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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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12/08/2021 - Ratchet & Clank (PS4 remake played on PS5)

Slightly odd history with this game.  I bought it years and years ago on the PS2 from CEX, I vaguely looked in the box to make sure it looked ok, but on checking it in greater detail I actually had Ratchet & Clank 2... and it was far too much effort to go out and attempt to swap it.  I ended up playing a DVD-R on the (chipped) PS2 for a while in order to get to the point of playing part 2, but got only maybe 14 of the way in.  I picked this up again when it was free on the PS4, and then finally played it on the PS5.  It was ok - but not really my thing.  Very pretty, but far too many weapons for me to remember what each one does or what I should upgrade and boss fights felt a bit like shoot shoot shoot, run out of ammo, switch to another weapon then repeat until they die.  That said the final boss took me a good 6 or 7 goes.  Glad to finish it, but I don't know if I'll continue with the series.  Is Rift Apart much of the same thing?

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Aug

 

24/08 Mass Effect 2:Legendary Edition (PS4) The best one of the series and in many ways it highlights how sometimes less is more. The first Mass Effect was broad in scope and allowed you to explore large areas in your investigation. The sequel does the opposite, it starts with an actual bang and creates a narrative that allows for a reason to reset your powers and influence and run the clock down by two years. The narrative is more focused and driven with the most of the game being a sort of Dirty Dozen style recruiting drive leading towards a suicide mission. As in the last game some team mates can be lost but in this case some means potentially all (and I've seen one playthrough where the end was so disastrous that there wasn't anyone left for a Mass Effect 3 save.) Everything has been polished, the writing is better although some paragon option seem a little harsh. One "paragon" choice had Shepherd telling an Elcor that it would be a pity if she had to break his kneecaps! Otherwise the environments seem larger and more detailed but are smaller and more dense, especially the Citadel. Lots of quality of life improvements in pacing as well with the start of major missions having you dropped off via shuttle and the end of major missions taking you right to a mission summary screen. The DLC is a mixed bag, Project Overload is still gross and problematic, Lair of the Shadow Broker is however a standout with a very satisfying conclusion.

 

Having enjoyed playing as a Vanguard in Mass Effect 3 back on the 360 I opted for that class and initially regretted that. However once some of my powers had increased I was the bowling ball and my enemies were the pins for may encounters (with the risk as always that I would extend myself too far in front of my team to get support.) Many others have waxed goddam lyrical about this game and the remaster doesn't do much to improve what isn't broken. My only beef was the tendency for the voices to cut out the last half word of dialogue sometimes (playing on the PS5.) Otherwise playing through this again was a treat.

 

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22/08 Last Stop (PC) So back when 3D games where new I would try to make run throughs almost movie or tv like with smooth panning or making sure I'd smoothly open doors etc. I still do this on second run throughs or when my partner is in the room. And sometimes it doesn't work (like recently with Fallen Jedi where I was felt like I was a drunken Jedi for most of it.) Last Stop like Virginia before it is full of jump cuts and so this was hard. I was constantly suddenly walking the wrong way, those who've played Resident Evil back when it was still fixed camera angles will know what I mean. One of the few downsides was spending the first half of the game feeling like an actor missing their cues.

 

But this game isn't about navigation or even puzzles. It's choices and dialogues for the most part and the walking is just to move you from place to place. It's three stories that the game forces you to play in an alternating fashion (although at each chapter you get to chose the order you wake them in.) I don't want to spoil too much. Just that it's set in London. The visuals are a mixed bag (I wasn't sold on the character design at first but the backdrops are great.) The voice casting, acting and soundtrack is just fantastic and lifts the whole thing. I got the sense when playing it that I almost would have preferred this as a tv series, it would have filled the hole left by recent Dr Who. 

 

First impressions weren't great but by two chapters in (and they're short, none of this 50 hours before it gets good) I was hooked. Would I buy it? I don't know but it's an essential look on GamePass, you'll know quickly if it's your thing or not.

 

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14/08 Omno (PC) Another game I wouldn't have tried if it wasn't on gamepass. I just didn't like the avatar who looks like he has a turnip for a head. However I pushed past my first impressions (this feels like something made in Dreams) and by the end of the first area I was charmed. It's the music that makes this as well as some sections where you find more elegant ways to move through the world. Took me just under five hours to finish up and that was with exploring every nook and cranny. Recommended if you want something like Journey but with more puzzles.

 

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Previously this month

03/08 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5)

 

Earlier this year

 

Spoiler

54. 25/07 Mass Effect:Legendary Edition (PS4)

53. 20/07 Law of the West (C64)

52. 18/07 The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (PC)

51. 17/07 Ikenfell (PC)

50. 08/07 Final Fantasy 7 Remake INTERmission (PS5)

49. 03/07 Deus Ex Machina Game of the Year 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition (PC)

48. 27/06 Answer Knot (PC) 

47. 26/06 1944 : the Loop Master (PC/Arcade)

46. 22/06 Commando (C64)

45. 21/06 GigaWing (PC/Arcade)

44. 19/06 19XX: The War Against Destiny (PC/Arcade)

43. 19/06 Warriors of Fate (PC/Arcade)

42. 18/06 Varth: Operation Thunderstorm (PC/Arcade)

41. 15/06 Carrier Air Wing (PC/Arcade)

40. 14/06 Senjō no Ōkami II (PC/Arcade) 

39. 14/06 1941:Counter Attack (PC/Arcade)

38. 14/06 Forgotten Worlds (PC/Arcade) 

37. 12/06 West of Dead (PC) 

36. 11/06 Raid Over Moscow (C64)

35. 09/06 Section Z (PC/Arcade)

34. 06/05 God of War (PS4)

33. 05/05 Ghostbusters (C64)

32.01/06 Beach Head (C64)

31. 30/05 Depanneur Nocturne (PC)

30. 30/05 Commando (PC/Arcade)

29. 30/05 1942 (PC/Arcade)

28. 30/05 Bionic Commando (PC/Arcade)

27. 29/05 If Found...(PC) 

26. 24/05 Final Fight (PC/Arcade)

25. 22/05 Sunset Overdrive (PC) 

24. 11/05 Batalyx (C64)

23. 09/05 Call of the Sea (PC)

22. 25/04 Carto (PC)

21. 24/04 The Little Acre (PC)

20. 24/04 Yorkshire Gubbins (PC) 

19. 22/04 Control:Ultimate Edition (PC) 

18. 20/04 Rain on Your Parade (PC) 

17. 02/04 Summer Games 2 (C64)

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) 

The Ascent (PC)

 

 

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I just finished A Plague Tale: Innocence. I was really enjoying it up to the final chapter,

Spoiler

where it seemed to abandon most of what the preceding chapters had been about - ie stealth and light puzzling - and turned it into a more action style game but with dodgy targeting. Immensely frustrating and I hate it when games do stuff like this for a final level/boss. 
 

