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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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15 minutes ago, peeveen said:

The only achievement I have left to get in this one is to get a lifetime score of 5 million points, which is basically just legwork, so ...

 

Streets Of Rage 4

As a kid, back in the days of the arcade, I was never very good at this type of game, so I was cautious about starting this, despite the glowing reviews ... but I turns out I needn't have worried. Gorgeous graphics and music, simple yet effective mechanics, bite-size levels that don't outstay their welcome, and an very rewarding combo system that makes you feel like a badass. A terrific package of pick-up-and-play arcade brilliance. 9/10

 

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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

 

 

 

How long did it take you to S rank all the stages on Hard in the end? I started working on it, but couldn't quite figure out how to link some of the combos so decided to play Dead Cells instead, another notoriously easy game. :lol:

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Finally completed as much as I'm going to in Ass Creed Odyssey.  Loved it, but I've had enough after the cult, the family, the legendary beast hunt and the four mythical creatures.

 

Next is Yakuza 7 as my main game.

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1 hour ago, Talvalin said:

 

How long did it take you to S rank all the stages on Hard in the end? I started working on it, but couldn't quite figure out how to link some of the combos so decided to play Dead Cells instead, another notoriously easy game. :lol:

Not long at all. I used either SOR1 Alex or, if the level had a lot of annoying grabby/throwy enemies, Adam for the Y-button escape route. I tried to get at least a full-combo of the initial group of enemies in each level though, restarting if an enemy got a cheeky hit on me. That usually gets you a couple of thousand extra points. I think the only level I had to play more than twice was Skytrain, which doesn't have a lot of available points in it, so less scope for error.

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Natsuki Chronicles - 1cc Arcade, Normal (10)
 

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)

 

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Star Wars Squadrons in PSVR.  Which took longer than you'd think because I could only play for an hour at a time before getting VR sickness and would have to stop.  It was a fun game, although I had a few niggles about how much I could see out of the cockpit.  The A wings were the best because I could look around and track the enemies, whereas in some other ships I'm just look back at some cargo space and things :)

 

Finally onto Last of Us 2 now, which is very lovely so far.

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So far:

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)

Well... kind of. I got to the end and it just gave me some nonsense about a bracelet that I needed and put me back to the start of the game. Nah mate. Taking that as a win because it's infuriating at times, great fun at others. If you get the super armour and the scythe, you basically have a smart bomb, so keep that bad boy at all times. Do I want Resurrection now? Kind of. Will I pay £25 for it? No.

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On 25/01/2021 at 10:05, cassidy said:

7th completion of the year last night. 

 

Donut County and I really enjoyed my time with it. 

 

Think that's my progress stalled for a bit as now digging into Yakuza Like a Dragon. 

Finished Yakuza last night so that's 8 in 2021. 

 

Onto Ass Creed Val now.

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Feb

 

27/06 Oxenfree (PC) I had a bad start with this. The gamepass version had issues with overlapping music. The Steam version just would crash after the first screen. But after a clean install I finally got the Steam version working and loved this. It's all about mystery so all I'll say is some teens sneak onto an island for a small party and spooky things happen. And there's shenanigans using an old radio to solve puzzles. And it has a great dialogue system that feels really natural. That's it. That's all you get. Except for this extra for people who finished it. 

Spoiler

You did play it a second time....right?

 

oxenfree-3.jpg

 

26/02 Assassin's Creed Chronicles:China (PS4) I bounced off this when I was given this as a gift and then bounced off it again last year. But given that there are some issues with the Chronicles games going forwards (I'll get into it later) I thought I'd look at finishing it. And I was really close to the end, one short session and it's done. It's pleasant enough, a 2.5D game with the sort of "3D" you used to get in early PSOne / Saturn games where you could move in and out of the screen using bridges. In some levels it's a lot of fun sneaking about either avoiding or taking out guards. Less fun are the "run" style levels (usually running from fire) which are great so long as you don't make a mistake. If you do...well it took me back to the more frustrating sections of Another World. There are a few issues with the game that stop me recommending it to anyone.

