Finished Lemmings (Team17 / Sony Computer Entertainment, 2006)
In 2006, Sony brought Lemmings back and put it on every piece of hardware Sony was selling at the time: Playstation Portable, Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. The three editions all had a slightly different feature set, with the PSP release having the most features (new original levels, remakes of the levels from the original 90s Lemmings, and a level editor with an online sharing feature) and the PS3 the least (just 45 original levels, which are unique and exclusive to PS3 though - and there's trophies) and the PS2 sitting somewhere in-between with the same levels as the PSP, but no level editor.
I played the original levels of the PS2 release and the PS3 release.
Even though the original Lemmings game is famously mouse-centric, these versions work really well with the controller. The graphics still look 2D, but they're actually 3D, which means that you get a nice zoom feature. There's new catchy music in the spirit of the original Lemmings games as well, but of course sounding a lot better than what you got in the early days of 16-bit computing.
It's a very faithful Lemmings experience and people who know the original game will immediately feel at home. Everyone else will have the same learning experience as players had all the way back in 1991.
The harder levels in the original Lemmings tend to take away skills and force the player to come up with solutions based on strange edge-cases and unexpected behavior of the few skills that are granted. While this works to make things difficult, it also eliminates exactly the thing that makes the concept of the game so unique and charming. Sadly the level design for the hardest levels in this remake does the exact same thing.
A light-bending puzzle game. Direct a light-beam from an emitter around obstacles to a target, using mirrors, lenses and prisms.
There are a lot of games in this genre and I generally tend to like them, but this one is remarkable for its super-cozy styling - the warm color-scheme and the beautiful ambient music are as soothing as a cup of hot chocolate by candle-light.
Well, as far as early access goes anyway. All achievements cleared! Now, I've not played Vampire Survivors, but after 20MTD I can see why it got so popular. 20MTD has the same addictive gameplay loop of killing enemies, picking up XP, levelling up, selecting upgrades, and eventually turning your synergies into projectiles splashing across the entire screen. All within a bite-sized play session, with juuust enough engagement required from the player via movement and shooting. A weakness is the upgrades you pick start to converge, because the upgrade trees are not very deep. So your builds start to feel samey after a while. But even that is kind of alleviated by choosing different characters or weapons. They come with their own gimmicks and shake things up a little.
10/10, the game is small in scope but does what it does very well
Figured I would get this backlog thing scratched off on the deck, but after 3 hours I am calling it quits. After Signalis (which for me was not mindblowing, but I liked it) this is just so...ordinary? No real atmosphere to speak off, very generic vibe, poor gunplay and too much of it..I reached some "fat zombie" boss and...nah, not gonna waste anymore time. Sorry Jill.
Fun turn-based puzzle game. While not as good as Lara Croft GO, I still enjoyed my time with it. I guess the only complaint I have about it are the controls. You can easily tell it's a lazy mobile port. To move, you have to left click & swipe. I couldn't use arrow keys or WASD.
Having said that, I still think it's worth buying when on sale if you're itching to play a puzzle game.
Bought the bundle as it was pretty cheap. Only ever played this once quite a while ago and it ran like rubbish and i think a bug at the end stopped me from finishing it so thought id give it another go.
Its a good solid shooty game. The nano suit makes for some fun gameplay although i tended to just stealth around everywhere and blast away once up close. The AI is a bit sketchy at times and i still had frame drops from 60fps even after dropping some settings down which is a bit disappointing.
Overall i enjoyed it. Got a bit frustrating at the end. Kept dying over and over again at the final boss. It also crashed once and i thought it had corrupted my save as it took 3 goes at reloading.
First part of the game is the best for me, looks great, feels open but its quite linear which i actually quite liked. The tank section was fun too.
Hilarious puzzle game from the developer of The Hex and Inscryption. Some of the mini games are a bit repetitive, but the way the developer is trolling you is incredible. Definitely recommend!
Finished Legion TD2
Interesting tower defense games with 8 unique factions and well-designed co-op and PvP multiplayer. You'll have to survive 21 waves of different enemies, and also keep the money flowing by building enough workers. These workers mine crystals, which you can use to send extra enemies to the enemy playfield.
Major problem with this game is that you can only build and send units BETWEEN waves, during the 30 seconds you need to wait between each wave. This doesn't only increase the length of each game to almost half an hour, but also limits your strategic options since you can't do anything during the attacks but watching.
The positioning of your units is also hard to understand. One would think that placing low-armored DPS units behind tank units, but in this game it's actually better to split enemy damage between both units. You can figure this out by experimenting, but the majority of players are using optimal builds from streamers, which are almost impossible to beat.
The latter is what made me abandoning the (very active) multiplayer, but the campaign was definitely fun with the different factions.
The voxelized Blade Runner / Fifth Element homage visuals work perfectly to create the kind of comfy-but-dark scifi-noir atmosphere I hoped to get from this game. The soundtrack also liberally references Vangelis' music from the Blade Runner movie and is generally nice, except when it sometimes gets a little too exuberant and then sounds more like the music from Trials Fusion.
The focus on story and exploration is consistent - there is hardly any challenge and absolutely no peril in this game. The biggest obstacles that the game will throw at the player are a handful missions with a time limit.
The game is meant to be a comfy scifi noir visual novel, but with the additional elements of flying and walking around a big city, but these more action-oriented elements are flawed:
- The flying controls are awkward and the traffic AI isn't aware of the player vehicle and as a result, you will needlessly crash into things and accumulate damage, which then requires costly repairs.
- The voxel graphics which look great from a distance (i.e. from the flying car perspective) do look far less impressive close up when exploring the walk-able areas - regardless whether you are in first-person or third person camera, which the game both supports. Many of the on-foot areas are also annoying multi-level mazes where you need to find out by trial-and-error which lift or teleport takes you where you need to be.
