because I'd just finished a stage with an 8 year old girl hiding and trying to escape somewhere, only to suddenly be greeted by a cutscene which had nothing to do with her at all and instead a bunch of other characters who played out a scene I'd not even known about so had no idea what was going on. Only by playing other levels afterwards did things start to slot together. It really messes with your head the whole time. I got every ending in the first game but the second one was a massive kick in the balls as I'd just finished the first ending with a few more sections to work on and the save file suddenly corrupted not to long after. These are long games and I must have spent about 50-60 hours on the first one alone. I've ordered another PS2 memory card anyway but it's a shame as I don't think I can be bothered to go through it all again, still I got credits rolling. 


Siren is definitely not going to be for the majority so I probably wouldn't advise playing it, but it's one I'm not going to forget at all and really think it's brilliant. The enemy designs of 2 are really mental and there's a secret made up mini game you find on a fictitious console from 1982 called Kunitoris. I haven't played Deadly Premonition, but I can imagine this being somewhat similar in the way it's portrayed (from what I understand it) as a genius mess. You just never know what to expect as you make progress and it will often pull some really crazy stuff out of the bag. Siren also came out on the PS3 and this is supposed to be a complete remake of the first game. I'll definitely have to check that one out one day but I'm going to leave the series for a while. I'd just bought the first two together from someone on here which is why I played them both. I wonder if we'll ever see a return to the world again in the future?
 

Siren 2 - I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10. 

 

 

3. Celeste (PS4) - Farewell DLC 10/02/2021

 

This is another I've finally managed to get back to and finish off after deciding to take a break for a long while as it's so intense and far more difficult than the main game. Just to get proper access to the DLC you are required to do all the b-sides and collect all the hearts from every chapter prior to it, and that's not easy to do at all. I know it's possible to change the difficulty by tweaking settings but I was very reluctant to do so and in the end refrained completely. I thought I was actually quite close to the end having got through a huge chunk of Farewell but it still took me another 20 hours or so to do the last few sub chapters/verses of the DLC. Trying to get good with wave dashing is highly difficult but eventually I think I got the hang of it. There were many bits where it was easy to mess up the direction of the dashes with the d-pad whilst trying to do multiple sections in a single succession as my thumb would slip slightly. I also found that the best way to deal with the feathers was to switch from d-pad to analogue stick and then back again when out of it and that's something you end up doing a few times over the course of Farewell. 

 

What I love overall is that despite the bar seemingly raising and it being a super difficult game that gets harder and harder, I was always able to get by and nothing felt unfair. It was designed with absolute perfection and I loved how it often has you pondering how on earth to make progress only for persistence to pay off when I'd realise there was something critical I wasn't doing initially. It has a simple set of controls but there are many very subtle things that are really important to pick up on such as how a spring board will give you a jump back. The DLC also introduces quite a few new interactive elements which take a bit of getting use to but once you do then it all seems to fit into place. 

 

I can't stress though this was one extremely difficult challenge and far more intense than the main game but it amazes me how persistence paid off and I could feel myself getting better and better. In the end it took me about 93 hours to get to this point and I had around 20.8k deaths with almost half of them in the DLC alone. Farewell was something like 37 hours for me and it amazes me how there are runs that take it down under an hour; one I've seen within about 18 minutes with outrageous twitch speed play style. 

 

My main goal with Celeste was to get the DLC done and that's achieved now so I can feel it's done, however I still have the C-Sides to do and have managed to do the first two areas so far. I got 5 strawberries from Chapter 8 to get too but I have the rest. As for the golden berries, that's not even something I consider part of the main game. It's like an insanity mode for speed runner experts. I only found out recently that there's literally another area that appears if you manage to get through the entire DLC without dying and it supposedly starts you back at the beginning of the DLC on death. It's like that trophy on the Megaman 9 or whatever where you had to finish the game without taking a single hit. 

 

Overall though, Celeste was pretty much my Game of "my" Year in 2020 and sits in a special place. 