 

1. It's Ubisoft.

2. It's very brown. (And I'm a C64 fan and it bothered me.)

3. The PS4 version won't work on your PS5.

4. You could be playing Mark of the Ninja instead.

 

That last point is the kicker. If you haven't played Mark of the Ninja it's an all round better game than this. And if you have? You might enjoy this but at the back of your head you'll be thinking "I could be playing Mark of the Ninja."

 

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Earlier this month

11/02 Beyond a Steel Sky (PC) 

02/02 Stories Untold (PC)

 

Earlier this year

Spoiler

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)

 

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Finished Sea Of Solitude earlier today.

 

Downloaded this and had a quick play back in November last year as coming off the back of some other arty short games I was intrigued by this.

 

Picked this up again late last week mainly as I forgot about it and noticed it on my dash. What pleasant surprise this was and so glad I continued on this. Its a strange game and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of the main protagonists inner demons. It follows a similar theme of games that tells stories as you move through the game with audio snippets of the various actors in the story. It does take its influence from a few games I've played over the years, Bioshock, Silent Hill, walking simulators, Ico. 

 

The visuals are lovely as is the music - lovely paced game, no spikes in difficulty no violence (other than dealing with inner demons) At around 6 hours long it doesn't outstay its welcome. If you enjoyed things like Ico or Journey this is defiantly worth a look. Also do not be put off because it is an EA game! :)  Its developed by a small team in Berlin called Jo-Mei games and its nice to see EA publish some of these types of games and I expect they get overlooked a fair bit because of EA's reputation for the games it is more famous for publishing.

 

This is currently on GamePass (via EA Play) and  The Directors Cut is on its way to the Switch in March too so Switch owners will have the opportunity to play this. I'll have to have a look to see what is in the Directors Cut as I'm tempted to get this on the PC too if there is significant changes.

 

Directors cut:-

 

 

 

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26/02/2021 - Marvel Avengers (PC)

 

Okay, let's get some of the obvious out of the way: the endgame here is (probably) incredibly thin and boring. Loot does not change the look of your character (which is a big part of the appeal of loot-em-ups). The cast are a bit try-hard when comparing to the actual actors we know and love. It's clearly been a massive failure for Square Enix, given there's nobody playing it. There's so little variety in the mission types and the non-campaign maps. It's still got bugs and you can't replay the campaign (which seems to be a big gripe for people - not for me, I don't know why you'd want to play it again to be honest.)

 

On the flip side, the underlying beat-em-up mechanics are pretty good. The cast are genuinely likeable (Kamala is the star for a lot of people I image, but I really liked them all). At times it does look really quite good. The script actually made me laugh a few times. The campaign tells a decent story.

 

I really liked it.

 

Now I should point out that my expectations were limited purely to enjoying the campaign and any story-related additional content (which is I how I treated Destiny 2 and will probably see what Anthem is like too). I was never expecting to get into the endgame stuff as I don't play online - so that whole side of it isn't really my concern, though I definitely understand why it is such a shambles for the majority of people that bought it.

 

On those merits, this was a fun brawler based on a universe I have an interest in. Like I say, I did warm to the cast and that surprised me, because I hated them in the beta when I played that - but when you are introduced to them more organically through the campaign they just seem to fit so much better. Kamala was great, of course, but I liked this interpretation of Banner, too. And I really did laugh a few times at some of the quips (not always from Stark). The campaign managed to let you learn each of the characters and whilst the various mission types were never anything more than kill, kill, kill, the narrative kept things moving nicely.

 

There were some niggles; certainly at the levels your characters are at if you only play the campaign, nobody feels particularly distinct in terms of their skills. You don't get a sense of the Hulk's immense strength, Nat's agility or Thor's magic; perhaps those come with higher levels, more skills and better gear, but the ultimate problem - which I see as being quite a big one for a multiplayer title - is that nobody really has a defined role. Stark and Nat's ranged attacks use up your 'special' energy, for example, rather than forming your core skillset, which to me seems like an misstep.