So exactly the things that are supposed to distinguish this game from pure visual novels actually make it worse.
The writing is very hit and miss, and so is the voice-acting. The player character itself features one of the worst performances in the game and comes across as weirdly aloof a lot of the time, especially in contrast to their very well acted AI sidekick. The story and writing reminded me in an unpleasant way of Night Call, which is a conceptually similar game - noir setting and styling (although classic noir rather than scifi in Night Call's case), protagonist is a driver in a big city, story is told and advanced through conversations with NPCs - which also had strong styling, but weak storytelling. The game ultimately failed to get me emotionally invested in any of the characters or events it features.
One of the most outstanding design elements of the world is that it's constantly raining and literally raining everywhere - even many presumably indoor locations simply lack a roof (like a nightclub complete with upholstered seating booths and a DJ stand) and are rained on/into. But: The game features no rain sound! I ended up letting rainymood.com play in the background while playing, which improved the atmosphere immensely. So, yes, this game will require you to bring your own sound effects.
Strong mood, weak plot, mixed acting. Fans of the genre and setting (like me) might still enjoy the vibe enough to not be disappointed.
Step into a living illustrated world in a time when Europe is at a crossroads of great religious and political change. Walk in the footsteps of Andreas Maler, a master artist who finds himself in the middle of murders, scandals, and intrigue in the Bavarian Alps.
I just finished Pentiment, took 19 hours.
Despite being very different from most games, it is in fact quite close to what I expected. I enjoyed it a lot -- I think it's the kind of game where people who are on board with its theme and how it explores that will love it, and everyone else won't play it in the first place.
Finished rain™ (PlayStation C.A.M.P!, Acquire, Japan Studio / Sony Computer Entertainment, 2013)
A small (4-5 hours) stealth puzzle-platformer with an interesting concept and art direction: The player character (and its AI partner) are invisible, but their ghostly outlines become visible in the (almost) omnipresent pouring rain. They are chased by various monsters, who are also spectral apparitions and to whom the same rules apply. In places protected from the rain, both the player characters and the enemies become invisible and their positions and movements have to be deduced from sounds and footprints. All of this is combined with a fixed-position camera system.
This game was released just one and a half months away from the PS4 launch as a PS3-exclusive downloadable game and was largely forgotten almost instantly. It also has, regrettably, remained exclusive to this platform and distribution channel to this day. I rediscovered it this weekend while pouring over a big list of PS3 exclusives and bought and played it straight away. A truly rare gem these days, and quite a good game, too - very moody, very poetic, even though the gameplay doesn't have much challenge to it.
The game has the additional quirk of having collectible items, which are tied to three trophies, but the game hides them on the first playthrough - presumably so players can concentrate on the story. The game only tells you this after the end-credits though, so I ended up running into every corner and dead-end alleyway looking for hidden stuff (old gamer instincts are hard to suppress) anyway, when I really should not have bothered.
Possibly the collectibles make the gameplay harder as well, if they are hidden behind enemies, but it will take a bit of time before I will do a replay to try and get them. If it turns out that this is where the real challenge is, I might raise my score later on.
If you are curious about the game (and like reading old websites), there are two blog posts still readable on the official Playstation blog about it, even though the Playstation website has long since wiped all its PS3-related content otherwise: , .
So I have a lot of thoughts about it, so parts of this review will me somewhat of ramblings, but before I start, people should know that I have played and finished every single God of War game, including Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta and Ascension. I don't consider them to be masterpieces, but I have enjoyed every one of them, yes, even Ascension (also played the multiplayer, both in beta and final game), played at least GoW 3 twice, have it on PS3 and PS4 (Remastered) and got the special edition for GoW 3 and Ascension, so I have my history with the series.
Ragnarok is one of the most sequel-sequel game I have ever played, I expected a leap in the same vein as Assassin's Creed 2 was to AC, Mass Effect 2 was to ME, Uncharted 2 was to Uncharted, but Ragnarok more like AC3 or a yearly CoD game.
Ragnarok has explanded and made what worked in the previous game better and fixed what didn't work that well and made certain things like the areas you travel to bigger, but that's it. There's nothing big and new here, very little changes. If all you want is just GoW 2018, but bigger and expanded, you are gonna find this game amazing, but I did not.
The story was lackluster, often a mess and felt like it didn't answer for a lot of things, the ending part felt, quick and rushed, a lot of emotional moments felt shoved in, like the devs didn't have time to cook the emotional moments up. The characters themself was great, the relationships was well done, the performances from the people doing motion capture and the voices are amazing, but the story and lore itself was not well thought out and well explored. Feels like the story is missing a brain and heart.
The pacing is awful and is no doubt the reason why it has taken me so long time to finish the game. The first 5 min are quick, then the next few hours are very slow and feels like the game don't know what to do until someone tells Kratos and Atreus, well, what to do. Some of the parts of the game (missions) broke the pacing and felt largely unneccssary and kept dragging for too long. Lots of "fluff" and wasted time in certain parts of the game. So while people are getting anxious for the world ending, you use your time to slowly do other people chores and helping other characters out with completely unrelated stuff while the world is in stress. Sometimes, the pacing problems feels like they arrive by the devs suddenly realizing they have to do some world building and story telling in the middle of a fight, so everyone just suddenly pauses.
The gameplay is the same with some new skill, armour and weapons added which you can upgrade by collecting resources by picking them up from fallen enemies or from opening different chest, some chests requiring solving puzzles. Each realm is almost like a big hub, so I did a lot of exploration and side activities which thanksfully put in a lot of good story telling, lore and world building into the game, many good side quests that gives you a lot of resources and extra story and lore. The areas are big, so it is often easy to get lost in exploration and finding big new places with new side quests. So I actually enjoyed exploring and doing side quests because what you get from doing it felt fulfilling and you are quite rewarded for exploration, but there are still some filler side activities which I didn't bother doing.
