• The GiftBot 2.0 Launch Giveaway Extravaganza has come to a close with an astounding 8073 games given away to the community by 696 members, a huge success thanks to you! The gifting now continues with more official prizes in the new Gaming Giveaways |OT|. Leftover Steam codes are also being given away to the PC Gaming Era community.

52 Games. 1 Year. 2019.

Terra

Member
May 15, 2019
154
October Update yayyyy!
Games Completed: 5
Total: 45/52

A handful of shorter mobile games, one longer mobile game, and a great indie tided me over this month. Really close to completion, but it all probably hinges on how much Pokemon sucks my soul out in a week.

41. Jenny Le Clue, Detectivu (iOS), Oct 2nd, 10 hrs, 3/5
An interesting little game, Jenny Le Clue in the first half was making me think that this could possibly be a stealth GOTY list candidate for me. Its gorgeous and witty, with the right amount of thriller and whimsy mixed in. However, it becomes clear that by the end of it, they seemed to have run out of time/money. the back half of the game is almost solely in a cave network, which gets old way before it gets over. and the game stumbles face first into a cliffhanger ending worse than Halo 2's. The meta premise also started to grate on me by the time the game was wrapping. Overall a neat game that almost achieved greatness.

42. NeoCab (iOS), Oct 7th, 5hrs, 5/5

Now this is a great visual novel/adventure game. A sleek sci-fi thriller, as you take the role of a future Uber Driver, coming to a new city to meet her old friend, as both her and the rest of the city seem to be on the cusp of some major shit going down. As you take care of your passengers, probe them for information, and try and balance your cash and rating with information. A tense, thrilling story backed up by good writing and great music. I got a bad ending my first time through, and i haven't felt this much like shit in a long time at the end of the game. One of the best Cyberpunk games i've played in a long while.

43. Tint (iOS), Oct 12th, 1hr, 2/5
A mobile puzzler. you drag lines of paint to corresponding goals, and overlap them to create new colors. It entertained me during work downtime, but i'm not exactly raving about it.

44. Over the Alps (iOS), Oct 13th, 1hr, 2.5/5
Another arcade game, this is a neat little text adventure game. you are a secret agent assigned with escorting someone over the alps into france during WW2. daring intruige, and nazi's stand in your way. Its charming and fun, some narrative contrivances kinda irritating me. But i don't forsee myself remembering too much about it.

45. Indivisible (PS4), Oct 17th, 21hrs, 5/5

I really loved this game. Gorgeous little action platformer. The turn based fighting game battles honestly never tired me out, and were just the right amount of difficulty that i was looking for. The story was silly as fuck, but it was wonderful anime sillyness in the best way, with big declarations of friendship, and silly power jumps. It was also consistantly funny and well voice acted. Maybe not an all time classic, but i really really had a good time.
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
100. The Dig


Lovely adventure game, but aspects of it could've been better like the voice acting. Unfortunately, the game's visuals are a bit too dark for my eyes and I may end up having to do some pixel hunting to find a particular item or object to interact with.
 
OP
OP
Wozzer

Wozzer

QA Architect at Riot Games
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
95
Los Angeles, CA
Added a slew more to the first post Hall of Fame!;



Congrats everyone on beating the challenge!
Only a few more weeks and we're out of time for anyone still trying to get the last few games in, like myself! :D
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
Congrats on game 100!
I'm on 98 and still unsure what to play as game 100...
Fun fact: Yesterday I spent hours trying out various DOS games as I decided to go through my backlog by release date of games I own on Steam ;P
Alas, although the games may be good in their own right, QOL in most modern games have somewhat spoiled me and just didn't feel like going through these ye olde DOS games.
To be fair, their design structure is understandable; if one only ever owned a DOS or Windows PC, these (Apogee) games were designed with the mindset of giving the player their money's worth which would mean rather lengthy games.
As an example, let's take Hocus Pocus. This game is a run and gun, but some of the stages are too long for their own good. One stage even had you go across a long hallway in order to find one of the crystals needed to clear the stage.
The game's basic mechanics are solid IMO, but the stage design is not that appealing nowadays sadly.
Eventually as I went through the years, I got to the mid 90s and saw I had a bunch fo PnC games. Seeing as I had wanted to go through them anyways, figured what the heck and played through them :P

Mind you among the games I tried out was Wolfenstein 3D, and I figured out how to mod it to have 3DO audio as well as some fanmade hi res textures. Sadly on Normal, losing a life restarts the entire stage and that was too annoying for me. Figured I'd put it aside and go back to it sometime in the future.

Another is Star Wars Dark Forces. I installed a fanmade installer to run the game with updated textures and various control options, but in stage 2, the game required me to go back to the starting area and uh....I got lost. Even with the map :v
I would still revisit this one in the future too now that I know how the heck to play this danged game.

All in all, the games have some nice gameplay ideas but due to the nature of how they were designed...makes it difficult to go back to them, even WITH save stages in DOSBox :P

My suggestion to you is, find something light to play. Nothing too stressful but you know you can play while being relaxed for the most part.
 

Illusionary

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,054
Manchester, UK
Added a slew more to the first post Hall of Fame!;



Congrats everyone on beating the challenge!
Only a few more weeks and we're out of time for anyone still trying to get the last few games in, like myself! :D
Can you add me as well please? I sent you a notification at the time, but it was a while ago so I realise could easily be overlooked.

 
Oct 28, 2017
657
Ireland
Added a slew more to the first post Hall of Fame!;



Congrats everyone on beating the challenge!
Only a few more weeks and we're out of time for anyone still trying to get the last few games in, like myself! :D
Oh yeah I forgot about this as well, beat the challenge a couple of weeks ago:
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
101. Hamsterdam


I originally backed this game expecting it to be a cutesy beat'em-up, but it turned out to be a mobile game XD
The game has you play as a cute hamster beating up various vermin who have invaded his hometown. The combat is pretty repetitive, but thankfully the game is short, spanning only 30 levels.
I'd say the best gameplay parts of this game are the boss battles since they try to change them up each time. The core gameplay isn't bad and is quite flashy, but the repetitiveness makes it a game best play in short sessions.
All in all not a bad game, and I did get my kung fu enjoyment from it.
 

Illusionary

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,054
Manchester, UK
Excellent, thanks again! :D

Updating for October (master posts here)....


55. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch) - 8 October 2019
100% complete on normal difficulty (32 heart pieces, 50 seashells, 193 chambers for Dampé's dungeon). While I'm not particularly inclined towards a hero mode playthrough for now, it was really great to have a good excuse to replay this gem of a game. Link's Awakening was my first 'proper' Zelda (I'd dabbled once or twice with the original on a friend's NES before this, but only barely) but despite that, it's amazing what a difference some of the quality of life changes make to a game that I was already very fond of.

The remake maintain's the 'cozy' atmosphere that the smaller scope of the game engenders, further enhanced by the toy-like graphical style, while the world design, puzzles and overall gameplay are as enjoyable as ever. The improved functionality of modern controllers does away with most of the time-consuming menu and item management required by the original's two-button controls and the extra map warp points are another much-appreciated addition. Musically, the game also excels - Tal-Tal Heights and the final Staff Roll remain two of my favourite pieces of Zelda music and the orchestral recreations here do them proud.

Overall, the Link's Awakening remake really feels like the 'definitive' way of experiencing this superb early instalment in the Zelda franchise, highly recommended to all Switch owners.


56. Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1: Roads (Xbox One - Gamepass) - 10 October 2019
Completed with 100% of achievements unlocked (190/190 GS). An interesting start to this sequel series, which gives a strong introduction to brothers Sean and Daniel, the main protagonists of the story, and their close relationship. It took surprisingly long for the series' trademark supernatural element to surface, towards the end of this episode, but even before this the story is strong enough to capture interest and keep you wanting to play on. When the ineviatable does occur, the events that surround it are effectively portrayed, asking questions which allow for interesting answers to come later in the plot - I look forward to more to come!

Technically the game shows some improvements over the first series, with a more polished feel to the gameplay, while the voice acting - crucial for a game in this style - is strong throughout.


57. Life is Strange 2 - Episode 2: Rules (Xbox One - Gamepass) - 10 October 2019
Completed with 100% of achievements unlocked (190/190 GS). Episode 2 is where we see the connections to the short teaser prequel The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit come to play, and even though I played through that on PS4 so didn't get a customised experience, seeing the events of that game in the light of the circumstances revealed by the first two episodes of Life is Strange 2 was fascinating. That said, it's a little disappointing here that we see that some of the seemingly significant choices from the first episode don't actually make much of an impact on how the story progresses - and leaves me suspecting that the same will happen with much of episode 2's developments. That aside, though, as an interactive story the game still tells an interesting story, albeit one that doesn't develop on some of its themes as much as there was potential for.