 

The gear, too, is very unexciting. I'm not really sure how you beef that up and make it interesting (there's supposedly a gear 2.0 update being worked on) but as it stands it doesn't feel very rewarding getting it (and obviously the lack of seeing your character outfitted in it doesn't help). The frame rate absolutely tanks at points too (it went briefly down to 9fps during one fight for me, on a 3070 with DLSS on ultra performance mode), which isn't great. And, ultimately it is all very repetitive. Whilst I did like the campaign, I generally wouldn't play more than one mission at a time as it got a bit exhausting quite quickly.

 

It's very much a game of missed opportunities, then, and I don't honestly know if Crystal Dynamics will get the time to try and make it a more cohesive experience (and I don't think just adding more characters would save it, because they will still all play the same).

 

That key point though was at the top - my expectations were only to enjoy the campaign, and I did. The rest? Give it a miss. 

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

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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Pikmin 3 Deluxe

 

Its more Pikmin so I already knew I was going to enjoy it and I mostly did. Having 3 commanders at your disposal and the Go Here functionality of the Koppad are the big additions over Pikmin 2 and both make it easier to keep getting things done so you rarely end up finishing a day early which I found myself doing regularly enough in Pikmin 2. The whole juice concept replaces the parts and treasure mechanics from earlier titles but it mostly doesn't matter as you build up a decent juice barrier early on.  

Bosses are the weakest part of the game with the final boss just being shit after a decent setup. 

The side stories and mission modes are good. 

7/10

 

The Little Arcre

I'm not a big adventure game person (This might be my eighth) but this is fine. Puzzles aren't based on goofy logic and you never have more than a handful of items in you inventory its hard to get stuck for long. Only a few hours long so I'd probably be judging it more harshly if I'd paid full price for it at launch.

5/10.

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Valfaris (Switch)

 

What a cracking game this is. Often with these Contralikes the fun is stymied by having checkpoints that are either too far apart or varied to the point of frustration. For me Valfaris gets things right by having a lovely and generous checkpoint system. Apart from the last boss I never felt like there were any particular spikes or rote learning annoyances.

 

The metal/sci-fi blend is super appealing and there's humour and entertainment leaking out of every chunky pixel.

 

I need a short break from 2D twitch platforming action but I hear Huntdown is similarly excellent. But I'll wait until the next sale.

 

8/10

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Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury (2021)

Although I've still got some more shines left to get, I saw the end credits earlier today - this was a great addition to the main game, very fun and with all the trademark Nintendo polish and imagination. The Bowser appearances do grate a little towards the end, because it's just rinse and repeat without variation, but becoming gigantic and romping around a tiny version of the level still raises a smile every time. 

 

Time to get on with the main game now!

 

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

 

 

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February 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

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

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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)

An absolutely charming game, just about the right length and lots of fun. The pinball mechanic is well-paced and thought out and the level design is really nicely planned to always bring you back to where you need to be. Really glad I finally got around to buying it.

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Superhot: Mind-Control-Delete - The third superhot game goes a bit roguelike, and this actually matters less than you'd expect considering the original was already a bunch of disconnected levels with a 'one-more-go' structure.

 

At first I thought this was decent enough, but nothing more, but the more I continued to play it, the more I loved it, as it continues to layer in new twists. The best of these is The Hound, an invincible melee only enemy capable of dashes, who doesn't appear in every level but when they do spawn they make their appearance known with a shit-yourself noise that has you scanning the level for their position, their head always faces you, even when you're moving at bullet-dodging speeds. There are more characters like this that can invade your world, all of them forcing you to change up your 'flow'.

 

diTN6c5.jpg

 

Spoiler

Genshin Impact

Sayonara Wild Hearts (twice!)

Control

Death Stranding

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4. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS5)

 

My game completion rate was already down compared to last year, and this certainly didn't help matters. Having sunk 70 hours into this main game, getting the platinum trophy and 100% completion I can confidently say I've seen everything this game has to offer and huge portions of it are fantastic. I went in having been underwhelmed by premise and trailers on launch but hearing good things over the last few years. Well pretty much throughout my tempered expectations left for dust.