The cart push towards the cathedral was probably the worst bit, but I also found the need to shoot lots of guards quickly to enter the cathedral annoying, and the first stage of the final boss battle was a bit confusing too and took quite a few attempts. 

I may feel more positive tomorrow, but right now I’m just relieved that it’s done more than anything else (and also less excited than I was about the sequel). 

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Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

I was tempted to knock a point off immediately for the spelling of "fueled".

This game has a lot going for it. It looks terrific, with lots of colourful cartoony graphics. It controls brilliantly, with the drift-boosting, boost-reserves and overall "feel" becoming a matter of pure instinct to a point where you could probably pilot one of these karts down a strand of spaghetti. The track designs are, largely, excellent, with lots of stuff going on in the background, and crafty shortcuts to find and exploit.

There's one big "but", and that's the Adventure mode, which is pretty much your main "campaign" mode. On the surface, it's fine: play through each of the tracks, a few GPs, some bonus modes, etc, but compelled as I am to get the full gamut of achievements on every game I play, I was forced to play it on Hard difficulty, which is the most difficult of the three options available. Now, I could probably beat Easy mode using my feet, and after getting into the game, I was winning most Medium races by 10+ seconds, but holy crap, winning a Hard mode race requires you to drive extremely well, a task made near-impossible by the constant barrage of missiles and time warps and other such crap from the CPU players, to the extent where it just became a matter of repeatedly retrying over and over, waiting for that lucky attempt where they leave you alone long enough to distance yourself from the pack. To make matters worse, one of the hardest tracks is Crash Cove, the first one you play, the CTR equivalent of Mario Circuit 1! I was close to bouncing my controller off the floor so many times, and I actually even damaged the A button (accelerate) from unconsciously pressing it so hard. Ideally, there should have been a difficulty between Medium and Hard, where you can enjoy the knockabout fun of kart racing while still feeling like it's vaguely fair.

Once that nightmare is over though, there are the time trials, which task you with beating the expert ghost times of the main antagonist (who goes by the terrible name of "Nitros Oxide") across the 31 tracks from the original PlayStation games (though there are about a dozen others included in this game). This mode, with all the weaponry stripped away, revealed what a great racing game this is.

So an absolute gem of a kart racer, waylaid by a terribly unbalanced campaign mode. 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

30/04/2021 - New Super Lucky's Tale

01/05/2021 - Kameo: Elements Of Power

08/05/2021 - Gravel

15/06/2021 - Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2

26/06/2021 - Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

06/07/2021 - Lara Croft & The Temple Of Osiris

16/07/2021 - R-Type Final 2

03/08/2021 - A Plague Tale: Innocence

07/08/2021 - Resident Evil 2

14/08/2021 - Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

 

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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)
10.) Moss - PS4 - 2018
11.) Halo: Reach - PC - 2019 (2010)
12.) Papers, Please - Vita - 2017 (2013)
13.) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2011/2001)
14.) Undertale - Vita - 2017 (2015)
15.) Halo 2: Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2014/2004)
16.) Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Vita - 2013/14
17.) Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4 - 2020
18.) The Wolf Among Us - Vita - 2014
19.) Halo 3 - PC - 2020 (2007)
20.) Halo 3: ODST - PC - 2020 (2009)
21.) Halo 4 - PC - 2020 (2012)
22.) Black Mesa - PC - 2020 (1998)
23.) Axiom Verge - Vita - 2016 (2015)
24.) MINERVA: Metastasis - PC - 2013 (2005/07)
25.) The Last Express Gold Edition - PC - 2013 (1997)
26.) Subsurface Circular - Switch - 2018 (2017)
27.) Beyond Eyes - PC - 2015
28.) Job Simulator - PS4 - 2016
29.) Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Switch - 2020

 

30.) Statik - PS4 - 2017

Played through all levels once (approx. 3 hours).

This is a VR puzzle game in which you inhabit the body of an apparent test subject in some sort of laboratory, your hands bound inside a series of puzzle boxes, while a strange doctor with a blurred-out face makes notes on a clipboard. It's mysterious, unsettling and creepy. All you can do is press buttons on the controller to make parts of the puzzle boxes move, activate or change. And anything can be a clue, so pay attention.

Statik's greatest strength can also be its biggest weakness. It has no instructions and so you must work out what to do, which can be very satisfying when you get a flash of inspiration and finally solve something, but it can also be very frustrating if you just don't 'get it' and you spend a long time making no progress or missing some small detail. I never felt any of the puzzles were unfair, though, and most are deviously clever. There are also some secret puzzles within each level that can be solved through retrieving hidden clues from later levels, but I didn't get around to doing that, so I don't know if there's a secret ending that better explains things.

Using just a standard controller (no Moves required), the motion tracking isn't always perfect and there's often a disconnect between your real and virtual arms, but it's reasonable and the graphics look good. More importantly, this is one of the most interesting and cerebral games I've played in VR and I'd recommend it as one to check out. I may even go back and find some of those extras...

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On 27/07/2021 at 07:54, 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)

27/04: Apex Legends Season 8 (PS5)

29/04: Call Of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War (PS5)

08/05: Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5)

26/06: Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS5)

02/07: Necromunda Hired Hun (PS5)

06/07: Ratchet & Clank 2016 (PS5)

12/07: Warhammer Vermintide II

27/07: The Last Of Us Part 2 (PS5)

 

13/08: The Last Stop (Xbone)

 

Not as good as Virginia. Overall, a bit shit.