58. Life is Strange 2 - Episode 3: Wastelands (Xbox One - Gamepass) - 11 October 2019
Completed with 100% of achievements unlocked (190/190 GS). With an intriguing diversion from the previous episodes, with episode 3 we see Sean and Daniel's environment shifting to a travelling community on the fringes of society and the law. With the scope for much rougher events, their relationship can take an interesting turn, for better or worse, while we also see the first real opportunity for both to develop stronger relationships with others besides just the two of them. Of course, time will tell whether these have meaningful consequences by the end of the story, but at least for now we get a framework for some gripping - and some more personal - developments in the plot.


59. Untitled Goose Game (Switch) - 18 October 2019
100% complete, including "as well" and "quicker" to-do lists. A really charming, entertaining break from the norm, Untitled Goose Game sees players taking control of a goose whose aim is simply to terrorize a village in the most effective manner possible. Each area of the village is designed with a wonderful level of detail, with numerous little touches that raise a smile, with a simple but effective graphical style that fits the game perfectly, and both the people and especially the goose feel brilliantly characterful and expressive. Gameplay consists of a list of objectives that you're challenged to complete - from stealing food to locking a child in a phone booth - with a mix of ingenuity and light stealth, and bringing great satisfaction to achieve. A few of these are a little frustrating, particularly with objectives requiring collection of a set of objects that villagers will try to retrieve if noticed - though arguably, this is a way of rewarding successful stealth.

Even with a secondary set of challenges that become available after completing the game and a speedrun challenge, the game is fairly short - it's quite feasible to have everything done is around five hours, by which point the mechanics feel like they're being stretched about as far as they can. However, there's such a sense of chaotic fun here that I can't help but give the game a recommendation overall.


60. Wuppo: Definitive Edition (Switch) | 27 October 2019
Completed with 100% in-game progression. Another wonderfully charming game, though in a somewhat different way, Wuppo is a 2D platform/adventure ('Metroidvania', perhaps?) game set in a world inhabited by a number of Kirby-like 'blob' creatures; in particular the game follows an exiled 'wum' in the search for a new home. As the game progresses, it does a great job of laying out its strange world, with an impressive amount of background lore to discover and the initially slightly 'amateur'-feeling low-res graphics come to feel very fitting, helping to heighten the world's strangeness. There's a enjoyable variety in the tasks that you'll need to take on to progress, from the mainstay of twin-stick shooting combat through to distributing newspapers and fishing - the game does a lot with quite a limited set of tools. To raise just one niggle, if you want to seek out 100% completion/collection after beating the main game, this can get a bit tedious in one respect, as you'll need to earn a decent chunk of money for a few things and these's no particularly quick and easy way of doing so. Besides this, though, there's a nice in-game clue system to help you towards full completion, which helps to balance out the potential 'grindy' element.


61. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PS4) - 28 October 2019
100% complete, will all bees and tonics completed, except for beating the "Impossible Lair" final stage. After their modern take on the 3D platformer with the first Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic's second game, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair now takes on the 2D platform genre, very much attempting to recreate the magic of the Donkey Kong Country games... and pleasingly, the game does so in fine fashion. Well-designed, interestingly themed levels present a decent challenge, made all the more interesting and enticing to explore by often well-hidden collectibles. Particular highlights of the game are its superb soundtrack (featuring several entries from the legendary David Wise and Grant Kirkhope), the ability to attempt each level in two alternate forms (each with their own unique challenges and collectibles) and, especially, a fantastically well-built overworld to explore.

One significant negative point bears mentioning, which comes from the final level - the eponymous "Impossible Lair" - a half-hour long, checkpoint-free mammoth. As you progress through the main game, you'll build up the ability to take up to 48 hits during each attempt, but even taking this into account, the final level is a *very* steep increase in difficulty, sufficient that many people won't be able to beat the game, leaving a bit of a sour taste right at the end. Up until this point, though, the game is excellent and one that I'd highly recommend.
 

Spyware

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,368
Sweden
Not-So-Weekly update! (Weeks 40-44)

After a bit of a slump I am currently extremely into gaming but currently also much less into writing about the games, which is why these posts take such a long time to appear. But just letting them sit doesn't help because I want to at least post the lists before they get completely out of hand.

Was gonna go all in on Spooktober but ended up playing very few actual horror games. Most have horror themes like zombies and ghosts but aside from maybe one they were either not scary at all or had more of a creepy and disturbing vibe. And then I just played a mean goose.



82. A Sun of Salt (PC) | 3rd Oct - 2hrs | 2/5

I think I found this via the Steam Discovery Queue or something. Short sci-fi creepy visual novel thingy sounded interesting so I got it but eeeh... it's just okay. There is a cool foundation for a story and stuff there but it never really does anything with it. The few creepy moments are quite effective tho.​



83. Dying Light (PC) | 14th Oct - 205hr | 5/5

One of my favorite games. I've played through it four times now and it's just as much fun solo as it is in co-op. Everything about it is great and I even like the silly story.​



84. Dying Light: The Following (PC) | 14th Oct - 25hrs | 5/5

You have to be very brave to make an expansion that removes what most people loved about the main game and replace it with something completely different. But Techland did it and they succeeded. Driving around the countryside was a total blast and I didn't miss the free-running at all. I've heard that the endings are not very liked? I loved them! The story is silly but it works so well for this game. Great expansion to a great game.​



85. The Letter (PC) | 17th Oct - 50hrs | 4/5

This game gave me issues with my eyes because the last 20hrs were spent looking at flowcharts on one screen and back to the game on the other over and over to find the pesky scenes I couldn't for the life of me reach by myself. There are soooo many! And just one tiny little choice at the start can make someone mention something at the end, just one little comment, and that is its own scene. That frustrated me a little. I mean it's great that you feel like all the choices you make actually have an impact on how the characters react all the way to the end... the first ten times or so. But there are just so many variables and unlocking all of the achievements becomes more of a chore. Some later scenes I hadn't seen were pretty cool, but mostly it was just a slight variation of what I had already experienced. Still worth it and I recommend the game for at least a couple of playthroughs.​



86. Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC) | 17th Oct - 7hrs | 4/5

I played the story mode of this a bunch of years ago and loved it. Replayed it now and it's still very fun. The gunplay is so much better than in the first game and it looks stunning. This time I also played the Arcade Mode to grab all the cheevos and I had a good time. Also, The Happy Song is one of the best songs in a video game ever. Just saying.​



87. Rusty Lake Roots (PC) | 20th Oct - 6hrs | 4/5

I played Rusty Lake Hotel a whole bunch of years ago and liked it. I don't know why it took me so long to play the other ones but better late than never! They are very freaky games. They don't bother with dark nights and spooky atmosphere, they just put every little disturbing thing out there in the middle of all the mundane everyday stuff. Ah, it's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, there is a corpse in my clock and I do believe my tea is ready. Roots is probably my favorite of the bunch.​



88. Rusty Lake Paradise (PC) | 20th Oct - 4hrs | 4/5

More Rusty Lake goodness. This involved a lot more running back and forth which I didn't really like as much as the more contained scenes in the previous games. But it worked well anyway and I had a good time. The true ending thing was clever!​



89. Bioshock 2 (PC) | 21st Oct - 24hrs | 5/5

I've always agreed when people say that the first game is better even tho I don't usually think about it myself. I love both games but have felt that the first is a bit better sure mhm. But I think I have to stop doing that now that I have replayed them both. The story in the first two thirds of the first game is better, sure and the characters are great, but the story of 2 is fine and the audio logs tell you a lot more about Rapture as a whole I feel. Since the gameplay is a huge step up I think I have to say that this is my favorite of the two nowadays. This time I played a "build" where I focused on the drill, bots, hypnosis and decoys. It was really fun! The drill charge is sooo satisfying.​



90. Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den (PC) | 21st Oct - 4hrs | 5/5

I've been looking forward to replaying this for years. I jumped on it immediately back when it released for the first time and I was so in love with it. Playing it again was a blast. Great story, great gameplay, great length. The best Bioshock experience.​



91. Darkwood (PC) | 25th Oct - 38hrs | 5/5

Sometimes when I hear that a game is amazing and would suit me sooo well and omg get to it already, I get a bit put off. What if I don't like it? It's supposed to be this amazing experience but what if it isn't? And then I put it in the backlog and play something else. But I finally decided to just go for it with this game and I'm glad I did! It is indeed superb. It clicked almost immediately but I was very bad at the game for quite some time. It took me a couple of restarts before I felt I had a good grasp of it all and could keep going further without dying all the time. The combat took a long time to get the hang of but when I did I was unstoppable! And I just have to mention the sounds and music. It's just perfect, there is no other word for the audio of this game.​



92. Until Dawn (PS4) | 28th Oct - 9hrs | 4/5

I had planned to play this a couple of times but I wanted to play it with my SO and we just didn't have the time to sit down together and play more than a single playthrough during all of October. We'll come back to it later for sure because I really wanna see what happens when we pick different choices. We managed to fail a little more than we thought we would, but I do blame one of the dogs for one of the deaths! It's impossible to keep the controller still when you ge tackled by a dog. The timing was so perfect that it looked deliberate so apparently Sherlock really hated that character and wanted her to die. The game was fun but I didn't like their use of loud noises in the "jump scare" moments. I keep repeating this but it is a huge annoyance of mine. An example is when a character moves away and BOOM there was a creepy figure standing behind them! That loud noise that plays as soon as the figure becomes visible is completely unnecessary and takes away from the creepiness. Just silently showing the figure for a moment before cutting away gives it a more chilling feeling instead of the "surprise!" noise. I get about as scared by that noise as I get "scared" by my SO dropping a pan in the kitchen. Which means not scared at all, just surprised. Boring! But the game is good even if it isn't scary.​