You will also at times play as Atreus which is boring and repetive, mainly because he is so much weaker to Kratos, but it's not that much you play as him.
It took me nearly 40 hours to finish the game with a lot of exploration and side stuff done.
Ragnarok is a good action adventure game, but not a good God of War game. There are some loose ends and unanswered questions I have which I hope Sony solves somehow.
Another thing, there is no God of War game without Kratos, I see some people on the Internet talks about GoW with Atreus or another protagonist, but I expect them to have only played the 2018 game. As someone with a long history with the games, Kratos is the God of War series.
I finished The Callisto Protocol. It has dethroned Bayonetta 3 as the worst game I finished this year. While the graphics look great at points, there were a number of performance issues when playing on Xbox Series X. While the combat feels great, it is counterbalanced by atrocious encounter design that falls apart when fighting more than a handful of enemies. There are also several encounters with monsters that can kill you in one hit where you have to fight them in narrow areas leading to frustration. The upgrade system is simplistic and not worth discussing.
The story is your boilerplate sci-fi horror where none of the characters are likable. I did like some of the locales, especially the snowy areas. The biggest sin is that the game is scary at all. I am in no way a horror aficionado, but I called every single jump scare and wasn't startled or disturbed once. Even the gore and death scenes, one of the biggest selling points of the game, are underwhelming.
Finished ENCODYA (Chaosmonger Studio / Assemble Entertainment, 2021)
The background artwork and animations as well as the music are very nice adaptations of the Blade Runner style.
This is. with some margin, the worst point and click adventure that I can remember playing, and I remember some real lemons all the way back to the 1990s. And almost everything that is bad about it seems to be intentional, because apparently the designer loves everything that normal people hate in this genre - pixel hunting, terrible adventure game moon logic, dialogue tree mazes, pun-based puzzle solutions ... every annoying and unfair thing you can imagine, this game has plenty of it.
On top of that, it also features terrible dialogue writing (that the voice-actors are unable to compensate with their performances) and hit-and-miss character design and animation.
I would never have guessed that this game would turn out to be worse than Westwood's Blade Runner point and click, but here we are. Apparently the whole Blade Runner theme seems to be cursed to yield nothing but mediocre to outright bad games.
If this game had not been a game at all, but just a slide-show of some of the background artwork, I would have given it a higher score.
Just finished Weird West.
It's made by a new developer, WolfEye Studio that features the director at Arcane, most known for Dishonored and Prey. The new team is much smaller, and essentially works remote only, from what I understand.
Weird West feels like an attempt to distil some core ideas of immersive sims in a way that allows even a small team to quickly produce lots of interesting levels, and story without needing to spend millions and a large team. At its heart, it's basically a twin stick shooter, with a few mechanics like bullet time. The immersive sim elements come in by having every character be simulated according to the same rules. They have a clear cone of vision, will investigate when they see or hear strange things and attack the player if they notice them. The player can sneak around, kill or knock out enemies and also move around the environment. The environment is also just another puzzle, where the goal is to figure out how to get to somewhere or get something without being seen. That last bit is also a nice idea: you can steal or kill whatever or whomever you want, the game just deals with it.
With this relatively simple formulate, the game opens up and lets you do whatever you want. The setting of a mystical version of the "wild west", of Western colonisers enter "new" continent, but one that is full of magic and all kinds of terrors is pretty neat. Most of the backstory isn't actually given to the player, leaving you to find out bits and pieces for yourself. It ultimately added another neat element to the game.
Weird West was really entertaining, but also clearly an experiment (like most good immersive sims). And the experiment doesn't always work. The "rules" by which the game runs the enemies are easy to quickly figure out and exploit. Would like to see a sequel iterate on that and work in creating a better "AI" that can plan and react more convincingly. Easier said than done, of course. The randomly generated elements, like certain towns or side quests are also not very convincing. Basically the idea of "radiant" quests from Skyrim, where every one of them just feels the same.
Took me about 25 hours according to Steam (though nearly 45 hours according to the in-game timer, not sure which number is true here, though 25 does feel more correct. Would recommend this game to everyone who enjoyed Arcanes games and wants more immersive sims in their lives.
Better than I expected from reading and watching reviews. So first of all, the game is like a spiritual successor the Dead Space, if it was called Dead Space 4, I would believe it. The game is in most areas gorgeus, took many pictures, don't remember if it has ray tracing features, but I didn't have them enabled if it does. Game ran pretty well for me on my 6 year old PC, but some of the later chapters was kinda harsh of the framerate and some of the dark areas looked bad.
I enjoyed the first half more than the second half, the second half felt, weird, rushed and weakened the story, the story could have been more fleshed out. Gameplay was pretty good except for the times when those slugs jumped at me from chests and closets, got tired of button smashing my way out of situations. Too much crawling through tight areas and ventilations too. I liked the enemy designs.
Game didn't do anything new and felt like very standard linear third person action adventure game, but I still like those a lot. Took my time so clocked over 10 hours to find everything.
Haven't finish with it but have played over 100hrs and with some new content getting released thought i would review for The Long Dark...
One of the best survival games out there. It looks beautiful. Runs great. Has had a lot of after sale input from the Devs. Has a good story mode along with lots of challenges and a massive survival mode. New content being added. Great game.
You basically have a set of need meters to keep toped up - food/water/temp/stamina and so you have to find shelter/wood/food/drinks etc. You can hunt, craft, explore. Its a very chill (heh) game with some lovely visuals. Storms and blizzards can roll in and change the dynamic.