 

10/10

 

4. Limbo (PS4) 14/02/2021

 

After all the hectic stress of getting through Celeste DLC I wanted to play something very different in tone and Limbo is the perfect game to relax to with its slower pace and artsy yet moody picturesque visuals and theme. This one's getting pretty old now but one I always liked the look of back when I first got my PS3 and in fact it was released before I even got one of those. Limbo takes me back to when I first noticed the surge of indie titles sweeping in amongst the consoles, along with a few other well known ones around the time such as Braid and Fez. Well received and well loved from what I'd seen and it always sat there in the back of my mind that one day I aught to check this one out. That never really materialised until I decided to fire up my PS4 for the first time in quite a while and (aside from finish Celeste) browse through the store. I'm not one for buying digital much but I was looking for a cheap sale and this came up at a very modest price of just £2 which sealed the deal for me quite quickly. 

 

The game itself is nice; I'm not going to say it's the best game ever and should be a 9 or a 10 even though it's highly appreciated by many, simply because I enjoyed it but it's just not long enough for me personally and I didn't find myself attached enough unlike Celeste which was such a different experience and left far more impact. It didn't take long at all, maybe 4 hours and I have no desire to return to it again either, however it is amazingly nice looking and holds up amazingly well considering its age. I can see why it really must have made an impact back when it was new but these days there are so many mesmerising artistic experiences out there to compare it to. It does do a really good job of setting up an atmosphere and the silhouette black and white noire style feels, make it fathom something that belongs from a 30's dracula esque style era in some ways, giving it a strong sense of identity. The blends between layers and blurry out of focus elements work brilliantly like you're playing through a microscope at times. There is a deep moody loneliness filled with immediate dangers around each corner or rather screen, and what I love about this is that each experience is different. It never repeats the same thing over and over but rather attempts to switch things up continually to keep it interesting and envelops a sense of wonder as you carefully tread forward ever wary of the next trap, no idea what to expect.

 

Featuring numerous puzzles, this physics based game really impressed me as to how organic and natural it handles when being put into motion as you drag, push and pull or swing on things. There's a lot of subtle attention to detail and often I found myself in situations were I'd momentarily be scratching my head only to suddenly realise what the genius solution actually was in order to get up to an impassable platform. I wouldn't say that these puzzles are particularly difficult overall though but there's a little bit of a challenge here and there. It didn't take long to get by though each time I'd arrive at a new dead end but if I was to say what this game reminded me of loosely, it would be Another World but I enjoyed that one more than this and only played it for the first time in recently years. 

 

Once you arrive at the end it gives you the option to replay again and hides a number of cleverly hidden eggs (many of which I missed) but I don't think I'm going to bother as I wasn't invested enough and just wanted to play something to bridge a gap. For that purpose though this is the perfect game and at a price that couldn't be scoffed at whatsoever. 

 

It's a very nice game and can see why it appeals to many, for me personally though I'm going to give it a respectable 8. I'm sure many have already played this one. If you are into your short games and want something relaxing, historically renowned amongst modern indie puzzle platformers, not too intense, visually appealing and less than 4 hours long then this is for you.

 

 

I've got a few more to add but I'll do that incrementally over the next week or so. 

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 Previously...

Spoiler

1) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Switch - 2019 (2012)
2) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Switch - 2018 (2014)
3) God of War - PS4 - 2018
4) Shenmue III - PC - 2019
5) Sonic Mania - PC - 2017
6) Abzû - PS4 - 2016
7) Night Trap - 25th Anniversary Edition - Vita - 2018 (1992/3)

 

8) Secret of Mana - SNES - 1993
 

I somehow went 28 years without playing this. It's probably a better game played in co-op, but I had no-one to play it with. In solo mode, the menus are fiddly, but it's a pretty clever system, using AI and programmable actions to control your other characters. Nice.

Is it action-based, or is it turn-based? Does it level you up by gaining EXP, or your skills through using them? Does it have an overworld like Zelda, or a scaled mode-7 map like Final Fantasy? Yes. All of the above.