93. Ghostory (PC) | 29th Oct - 12hrs | 3/5

This was given away in the amazing giveaway thread and I had never heard of it before. Looked it up and got interested but I didn't feel like waiting for a day to see if I was gonna be the lucky one out of I don't know how many when I could just buy the game for 1,74€ and start playing immediately. So the giveaway created a sale! Good job! I had a good time with this but it ended up overstaying its welcome a bit. I had to check the built in walkthrough three times near the end because I didn't know if what I was trying to do was correct (it was, I just failed at it) but otherwise it was pretty smooth sailing through the puzzles. I had to redo a couple of them an absurd amount of time tho due to small mistakes tho and that maybe wasn't the most fun. Still recommending this one.​



94. Untitled Goose Game (Switch) | 29th Oct - 3hrs | 3/5

Obligatory HONK! I had no idea my brother had bought this but when he was visiting I suddenly heard honking from the couch, haha. Funny thing was that I had seen a friend stream a bit of it just the day before and had gotten a bit more interested than I was initially. Anyway, got the game downloaded to my Switch the same evening and just a little more than than three hours later every task was crossed off the list. Even the extra ones. That felt a bit underwhelming, both the length and the game overall. I'm very glad I got to play it for free. Compared to what I saw of my friend playing I was way better at the game. He got seen and chased away quite often while I almost had to deliberately make that happen when I wanted to move people around. It mostly felt like I was walking from point A to B and back to A again without having to think too much. Maybe I play too many stealth games? A couple of tasks were more puzzle-y and those I did enjoy since I had to figure out what the game actually wanted me to do. But I can probably count them on one hand. I enjoy the memes much more than the actual game which feels a little sad. It is a charming game but it's apparently not really for me.​


_____________

Master Post!
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
Original Post

102. Broken Sword


Decided to replay an old classic and for the most part it was a fun experience still. It had some annoying elements such as needing to properly interact with some objects in order to progress or unlock certain dialog options, like Right clicking on the kebab seller in order to find out they have an item you need for example.
Still with calm relaxing music and picturesque colourful and vibrant visuals, it is a joyful experience for me.
 

5pectre

Member
Nov 16, 2017
643
47. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (XOne)

Pretty good re-imagined campaign. Short and sweet, with no break between "chapters". From the previews I had the assumption that it was very controversial, more than no russian, but I didn't find anything that spectacular? Outrage culture and people being offended left and right at play here?

The section where you play as young Farah was fun and different.

4/5

main thread
 

5pectre

Member
Nov 16, 2017
643
48. Mr. Driller (Arcade)
Was looking through the pictures on my phone and found that I had 1cc'ed the arcade version of Mr. Driller? I was pretty drunk at the time, so I think I just forgot about it :D

4/5


main thread
 

modestb

Member
Jan 24, 2019
449
September + October + November Games!

Master Post!
January through August



★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
A generation-appropriate Gears game! Woo! Despite my one mission for 2019 being to replay the Halo series, I have instead finished up the Gears series. Luckily a new Gears is coming out literal days after I have finished the fourth game and an actual day as I type this, so its nice to be on top of things for a little while.

To the game - it is now more than 20 years post the ending of Gears 3, and the world has settled into something like an uneasy peace. The game starts with a rally thanking the Gears for their service during the E-day wars, and we get a neat flashback of E-day itself and Gears freaking the fuck out as monsters emerge from the ground to destroy the ground plus a short intro with Dom during the pre-E wars as a faceless Gear. Was actually a pretty neat way to start things (and introduce the premise to new players) but I thought we'd get a little more actual relevance to the main plot for this but... no dice. Dom is basically never mentioned as far as I could tell for the entire rest of the game, which is a bit disappointing.

So anyway, we meet some new, younger folks JD, Kait and That One Other Guy (his name is Del, I looked him up) who are 'invading' a COG outpost for a fabricator for their outlaw village. We get to know this new crew for a whole chapter of fighting robots, which in a way was pretty cool - we get some world and character building, new guns (which I actually liked!! No more Hammerburst/Shotgun combo the ENTIRE GAME) neat environments, new enemies... Unfortunately it definitely goes on a bit too long, and the stakes for this heist are never really spelled out or shown in any effective way so it just sort of feels "Calm Before the storm" which got a bit tiring.

At the end of the chapter you get to do a new defensive mini-game that pops up a few times in the campaign, which frankly kind of sucked a bit? The controls for this TPS are not made to place defensive structures. It needed to pop out to an RTS map or something to make it better. Also the actual things you build are kind of useless, you do all the heavy lifting anyway. After this, your village gets kidnapped by some kind of monsters that are deliberately hidden (is it the locust? But I thought they were all dead!) and we find out that our main character JD is actually Marcus's son!! They head to get him and we get even more of that old surly bastard.

There's a long chase sequence after that of trying to get Marcus back after he's abducted, which also goes on way too long, but at least it is plot relevant and gives our new characters a chance to show their stuff so overall I liked it. There's some decent character stuff with Marcus and JD, but not enough with everyone else. Like, we learn that Del and Marcus are actually super close (Del had Marcus's doorag!) but we don't really know what they bonded over or hear any stories. Marcus and Kait bond over trauma, and there's a LOT unspoken between Marcus and JD but we never actually get to hear it, or even get to see it healed between them. Sadly the story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger of sorts with our main threat left more or less entirely un-dealt-with. But that's kind of Gears in a nutshell I guess right?
There's a very nice ending sequence for the last chapter where a lot of the old cast shows up for One Last Hurrah (and some fucking sweet giant mechs to play around in) which is great, I just wanted a bit more development from the new folks. The new enemies meanwhile... not sure how I feel about them. The locust definitely needed to get gone, they're too boring of an enemy now after 3 games and the lambent frankly sucked the whole time. The new guys being 50/50 monsters v. men is neat, but the monster enemies never felt super interesting to fight. I'm interested to see where things go gameplay/enemy wise from here.

Definitely not up to par with the previous entries, it does feel a bit more cohesive in narrative and character however and provides a good stepping stone for the rest of the series going forward. Looking forward to putting my Gears 5 review in here soon!


Final Grade: B


★ ★ ★ ★ ★
WHAT A GAME
That was my filler text in the post until I was ready to write the review, but I think I will leave it where it is. Control is a game by Remedy, makers of Alan Wake, Max Payne and Quantum Break. Their games have always looked interesting to me but outside of most of Max Payne 1 and an hour or so of Alan Wake (the review for which will follow this one shortly I am sure), I'd never given them much attention. But here comes Control with some very cool looking trailers showing off telekinesis powers and weird monsters and bizarre locales and that led me to do something I haven't done in quite a long time - purchase a game for 60 US dollars. Life is full of impulse decisions, and they often don't turn out very well, or at least as good as you hoped. Control however is definitely one of my best choices.

The game stars Jesse Faden (Fayden?), a young woman who has some mysterious incident involving her family and home town in her past that led to enormous amounts of death, and now she's hunting down the people who took her only remaining link to the world - her brother Dylan. She also talks to a mysterious entity only she knows about (who doesn't say anything back we can hear, only odd bright and swirling visual anomalies she seems to understand) pretty frequently, or we hear her thoughts about events and people she meets. I found her to be a compelling protagonist, with just enough relatable traits but also doesn't freak out every time something weird happens like a normal person (because the game would take 80 hours if so). Her growth through the story as a person and with her powers was one of the best parts of the story of the game, which is more interesting in concept than well executed.

The game is set in The Oldest House, a "building" in NYC, that on the outside is one thing, but on the inside is actually a sprawling extradimensional portal of sorts that the Federal Bureau of Control makes their home. This bureau finds all manner of paranormal and magical objects and tries to, well, control them. Ostensibly they say their mission is to contain, but as we learn through the story there is far too much dicking around with these objects of immense power to consider these folks safety oriented. Scattered throughout all the environments are HUNDREDS of notes, memos, pictures, short movies, etc. that talk about the various challenges and items the bureau encounters and how the people who work there deal with things. Each note you pick up is some combination of funny, interesting, or mysterious. They straight up lifted the SCP move of blacking out random nouns and verbs to make things spooky or funny, and it works damn well.

But how about the actual game itself? Oh yeah, that's a joy as well. At first you're limited to telekenis (awesome) and a regular semi-auto pistol (boring), but things mix up pretty fast with other powers and guns. About halfway through you gain the power of levitation however, and that is when shit officially Pops Off. Floating high above a battlefield and raining down missiles, debris, and the bodies of your foes upon those still unlucky enough to still live basically NEVER got old or boring. Environments are hugely destructible along with craploads of items that are able to be interacted with/manipulated. Neat artsy metal spheres in glass cases in a lobby? Grab them with your mind, yank them through the glass and hurl them through tables and chairs and watch all of it neatly fly up into the air and smash into concrete which shatters beaneath the weight of it all. Magnificent! Sadly I can't put gifs into these reviews otherwise you'd see twenty of those...