Overall I love this game and find myself spending a long time in it. There is a long story mode which still has a chapter to come out i think. Currently working through the challenges which add specific goals to survival mode.
So there are 4 chapters of the story mode (called Wintermute) released so far with one more to come. I've finished them all and actually replayed the first three on my last go as i wanted to start again when the last one dropped.
I really liked the story mode, Without spoiling too much (this is all on the store page) its starts as you playing a guy, a pilot who is flying a passenger somewhere important when you crash and then have to survive in the wilderness and track down the passenger. Each episode lasts about 6-8 hours. You come across a few other characters but not many, they serve to push you along the trail. Its set in a very remote region with few people left around. The chapters are all fairly unique and mix up things as you go through them. There is an overarching tale that develops through the chapters with a bit of a mystery.
Its one of those games without a lot of action. You spend a lot of the time walking from place to place, trying to manage your inventory and heat/stamina/food/water so if that's not your thing then you might not like it but it has some really lovely visuals and the sense of exploration is great. And it can be exciting in its own way - like when a snow storm kicks in and you can't find your way to shelter and a wolf is stalking you and you have just eaten your last tin of pork n beans.
I would definitely recommend it and if you only play the story mode you'd get a lot out of it. I only switched to survival / challenges after finishing chapters and wanting to play around in the world until the next episode dropped.
I would definitely recommend it and if you only play the story mode you'd get a lot out of it. I only switched to survival / challenges after finishing chapters and wanting to play around in the world until the next episode dropped.
Thanks for that. I have owned Long Dark for like half a decade but keep waiting for the story to be complete, so it is nice knowing it is enjoyable so far. Hopefully the last episode will be great conclusion.
I was pretty grumpy about getting my progress wiped, but I'm glad I went back.
First of all the presentation is excellent. Secondly it's a fine puzzle platformer and I could think of worse things to occupy my time with. But throughout I was waiting for that 'oh' moment. The moment where a puzzle is so elegant, so clever, that I go, man, whoever designed this was a genius. Portal, The Witness, Gorogoa gave me that in spades. While The Pedestrian had some creative sections, I was waiting for the 'oh'... and it finally came very late in the game. I really wouldn't have minded more of those but well, at least the game ended on such a high note.
Beautiful art style, interesting story and cute characters, but the game fails at the gameplay which is repetive and boring. Basically you have to fix your ship and to do that you need resources, so you have to use flow bridges to travel to different "islands" in the sky that has different resourcs, problem is that despite of the map, you most of the time have no clue where you are and what resources you find and the combat system when you encounter enemies is very uninteresting. The controls themself are quite annoying and mediocre as it feels like Im fighting against the controls a lot of the time. So the game is sort of a resource gathering game, but a very boring and uninteresting one, it's the story and graphics that makes up for it. However when you do get the resources you need and use them, it does feel good, but finding resources and finding exactly where you are is really frustrating, there is a map, but it doesn't tell you much at al.
Long game, took me over 12 hours to finish. The game is super heavy on cutscenes and story which is my biggest negative, there's too much story and cutscene, most of it feels unneccessary to me, it's just too much. The story itself about the world and Horace (robot) is really interesting though. The other part of the game is somewhat of a basic platformer-metroidvania, but parts of the game, like the platforming feels often frustrating when almost everything can kill you super quickly, water, electricity, lasers and so on. The game is big and has a lot of good level design despite of the platforming frustrations. Some of the bosses are also quite decent.
Barely a game - it does the same thing that flabbergasted me when I saw it in Last Stop - there are dialogue choices, but if you don't pick anything, the game has a default preset choice and auto-picks that instead of waiting for your input. The only required player input is for moving the player character or a vehicle around in a scene, but that's maybe 15 minutes of the 3.5 hours "play"time. The story also plays out the exact same way every time, except for dialogue differences.
The story that is told is sort of a mystery adventure in the present and a romance/drama in flashbacks to the past, and neither one is particularly compelling.
Virginia remains the only game of this kind I know of that works, and Virginia works because the story is so open to interpretation and non-linear that it holds up through many playthroughs and/or re-watches. This one on the other hand is as straightforward as they come and thus becomes as disposable an experience as a rushed movie rental.
A game ported from iOS/Android where you disassemble, repair and reassemble 13 (very simplified) devices, all embedded in a little story about difficult relationships between close relatives. Nothing special, nice distraction for 2.5 hours. No replay value, first playthrough will net you all achievements guaranteed.
I finished God of War Ragnarok during the weekend.
I feel a bit sad that the game will meet such stiff competition from and lose out to Elden Ring in this GOTY season, because it really is one of the rare quadruple A games that does many admirable things and deserves praise.
The story was not as elegantly simple as in the previous game, but they really did a remarkable job with the character developments of the main characters, with the relationship between Kratos and Freya being a highlight. The casting of the West Wing actor Richard Schiff was unexpected and worked out really well to depict the talkative, empathic and manipulative Odin character. Despite the title including the word Ragnarok, I expected the story to hold plenty of stuff back for the sequel (like the previous game did), but they went all out instead.
The gameplay initially seemed very similar to the previous game, but the game expertly mixed the format up in non-superficial ways, like frequently changing both the companion character and the main character, many of which had unique skill trees of their own. The RPG progression systems felt balanced due to main progression steps being tied to acquiring materials and large amounts of experience in line with main story developments. I liked that gear collected later in the story had higher base upgrade levels, which encouraged switching to new gear rather than fixating on the one set of gear that you chose to upgrade previously.