 

This is a big improvement over Seiken Densetsu 1 (Final Fantasy Adventure) but still has a similarly dodgy script and familiar plot. The music's mostly pretty good and the graphics do the job. Not up to the standards of Square's other classic 16-bit games in my opinion (it's no Chrono Trigger) but not a bad way to spend twenty-something hours.

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Control

This was the "ultimate edition" for Series X, all DLC included.

Graphically gorgeous, even if most of the time you're just in a weird office environment. The amount of debris and paper flying everywhere during battles is quite spectacular. I suspect a lot of it is smoke & mirrors, but even so, top marks. I tried the two graphics modes on offer and honestly couldn't tell the difference, so I stuck with 60fps, and I think I made the right choice.

Throwing your character around the environment, with all the boosts and levitation tricks, is a joy, and effortlessly launching furniture and chunks of masonry at the enemies is great fun.

I loved the overall theme, very imaginative, and the drip-feed of lore worked well. For once, I was actually compelled to read most of the collectible crap!

Criticisms: a few of the boss battles weren't great, and there is an overabundance of underpowered "mods" that you have to periodically bin from your limited-space inventory. Also, it felt like it went on just a smidge too long, but I guess that's what happens when the DLC gets folded into the main game from the get-go. Overall though, very good. 8/10

 

Spoiler

01/01/2021 - Syberia

07/01/2021 - Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

11/01/2021 - Fe

13/01/2021 - The Touryst

19/01/2021 - The Gardens Between

22/01/2021 - Donut County

22/01/2021 - Virginia

23/01/2021 - The Witness

08/02/2021 - Trials Fusion

22/02/2021 - Streets Of Rage 4

14/03/2021 - Death Squared

08/04/2021 - The Medium

19/04/2021 - Control: Ultimate Edition

 

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While I mess about with Ghost of Tsushima's photo mode for hours, my boy and I just ran through another Lego game during his Easter break...

 

10. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (XB1) - Very much a Ronseal game featuring all of your favourite Marvel Superheroes (and villains) in their Lego format. Gameplay wise it's a standard Lego game with a hub world and various missions whereby you swap between a group of characters (and abilities) to complete the puzzles in a zero fail combat environment. On that basis it is fun enough - especially as it features some of my son's actual Lego figures and kits, and is essentially an interactive version of the Lego TV series he loves - however given how old this one is comparatively you can really feel how much more clunky it is against the newer ones. The on screen guidance is shocking to the point that even I had to Google a couple of bits to get past because it wasn't clear what was needed to be done to progress. Also we had a number of glitches including a fundamental and annoying save game issue (where we lost about 5 hours of play because it turns out rest mode stops the auto and manual saves working until you hard reboot again). It's fine but dated. - 6/10

 

We now have Lego Marvel Avengers and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 to play next as I bought my son the "Lego Marvel Collection" in the Easter Xbox sale as a pressie. I'm hoping these newer ones are a bit more polished.

 

Quote

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS5) - 8/10

2. Gris (PS5) - 9/10

3. Fez (PS4) - 8/10

4. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS5) - 9/10

5. Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds [DLC] (PS5) - 7/10

6. Maquette (PS5) - 5/10

7. Lego City Undercover (XB1) - 7/10

8. Lego Ninjago Movie (XB1) - 7/10

9. Phogs (XB1) - 7/10

 

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 Previously...

Spoiler

1) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Switch - 2019 (2012)
2) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Switch - 2018 (2014)
3) God of War - PS4 - 2018
4) Shenmue III - PC - 2019
5) Sonic Mania - PC - 2017
6) Abzû - PS4 - 2016
7) Night Trap - 25th Anniversary Edition - Vita - 2018 (1992/3)
8) Secret of Mana - SNES - 1993

 

9) Rez Infinite - PS4 - 2016 (2001/2)

Played through all areas, including Area X, in VR mode (1.5 hours).

Wowzer. I already played the demo so I knew how well Rez converted to a VR experience. Area X takes that to another level with seriously impressive visuals and a great new soundtrack, plus the ability to turn and move more freely. It feels like a preview of a Rez sequel or something.