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15/08/21 - Rain on your Parade

 

Another game played through with my 5 year old daughter. What a great time we had together with this, it's perfect for younger kids to piss around with but there were loads of levels she could actually complete without help and you should have seen her smash the parade to bits.

 

 

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

06/04 - Sam & Max Save the World

13/04 - Avengers: A-Day

04/05 - Picross S 5

05/07 - FF14: Heavensward Quests

05/07 - Pikmin 3 

05/07 - Super Mario 3D World

05/07 - Lair of the Clockwork God

05/07 - The Touryst 

05/07 - Star Renegades

05/07 - The Wild at Heart

05/07 - Outriders 

05/07 - Ratchet & Clack: Rift Apart

05/07 - FF14: Stormblood Quests

27/07 - Skyward Sword

03/08 - Broken Age

10/08 - Bowser's Fury

 

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20. Chicory: A Colorful Tale (2021) - PC

 

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Chicory is an enjoyable and charming indie game which casts you as a small dog named after your favourite food (mine was called 'Crumpets'). After the world turns black and white one day, you inherit a magic paintbrush from the eponymous Chicory (a hare who is crumbling under the pressure of being the current 'Wielder' of the brush) and set off to restore colour to the world of Picnic. What follows is about ten hours of exploration and gentle puzzling as you make your way from place to place, chatting to the various animal characters you come into contact with on the way (all of whom are also named after foodstuffs) and using the mouse to colour the world in as you see fit.

 

Throughout, I was frequently reminded of A Link to the Past, Paper Mario, Animal Crossing and the topography of the 2D Pokémon games, while, thematically, it's very similar to Celeste in the ways it explores anxiety and depression. There's no combat outside of the boss encounters, all of which are skippable. Instead, the focus is purely on getting from screen to screen, solving simple platforming or spatial awareness puzzles and using the brush powers you unlock along the way to make progress. This involves doing things like colouring in certain buds to make them suddenly sprout into sturdy trees you can walk on, for example, or painting routes through narrow gaps you can then swim through, Splatoon-style, to get to the next area. Although there's a fast-travel system, you're encouraged to back-track and revisit the different corners of the map, using your newly-unlocked powers to reach previously-inaccessible areas. There's not a lot of hand-holding going on, either, which is refreshing - you'll normally get some sort of hint of where you need to head to next once you've completed a particular objective, but how to get there, and which route to choose, is up to you. If you do get stuck, you can use the various phone booths around the world to call your parents and ask for a hint, which was a nice touch, but I never felt the need to do it.

 

The best thing about the game is Lena Raine's soundtrack. She also did Celeste's (similarly excellent) music and is in top form here, too, providing a distinct theme for each area you visit and effectively evoking a real sense of place, tone and emotion using a variety of different instruments. The entire soundtrack is on Spotify and well worth checking out (the themes for Supper Woods and Appie Foothills are probably my favourites):

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

I also enjoyed the writing - there must be close to a hundred different characters throughout the world, all of whom have something funny, interesting or poignant to say, whether they're offering you support or apologetically asking you to do something for them. A lot of the game is spent just chatting to everyone you meet, clicking through their dialogue, but it's testament to the quality of that dialogue that this never felt like a chore. In fact, I actively sought out every minor character I could and exhausted all of their speech whenever I was able to, and lost count of the number of times I laughed aloud.

 

I didn't find the main story quite as effective, however. I've already compared this to Celeste, which is difficult not to do if you've played both games, but whereas Celeste handled its themes with nuance and maturity, the way this game explores similar ideas I felt was a bit clumsy at times - the metaphors are very on the nose and the message the game so obviously tries to convey comes through pretty didactically by the end. Your mileage may vary, of course, and I imagine the game would resonate a lot more strongly with someone who has suffered, or does suffer, from the various mental health conditions it grapples with.

 

Outside of the narrative, the central colouring-in mechanic can often feel pretty incidental. If you were so inclined, you could spend ages on every single screen making it look beautiful, but there's really no need. I get that this is kind of the point, but a lot of the time the painting stuff felt a little bit arbitrary. In truth, the different painting techniques you unlock are just this game's equivalent of Link's hookshot, or Samus' morph ball - different tools to get you from A to B in a way you couldn't do before. Occasionally, the monochrome art style can get in the way and make it difficult to visually read the different layers on a screen and figure out which areas are supposed to be higher or lower than others. This is especially true in the later sections of the game and can make some platforming sections more annoying than they need to be.

 

The rewards you unlock for sniffing out the game's multitude of secrets also don't feel worth the effort. Typically they're either cosmetic items - new hats or clothes - that don't actually add anything to the game, or different brush styles, only desirable if you're interested in colouring everything in, which I wasn't. A lot of the time the satisfaction from getting to the game's different treasure chests (or gift boxes, as they're presented here) comes from figuring out how to actually get to them, rather than from the rewards themselves. Again, I get that this may be the point the game is making - intrinsic fulfilment being better for the soul than extrinsic rewards, and all the rest of it - but the fact is that I finished the game with 83% of it complete and no compulsion to go back and mop up what I missed. Compare this to something like Death's Door, where I couldn't wait to get back in and one-hundred percent the game, and it's a touch disappointing.

 

Still, however, at the risk of sounding overly-critical, this is a lovely experience that I feel has been overlooked by many, despite the positive reception it's received. At the moment, you can only play it on PC, Mac or PlayStation, but if it doesn't come to Switch or Game Pass at some point I'd be very surprised. If you're looking for something soothing, wholesome and funny, with a wonderful soundtrack, then this will definitely fit the bill.

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Halo 5: Guardians (2015)

And another Halo down. I’ve been playing this co-op with a friend and it’s just a great way to play. The levels are big and have lots of verticality, with some designed exactly like multiplayer arenas - clearly a lot of time and effort was spent on getting these right, and it shows because they are, for the most part, great fun. Things sag a little in the second half, which doesn’t have the same level of ingenuity as the first. Movement is fluid and the guns look and sound great. The promethians are good enemies, and we particularly enjoyed those which encouraged smart co-op play, like the big ones with weak spots on their back that need to be flanked in order to take them down. 
 