 

The overall world plot/lore is probably one of the 'best in class' for its type - in any medium actually - once you get the full picture of it (I won't spoil anything by saying more) and I'm tempted to read more about it in the spin-off products like art books, etc... 

 

The key performances are very good and I really like Aloy's main arc. In fact as a character in general I really like her, strong, fierce, independent, thoughtful and charming. I felt more so that many other games she deserves the pedestal you inevitably raise her onto during the story.

 

The soundtrack is epic, very diverse in style and sound, and really helps tie together a sense of robotic nightmare, tension, wilderness and tribal influences. I'm very tempted to drop some fairly serious cash on the 4 disc vinyl version in fact.

 

The open world is huge but resists feeling too big in my opinion by some nice biome changes reflecting the condensed map it represents (again no spoilers) and benefits from a generous fast travel system once you start needing to bomb about a bit more later on in the game, however I did also have a lot of fun exploring on foot for hours. The range of tasks, challenges, side quests provided enough variety to keep me hooked, even if objectively there probably isn't a lot new there. However as you get a bit deeper (literally) into the game you get another nice level of variety to explore.

 

Combat wise the melee isn't great, but it's all about the bow and arrow really and I'm not sure 'slow motion bullet time multi-arrow jump shots' into huge robotic animals (and hitting that sweet spot at just the right time) will ever get old. There is also quite a lot of variety there to experiment with. I was guilty of finding my zone early and sticking with it, however I think you could probably be more effective by learning the full tool range a bit more.

 

It also looks amazing too, day/night and weather cycles make the epic landscapes even more effective. And the distant blue lights you see hazily between trees to indicate there are machines waiting for you can look absolutely as haunting as they should when matched with the excellent sound design.

 

Basically I loved it, and put it right up on the top shelf of last gen games. I now have the platinum trophy for this, Bloodborne, God of War and Spider-man and each minute in all these games has been worth it. What a generation Sony have had content wise. I'll be there day one for Forbidden West when it hopefully lands later this year with all the next gen shinies on offer.

 

9/10

 

***

 

5. Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds [DLC] (PS5) - I held off finishing the main game final mission to complete the DLC and ended up putting another 12-14 hours into it alone for 97.8% completion (I've got a bugged reward which means I can't get the 100% annoyingly) and again, all the trophies. This content takes you into a new area which is a bit of a step change and is pretty cool (especially when you realise what it represents). Its a much much harder area but ultimately is pretty much more of the same. The main story is still good quality with some good character plots and development, but I would say some of the side stuff begins to drift into filler and in many cases a bit of a to do list over something more engaging. Still worth playing though if you like the main game. - 7/10

 

***

 

Now weighing up Control or The Last of Us Part 2 as a follow up as I think Ghost of Tsushima is going to be too similar too soon.

 

Quote

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

2. Gris (PS5) - 9/10

3. Fez (PS4) - 8/10

 

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On 21/02/2021 at 16:47, Pelekophoros said:

03/01: Night Slashers (Arcade)

13/02: Ghosts Of Tsushima (PS5)

20/02: Kitty Letter (Android)

21/02: Concrete Genie (PS5)

 

04/03: Maquette (PS5)

 

Started off brilliantly and quickly devolved into absolute shite. It doesn't help that it stirs up so many memories of The Witness yet never manages to be anywhere near as clever or enjoyable as that. It doesn't even seem to really utilise its own special gimmick particularly well - like they had a great idea about recursive puzzles but just weren't good enough to pull it off. One of the near final puzzles was something I'd been waiting for almost since I loaded it up.

 

The less said about the 'story' the better. Terrible, terrible script coupled with staggeringly flat and dull voice acting (I was astounded to learn this morning it's proper Hollywood actors!).

 

Thankfully, it's super short and the puzzles are only particularly obtuse when it decides to throw a new mechanic at you without any introduction at all.

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19/02 - Cyberpunk 2077

 

I got fed up of waiting and decided to dive in to the Xbox version after the January patch and you know what. It's pretty damn good. There were, of course, bugs! Chief among them were copious UI bugs (elements disappearing or getting stuck on screen), a few crashes and a couple of unresponsive foes; but nowt game breaking for me.