Not quite the transcendent experience I was expecting, but very good indeed and a lovely showcase for VR (as well as a perfect remaster for non-VR users). Just a shame it's all so short, and I'm not usually one for high score chasing, so I'll leave it there.

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finally completed FFXII,  after 3 goes I always ended up in the same place and then gave up time after time. Thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it does have a couple of sticking points. Some of the quest lines are beyond vague and I never really ended up with amazing gear or weapons. 

 

Is 13 any good? Im a glutton for punishment 

 

 

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Apr

 

22/04 Control:Ultimate Edition (PC)  THis was a slow burn for me which I almost bounced off twice. The first time was that the story is a bit of a slow burn. I didn't really like any of the characters to begin with and having grown up in areas in the 70's that were rife with brutalist architecture I didn't find the setting that novel. Initially. But the story and the atmosphere dragged me in even if it did feel like the closeups of people's faces were less about story and more about showing off their engine. It then came out on PS Plus and I switched between PC and PS4 version (the bare PS4 version isn't as bad as some people would have you believe but the PC version blows it out of the water.) And then around hour 14 I got stuck. Stuck in several places. I just couldn't make headway and enemies were one shotting me with rocks. I realised my reflexes weren't up for the task of dodging or shielding quickly enough. It was frustrating and not in a fun way. I was going to give it up. And then I found the accessibility menu. The warning from the developers led to me spending two more frustrating hours before I went  back and tweaked some of the settings. While you can set it to "god mode" I found a nice balance that changed the game from impossible to difficult but fun and spent the next 20 hours playing through the main campaign, the excellent Foundation and the underwhelming AWE. A weird game, one that seems like a poor third person shooter in the first couple of hours that transforms into an excellent cosmic horror game metroidvania where many problems can be solved by chucking furniture at it. The best part of the game were the side bits of lore and notes, don't skip them!

 

control_floating_in_office_1920.jpg

 

 

20/04 Rain on Your Parade (PC) I'm spending too much time on Control at the moment (almost done) and went looking around for something short and happy and this appeared on Gamepass. You play as a cloud. You rain on people. The tutorial level has you upsetting a wedding and it gets better from there. It's got a floaty feel to it like it was made in Dreams but every level is its own gag. Some last for seconds, some minutes. The 50 levels on offer never outstay their welcome. Short and sweet it's the perfect distraction.

 

 

Previously this month

 

02/04 Summer Games 2 (C64)

 

Earlier

Spoiler

16. 16/03 Beach Head 2:The Dictator Strikes Back (C64)

15. 13/03 Assassin's Creed Chronicles:India (PS4)

14. 07/03 Alvastia Chronicles (PC)

13. 27/02 Oxenfree (PC)

12. 26/02 Assassin's Creed Chronicles:China (PS4)

11. 11/02 Beyond a Steel Sky (PC) 

10. 02/02 Stories Untold (PC)

9. 31/01 Katamari Damacy Reroll (PC)

8. 28/01 2020 Game (Browser)

7. 26/01 Observation (PC)

6. 25/01 Hades (PC)

5. 23/01 Donut County (PC)

4. 17/01 The Touryst (PC) 

3. 13/01 My Friend Pedro (PC)

2. 03/01 Tell Me Why (PC)

1. 01/01 Tales from Off Peak City : Vol 1 (PC)

 

Abandoned

Assassin's Creed Chronicles:Russia

The Medium (PC) 

 

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On 18/04/2021 at 22:16, strawdonkey said:

01. Hello Charlotte Episode 1

02. Hello Charlotte Episode 2: Requiem Aeternam Deo

03. Hello Charlotte Episode 3: Childhood's End

04. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

05. Mandagon

00. Katamari Damacy

 

knew there was something I'd forgotten. Had only previously played the XBox 360 Katamari game and while I had a lot of fun with it, it didn't quite match up to the unbelievable reception that I'd heard people giving the original game since it's release. Having had the chance to play it, I can see why; while it's a bit clunky and sometimes you get wedged in the scenery, everything just feels really well thought out in the original game.