The story is awful - along with Halo 4, I just don’t think 343 know how to write a compelling script. But then, did Bungie? I really hope they’ve gotten proper help on Infinite and that things are simplified a bit. They need to stop layering on yet more powerful, more ancient civilisations. I admit I played this before finishing 4, which isn’t ideal, but I did read a plot synopsis to get up to speed - do not do this, it will take days to uncross your eyes. 
 

But the moment to moment gameplay is excellent - notably improved on 4, even once you’ve factored in the change to the control scheme, which takes a bit of adjusting to. And for a 6 year old game it looks fantastic. 

 

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

08/05/2021 - Final Fantasy VII Remake

15/05/2021 - Resident Evil Zero

22/05/2021 - Blasphemous

29/05/2021 - Limbo

03/06/2021 - Inside

09/06/2021 - Resident Evil VII

19/06/2021 - Super Mario 3D World

28/06/2021 - Resident Evil: Village

03/07/2021 - Sonic CD

11/07/2021 - Sonic the Hedgehog

11/07/2021 - Sonic 2

11/07/2021 - Sonic 3

24/07/2021 - Sonic & Knuckles

25/07/2021 - Firewatch

11/08/2021 - Halo 3: ODST

16/08/2021 - Halo 5: Guardians

 

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16/08/2021 - Death's Door

 

I thought this looked great on the Devolver E3 show, and I fancied something smaller after playing through Yakuza: LAD. Unfortunately though I think it was a clear case of setting my expectations too high.

 

I did enjoy this. In many ways it was an incredibly well made game, especially considering the size of the development team. It felt absolutely rock solid throughout, with a cool art style and decent music on top. The combat at the hart of the game was equally robust, focussing on a small amount of moves for a small amount of weapons rather than trying to do anything too complex. It was also surprisingly funny at times, contrasting nicely with the sombre tone of the setting and music. 

 

However, I don't think it ever stepped over the line from solid to great for me. This feels a bit unfair to say, as once again the dev team was tiny (two people?) so what they achieved was incredible, but I felt it needed an extra spark somewhere. Maybe I just wasn't quite in the right mood for it.

 

This all sounds overly negative, but I did enjoy this (despite a few harsh words I sent in the way of the final boss) and for the price I'd say it was an easy recommendation. 

 

Spoiler

January

25/01/2021 - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

February

21/02/2021 - The Room

March

06/03/2021 - Gorogoa
07/03/2021 - The Room 2

April

Nothing!

May

03/05/2021 - Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
15/05/2021 - Resident Evil Village
28/05/2021 - Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition

June

13/06/2021 - Super Mario Maker 2

July

02/07/2021 - Sonic CD
11/07/2021 - Doki Doki Literature Club +

August

07/08/2021 - Yakuza: Like A Dragon
16/08/2021 - Death's Door

 

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Previously Completed

Spoiler

2021 https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3KkDXKA8KDrUSXSSgvjH0H59HuNUQ8QL

Lost Sphear (PS5)

Gorogoa (PS5)

Slay the Spire (PS5)

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5 (PS5)

Donut County (PS5)

Control (PS5)

When the past was around (PS5)

Undertale (PS5)

Yakuza Like a Dragon (PS5)

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 6 (PS5)

Batman Enemy Within (PS5)

Spider-Man Miles Morales (PS5)

Rebel Galaxy (PS5)

 

The First Tree (PS5)

 

The First Tree is an indie exploration game with two stories, the first is the fox you play as trying to find it's missing family & the second is about Joseph who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, his story is told mostly through spoken dialogue.

 

Playing as the fox you have the ability to run & jump to collect orbs of light that guide you on your path through the world. Later on you can collect butterflies which allow you to jump higher. The gameplay is ok but does have a few frustrations in the later levels where I was unsure of where to go and some of the orbs were very difficult to collect. Be warn if you want to complete all the trophies in this game you will need to get all of the collectibles and orbs before completing a level, there is no chapter select option.

 

The game has a nice soundtrack but oddly only plays each track once so you spend most of the level wondering around listening to sound effects of the fox dashing or jumping.

 

What is impressive is that this game was made by one individual David Wehle, so whislt it is is rough in some gameplay sections it tells a story that is worth enjoying and can be completed in a couple of hours.

 

Next for me is Mutant Year Zero a turn-based xcom style strategy game.

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The Legend of Zelda : Breath of the Wild.

 

Never thought I'd say that, but spurred on by my 6 year old I've finally done it, with all 4 divine beasts and all memories.

 

Amazed how much I struggled with it on previous attempts at playing through, compared to how much it clicked for me this time.  My impression had always been it was a tough game, but in the end I didn't find the last few boss battles I had at all challenging.  I guess I just reached a tipping point where I'd upgraded Link enough that he could face all those challenges.

 

Still plenty in the world to potter around with, and not got the DLC, but with the main game complete I think I might just move on to something new.

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21. Unto the End (2020) - XSX via Game Pass

 

1145160048_UntoTheEnd.thumb.png.5635b2d6cdc0eb3398710eee3e22139d.png


This was an odd one. It's a 2D action game where you play an embattled warrior trying to get home to his family, fending off trolls and other horrible things on the way, as well as dealing with instadeath traps and sudden falls through crevasses. It reminded me quite a lot of Limbo in places - it's atmospheric, muted and visually very dark - but it has a sword fighting system in it that plays a little bit like Nidhogg: there's one button for high attacks and another for low, and you use the left stick to block high and low enemy attacks accordingly. Combat is very deliberate and defensive. Going on the offensive straight off the bat will result in a swift death, so the key to victory in most situations is to deflect several attacks in a row until you can riposte for a couple of hits, then go back to blocking. It's brutal and entirely unforgiving - you attack slowly and can drop your sword pretty easily - but you definitely feel every bloody blow, and there's a lot of satisfaction to be had from killing an enemy after you've successfully parried most of their attacks. Thankfully, although there are bonfires you can rest at to restore health, this isn't a Soulslike, and the frequent checkpointing, including before every enemy encounter in the game, prevents things from getting frustrating. You can also run away from most enemy encounters, seemingly with no penalty for doing so (I actually did this with the final boss, not realising it was the final boss at the time).