The graphics and music were epic as expected. Too many great sights to list really, including the grand walls of Asgard, the depiction of the dragon Nidhoog as an interdimensional protector of the roots of the world tree, and flying in a magical boat over Vanaheim. When it comes to smaller things, I really liked how beautifully rendered and designed tattoos were used to enhance the visual identify of some characters. In PS5 performance mode the game seemed to run solidly over 60 fps most of the time, while still looking great. I guess the downside of the great performance was that the “open” areas were more like mazes of corridors than true open world areas, but that did not seem like big issue for me.
In conclusion, God of War Ragnarok is a game that you will enjoy if you like third person action games with great story, visual spectacle and well-balanced combat.
A couple of games I finished recently so here goes:
The Intermission DLC of FF VII Remake.
Playing as Yuffie is pretty neat, she and her Ninja companion control very differently from the rest of the cast in the main game, which helped keep the combat very interesting in this ca. 4 hour DLC mini-campaign. We revisit the second half of the game, but from the point of view of two Wutaian ninja, there to infiltrate Shinra. We also see a bit about the "main" Avalanche group, which gives some interesting context as to why exactly Barret and co. have been kicked out. Turns out, the main group is basically afraid of directly attacking Shinra infrastructure and they view Barret as an extremist.
Overall neat, and did not overstay its welcome.
Also finished The Evil Within 2
This game ran like absolute dog shit on PC vanilla. Luckily using DXVK actually improves things by a ton. Most of the stuttering is gone and it becomes actually fun to play. I also used some downsampling to clear up the image quality a bit. the game is strangely blurry by default. With those fixes, you have a very clean looking game that played very nicely on PC.
The actual story of Evil Within 2 is pretty anemic, but it's actually fun to play so it's hard for me to care. I also got the impression the game itself stopped taking itself half as seriously as the first game. It really feels like an alternative take on Resident Evil at this point, one with a big focus on action and exploration, without throwing away the horror and survival bits completely.
On the Steam Deck, I also finished A Blue Memoir
A very short and beautiful game, about love and loss (from what i can tell). Don't want to say much more since I think it deserves to be experienced fresh.
Also finished Guard Duty on the Steam Deck.
A short game that is clearly a love letter to lots of classic PnC games, but one that still has a strong identify of its own. Not all the gags worked on me, and some clearly overstayed their welcome, but overall a neat game. One big criticism I have is that I very often had to look up puzzle solutions. Perhaps it's just a sign that I'm getting to old for games like this, but the game really could use some hint system to help players along a bit.
I liked the twist near the end of the game, but overall I would only recommend this to fans of the genre. Everyone else will probably feel a bit frustrated.
Even though it's incredibly short, it still feels like it's just the right length. I consider Portal to be a perfect introduction to a game series. The two portals puzzle-solving concept is brilliant. It also introduced us to GLaDOS, an iconic villain. The companion cube, a lovable inanimate object. And Chell, a dangerous, mute lunatic.
Just when you thought Portal couldn't get any better, out comes its sequel.
The story, writing, puzzles, and voice acting were obviously great. Ellen McLain (GLaDOS), Stephen Merchant (Wheatley), and J.K. Simmons (Cave Johnson) put out some of the best performances of their career. To this day, Portal 2 has the best voice acting I've seen in a video game. But one thing that gets overlooked is the soundtrack. It did an excellent job at setting the tone and atmosphere for the entire game, and it took me a couple playthroughs to really appreciate it.
All in all, Portal 2 is a spectacular follow-up to an already incredible game.
Shoutout to Joe Spangle. Your review inspired me to replay these Like you said, there's something really special about Valve games that makes them stand out compared to the rest of the industry. Here's hoping we get more soon
Fun zelda-like game with some flaws. The first 40 min felt really uninteresting, but Im happy I continued as it became pretty good after that. Decent world building, pretty good level design, basic, but solid gameplay. Combat was pretty mediocre, but the upgrades you can buy made it a bit better. Overall a basic, but decently fun game.
Finished Ico (Bluepoint Games, Team Ico, Japan Studio / Sony Computer Entertainment, 2001/2011) on Playstation 3.
The first game of Team Ico (now known as gen DESIGN), who went on to make Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian. Finally found the time to sit down and play it start to finish.
It has the same striking design as the better known later games, and it's a really wonderful 3D puzzle platformer (with fixed camera and intentionally "awkward" controls - anybody who played The Last Guardian will immediately feel at home) that completely holds up today - which makes it an even bigger shame that it's never been ported beyond PS3, but thankfully PS2 emulation is a very accessible way to enjoy this game these days.
Even though the game does pretty much no hand-holding or even tutorializing, I had to get help from the internet only once - and it wasn't for a puzzle, it was for a very un-intuitive platforming bit.
It's the same principle as Gorogoa, which is one of my favorite puzzle games of all time - but this time it's 3D scenes inside a rotatable cube instead of the little pixel-art scenes arranged on a page. Certain elements of the scenes match up with others in other scenes, and by rotating the cube and moving the camera so that they line up, you can make the scene change, transfer objects between scenes, etc.
More replay value than Gorogoa thanks to missable optional collectibles and optional puzzles.
Built-in hint system
In a few scenes, the lining up of elements is finicky, so that a couple of times I actually had the solution / line-up figured out, but thought I had not because the game wouldn't trigger the line-up event.
Every puzzle-game fan looking for something original and different should check this one out, and if you liked Gorogoa, this is a must-play anyway.
A bit uninteresting at the first 30 min and was about to give up due to the first gardening part of the game, but once I understood the gardening part of the game, the game clicked for me and I ended up liking it a lot. It's almost like a point and click game, but not quite or like a walking sim in 2D with interactivity. Nice art style, interesting and cute and and interesting characters.
Didn't like it as much as I thought and have read people liking it. The art style is fantastic, but the rest is quite meh. Game is very janky, espeically the combat system (which is a bit boring), which didn't fit the game as it tried to be a soulslike. The world lore is interesting and the level design is decent, but I didn't like the platforming and the combat. Great music though.