 

That said, the one disappointment is that I had hoped for a final level where you get to go really big and stupid, but unfortunately you only get to go reasonably big and stupid. I had hoped to roll up galaxies but had to settle for small islands, which is definitely a first-world problem!

 

0X. Kind Words

 

HowLongToBeat lists Kind Words as having a 2.5 hour completion time, so I set an evening aside and figured I'd just jump in. And then it turns out that it's not a game at all.

 

Kind Words is an anonymised messaging service/bulletin board, with a few options - send a message to all players, post a bulletin, or send a private response to a bulletin. The caveat is, you're encouraged to talk about your own problems, and you're encouraged to be kind when sending responses (clue is in the name). From reading some of the Steam forums on this game, it was used extensively during the early days of the pandemic and had a significant community of people anonymously helping each other try to make sense of the world, and I kinda wish I'd been able to see it then. As it happened my coping mechanism back then was Animal Crossing. And whisky.

 

These days, the posts to all players are 50% nonsense - lots of chain-message style stuff, which is almost more disappointing than there being fewer messages to read. The bulletin board side of things is fascinating; sent a few responses to various messages to see what would happen. After a few minutes I got a pop-up stating that someone had read one of my messages and sent me a sticker as thanks - no idea which message it was for, but it felt lovely to think that what I'd sent had maybe been helpful or comforting to hear.

 

And that's about it. I've logged in a few more times but feel like I've missed the boat on this one a bit, but it is unbelievable that a community exists with the sole purpose of being kind, and through what seems to be extensive moderation, actually achieves that.

 

06. Heaven Will Be Mine

 

When there's one of the big Steam sales on, I love poking through the list of games sorted by review score and just picking up stuff I've never heard of. I've found some absolute gold this way - Gorogoa, Glass Masquerade and Hylics were three wonderful experiences that I'd likely never have found otherwise. Heaven Will Be Mine is another one of these - it was cheap and I like visual novels and this turned out to be brilliant too. I've only done a run with Saturn so far, but she is an absolute delight to watch - she's written like an extremely talented-yet-nonchalant friend who just happens to be hijacking a mech and using it to fly off into space to hook up with other mech pilots (technically the enemy too but hey). 

 

This is all against a backdrop of - I think - Earth setting up a space program, sending them to the moon and other planets, and then declaring war on them because they are "aliens". For all the fun stuff on the surface, there's much more sinister stuff bubbling under the surface as three factions are vying to shape the future of humanity's time in space, and as time goes on it becomes clearer why the pilots have the camraderie they do despite coming at the conflict from different angles.

I'm not well-versed in mech matters so I wonder if there's even more enjoyment to be got from this if you are familiar with the genre, but other than the ending being absolutely baffling (you'll see this a lot, I tend to have no idea what's going on - see Hello Charlotte and me going "uh" a lot) I've found this to be really gripping and will likely go back for the other endings later.

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So far:

 

Spoiler

 

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)
2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
3. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
4. Don't Look Back (iOS)
5. Bowser's Fury [Story] (Switch)
6. Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (SNES/Switch)

7. Yoku's Island Express (Switch)
8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Museum Collection Complete(Switch)
9. Donut County (Xbox Game Pass)

10. The Medium (XSX, Game Pass)
11. GTA V (XSX)

 


12. Monument Valley – Ida's Dream

I'm bogged down in playing/re-playing some lengthy games and needed to feel a sense of completing something, so played through this 30-45 minute standalone adventure. really lovely, as you'd expect from MV and UsTwo. Now back to the big games.

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20/04/2021 - Wasteland 2 (PC)

 

Like my playthrough of Greedfall before it, this is a hard game to like, because whilst what is there is good, there's just too much of it and the tactical combat just doesn't offer anywhere near enough variety to keep things interesting - the exact same criticisms I had of the aforementioned title.

 

I think this was the first (of only 3 or 4) games I backed on Kickstarter, when that was all the craze, but as is the way with Steam piles of shame, I only recently got into it, spurred-on by the fact that the next game was on Game Pass. Having now played this though, I don't think the third game is going to be for me.