The game is also extremely minimalist - there's no HUD or UI, dialogue, map or objective markers. There's a very limited item screen, an option that lets you craft a new torch or dagger from the materials you've found, and that's pretty much it. Normally, I'm all up for this kind of stripped-back design, but there were more than a few occasions where I just didn't know what the game wanted me to do and I wasted time traipsing back and forth through pitch dark caves or trying out all my items until something suddenly worked. The zoomed-out, 2D perspective also makes it difficult to see if you're standing on collectible materials, and with no tooltips, it's often difficult to tell what you can and can't interact with. As a result, especially in the darker areas of the game (of which there are many), I spent a lot of time just tapping LB on the off chance I would pick something up that I couldn't see. The way the game deals with health I also found confusing. If you get attacked then you start to bleed, and one of the game's only tutorials at the very beginning tells you that you can bleed to death if you don't eat some herbs, but there's no indication as to how close to death you are, or how much a herb has healed you. There were times when I was bleeding and would eat a herb, only for my character to suddenly throw up, which I didn't understand. You're told absolutely nothing about what anything means or how it works. This extends to the narrative, if you can call it that: the game starts with your wife and child bidding you goodbye, and you're then told that the aim of the game is to return to them, but there's no indication that you've been on a long arduous journey in the interim, or anything like that. I didn't understand it. If the objective was to get back to them, couldn't you have just turned around? Weird.

 

Anyway, despite thinking after about ten minutes that I'd end up uninstalling this, I made it to the credits (somewhat suddenly) just over two hours after I started the game this afternoon. Looking at the achievements, and given its very brief run-time, I get the impression that the devs expect you to play the game through a few times to find all its secrets (there's even a 'Start from the beginning' option in the pause menu) and although I've no intention of doing that, I can think of far worse ways to while away a couple of hours on a Wednesday afternoon. If you have Game Pass and you're looking for something short and oddly meditative, but also challenging, then give it a go.

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Jedi:Fallen order

 

Man, there's so much to complain about here, the  shitty loading  pauses , disguised QTEs, unconvincing relationship, input delays  on the combat that I never got used to regardless of completing it  and  some piss poor animation effects.

 

Despite all that it's still good fun and has that  "just a little bit further " feel about it as you move between  planets and back again with upgraded abilities. Your progression with the force feels pretty natural and there are some decent set pieces that use the lore pretty well. Boss battles are half decent and the level designs are pretty interesting , each world is really unique in their look.There's also one of the best "fuckity, fuck...fuck,fuck, fuck , I better get out of here " moments I've had in a game in a while.

 

 

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19. Rain on Your Parade (XB1) - I played this through in one sitting last night as I had a night on my own in the house but didn't want to start anything bigger (as I'm about to go on my hols today). This fitted the gap perfectly at about 3 hours long and free on Game Pass. You play as a cardboard cloud in this fun little puzzle game which looks great, has bags of charm and features some great references back to retro files/games. The mechanics are simple and it doesn't really get hard at any stage, however the level types/goals jump around a lot which maintains pace and each level feeling fresh. I had fun with it. Planning to go back with my 5yo for another bash once he has finished his current Lego game as he'll like drenching everyone. - 7/10

 

625563-Rain1.jpg

 

 

 

On 07/08/2021 at 12:31, FiveFootNinja said:

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

10. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (XB1) - 6/10

11. Lego Marvel Avengers (XB1) - 7/10

12. Ghost of Tsushima (PS5) - 8/10

13. Far: Lone Sails (PS5) - 7/10

14. Tint (Book I) (iOS) - 7/10

15. Little Orpheus (iOS) - 6/10

16. Control: Ultimate Edition (PS5) - 7/10

17. The Last Campfire (iOS) - 9/10

18. The Pathless (iOS) - 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)
10.) Moss - PS4 - 2018
11.) Halo: Reach - PC - 2019 (2010)
12.) Papers, Please - Vita - 2017 (2013)
13.) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2011/2001)
14.) Undertale - Vita - 2017 (2015)
15.) Halo 2: Anniversary - PC - 2020 (2014/2004)
16.) Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Vita - 2013/14
17.) Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4 - 2020
18.) The Wolf Among Us - Vita - 2014
19.) Halo 3 - PC - 2020 (2007)
20.) Halo 3: ODST - PC - 2020 (2009)
21.) Halo 4 - PC - 2020 (2012)
22.) Black Mesa - PC - 2020 (1998)
23.) Axiom Verge - Vita - 2016 (2015)
24.) MINERVA: Metastasis - PC - 2013 (2005/07)
25.) The Last Express Gold Edition - PC - 2013 (1997)
26.) Subsurface Circular - Switch - 2018 (2017)
27.) Beyond Eyes - PC - 2015
28.) Job Simulator - PS4 - 2016
29.) Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Switch - 2020
30.) Statik - PS4 - 2017

 

31.) Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - PS4 - 2017

Completed on normal difficulty (approx. 7 hours).

 

Not much to say about this one. It's like a little chunk of Uncharted 4 all over again. It makes good use of stealth to spice up the combat arenas, hiding in tall grass and grapple-hooking over chasms; the traversal sections are good fun; the set-pieces are eye-wateringly bombastic; and even though Drake and Sully are nowhere to be seen, Chloe and Nadine have a similar dynamic going on, with plenty of quips and cockiness as they slaughter hundreds of people in their quest for a valuable McGuffin.