The last main topic to hit - the visual design. My god this game is gorgeous. Are the graphics great? Yes it looks amazing, but that's not what I'm talking about. The lighting, the cinematography, the layout of everything is just phenomenal. Almost every area that you walk into in this game is a visual feast which made exploration for its own sake a joy. Just look at all the fucking pictures I attached here, it is just stupendous and I feel like I'll never see anything great like this again. Which I suppose isn't fair, Dishonored 2 was only a few years ago and that was also amazing (but not Control amazing).

In the end, this is a fantastic game with only a few tiny niggles bringing it down. Jesse feels way too squishy throughout most of the game, there needs to be a few more guns/powers for offensive use, enemy variety is good, but needs to grow WAY past ordinary looking dudes (granted most of them can do weird shit, that is good), and the ending of the story doesn't really feel like an ending... But OH! It had a fake ending with fake credits!! I fucking loved that. Oh and the Ashtray Maze and when its special soundtrack kicks in and the game goes Doctor Strange/Inception on us...

God damn this is a great game.

Final Grade - A+



★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
If I could give anything a 4.5/5...
Alan Wake is the game that precedes Control by nearly ten years, but to me is the follow up to that much loved game (literally, the #30 on this list is Control!). This seems to be now setting a pattern with Resident Evil 2 - some games are just so good you feel a need to play everything else like it just to keep it going! I'm not sure if Alan Wake is QUITE as good as the Resi games I've gone through so far, but I did genuinely quite like it.

I have actually played the game previously, I believe I rented it many years ago for the 360, I distinctly recall the beginning hour or so where I stopped, I was just a bit too much of a scaredy cat I believe at the time so I stopped. I finished it this time, mainly on my new laptop and despite its age, it looked quite good. A lot of the game however is very "PS360", the colors tend to be fairly muted, gameplay areas try to LOOK expansive but are actually pretty linear, animations are present and improved but nowhere near where we're at now.. that generation (as I suppose all of them do) has a very distinct feel.

To the story, which is the meat of the experience, you are Alan Wake, a writer heading to a small New England town with his wife for a much needed vacation. You've had intense writers block for two years now, and are trying to reset your batteries so to speak. Soon however things turn to the supernatural and to horror as your wife is seemingly kidnapped by a lake, and you wake up having lost a whole week of your memory in a car crash... You later pick up notes throughout each level of Alan's "manuscript", detailing what happened in your missing week, and what events will shortly transpire. The supernatural event seems to be a clash between Alan and a "dark presence", who resides in the area and is able to overwhelm and possess townsfolk into attacking you. Alan's writings seem to come true, and the game is essentially his writing out the events of the game and you going through them. This is a pretty interesting justifcation for the "game-i-ness" and plot contrivances, for instance there are flash grenades in several areas that Alan will specifically say "There's no reason for these to be here, they were just written into the story and now they're here..." which works in both a creepy 'What's going on here??' sort of way, and as a function of being a game. The game's standout character however is Barry Allen, your book agent/friend who comes to the town to rescue you when you go missing for the week. He's a bit of a slimeball goof, but he's got heart and he's very funny. There are some other side characters as well who range from creepy to likeable, but there is one major problem: Alan's wife.

I don't actually recall the name of Alan's wife, and I will pointedly not look it up because of how badly this game handled Alan's motivation. The brass tacks of the plot is"Your wife is kidnapped, get her back", however they do a very poor job of getting you to care about her, or to show her and Alan's relationship. The beginning portion of the game is just the two of them, but her voice acting is Blah at best, and they have basically no chemistry or real "scenes" together at first to show their current relationship, other than Alan being mad at her for wanting him to write on the trip. Then she gets kidnapped and you're off to the races. Now to the games credit, there are a handful of "dream" scenes where he will remember something about her and their life together, which are IN THEORY a great way for us to get to know her and care about her, BUT they are not particularly good and again, there are like 2 or 3 of them. This is pretty much the only major failing, story wise.

Gameplay-wise, the game is solid but not great. Your main weapon is the standard array of guns, pistol/shotgun/rifle, blah. However, the interesting bit is that enemies are shrouded in darkness that prevents damage, so you have to literally 'light them up' first before you can riddle them with bullets. You have a main flashlight for this, but also get flares, flashbangs and flareguns later on to help with this, and those are fun to use. However a big negative comes in terms of enemy variety. Essentially, there are just 4 enemies in the game-
1. Regular shadowy dudes
2. Big Boy shadowy dudes
3. Crows, shadowy
4. Various floaty objects, shadowy

Adding to that, a good 75+% of the game is "You're now in a spooky forest, make your way through the obvious path to get to the well-lit place far away P.S. all your guns are gone", now is that BAD? No, it's just tiresome. There are some notable and wonderful exceptions (heading through the town at night with the sheriff, the mental 'institution', the concert...), but a bit too much of it is just like all the rest of it to be wholly positive.

While there are many issues to list with this game, it is ultimately more than held up by good characters, interesting theme and storytelling, solid gameplay, and a creepy yet mysterious atmosphere. When the Control DLC was announced a few days ago confirming Alan Wake would be a part of it, I squawked with joy. I'm delighted to go back and get more of this story. Also, it has one of the best ending lines I have ever heard

IT'S NOT A LAKE.... IT'S AN OCEAN

Final Grade: A-


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I haven't played a great Beat-Em-Up in a while, and I'm still not entirely sure if I have here either haha.. My blurb review for this was "Its like Scott Pilgrim, but not really as good", and the more and more I think about it, that holds up as true. The music is exceptional, but not quite Amananaguchi. The combat is great, but you have to buy your moves instead of just earning them through play and leveling. It has RPG stats, but they come mostly through eating random crap and you have no idea what stats go where, as opposed to just choosing them yourself. The story is funny but barebones with a dumb ending, compared to SP. I'll say it probably looks better at least, but I'm generally a fan of the 'anime' aesthetic.

That being said, this will probably be a shorter review than I generally do because this game is pretty clearly in the same vein as Scott Pilgrim, but it all basically boils down to "yeah its like that but not as good". What I did really like however were the two main characters. Kyoko and Misako are worth the price of entry here, they're the cliche pair of Girly-Girl and Tomboy, but they play off of each other so well and off of the characters they meet that there wasn't any point that I wasn't charmed by both of them. I may or may not do another playthrough as Kyoko, which will count as a new number in this gaming series.

For issues I think the only issue I had was some of the gameplay. A lot of the game is actually quite hard, and some of the bosses took me at least 5 tries until the end game. I didn't realize that stats from eating things were permanent the first time, and I did not fix that until about 80% of the way into the game. You also have to purchase most of your moves which gets a bit tiresome to go and find the dojo, and it doesn't even tell you what the move does or how to do it until you buy it already... this means you've got whole sections of your basic combo locked and you don't even realize it until AFTER you get it. Kind of a pain in the ass.

I certainly quite liked the game despite my issues, the characters dialogue and their designs were top notch and it was fun to get into a beat-em-up again after my love was sparked by Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World so many years ago..

Final Grade: B



★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Resident Evil 4... one of the most well respected and loved games in history, and my fifth Resident Evil game this year. Ultimately I'm not sure this holds up as "One of the Greats" so to speak, but I did really really enjoy it.

The game starts and we return as our favorite Rookie Cop, Leon S Kennedy. You are now a special agent, and you are on a secret mission - Rescue the President's Daughter!! Silly premise, but there is a bigger sin here: Umbrella. This was pointed out by one Michael Huber of Easy Allies, but each Resident Evil prior to this (1 2 and 3) end very specifically on a note of each protagonist being prepared and ready to take the fight directly to Umbrella for what their actions unleashed in Raccoon city. However, in the OPENING TEXT of 4 we learn that Umbrella was just dissolved by UN action and they're all pretty much just in jail at this point. So the Big Bad Corporation we've been psyched up to go after THREE times is just gone now? And we don't even get to see it happen?? Crazy! Anyway, it dumps us into this stupid plot, but it knows it is dumb and it leans REAL hard into it. I think that's kind of the best I can say for it - the game knows what it is, a silly bond movie with zombies, and it at least does it well. Giant bad guy statues that chase you, slow-mo knife fights between old comrades, etc etc. There are only a few main characters, Ashley and Luis are the main two who interact with Leon in a meaningful way (Ada and Leon just do the same basic song and dance from 2) and I quite liked both of them. I was saddened and a bit shocked by Luis's death, I figured it would come much later or not at all. Ashley isn't QUITE as annoying as I thought she would be, and there are very large sections of the game where she is not present for you to have to worry about her which was nice. Escort quests are pretty much always garbage.