 

It continues the brilliant writing legacy of the Witcher series which kept me hooked in to all the side missions as well as the main story, there is some genuinely great stuff in there.

 

Here's the odd thing though, as amazing as Night City is, as brilliantly constructed as it is a world; I never once wanted to go exploring in it. It's odd because doing just that is my favourite thing to do in games, BotW, RDR, GTA, any game with any kind of openness, I'm off and pootling around, sticking my nose in to all corners of the world as soon as I can. Cyberpunk, however, just didn't make me want to explore and I have no idea why.

 

Having said that, I really enjoyed playing the missions (I turned myself in to a sneaky, badass, hacker-nerd) and getting stuck in to the stories.

 

Glad I finally got it off my plate.

 

Dunno when I'll be back in this thread as I have foolishly started playing FF14 after being curious about it for years. I may include each part of that I complete here.

 

Previously

 

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

 

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04/03/2021 - Quantum Break (PC)

 

I really, really enjoyed this - even the TV show bits!

 

Having not been a fan of Alan Wake (sacrilege, I know) paired with the general vibe I got when people mentioned it on here I went into this with no real great expectations. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised to find that I immediately bought into the story, the world, the characters.

 

In truth, the gunplay is pretty perfunctory at best, the powers are neither particularly exciting nor useful and it veers from looking pretty nice to quite ropey - often within the same in-game transition (where poor compression and a locked 30fps were pretty jarring). But both the protagonist and antagonist felt like characters that lived in this world, rather than having been inserted into it and were helped by a fun script and supporting cast. Lance Reddick in particular did what Lance Reddick does, and it was great.

 

I appreciated that it was a tightly focussed experience, too, rather than a bloated 15+ hour affair that is all too common these days. I actually really enjoyed that there was a whole chapter devoted just to story, too, which provided a nice break in the action. The TV show, too, added a different dimension to things and I thought it complemented the story nicely and provided additional colour to the world. I got quite invested in those little side-stories too and liked the way the decisions integrated into the main narrative.

 

It would of course be easy to point to other third-person games and say the mechanics were better in game X or Y, but it was how this brought everything together as a whole that make this a great experience - and best of all, I've yet to play Control, so my anticipation for that is now enhanced.

 

05/03/2021 - Dungeons & Lesbians (PC)

 

Another short visual novel from the itch.io Racial Justice bundle and I just still don't really get them.

 

This one is, by all accounts, quite narratively-forced (as it only lasts about 15 minutes), so the chain of events are compressed, completely unearned and a bit silly. It's also based on tumblr humour which didn't work for me, so it felt try-hard and not funny. As to the story, such as it is, you basically have the opportunity to hit on your friends in group, against the backdrop of a D&D game. There are some limited choices you can make (there are 6 endings) but, as I say, due to the short runtime there's no opportunity to flesh anything out, so it's very throwaway.

 

I don't doubt there are plenty of good examples of the genre, but it really doesn't click for me - and I used to love choose your own adventure books as a kid. The idea of sitting at my PC reading reams of text and occasionally clicking the mouse is most definitely not my idea of fun, so I think I should probably stop playing them.

 

Previously completed:

Spoiler

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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1. Immortals: Fenyx Rising

2. Control [Game Pass]

3. The Medium [Game Pass]

 

4. Astro's Playroom

 

What a wonderful little game. Despite getting a PS5 shortly after launch, I played about half of this and then couldn't bring myself to finish the other half of it. It's such a wonderful little game, and my 4 year old's first experience of a game that he's actually managed to play properly. I was teaching him to do the monkey section now and seeing the look on his face as it clicked was just wonderful.

 

It's also the first game I've ever platinum'd. Mostly because it wasn't hard. 

 

image.png

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Metro Exodus. At the start it was all about the Ray Tracing but after an hour or two it transmogrified into all about the gameplay. Yeah, great stuff. Looking forward to the update later in the year. Terrible voice acting and writing mind.