 

Unlike Uncharted 4, this game doesn't have much downtime or filler. It's a shorter game, probably only half the length, but it packs in lots of entertainment. It feels a little more Tomb Raider-y, though that's probably more down to the setting. It's a beautiful-looking game in places, and a technical marvel, as Naughty Dog never disappoint in that regard. I do wish it was 60fps, though - the framerate and the motion blur (particularly when panning the camera around) are a bit of an eyesore. I would have waited for a PS5 enhancement before playing both of these games, but I don't have a PS5, I don't especially want one yet, and said enhancement hasn't been confirmed anyway.

 

Worth a playthrough for one (presumably last?) bit of Uncharted fun.

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20/8/21 - Gears of War 5 (Xbox Series X)

I've got slightly lost in all the plot over GoW over the years.  It's been over 3.5 years since I played 4 and I couldn't remember clearly what happened or if some of the stuff I'm just supposed to know about happened before.  So when they yell "Oh no, it's warden and it's got a bastion" I'm thinking "a what and a which now"

 

Gears does its normal job of being a nice cover based 3rd person shooter with nice set pieces.  I did look at some of the locations and think - this is very pretty - and the scale of stuff was very good (rocket factory place I'm looking at you)  The game, for me at least, did seem to cut off suddenly.  As far as I was concerned we were in mid-battle and it was leading up to something, but then an achievement popped up and said I'd finished all the chapters in the campaign.  I guess we didn't have that one really big moment that previous Gears game had.  Good shooty fun all the same.

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Omno (XSX - GamePass)

 

Charming little 3D puzzle / platform explorer.  Very relaxing and atmospheric as you journey through various landscapes figuring out how to get to the objects scattered around.  Not particularly tricky but does constantly give you those moments of satisfaction when you figure out the right path.  Nicely balanced too, you can complete a level getting the easiest objects or spend time exploring and figuring out the path to get them all.

 

Downsides: Very slightly choppy at times when performing certain moves.  Nothing annoying or game-breaking, unless you are smashing the Dash button like a hyperactive child. (In which case, oh boy have you missed the point).  A couple of the later puzzles require timing that the game just doesn't quite have.

 

Lovely art style.  Ending made me smile and sums up the overall niceness of the game.  Recommended.

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On 11/08/2021 at 13:18, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

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
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

29. The Next Penelope

30. Doom (2016)

31. Monster Train

32. Loop Hero

33. World End Economica: Episode 2

 

Like hte first episode, not a decision in sight, but directly follows on from the first game and then just stops at a cliffhanger meaning you have to buy the third bit becuase the place it ends is extremly unsatisfying

Jokes aside I've really enjoyed the constant melodrama mixed with mild education about the stock market and I'm invested enough in finishing the story that I'll likely pick up the final chapter at full-price rather than wait for a sale to save a fiver.

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Evorales - Arcade, Normal 1cc

 

Spoiler

Solid State Survivor - 1cc, TLB (10)

Dangun Feveron - Fever arrange 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - 1cc Normal (10)

Aleste - 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - 1cc (10)

GG Aleste - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste 2 - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste - Special mode 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - Hard 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - Special mode 1cc (10)

Natsuki Chronicles - 1cc Arcade, Normal (10)

G-Darius HD - 1cc, Lambda route (10)

Cotton Reboot - Arrange 1cc (10)

Cotton Reboot - Arrange hard 1cc (10)

Assault Shell - 1cc, Original single (10)

Assault Shell - 1cc, Void arrange (10)

Assault Shell - 2-all (10)

Barrage Fantasia - 1cc Normal (7)

Barrage Fantasia - Advanced 1cc (10)

Patriot Dark - Normal 1cc (10)

Zenodyne R - 1cc Normal (10)

Zenohell - 1cc Normal (10)

Sengoku Youkai Daikassen - 1cc (10)

Maho Shoe - 1cc (10)

Hishou Ayu - 1cc, Normal (10)

Alien Death Mob - All stars (10)

Wolflame - Normal 1cc (10)

东方栖霞园 ~ Blue devil in the Belvedere - Normal 1cc (Sakuya) (10)

Gun-Nac - 1cc, normal (10)

Bike Banditz - 1cc, Normal (10)

Redneg 3Stars - Normal 1cc (10)

Winged Gear - 1cc, Normal (8)

Redneg Allstars - 1cc, normal (10)

Galactic Refugees - Hard 1cc (6)

XCUTE(me) - 1cc (2-5), Normal (10)

Satazius - Normal 1cc (10)

Espgaluda - 1cc

Touhou Kikamu ~ Elegant Impermanence of Sakura - Normal 1cc

Super Glitter Rush - All stars

Rangok Skies - 1cc (all characters)

Schildmaid MX Beta - Krieger 1cc

Donpachi - 1cc

Battle Garegga - Premium mode 1cc

Ketsui Deathtiny - Deathtiny mode 1cc

Star Hunter DX - Bounty Hunter 1cc, Luna

 

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22/8/21 - Katamari Damacy Reroll (XSX Gamepass)

I haven't played Katamari since the PS2 days.  I'd always remembered it fondly, so thought it would be fun to play again.  I meandered through it doing a planet and some sort of celestial body a day.  Whilst it's still love the whole surreal wackiness of it.  I did end up swearing at it a lot - mostly because the control felt sloppy and I kept getting stuck on things or caught in places where I was just bashing into stuff and losing pieces.  That said, nothing quite feel like having an 800m+ Katamari and rolling up the world... but then you run out of stuff, and it's sad.  A fun little playthrough, yay for Gamepass as it isn't something I'd pay for

 

23/8/21 - 12 Minutes (XSX Gamepass)

This is another game I wouldn't have tried but for it being "free" on gamepass so I gave it a try.  After a few hours I'd got a little way in, but I was horribly frustrated by the experience.  I was going to delete it, but I was curious and so used a walkthrough to finish.  Even with the walkthrough, I had to repeat several loops because the timing wasn't quite right, or I'd managed to not quite get the right fact in the right way.  I wouldn't have pulled my hair out playing that for real - but I'll take it to the 12 Minute thread.