Gameplay wise, this game is a RADICAL departure from 1-2-3. Gone is the isometric fixed camera and guns that auto aim for you, gone are the small number of enemies and smaller environments, hello to over the shoulder action! The shooting in the game is very good, because it gives some sense of "you are a real person holding a gun, your aim isn't perfect", but not enough to upset you too much I think. All of the guns have a laser sight that helps you due to the camera angle being fairly wide (which is great for spotting enemies sneaking up on you), which also helps you spot environmental cues for where to shoot. The array of guns is nice, and I always appreciate a good shotgun. In a way its good to have the merchant there (Hello STRAAANGAA), but in another way the weapon selection feels a bit more limited with the inventory management sections, because you invest in the guns you like and now there's no reason to get any other ones? I upgraded the Red9 and Striker all the way, and those bad boys carried me through the game.

There's a robust unlocking and NG+ features which I'm strongly tempted to do, plus there's a DLC chunk called "Separate Ways" starring Ada that I'm strongly contemplating. It is certainly a game that is meant to be run through several times, but I'm not sure I have the time to do it this year.

On an ending note, you can tell the makers of this game played a LOT of Metal Gear Solid. The 'codec' calls, the cutscenes with Awesome Action, a focus on getting to know the antagonists a bit more, some of the hokey dialogue.. Like damn, does Kojima have a lawsuit ready?

Final Grade: A-


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Resident Evil 5! My 6th Resi game of the year and the second this month. Resi 4 was just quite damn good so it propelled me right into the next game, even after I said I'd give it a break to finish Gears and/or Monster Prom and/or Pathfinder (one day Pathfinder Kingmaker... one day) but I didn't! Resident Evil 5 is... pretty good? Regular good? Good but because it has to be compared to Resident Evil 4, not that great? All of that and more!

Seriously though, playing 4 and 5 basically back to back makes many parts of 5 stand out, and not really in a good way. The first chapter tries really hard to call back to Resident Evil 4, yet also set itself apart. There's crazy townsfolk you're trapped in small areas with, weird mysteries abound, El Gigantes, chainsaw bad guys... And it all is pretty crap compared to 4. The village scene in 4 works so well because it was one of the first games to do that, it is not scary at all in 5 because we expect it to happen, and there's even more wiggle room with controls and where you can flee to (and loads of ammo, don't forget that). It is set in daylight, which is an interesting idea but doesn't really pay off in any way. The chainsaw bad guys are just literally recycled, nothing about them is different or scary (remember how they stopped showing up in 4 after a few times? Because they knew there was nothing else interesting about them after that and it would be boring to bring them back). El Gigante fight was also dumb, you're on a turret the whole time fighting it. That isn't scary or interesting!!!

This is all of Resident Evil 5's big issue - it apes 4 without really understanding at all what made it great. 4 is excellently paced, and uses its enemies and hurdles in new ways almost every time you see them, the team really flexes its creative muscles. 5 just brings all of that stuff back because folks loved 4, but not really getting that because 4 did them as much as was needed, bringing them back here with nothing interesting to twist on those formulas is just tiresome. I can think of like ten moments in Four that were standouts in great design or just scary. Five has basically nothing like that I can recall, despite beating it a few days ago now. It's monster design is absolute shit, just big scary blobs that come from nowhere. THAT'S NOT HOW YOU DO HORROR. BIG DUMB MONSTERS YOU CANT EVEN TELL WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE IS STUPID. STOP IT.

I'm sure this will get worse in 6 -_-

The story is.... eh. Bringing back Chris = great. Making it ultimately about his connection with Jill + Wesker = love it. However, the story does very very little with this. We're given a handful of flashbacks Chris has to his and Jill's encounter with Wesker (that ends with them both going over a cliff), however we receive no context at all about when this mission was or what it was about. Why the hell wasn't this playable?!?! I honestly thought I'd missed a game where this occurred (looked it up even!) but nah, just bad storytelling. Jill and Chris also barely get a reunion and she does nothing the rest of the plot other than bail out Chris + Sheva at the end on a helicopter. I DIDNT EVEN GET TO AIM THE ROCKET LAUNCHER AT WESKER

So yeah, Sheva. She was relevant to the plot for... exactly one chapter. We're on her home turf in the beginning of the story and she's pals with one of the BSAA soldiers we see early on, however we leave that part of Africa (and the game ALWAYS calls it 'Africa', never getting more specific. That's a touch racist!) and her pal exits the story the next chapter. I was even hoping we'd get some more on him near the end of the game, since he has a TERRIBLE excuse (even voiced suspiciously) for how he got out of dodge in the mess that killed his squad, but nah it was just bad directing on their part and he shows up fine at the end. There is however one real good moment at the end where it looks like Sheva is going to sacrifice herself to bring down Wesker (legit got worried) but then Chris goes Beast Mode and saves her before the big finale.

So I've spent quite a few words bagging on the game, but honestly the rest of it is solid. The shooting is good and the weapon upgrade system is just as fun as it used to be, although money feels a bit more scarce? I also deeply miss the vendor guy for some reason haha... The inventory system isn't as good as 4 (inventory blocks are just the best inventory system okay, accept it) BUT it is much more functional for all the gun switching that goes on. There are several areas as well that take advantage of the co-op partner where either each will have a section on their own to solve or you have to hit things together to move forward. I don't think the partner system is really any good and maybe there should have been a solo mode more focused on horror but what can you do?

Resident Evil 5 is pretty solidly at the bottom of my Resi list so far, but I do think it is still a good game. Solid mechanics and two good lead characters are held back by the fact that the dev team just couldn't, or wouldn't, reach for higher heights than the game that came before it.

Final Grade: B-


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Separate Ways is a side-story DLC for Resident Evil 4 which is included in the base PC version available on steam. It is canon (which is why I played it!)and stars Ada Wong - Leon's Catwoman to his Batman from Resi 2. I quite liked this pair in the 2nd game (the remake, the original was awful haha) so I was curious to see more of them and see things from Ada's perspective, when we pretty much only get Leon's normally.

Gameplay wise, this is basically just Resi 4 repurposed (there's a couple new areas I think, but its at least 70%+ recycled) and with 1 new gun. The main draw here is the story bits I think, and it's a more condensed R4 experience if that's what you're interested in. It was fun to get a bit more time in this world and it made me more excited to play through the main game again at least. The shooting still feels good, and contrasted with 5 I do think I prefer 4? It's definitely rougher around the edges but it just feels more in depth. I'll admit I did just start sprinting through bad guys rather than fighting them near the end because I kind of just wanted to finish? I'm rushing a bit too much in this 52 game challenge!

I appreciated the extra bits to Ada's character and the confirmation that Wesker is the Big Bad of the setting, which 5 payed off on just a short time ago for me. We get to see that she really does very clearly care about Leon and sorta doing the right thing, barring whatever deal she has with Wesker (that will get cleared up in 6 right?!?!)

Unfortunately there's just not a whole lot to say about this, the gameplay is good but exactly like Resident Evil 4 the main game, story is solid but there's not a whole lot of it. Overall not a bad use of time I'd say!

Final Grade: C+



★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Almost more an animated short than a game, Later Alligator is a mini-game collection centered on an incredibly strong central theme - you're an alligator person in Alligator New York City solving alligator mysteries to save Pat, your new Alligator Pat. Or are you trying to save him..?

The writing is very sharp (although a tad too wordy in some places) and though you meet 30~odd characters through this story and only spend maybe 5 to 10 minutes with each, they are all very well done and have a strong connection to the story or place they're in. Favorites include Pat's dad who is going through a thinly veiled existential crises, his grandmother who is a mummy that hands out fortune telling cards, a niece who LOVES pancakes, a baby just trying to sleep... shit I could list out half the characters right now off the top of my head and I love basically all of them. The lovable writing is matched by an impeccable art style and music direction. It is a old-timey cartoon style, like something from Early Disney and mostly black and white outside of the Green on the gators or the occasional plot item the game wants to draw your eye to. I even added some of the songs to my spotify hahaha..

Gameplay wise (because it is a game), each family member has some little new minigame for you ranging from the very simple (lose at hide and seek, literally pick anything that's NOT the hider) to the vexing (flappy jacked bird is tough okay) and basically none of them outstay their welcome and have surprising diversity. After each you collect that family members "Token" to fill out a family tree of relations to Pat. Some of them even have a "You suck at this, just click this button and win okay?" on them that prevent frustration.

The story focuses on a paranoid young Alligator named Pat, who is the scion of a 'crime' family in the city who fears that someone is out to rub him out. Each member of the family you meet is tight-lipped about what is going on, the hints are pretty clear its just a regular surprise birthday party... or is it?!?! Yeah, it is. Or is it?!?!? The main story is interesting only in how there are multiple endings, and the game's first ending is unfortunately too "good" of an ending, I would have stopped there until I checked and saw a guide that said there were two more! And thankfully I did since that provide's context to the main character's actions (Why did you come to Alligator New York City and why are you helping Pat??), along with some actual mystery about if and who is trying to kill dear old Pat. There is also one moment of seriousness in the story, when it is revealed who is sending you tips about maneuvering about the city and getting to a hidden location. It provides a nice contrast to the generally flippant attitude of the rest of the game and stands out.