Again, what a great game!
Really interesting to see where the series all started (yes, I know this is the remake with added scenes).
The story seemed a lot more simple and straightforward compared to Yakuza 0, but that is quite expected as this is the first game.
I was a bit surprised that pretty much all the major players from 0 and Kiwami ended up dead. Reina, Yumi, Nishiki, Shimano, Kazama, Sera, Dojima...
Like, almost no one is left.
And seeing how much Kuze was annoying in 0, you really miss that old crazy dude.
Played this together with my son. It was quite fun, but quite janky as well.
Some of the parts where you had to put out an the fire in a room were really hard when the fire was spreading much faster than you could put it out. I could only pass one room since I managed to get into it before the scripting for that room kicked in, so I could clear the fire before all the scripted events that increased the fires in the room kicked in.
So, uneven difficulty and some really ugly graphics, but still a fun game.
We need more firefighting games! It is such an untapped market!
I'd forgotten about the annual IF Comp. Just completed The Grown-up Detective Agency and Trouble in Sector 471. The first was a cute narrative adventure, but if you're looking for something meatier gameplay-wise, Trouble in Sector 471 is excellent. The puzzles were good, it was satisfying to figure out the solutions, and there's a ROT13 walkthrough if you get stuck. Being directionally challenged, I was really happy with the little map to help navigate around the many rooms. I also really liked how the limited commands in this felt like a feature instead of being a point of frustration.
Tried January next. Again, another narrative heavy entry. My brain is not in the mood for heavy prose or zombies, but the presentation is really striking in this one. A couple of technical issues marred my brief experience (slow loading and having to repeat sections). Maybe someone else will like this.
Loved it, a really good metroidvania. Due to the size of the characters and enemies etc. the game looks lesser in scope and scale compared to other metroidvanias, it might be lesser in scope and scale, but it was not an issue here. The game is really well designed and there are tons of paths, routes and secrets, almost all "rooms" are connected to each other and it was really fun to explore in this game.
There are 3 characters, each character with it's own ability and weapon. A knight with a sword that can cut through blue "vines", a woman (rogue?) with bow and arrow that can jump better than the other 2 and a wizard that can show beams through certain walls and light up buttons to activate doors. You will find "bonfires" in many places you use to switch character, save and have them chat with each other (one character also cooks up a meal you can eat for HP if you use the cheat/speak function at the bonfire). Later as you progress you will find a medallion allowing you to switch character whenever you want.
Lots of screts, lots of different enemies, different areas you can find and all the characters work really well with each other. I did use the wizard character the most, so maybe not the best balance of use between the characters.
Overall, a fantastic metroidvania. There are also a lot of different cool graphic modes you can use, like clear pixel graphics, retro pixel graphics, VCHR etc.
My main negative is that some of the jumping can be annoying at times as Im not sure if I actually was suppose to jump over certain obstacles or I had to find another way and some paths you had to progres through for the story to progress was so secretly put I was not actually sure I was going the right way, so the game should have had some more obvious patterns where you actually can go by walking and jumping or not.
I explored 83% of the map and for 74% of items after almost 10 hours. Apparently to get the true ending you need 100% of both which I did not bother with. At the end of the game you can buy a map (you collect "money" throughout the game too) and there was still lots of rooms to find, but I have no clue how to reach them, so a bit hard metroidvania in terms of exploration too.
So, a short write-up of games I recently tried and gave up on:
This one is a bit sad, since I played it up until the last level (at least I assume that's what it was). But there's one silly challenge where you need to fight basically a couple dozens waves of enemies and especially one that requires near absolute precision while the game's controls are incredibly floaty. Just feels like a complete and unfair mess, and gave up on it after the 5th or so try.
It's otherwise a rather short and enjoyable Metroidvania title.
Please fix the road
Not a bad puzzle game at all. The puzzles just feel a bit samey after an hour, and I didn't get the impression playing the remaining two thirds of the game would feel very rewarding. It runs great on the Deck and surely something that can pass the time quite well.
Again, not a bad game, just feels like a not incredibly inspired Resi clone, but with none of the charm and silliness of the original. It basically feels like a generic Zombie game, with a base difficulty that's just a bit too annoying.
It's a nice looking side scroller, but I think I'm just a bit jaded by this genre by the dozens and dozens of indie games already doing much the same thing. Played it for a few hours and quickly lost interest. Again, it's not a bad game, it's just hard to get me interesting in basic 2D platformers these days.
I like the demo of this one a lot, but the full game lost my interest after the 2 hour mark. The story feels nonexistent and the puzzles feel pretty unrewarding and more like busywork.
Very Life is Strange-lite. It's a charmingTM coming-of-age adventure that had a satisfying arc (idk just so many games try to raise the stakes and fail miserably but it worked here). It was strange that the game recommends a controller because I went back to mouse/keyboard and the controls were fine??? Anyway, the dialogue was great, the game captured the awkwardness of conversing with strangers perfectly. I enjoyed exploring the island and meeting the inhabitants. The side quests didn't feel out of place. The whole game is just vibes.
Very well designed exploration game with casual puzzles, where you have to save the earth by restoring a power beam on the moon, that suddenly stopped transmitting for an unknown reason. The closer you get in completing your objective, the more you learn about what went wrong on the moon.
The story telling is incredible and the level design is great for such a small team. There are also a few sections in space which are very exciting to play! The second half of the game seems a bit rushed when you need to climb several copy-pasted towers, but the great ending makes up for this. Very recommended!