 

Like I say at the top, it is good and I really do mean that. But it's a game built on the foundation of wanting you to read many novels' worth of text, a lot of which is purely for flavour and to add colour to the world. Some people like that, I get it, but, for me it led to fatigue way before the end such that I started skipping over everything about 2/3rds of the way through and made a beeline for the end which still took a long time. It also meant I couldn't be bothered to go for one of the 'good' endings and my 'reward' was a single screen of text telling me I'd basically destroyed everything, rendering everything I did completely pointless. Hurrah!

 

The other big problem I had with it (again, a criticism levelled at Greedfall) was that combat options were limited to the point of fights becoming something to endure rather than enjoy. Every combat was essentially point and shoot/stab/punch; there were no abilities or skills outside of that to help mix things up. Sure, you could target individual body parts, but the penalty to hit chance was so harsh for the limited reward, it made no sense to try it (and consequently I never did once.) And whilst I could probably deal with reams of text to read in Wasteland 3, it is this aspect - flat, uninspired combat - that really has put me off wanting to engage with it. In short doses the combat was fine, but never raised above that, no matter how many one-shot kills my sniper got from miles away.

 

And that really is a shame, because if it's like this game then it would have a well fleshed-out world, interesting characters (both NPCs and teammates), quests with different approaches available, maps that allowed for a sense of progression each time I played and plenty of non-combat skills to allow for different team builds.

 

Ultimately, this is another game that I think would've been far better as a 20/25 hour experience instead of the 50-ish it turned out to be (even skipping over a lot of stuff); fortunately, the next RPG I'm thinking of getting back to (having played 10 hours or so last year) is Pillars of Eternity - a game that at least does allow for some variation in combat to offset the masses of reading that game expects of me too ;)

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

04/04/2021 - Secret World Legends (PC)

02/04/2021 - She Sees Red (PC)

27/03/2021 - Greedfall (PC)

26/03/2021 - Freedom Fighters (PC)

10/03/2021 - Breath of Death VII (PC)

05/03/2021 - Dungeons & Lesbians (PC)

04/03/2021 - Quantum Break (PC)

26/02/2021 - Marvel Avengers (PC)

20/02/2021 - Life is Strange (PC)

02/02/2021 - P.O.W. (Arcade)

28/01/2021 - Devil's Hunt (PC)

24/01/2021 - A Mortician's Tale (PC)

19/01/2021 - The Touryst (PC)

19/01/2021 - Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forrest (PC)

15/01/2021 - A New Life (PC)

05/01/2021 - Vostok Inc. (PC)

02/01/2021 - Call to the Sea (PC)

01/01/2021 - Suikoden (PS1)

 

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21/04/2021 - Rain on Your Parade (PC)

 

Fancying something of a palette-cleanser after the grind that was Wasteland 2, I thought I'd give this a try following the positive feedback in the Game Pass thread.

 

It's okay, I guess. I didn't find it as charming as others, but it passed a little bit of time. Not much else to say, really.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

20/04/2021 - Wasteland 2 (PC)

04/04/2021 - Secret World Legends (PC)

02/04/2021 - She Sees Red (PC)

27/03/2021 - Greedfall (PC)

26/03/2021 - Freedom Fighters (PC)

10/03/2021 - Breath of Death VII (PC)

05/03/2021 - Dungeons & Lesbians (PC)

04/03/2021 - Quantum Break (PC)

26/02/2021 - Marvel Avengers (PC)

20/02/2021 - Life is Strange (PC)

02/02/2021 - P.O.W. (Arcade)

28/01/2021 - Devil's Hunt (PC)

24/01/2021 - A Mortician's Tale (PC)

19/01/2021 - The Touryst (PC)

19/01/2021 - Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forrest (PC)

15/01/2021 - A New Life (PC)

05/01/2021 - Vostok Inc. (PC)

02/01/2021 - Call to the Sea (PC)

01/01/2021 - Suikoden (PS1)

 

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