 

Mortal Shell. Fairly short and in need of another area and boss or two but what's there is a very decent time.

 

Nioh (finally). Awesome, did the lot, all the sub missions etc. Just started Nioh 2 on PC, had actually purchased the game on PS4 at release but told myself it wasn't getting touched until I'd fully completed the first game. By that time a PC release had appeared and I could play it at 4k 60 with all the trimmings. Fucking wasted 50 quid. Gaming.

 

Resident Evil 2 REmake. Finished Leon's adventure over a year ago but recently completed Claire's involvement. Great fun. Can't wait for VIIlage.

 

P.S went back to both Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 on both an Xbox 360 and PS3. DaS was completed on 360 but I never activated the DLC, I am doing now, NG+. The fucking frame rate is shocking but sod starting over again for the remaster. Blight Town actually made me feel nauseous, horrific single digits at times but fuck me is it good. 

 

DaS 2 and its DLC got abandoned at about 70% on PS3 but thanks to Mortal Shell, the Elden leak and finishing all the other Souls/Sekiro/Bloodborne games bar the first's DLC, this is getting done.

 

 

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On 21/02/2021 at 11:53, loathsomeleopard said:

Pac-Land (PC Engine)

 

Like I said, odd — both as a choice for my brain to kick towards, and as a game itself. Imagine it’s the mid 80s, and Pac-Man is as hot as he’s ever going to be. Cartoons, cereals, bedspreads, and of course, arcade games. But you want something new to entice the kids, so you make him a platformer.

 

I feel compelled to respond to this snippet of your post, just in defence of the development of Pac-Land. As in, it is definitely a platformer, and definitely an awkward one which, while compelling, doesn't stand up to heavy scrutiny. And obviously it's a spin-off of Pac-Man - specifically, in fact, the cartoon series that was itself spawned thanks to the wild success of said game.

 

But.

 

The way you describe the game's development - "you want something new to entice the kids, so you make him a platformer" - makes it sound like a game that was churned out to fit the platformer formula. And the thing is, while the 'platformer spin-off' thing is extremely common, and very much A Thing when adapting computer games, movies, cartoons, fast-food chains etc. (for the obvious reason that it's a relatively simple formula you can apply to make a compelling game which plays lip-service to whatever product it is you want to shill), when Pac-Land came out that wasn't yet a trend.

 

This was 1984: a year before Super Mario Bros, a year before Ghosts 'n' Goblins. Platformers were still pretty rare; scrolling screen platformers were extremely rare. There's a reason the game controls weirdly, and that's because platformer controls - particularly scrolling-screen platformer controls - weren't firmly established yet, and Namco co-opted a control method from another game with scrolling movement - i.e. that of Konami's fabulous, stick-waggling Track & Field.

 

So, as much as it's a flawed game, and hard to go back to, I just wanted to highlight that it wasn't quite the natural, lazy (if quirky) platformer that it might at first glance seem to be, but rather a pioneering oddity.

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That’s an entirely fair critique; I more meant it as a description around what was happening with Pac-Man at the time — so very much in the way of merchandising in just about every way they could think of. And you’re right, it was mostly “new” at the time, and it is experimental... but also, within historical context, and looking back it’s an odd little game!

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Pac Land takes me back to the start of my experience with arcades from being very young. I can’t be certain but I feel like it could well be the first arcade I played. I was always drawn to it whenever I saw it on an arcade machine and I saw it at a few places. I must have watched someone paying it and remember seeing that fire hydrant being pushed back to reveal a secret blue hat I think or something along those lines. I have a memory of something else but not sure if I’m just imagining it, where I saw the same thing happen but it allowed the level to skipped. I could be mixing that up with something else and know that you could choose a different stage from the beginning. Was all such a long time ago. 

 

Eventually I got chance to play it on the Atari St but could never fully get my head around the spring board controls leading me to mess the jump up most of the time. 

 

It was such a cool looking game though. The music has suddenly started playing in my head. Doo doo duh-doo dooooooooo.......dillydillydee dillydillydillydee...etc

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