Overall this game was a delight and had one of the best damn trailers for a game I've ever had the pleasure to watch. It's one of the many indie games I'm trying to spend more time/money on rather than big budget stuff and this was well worth them both. It has a wonderful cast of characters, impeccable art, cute mini games and a satisfying climax (albeit one that shouldn't require 3-odd playthroughs...)

Final Grade: A-


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The odyssey through the Gears of War franchise continues to the most recent one, and I'm here on day 1 to play it! It's been a long, strange trip through this series and this one takes some turns I'm both happy with and pretty meh about. The gameplay remains very strong, and the art direction which took its very colorful turn in 3 continues here in spades. The two open Acts are exceptional in their vistas and shooting galleries. The story is... good? I guess? Up and down, I'll say.

Starting with the unreservedly good, the gunplay is still excellent and all of my old favorites return and the guns from 4 that didn't get enough time to shine make a solid showing here. With the addition of Jack as a real squadmate who can do various things for you (namely bonus powers and pick shit up) it really helps bring the Big Guns more to the fore, but there's a bit of a negative to this as because they're not part of your bread and butter I rarely felt like I was "good" with them, so I often skipped and just used my regular guns for fights. But still, the option is there and if I ever replay the game I'll be able to make better use of it. The combat arenas are generally pretty interesting in layout and they certainly are a delight to look at. There is a new gun or two in here but they were pretty crap as I recall.. also basically no new enemies? Or I think there were, but they were basically just variations on the old guys.

Speaking of the new Jack, this introduces a new "RPG" lite character building system to the game which I thought was good, but kinda tacked on. It encourages some exploration at least so that was cool, though I did not bother with it much. The open areas in Act 2 and 3 are very resplendent in their appearance but also a bit tacked on? There was only one sequence where the gameplay of maneuvering the skiff really came into play, it was mostly just an excuse to show off the area design and throw in sidequests (which I admittedly did not bother with. Gotta finish these games!). Seriously though, looked amazing.

Story wise, things get more murky. It picks up where we left off in 4, JD and the gang have found the swarm are 'reviving' the Locust (are they still locust even?) and we're trying to unite humanity and stop them. Well, shit goes down in Act 1 that shows that JD apparently at some point shot innocent protesters..? And then they attack and overwhelm a major human city and there's a timeskip. Oh JD is a huge dick now? Wait what?! This is a pretty obvious hit job on JD to have him pass the reigns on to Kait as the main character, and that becomes more obvious in Chapter 3 when he comes back (with new guy Fahz, or as Marcus says "Just Shut The Fuck Up") he is accepted more or less without a serious pushback after about 10 minutes. There is an interesting point here in the early game with "Is Kait going to go bad or isn't she" that is completely abandoned at the halfway mark and we get into a more traditional "Uhoh My Mom is a Monster Now!" main plot.

HOWEVER, the game ends with a very strong note pointing towards the future of the series, and I'm very curious how certain deaths will play into the story going forward. I just couldn't do it to my boy Marcus though. RIP in peace

Final Grade: B+


★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This review is coming WAY too late, but I figured it belongs here after Sekiro and Mario Odyssey changed my mind about needing to finish games if I just am really disliking them. However unlike those two games, there were plenty of things about Anthem that I liked, but oh boy is it a far more poorly made game than those two were.

Anthem is one of the bigger disappointment's I have felt in quite a long time, and that is due to the fact that this is BIOWARE. I have purchased every Bioware game more or less day 1 since Baldur's Gate 2, and I have NEVER felt disappointed or genuinely upset at any of them. Sure there's been big ups and downs, but I always recognized a consistent quality. Anthem has broken that chain. The story is VERY meh, there is basically one companion who is SUPER MEH, there is no roleplaying at all with your character, the missions are very boring, the enemies are boring... but the gameplay is good and so is the flying. So it has that at least! Seriously the mech suits look and play awesome, there is a good game here. I didn't do much multiplayer but had some fun when I did a few missions at least. Being a spritely Interceptor or a Storm wizard and floating over the battlefield chucking spells felt great. I just wish I cared to go back and finish it?

But, I really don't. Ouch

Final Grade: C-


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Nearing the end of the year, I return to one of the first games from this year (that actually released in 2018) to go through all of the DLC content now that it is released. I'm usually not one for going through DLC piecemeal, it usually feels like a waste of time/money to do things one at a time rather than in a nice chunk. For Hitman 2, I purchased the season pass shortly after beating the main game on a decent sale, and I've now come back to finish it all as IO Interactive announces they're finished with the major updates.

The DLC is composed of two proper maps and some sniper challenges (I did not bother with the latter), a bank heist mission and a tropical island adventure! An adventure about murder. Oddly enough this second mission has a few interesting angles I will get to shortly.. I also did two Elusive Targets that popped up while going through these levels, and those are neat. It took me forever to find the first target, and then ended up electrocuting myself before taking her out, locking me from the misssion... oops. The second went better, dropped an explosive ducky next to her and booked it out of there!

The bank level is a bit small, definitely larger than Hawke's Bay but not really full-level sized I thought. It looks excellent and there's plenty of challenge in figuring out how to get from area to area within and I liked the mission stories as well. There is a great 'kill' to push the main target out of a window that is prominent in the main floor (but the game really should have put more attention on beforehand, I did not notice it at all until my second run!) that deeply amused me. Also the secondary objective is to collect three data pads from three targets, which is interesting and all, but makes the actual vault section unnecessary and its like... why WOULDN'T you want your players to get into a cool bank vault?!

The second level is a beautiful multi-island beach resort, that certainly looks great. It actually looked a little too good as I got some chug from my laptop in trying to run it which was odd. There are three targets, and the twist here is that they don't actually seem like terrible people... they run a business that helps people shed all of their previous internet/tabloid history and assume new identities, but we never see them help heinous people like dictators, axe murderers, etc. however they ARE guarding info on the Secret Society we're chasing so we have to take them down. Seems a tad extreme but story isn't what we're here for okay?! There is also a cool mechanic where after 2 are down, a tropical storm rolls into the level and changes a bit of the dynamic. Mostly its just a lighting change as far as I can tell, and the rolling thunder makes noise a bit less noticeable to guards. Sadly no rain or lightning! This one was a great level to go through and had lots of inventive ways to take out the targets, and the stories seemed interesting as well. I'm a tad bit invested to see where the story is going for the sequel??

For the money, I'm not 110% sure these two maps were worth it, but it was still an interesting clockwork sandbox experience that I deeply enjoy about the rebooted Hitman franchise. The unlockables and twisting turns you're able to take with each level is fun, and the game's sense of humor and visual gags remains on point. Bring on Hitman 3!

Final Grade: B+



★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Disco Elysium - AKA - No Truce With the Furies. I had been following this game under its previous title for quite some time, and was pretty excited about it. A dialogue driven RPG focusing on replayability and ROLE PLAYING above all else, set in a bizarre anachronistic world sounded pretty cool to me. Now that I've actually played it, it's quite a bit better than cool...

There's a lot to talk about with Disco, and I'm not entirely sure where to start, so I'll just start listing stuff. This game is hysterical, I can't remember a game that has made me laugh more than this one. This game has a fascinating talent/perk tree where your thoughts talk to you. It has an emphasis on dialogue, but is generally quite pithy. It encourages you to talk, but not just say anything because you might piss everyone off. There are 'cop' archetypes, and they're great - Sorry Cop, Apocalypse Cop, Supercop, etc. Your partner Kitsuragi is a fucking bro. The main story is pretty good, but the side stuff and characters and just HEART make this game shine.

You're an amnesiac cop in a part of town that is 99% union controlled - and your authority doesn't quite reach alllll the way here, due to some background politics stuff you find out more and more about as the game goes on. This is a very lived in world, and it becomes clearer the longer you go the devs worked their asses off on making this feel like a real place. As you move through the story, time passes by either investigating things or talking to folks, and the mood of the day changes significantly as time passes. Normally I'm not a huge fan of 'timed' elements, but Disco Elysium makes them work well by rarely having anything be actually timed, you can try again tomorrow if you miss something specific.

As you move through this world and progress, you get skill points to invest in your 'thought cabinet'. This shows all of your different personality aspects (24 in total) who as you rank them up, get more and more to say in dialogue to let you know what is going on underneath the surface. High Empathy? You know when others are suffering and what to say. High Logic? Easily point out others mistakes to trap them in lies. High Espirit De Corps? Read your fellow police officers (including your partner) like a map and play off of them easily. High Physical Instrument? Kick ass and take names!! I had terrible physical stats and almost died fetching my tie from ceiling fan.... as you level up you put points into these and they can do more for you. My main stat was Volition and he was a total bro. He's essentially my will-power, and moral guideline. My very high volition also was able to spot when my other stats were compromised by being Into a certain young lady. He always looked out for me :'(

This game is filled to the brim with beautiful and wonderful moments. The art style is incredibly expressive, and the music is somber with a touch of upbeat and inquisitive. There are tons of great moments of humanity in this game, ugly and brutal, sensitive and kind. Sitting with Kitsuragi on the swings awaiting a thawed ice sheet, investigating a Bear refrigerator, hunting a definitely-not-real cryptid for an aged married couple (AMAZING ENDING TO THIS), tracking down the killer, going over your first day back on the job on a balcony with a cigarette... Great great shit. There's a whole other entry for Disco Elysium just for all my favorite moments!