My least favorite Bayonetta, liked the previous games a lot more. Never found any of them to be masterpieces, but I really enjoyed them overall, Bayonetta 3 was fun and overall an enjoyable action game, but still worse than the previous games. I own and finished Bayonetta on PC (Steam) and Bayonetta 2 on my Wii U. I will buy Bayo 3 at some point when the price is much cheaper just for the sake of owning all 3 games.
The good things about the game is that the combat is really great, a lot of fun, lots of variation with the infernal demons, the different character you get to play as, the skills you can buy, really great combat. Parts of the levels have also great level design and the design of enemies, items, equipment etc. is really good. The music is also good.
The negatives are that the story is nonsense, have no clue what's going on, worse that in the previous games. The art style makes most of the game look quite ugly, I found the previous games to look far better due to the art style. Too many "mini bossees" in each chapter and too few "regular" enemies. The level design is also very mediocre in the chapters that have this more "open world" structure, while the chapters with more linear structure (which is what the previous games were) have better level design.
There is however quite a lot of content in the game, every chapter has side activities where you can enter a portal that takes you to a combat area, if you follow a set of requirements, you get a certain item. After finishing the game, you can also go back to the chapters and find some specific collectables that unlocks a shorter side chapter focused on combat.
Overall, a dissapointing game where the combat is the positive thing that drove the game forward for me, story is nonsense, level design in chapters with more open structure is mediocre and the game looks ugly for the most part. Design of enemies, equipments, infernal demons, characters are great.
The early areas gave me serious Control/Mirror's Edge vibes with the clean lines and bold splashes of colours. Very pretty game. I thought the puzzles were good, but trimming some could have made the more creative ones stand out. I didn't have to look up a walkthrough, but some levels had me stumped for a good while. Not to mention setup can get a bit fiddly in later stages. The story, though...
I picked the "bad" ending, then watched the "good" one on YouTube. The implications are disturbing. Either the devs intended this cosmic entity to be as menacing as it seems or they genuinely thought joining the hivemind is the right choice. Huh???? Anyway it's just standard sci-fi stuff and I'd rather they didn't bother with the plot at all.
Striking a couple more games off my backlog... very productive holiday season.
Dropped In The Shadows. Not that it's bad, but the combination of timing-based puzzles and deliberately awkward platforming meant a lot of waiting around to execute solutions. It made this game slower paced than I liked. Hit a bug in the third world and just lost motivation to continue.
Completed TOEM, 10/10 very cozy adventure. I would compare this to A Short Hike, because of the obvious wholesome vibes and also since the game pretty much lets you complete tasks at your own pace. It's very generous with the number of fulfilled objectives required to progress. However the whole game was engaging enough that I explored as much as I could before moving on to the next area. I'm no photography buff but even I couldn't resist retaking photos to get the perfect shot. If I really had to complain, the backtracking gets a bit much, but the art/atmosphere was so good I didn't mind traipsing through the map again.
I first played this back in 2010 when achievements and cloud saves weren't featured, so I figured I'd replay it for those. This game is over 13 years old and yet it still feels timeless.
The biggest standouts for me were the boss fights, the scarecrow sections, and of course, the combat system which influence is still felt to this day. While the sequels did some things better, you can make a strong argument for Asylum being the best in the series based on the impact it had on gaming.
The only thing that gets a bit tiresome is the backtracking. But overall, Asylum was a blast to play through again and I'm glad it still holds up well. I may revisit the sequels (and Origins) just for comparison sake.
Also, Batman escorting the Joker through Arkham is one of my all-time favorite intros to a game.
Loved the campaign. The gameplay is just mindless fun. Marauders weren't as annoying as they were made out to be, but I can understand the complaints. The game's difficulty spiked for me during the Khan Maykr boss fight.
I do slightly prefer DOOM (2016) as a whole, especially with its better multiplayer mode (IMO), but Eternal's campaign is definitely on par.
Also, the soundtrack is amazing. I can replay the Main Theme for days.
I feel like this should have been a $15 DLC instead of a $30 standalone game. While the combat is as fun as ever, the story was underwhelming and really short. Nothing about the game reached Dishonored 2's highs. It's worth getting on sale if you crave more Dishonored content and wish to see how it all ends, but I wouldn't consider this a must-play.
Last time I finished this must have been 2006. An extremely cool game, that feels a bit dated (mostly animation-wise), but still has some uncomparable features!
The way you go between different locations to gain benefits in other places (blow up the helipad to ground a helicopter in another location for example) is something I don't think I've seen in any other game.
And the easy way you control your squad mates (up to 12 soldiers in the final missions!!!) is also really cool.
I finished the final mission with 7 kills but my squad had taken out over a hundred enemies!
It's sad that IO never revisited this game since it ends with a sequel hook and instead made two lackluster Kane and Lynch games (with worse squad controls).
If you haven't played it, and you can stomach some early 2000's animations, really give this one a go!
Took me a long time to put my thoughts into this one.
But I think it was interesting to wait a bit and see what I ended up thinking about it, compared to other games with a similar focus.
The big daddy of AAAA.
And first things first, yes, it is visually a very appealing game, nothing to complain about the art teams. The game is very pretty, but also very colorful, with some very distinct environments for each realm... now the fact that there's only one that matters and has content, and the two optional content ones are devoid of entertaining value, that's another issue.
They did a very good job adapting concept art and really integrating it well in the world for all the little puzzles, characters are nicely animated, even though their faces are definitely not that expressive... (a problem U'll come back to).
The UI on the other hand? It looks dreadful, amateurish, and is not even practical, especially not the rune system.
But on the other hand, it's a very videogamey world, the areas might be nice by themselves, and both nicely filled with puzzles and combat encounters, they are also completely separated. Where one might expect to have at some form of interconnection, there is none. All of the "levels" are their separate adventure with their own little goal, especially the optional areas.