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Recompile (Xbox)

 

Metroidvania is a term that does the rounds as much as rogue-like does these days. Much like the latter, it's a catch-all for certain gaming mechanics with the fluidity to apply to any number of styles beyond the original sources. But to the purist, the definitions also get stretched beyond their original meaning, there in spirit if not in body. Thus Recompile: sold as a Metroidvania, largely due to the process of powering up with new abilities as you progress and returning to previous areas to find items. Yes, more Vania than Metroid, although in the early part of this century we'd have been perfectly happy with this being a good old 3D action adventure.

 

Turn of the century gaming seems quite apt for this tale of a humanoid computer program infiltrating and attempting to repair a corrupted mainframe that would treat you more as a viral infection than a friendly CHKDSK. All very millennial in its digital world, both abstract and familiar; vast chasms of hexagonal platforms, rivers of data and precarious blocks, the brightness of the internal systems contrasting with the darkness of the void. Jagged, exploded platforms shimmer in the distance, gradually reforming as you approach, as to simulate the broken nature of the computer you find yourself in.

 

Its spaciousness evokes the cyber VR dreams of the nineties in higher resolution; huge chasms with only an AI companion to feed you objectives as you battle enemies and traverse perilous platforms. The cyber atmosphere is mirrored in the interface which is presented as eighties-style ASCII computer text glitching with random letters and symbols as it prints out information about the plot and your mission.

 

Continuing the computing theme, the game makes a promising introduction to its namesake ability, recompiling, which is effectively a way to change logic gate switches found on the various pipes that run through the world and power the doors and so on you need to reach to progress. The idea being to get the right switch combination to make the pipes flow the correct way. However, while it gives you this ability early on, most pipes are a confusing mess of overlapping connections. You can unpick the connections in the handy pause mode which allows you to examine the environment, but all too often you can sack it off and get through by trial and error by pushing the one or two buttons required at the start of the flow. Both complex and way too easy at the same time.

 

It doesn't seem to want to be a puzzle game, and it's perfectly fine without, but it seems odd to squander a feature that would add a bit of substance to proceedings. That kind of decision is also seen in the game's best power-up, an ability that effectively puts the game in easy mode about a quarter of the way through, making light of both combat and acrobatics. It's not too out the way, but easy enough to miss if you don't keep a look out. You're not asked to use it, but a lot of moments in the game feel rather tough without it, particularly with checkpoints sometimes being a good walk away. The game feels a little confused, then, in how it wants to challenge you, laying it out then effectively requiring you to  take that away instead of refining it (for those who complete the game without that ability, congratulations). But perhaps you can see that as a feed-in to the power fantasy the game eventually becomes. It's a smaller game than it may seem and the abilities come at you fast. One you've reached the  last few areas you're effectively unstoppable, reminiscent of the likes of Grow Home, where you literally look back at how far you've come in such a short space of time. And it feels good to easily move through areas where you initially struggled and take on enemies with ease - at least that's one classic element of Metroidvanias it appropriates. On the other hand, it can make the final encounter with an impressively large boss a bit of a damp squib as you finish up your mission.

 

The lack of conviction towards its features is disappointing. However, the atmospheric traversal through the inner workings of a mainframe is a pleasure for those fond of the cyber landscape of yore. Forgive its shortcomings and it's an entertaining journey.

 

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Mr. Driller Drill Land (Switch)

 

I always had a soft spot for Mr. Driller since its release on Dreamcast back in the 00s. Although I had no idea what was going on with the story here, the individual modes and levels are as addictive as ever. I love everything about it: the bubblegum pops, the second to second twitch gameplay, the macro strategizing and hitting that all important flow state. I didn't get anywhere close to completing the harder levels but this will remain on my Switch forever.

 

 

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After playing a lot of retro games for a few months I finally got back into newer stuff.

 

August

Necromunda: Hired Gun - Xbox Series X

 

It's buggy beyond belief, crashes all the time and leaves you with enemies who spawn behind walls. Saying that, it captures the atmosphere of Necromunda nicely and only takes 6-10 hours to get through. I only persevered with this one because I like the Games Workshop products and am a sucker for any game carrying their licenses.

 

 

Crows: Burning Edge - PS4

 

This one is entirely in Japanese, so was a bit of a learning curve. You start off fairly weak but upgrade your character as you go. It runs you through the stories of 5 characters from the Crows universe and how they became top dogs in their school/gang etc. The fighting plays a bit like the Kiryu Yakuza games, the open world parts are pants and just feel like filler between fights. If you're not a fan of the Crows license then this will likely just be pointless nonsense to you.

 

Hades - Xbox Series X (via Game Pass)

 

I started this on Switch and got a fair bit into before I just moved onto other things, when it came to Game Pass I had to give it another go, and I have done indeed. 36 hours in and I've done a good chunk of the game, 17 escapes, a few of the prophecies completed and a load more not far off. I won't say much more because there's a whole thread on it, but if you've somehow missed this one then you really need to try it. 

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On 22/08/2021 at 15:19, strawdonkey said:

00. Katamari Damacy
0X. Kind Words

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
06. Heaven Will Be Mine

07. Tales of the Black Forest

08. Super Mario 3D World

09. Lair of the Clockwork God

10. Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk ...

11. Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury

12. Tetris Effect

13. Luck be a Landlord

14. Rain on your Parade

15. The Red Strings Club

16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia

17. Shape of the World

18. Far: Lone Sails

19. Return of the Obra Dinn

20. Donut County

21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Cat Quest

23. Touhou: Luna Nights

24. World End Economica: Episode 1

25. Murder By Numbers

26. Hypnospace Outlaw

27. Behold The Kickmen

28. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

29. The Next Penelope

30. Doom (2016)

31. Monster Train

32. Loop Hero

33. World End Economica: Episode 2

34. What Remains of Edith Finch

35. Cube Escape: Seasons

 

I've been meaning to get round to What Remains of Edith Finch for years and I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't play it sooner. It constantly teeters on the edge of scarcely believable. Everything about the world feels like it's hanging by a thread, about to crumble and yet as you make your way through the house everything just keeps juddering on.