On the downsides, it is ALL talking, and I do think there needed to be SOME other gameplay hook to balance things out a bit. I've no idea what, and it could have easily backfired if done wrong, but it got to be a little much at times. Also there's a couple of things where, if I hadn't just save-scummed, I'm not sure I could have finished the quest. There needed to be some other way to redo checks, or just make sure I passed a certain check when I needed to. All in all, this is a superb RPG and I'm a bit worried it is hurting my feelings for other RPGs I am currently playing because of it hahaha.. it has heart, it has creativity, it has beauty and I love it.

Final Grade: A


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
So, I sort of mostly finished this game...? I beat Zorah Magdaros this time, and there was a credits scene! Now, there's a meaningful post-game to this story of course, and I feel like I should probably get there buuuuut... I dunno, just wasn't interested in fighting these monsters a whole bunch of times again just to track down a pink Rathian? Anyway, I consider myself finished with it and it sorta cemented my decision to skip Iceborne, so here's my review!

I may not LOVE Monster Hunter, but I sure as hell respect it. What do you do in this game, Monster Hunter? You hunt monsters! No fuss, no "Disco what now??" feelings on the title, just good ol' killin' nazis. I mean monsters! Each monster has a name and their own personalities, and that is 99% of the combat and gameplay in the game is taking on these big beasties. Each monster lives in an ecosystem in each of the 5 maps with others, some are exclusive to a 'zone', but some are found in multiple areas. This can lead to some superb moments where others will show up in your battles leading to some epic clashes. More than once Anjanath (a firebreathing, furry T-rex. Oh and it has wings too) showed up during my hunts to take on whatever I was tangling with at the time and I would politely excuse myself off to the sideline and watch them duke it out. It was never not awesome to watch one mini-Kaiju bodyslam another one and shoot fire at it.

The primary loop for the game is hunting monsters for their bodyparts, building up new weapons and armor, and going to take on bigger and better challenges. This is generally pretty 'easy' during most of the game, but eventually led to me getting to the first first 'ending' of the game and calling it quits. Normally I'd only have to kill a monster maybe one extra time, often not even that, to get necessary parts or just to move the story along. However in the 'post' game, you have to hunt many new 'versions' of the previous monsters to track down the big bosses, and they didn't feel very new or interesting to me so I ended up calling it quits at that point. The core gameplay is certainly great but I just don't have time to kill three dragons 6 times each to make sure my gear is up to par for the next fight...

Story and character wise, the game is pretty much a wash. You're a blank slate, your Palico is just a yes-man with cat puns, Mercer plays a team leader whose grandpa is still in charge of the New World base... you'd think there might be some drama or intrigue in this story, some sort of tension about giant monsters roaming the land but.... Nah. Nothing much. Not terrible but not great.

Overall a very interesting and enjoyable game that is one of the finer 'treadmills' I've seen, but I'm just a bit too old and short on time to really give it its' due.

Final Grade: B+


★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Ooof, Observation. I've been looking forward to playing this one for at least a year, after I tried this developers previous game Stories Untold (review shortly after this one!) and have kept my eye on it. I bought it on the EGS a few months ago and figured Halloween is a great time to sit down and play it!

I kinda wish I hadn't. The game is set in the near future, and you are an AI of some limitations, on a space station a few miles above Earth. The game opens with the 'incident', where power is lost and one of your crewmembers boots you back up, and you need to work with them to get shit figured out. This is initially very interesting as you have to work from limited camera work and interface with other systems to get things done, but this also leads to the games main issue - the cameras move slow as SHIT and what you need to do is always an open question.

The game will give you goals frequently, but tell you almost nothing about how to complete them. Turn this on, set this to locked, open the doors, etc. You then have to 'wander' the camera around each area to try and find WTF the game is talking about and then figure out how the hell it wants to do shit. I had to look up at least 5 puzzles because I had no frickin' clue what the game actually wanted me to do. There's also a pretty severe lack of reactivity and believability with some of what the characters do. There's one scene where you're some doors to keep a character somewhere... there are FOUR exits to the room, and it takes a full 30~ seconds for you to deal with each. Why didn't they just leave?!?!

The story has some interesting and shocking beats to it (We're above Saturn!), but ultimately leans heavily into the MYSTERY of it all, and I'm usually not a big fan of that. I like the unknown and the mysterious, but when 95% of a horror/sci-fi thing goes completely unexplained and unaddressed, I'm just left disappointed. What is the marker? How did we GET to Saturn? When/Who/How was the original message sent? How are there so many of us? What is this 'planet'? How did SAM evolve? How did Fisher evolve? Why are some copies evil? What is happening to SAM at the end? "BRING HER" "BRING THEM" what does any of that mean? Not all of these questions need answers obviously, but SOME of them definitely do to feel meaningful. I didn't even know what to think or feel at the end, it just LOOKED cool, and nothing else.

Did Observation have a single thing to actually say? I didn't notice.

Final Grade: D+


★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ahh, Goose Game. It's turned into an Internet Thing, at this point, a Meme if you will, but Brynne and I were on this game before it was cool! And speaking of Brynne, we played the vast majority of this together, and had a very entertaining and stealthy and goosey time. Goosey is a thing right?

You are a goose in small-town England, right out of Hot Fuzz. It's a peaceful day in the village, and you are a vindictive goose out to terrorize the locals. You work your way through several areas of the town with a trusty checklist of being a real spotted dick - stealing glasses, breaking property, locking people in garages, posing for applause... okay that last one wasn't that mean but it was still funny. As you work down your checklist of nefarious deeds, new areas will open up and you will wreak havoc on a new group of folks.

Each area has some mini story to tell about the folks that stay there, and they're all pretty entertaining. My favorite is probably a pair of neighbors who clearly butt-heads regularly, as anything you do out of sight will cause one to start yelling the other and blaming them haha... There's also a moment in each segment where after you've caused enough havoc, the owner will bust out a No-Goose sign and hammer it down in the yard and proceed to chase you off. At first you will think "How did everyone have these goose signs ready?!" but oh no, there's payoff to that!

The game has certain stealth elements to it as well, as you are unable to fight off or manipulate the people you run across physically so there's some sneaking and hiding elements as well. Metal Goose Solid is a running gag on the internet right now and it's not too far off in my estimation. Hopefully in the sequel we'll get to meet the Goose's lost rival, whose wing is a transplant of the Goose's brother while standing on top of a metal gear shouting BROTHERRRRRRR... if only we can get so lucky.

So I guess I can wrap this up with only one thing to say: I blame it on the juice, I blame it on that Goose baby.

Final Grade: Goose Face/10
A-


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Finished it two years later! So, I replayed this game because I only half finished it back in the day, but I really liked it. I liked it so much, I kept an eye on the devs with their next project - Observation. I haven't written my observation review yet, and that's okay because I kind of hated it. Since I did not like it, I thought I should go back and finish this to perk my feelings back up. So I did!

Untold Stories is a horror game a couple of years old, that is technically 4 separate stories each with their own gameplay quirks. The first one is pretty solidly the best one, as a text adventure set with a creepy background about a man returning to his childhood home and finding things.... wrong. Each of the stories goes into some separate tale of isolation and woe, and they do culminate in a meaningful ending of sorts in the fourth story that I did not expect but enjoyed!

The second story is more weird than scary, but I appreciated the visuals and theme. The third SEEMS like it is going to be a terrifying monster/invasion story, but never actually pays it off? You also spend a lot of time doing annoying busywork in that one to get the story rolling and that was pretttty lame. And then you think cool shit is about to happen, and you switch to direct character control rather than oblique interactions AAAAAANNNND... nothing?! Ah well. The fourth story is a mix of the previous three, showing how they're actually connected in some unexpected manners.

The game is only a few hours long, so not a tremendous amount to talk about. Each story is at least interesting enough to want to get through, has some very nice visuals and tells a compelling story. It makes me wish we got a proper sequel instead of... Observation.