 

The fact it's playable and you get to take in the house at your own pace felt like a real strength to me - there's something about taking scenes in for as little or as long as you need to that feels like a real strength of the "I guess this is a game?" genre. My partner came in halfway through me playing it and I was completely unable to explain what had happened prior in a way that made it sound remotely engaging or sane, and I think part of that is down to the incidentals that you get from playing (though I'm probably awful at explaining things too).

 

Spoiler

I didn't expect it to end as it did - expected Edith to be the one to finally escape the "curse". Also not sure whether this would have affected me as much before I became a parent; there are certain scenes in there, mainly surrounding the kids, that are like your worst nightmares.

 

The storytelling is wonderful and the voice actor for Edith is absolutely superb.

 

--

 

The Cube Escape games were apparently once free Flash games and they still feel like it. Seasons is a multi-part room escape with some really clever and inventive ideas, and I can't go into detail about any of them as they're all massive spoilers. Very surreal and slightly unnerving. Picked up the Cube Escape Collection on Steam for a pound or two in the last sale so am looking forward to getting through a few more of them.

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Attack of the Friday Monsters (3DS)

 

I was in the mood to play something summery and short before the end of August, and in an amazing bit of coincidence, Level 5 was running a sale on their 3DS eshop with dozens of their older games on the platform, including this game. I've always wanted to play the game, so I snapped this up, plus a few other titles from the 2013 Guild series, which this game is part of.

 

Attack of the Friday Monsters is a game designed by Millennium Kitchen, Kaz Ayabe's company, which was responsible for the Boku no Natsuyasumi [BokuNatsu] series of games on PlayStation hardware. The company has been involved in other games, but Ayabe's ideas have always gravitated toward the slice-of-life nostalgic framework of the BokuNatsu games, and the series is what made the company semi-famous. Ray Barnholt has a great interview with him and an insightful overview of the series in his Scroll magazine from 8 years ago. 

 

Attack of the Friday Monsters is set in a small neighborhood in 1960s Tokyo. You play as Sohta, a young boy who has just moved into the neighborhood a few days prior, and the game takes place over the course of an afternoon on a Friday in summer. The game is similar to BokuNatsu games, but a key difference is that there is more of a larger story element in Attack of the Friday Monsters, as you and other people you meet uncover the mystery surrounding said monsters.

 

It's a really pleasant experience, but it's difficult to put into words why. The gameplay itself is reminiscent of Animal Crossing, but with a stronger emphasis on the characters and the story. It is presented in a more cinematic manner as well, with different camera angles as you explore the neighborhood. It's all about the experience, soaking in the well-written story and the environment of the game.

 

I completed the game yesterday, but it feels like I played the game the wrong way. I played it in short 30-minute bursts. However, given that the game lasts only about 4 hours, by the time the credits started scrolling, I got the feeling that it would've been better to have played it in one or two sittings to get the full effect of the slice-of-life structure.

 

Kaz Ayabe's most recent game is a BokuNatsu-like game with the Crayon Shinchan characters. I detest Crayon Shinchan, though, but I'm hopeful that if it is successful, we might see similar games in the future.

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24/08/2021 - Close to the Sun (PC)

 

This is so much Bioshock on a boat (minus any combat) that it hurts and does not lead to a favourable comparison.

 

On the plus side, the Art Deco-esque environments look nice, there's a sense of mystery (at least to start) and it's short (clocking in at under 4 hours if you aren't fussed about the genre-standard collectables). It shares that sense of foreboding with the game is has more than a nod towards too, in that it can turn a fairly unremarkable location into something more oppressive with some good use of lighting and space. I'm a big fan of walking sims these days too, and I like a mystery, so I was intrigued by the set-up (much like I was for Call to the Sea earlier in the year - that too disappointed me), especially because I thought the locale could add something a bit different.

 

The negatives though are that, whilst you are on a boat, outside of the prologue you'd never know it and it's a great shame that it doesn't make better use of the environment, either in terms of graphics or puzzles (for example, you'd think something creative could be done with water, but it never is). The story, too, sadly peters out in a very predictable way - though the game is honest enough to point out to you where it is going well before the end (and you'll have guessed it long before that, of course.)

 

There are some puzzles, but they are fairly infrequent and aren't too taxing - though a couple are annoying and have insta-fail states. The chase sequences though are a different matter. Whilst most are short (there are a handful scattered across the 10 chapters), they are annoying and don't add anything to the game except, perhaps, some more 'interactivity'. It's not a good trade-off. The problems are the fact that often the route isn't clear and the character is sluggish to control when walking, let alone running. They also fail to add any real tension or much to the story - they are just there either because it was focus-grouped into including them or the developers didn't feel the situation they had crafted was strong enough to carry the game. I mean, if it was the latter then they are right, but insta-fail chases are not the answer either.

 

It is almost too easy to lay on the Bioshock comparisons, given how much it apes that far superior game. Indeed, if somebody were to say this was a DLC for that title, you'd probably believe it without a second thought. It isn't strong enough narratively on its own merits to be classed as anything more than a wasted opportunity though, whether Bioshock existed or not. The lack of utilisation of the location to do something - anything - different, a tired and hackneyed story and those rubbish 'action' sequences mean this is, ironically, belongs at the bottom of the ocean rather than floating on top of it.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

07/08/2021 - The Last Stop (PC)

06/08/2021 - Shining Force (Mega Drive)

02/08/2021 - Vendetta (Arcade)

31/07/2021 - Outriders (PC)

25/07/2021 - Dynamite Dux (Arcade)

24/07/2021 - Stardrop (PC)

20/07/2021 - Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance (PC)

10/07/2021 - Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PC)

02/07/2021 - Weaves of Fate (PC)

27/06/2021 - Through the Woods (PC)

22/06/2021 - Answer Knot (PC)

10/06/2021 - Halo: Spartan Assault (PC)

07/06/2021 - The Hex (PC)

23/05/2021 - Renegade (Spectrum)

15/05/2021 - Lords of Xumila (PC)

09/05/2021 - Devolverland Expo (PC)

09/05/2021 - The Medium (PC)

02/05/2021 - Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms (PC)

01/05/2021 - Shadows: Awakening (PC)

21/04/2021 - Rain on Your Parade (PC)

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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