Final Grade: B



★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For Halloween I thought I should play a spooky game! Here are my thoughts -

-Easy mode is great. You are fairly loaded with ammo and the things don't require many shots to put down or slow them. I ended up selling 80% of the ammo I found and fully upgraded my 3 main weapons and rig. Ready for NG+! Never, lol
-800 bajillion jump scares / scare chords. Is in your face with the horror but also can build tension fairly well. The game definitely needs more moments of Horror with a capital H, but is generally content to just be more spooky.
-LOVE the upgrade system! Your armor looks great, it gets more and more plating added onto it, pretty strongly implying that it's for engineers who work in more dangerous environments, rather than a combat suit. Weapons also upgrade, but they're pretty standard in their 'trees', more damage, reduced reload, etc. It's a nice power progression though! You feel pretty Badass at the end of the game.
-Each chapter is a litttttttle samey. Arrive via train "Hey fix this thing here... OH SHIT THIS OTHER THING IN OTHER SECTION NEEDS FIX GO DO!" Rinse repeat. It has a nice ending that subverts this, the whole last chapter taking place on a planet beneath the ship.
-Story is solid enough..? Characters talk through glass panels a bit too much with you, the 'twist' with Nicole is solid and well telegraphed, Kendra seems almost relatable? I actually was crazy! I do wish Isaac would've emoted a bit more, either with gestures or grunts or something..?
-Enemy variety could use a bit of work, Black Variants were neat at first but don't seem anything more than an extra sack of hit points. The 'bosses' were solidly okay and that's about it, haha.
-VERY strong art and lighting design. The ship is definitely 'samey' as I mentioned before, but it still looks great as a horror setting.
-Easy mode is a godsend. The game is tense enough even with so little threat to the player. I spent a lot of time just using melee attacks to try and deal with the anxiety, that helped a lot I think.
-I was super invested in the game, that surprised me! I spent most of the week just wanting to sit down and keep playing it. Resident Evil is changing me!!

I don't reeeeeally feel like changing these bullet points into an actual writeup, so forgive me!!! I am now most of the way Dead Space 2 so I wanted to get a finalized version at least out so I can finish the second one and not have my thoughts mix too much. On the whole, I think Dead Space is an excellent TPS and uses its horror extremely well. It's not something wholly unsettling or horrifying, it just wants to be a cool monster movie with shit jumping out at you from the dark, while also being a pretty cool sci-fi setting. The 'planetcrackers' is just a great idea. With the focus on shooting limbs rather than just headshots, it gives it a unique twist on direct gameplay as well. Doing Resi 4 proud, even when Resi 5 and 6 don't hahaha...

Final Grade: A



★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I just want to start this off by saying Dead Space 2 is a great game. It has many things over its predecessor that make it stand out as a sequel - increased diversity in weapons and armor, lots of new environments that feel like an interesting place to be, great sci-fi setting with expanded lore, new enemies, Isaac freakin' talks now!! These are all solid additions to the Dead Space formula. So why do I feel like this is a bit of a step down from the first game??

We pick up again with our dear friend Isaac Clarke from the first game, who is being strongly interrogated and yup, still crazy. He is broken out by a nice fellow as things go absolutely to shit of course, and this intro scene here really shows off Dead Space 2's problem - putting everything big and scary right in your face. Now, the first game DEFINITELY had this problem as well, but 2 ramps it right up. I've heard about this game's budget and production being way too overblown, and it shows. The game can't hardly wait to show you its next big set piece or roaring monster to chase after you. But don't get me wrong! It isn't BAD, it's just not very scary? It's the Aliens to Alien transition I guess? I mean not that amazing but just in tone.

Gameplay is very much the same, barring new weapons and a bit more focus on kinetic powers (you can do way more damage to enemies now, saving on ammunition!) and new Zero G sections which I LOVED DEARLY! You get to fly around in space, and it feels great! Otherwise its all kinda standard. The difference is that Isaac talks now! I'm not really sure that's a great thing, the acting and writing aren't much to write home about but it feels a bit less strange than a silent protagonist I guess. We meet a few new friends and enemies along the way, and I do like the supporting cast in this one but the 'antagonists' are pretty garbage minus the first guy in the Asylum area. They're also handled better than the characters in the first one, and there's some great moments with Head!Nicole about dealing with grief and loss I liked. Then they made it stupid to have one more boss fight... Ugh.

Overall a damn solid horror/action game I'm glad I went through for Halloween, though mostly just because I enjoyed Dead Space 1 so damn much haha... It is a great new environment, a space station people might actually want to live on, and the horror of seeing this place fall is shown very well. I do appreciate the initial portions are set in the "Day 1" of a zombie apocalypse since we rarely get to see that. It just feels strange that a game with so much more than its predecessor just feels a bit... less?

Final Grade: A-
 
Last edited:

5pectre

Member
Nov 16, 2017
643
49. Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360)
Played through all 5 scenarios. It's a pretty good game but I had to get used to the controls. It felt a bit floaty but you got used to it after a while but what really got to me was the you were only able to chose preconfigured controller layouts and couldn't map each button specifically? And after playing Call of Duty, Battlefield etc. for so many years I kept hitting the wrong button for reloading.

Also, the scenarios follow a story line all the way through. You start out by missing the evac choppers and you decide to go to the mall where theres a quarantine zone. When you discover that it has gone to shit you decide to fuel a race car and hightail it out of there. Next scenario starts off with the race car having run out of fuel and you see some search lights in the distance that turns out to be a carnival. A big rock band was supposed to play so you decide to activate all the pyrotechnics to attract the attention of the evac choppers, when that fails you decide to go by boat and finally get airlifted out in the final scenario.
It's been a hot minute but I don't remember the first game being cohesive like this?

5/5




Main Thread
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
103. Freddi Fish 2


I really should've guessed from the spelling that Freddi's a girl XP. I only got stumped at finding 1 item but otherwise it's a nice little adventure game with lots of various animations and a minigame or two.
 

Tizoc

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,002
Oman
104. Pajama Sam 1


Another lovely game from Humongous Entertainment. Much like previous games, the items you must find have their locations randomized but generally the solution to any puzzles related to getting them is simple and straight forward.
Also has an anti-capitalist carrot, so bonus points to this game.
 

Rhaknar

Member
Oct 26, 2017
16,220

Game #103 - Yaga
Time: 9.5 hours

Ah, that feeling when you really like a game but can't help but feel a little disapointed with it in the end. Yaga is a really cool, very well made folklore based action rpg where you play a one handed blacksmith off in various adventures for his Tzar. The game is very original, which is a rarity these days, from the folksy story and music, the dialogue all in rhymes, various mechanics I haven't seen in other games, like a bad luck system that makes you get more xp as your bad luck raises but at the risk of your weapon breaking or losing your money, just everything about this little gem is well made. Great voice acting, story is actually well told with your decisions throughout affecting the outcome, gameplay feels fast and snappy with a mix of melee and throwing your hammer Thor style, the only negative and the reason I'm a little disapointed is that it's very short. At 9 hours, a metroidvania for example would be fine, but a action rpg not so much, especially when the base price is $25 (although I got it for $20 with the launch discount). A easy recomendation when it's like 50% off or something, as I said I really like it, but the short length makes it hard to recomend at full price.

Main Post
 
Oct 27, 2017
282
Main Post

56. The 7th Guest - PC
Completed 10/31/19
Score - 7/10

I was obsessed with this game as a kid. I found it to be spooky and incredibly interesting to click all over the house. It definitely doesn't hold up as well as back in 1993 but it was still an enjoyable experience. I tried out the new edition that came out and I felt it was a mixed bag. The sound quality was great but the image quality was not very clean. Most of the puzzles were fine and tricky. I must have gotten lucky with the microscope puzzle, screw the Stauf portrait puzzle though! If you like old school point/click puzzle games, it's a fun game to go through. I remember getting the 11th Hour when it came out but my PC never could handle it. Might be time to give that a go.



57. Metroid - NES
Completed 11/8/19
Score - 7/10

I never got very far in this game as a kid and I have always wanted to give this a solid playthrough. Fired up the NES Classic and got lost extremely quickly. I decided to listen to some advice and just use an online map to help me traverse Zebeth (Hell). The ideas here were fantastic and I felt great accomplishment going through it...but man it was tough. The mother brain was a simple boss to figure out but a complete pain in the ass to actually beat. This game kicked my ass but I still found myself having a good time. Will move on to Metroid II on the GB soon. The only proper Metroid games I have beaten were Prime 1 and Other M. I plan on playing them all, including those 2, at some point.



58. Kirby's Dream Land 2 - Gameboy
Completed 11/11/19
Score - 7/10

Some improvements over the first game, especially with some decent challenging levels near the end...but it was still a basic Kirby game. Most levels could be beaten pretty quickly and the only levels I did find challenging were the swimming levels and the auto-run levels. The animals you get to use are also kind of pointless. At least they tried a few different things back then. Not a bad game but I doubt I will play it again. Kirby's Adventure is next on this list and I loved that game as a kid.



59. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D - 3DS
Completed 11/12/19
Score - 10/10

Wow what a journey. As a kid I never understand the time mechanic and it just stressed me out. It was time to finally understand and play this game. I never thought I was going to love it...but love it I did. By the time I went to the final area I didn't want it to end. I loved the characters, town and just the world of Termina in this game. It might be my favorite Zelda story as well. My only point of frustration was the Goron
mini level on the moon. Took me awhile to get the heart and find the kid.
It took me awhile to beat this but it was worth every minute. This game reminded me why I love games and how they can impact you in the most surprising ways.

 

chirt

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,162
I hit 52 last month but I don't have a running total in this thread, can I just dump them all in one post or is that in bad taste?