A hub world the game has, sure; but it's use is more than limited to slow navigation on the lake while you listen to dialogue... as much as I like the concept of it, it fizzled out pretty fast.
Even more so for other realms that are just plain instanced, and both much smaller, and much more linear. It lacked the feeling of adventure it wanted to be.
Arguably, it's not the end of the world (Ragnarok? Get it? ); but the game is significantly hampered by two big, BIG problems:
-The combat just isn't fun.
It takes a lot from Dark Souls, both for button use, but also the slower paced combat... but forgets the stamina bar. So for A LOT of the game, you just dodge roll like a Souls maniac, as it is more than a little generous with iframes.
It is made so much worse by having a terrible camera, glued to Kratos' shoulders - helpful for ranged attacks admittedly, but constantly getting in the way of everything else, especially the crones that... have attacks auto-tracking you on the ground. That you cannot see. nd there's an awful lot of attacks that you cannot see, so they added a little red marker as a clutch when you're going to get hit (but again, with an extremely generous timing, hence the rolling frenzy)... except for a few attacks, like the aforementioned ground attacks, those aren't tracked once they're launched and follow you around corners.
There's a lot of stupid decisions in there, but more importantly, they all amplify their little annoyance into something more.
On the other hand, the combat does feel meaty, and the runic system (pretty much magic) offer you some cool looking attacks and definitely some options... but it's immediately sabotaged by what is all too common nowadays:
-The progression systems are awful.
You gain XP for doing everything but killing mobs. That's fine, but that also means unlocking slowly a talent tree for each weapon... as they start with the most pathetic amount of skills/combos that you can think of.
And... since there's no choice, you just complete it, and then you have all your options. Which are surprisingly limited, as beyond a light and heavy combo, and a ranged light/heavy (to be upgrade a bit), they both have one alternate option, like a more AoE based combo.
But that's it.
Why did the second weapon, relic from the old God of War games... just lose most of its attacks from the very first game?
Why it the combat even simpler?
Because yes, the old games sure were button mashy, but the solution wasn't to remove so much, and give ennemies mountains of HP. Because hell, everything gets real slow, boss fights in particular take a looong time, and it's hardly justified...
As the variety is just abysmal. For such a relatively long game, the enemy variety is just appalling. And more importantly, even the boss fights repeat. I think everyone knows about the infamous troll bosses being served to you in different palette swaps with maybe an ice projectile to differentiate them, or the optional Valkyries... but even the last boss is a rehash... of the two other major human boss fights you've had.
Why is the dragon so boring and long? Dodge a few times, throw pebble, bash it a few times, that's it?
And it's not like the game even tries to give you long combos like the old games (or similar action games), they definitely use Souls mechanic here: two or three hits, then stop... but not because you open yourself due to stamina, no... ennemies just have either an auto-counter mechanic, or worse, an auto-dodge putting them out of your range.
It makes the already limited combat feel much worse.
And the overreliance on endless waves of mobs, even mid boss fight, it's not only lazy, it's also plain cheap to suddenly have a bunch of crap in your back taking pot shots at you.
And all of that compounded by the terrible item level system that is, frankly, all that matters. Because the game is drowning in level scaling. Gear pieces are vitally important, and you can't really play what you want.
Got a nice magic based build? Cool, it's item lvl X, now you're further in the story? Everything is now higher item level than you, so you hit for very little, and you die in two hits.
Worse, it applies in a much harsher way to the world! So those early areas? Now full of mortal threats while the main story content is fairly easy and scales with you. It's so stupid - mobs in the very last part of the game were green for me, so, easy. While all the tutorial content was now full of orange mobs. let alone the points where I had to upgrade my gear to anything else because mobs were purple and virtually invincible.
In the end, I can't say it was a bad experience. it was just a middling one. A solid B tier game with some tremendously stupid ideas that sabotaged it more than anything. But I liked exploring the pretty areas and having to think for two second on the way forward, that's a change of pace in modern games. Now the garbage side content of having waves of mobs, or waves of mobs in a RNG labyrinth with a timer to upgrade by grinding said mobs? Fuck that, I didn't bother.
For that, I'd give 6/10.
However, I must talk about the elephant in the room, the story. And It's slightly spoilery, of course:
I really, really don't know what happened here... but why was it so...absent? You have your one objective, dispersing your wife's ashes on the highest peak (that's the first minutes of the games, hardly a spoiler).
And then... you're attacked.
From this point, you try to do that, and fight your way. There's just no justification of things happening and the endless McGuffins you're running after (with the four living characters in the game magically always knowing where to go, and how to just craft what you need on the spot).
What about motives? Explaining more about the centuries we've missed with Kratos? How? Why? It's not like there isn't any reasoning to be found, Kratos is literally the worst mass murderer in the story of the world, he wiped out the entire Hellenistic world, that might play into it, maybe?
It's obviously not the same character, new writers, they want their story to be true, with just a couple of nods to what happened.
How about Thor and Odin? They want to kill the competition... sure. That's it? They spend the entire game with Mimir babling about nordic legends and trying to manipulate the player into hating the bad guys but... you're playing with someone that is worse than all of them combined. Odin is greedy? How about Kratos destroying the world for the same reason?
It's not just about killing your father like he tells to Atreus. It's about how awful he is, and how it's never shown, never explained.
And more importantly, never actually addressed! Kratos and Atreus is an obvious allegory for a father and son mending their relationship, thanks I saw Kratos hesitating to touch Atreus shoulder like four times, I understand.
But how about... actually talking, having a heartfelt dialogue? None of that ever happens! Kratos reveals they are gods, it ends on a Marvel-like joke, and Atreus becomes a bit arrogant, and then murders someone and sees that's it bad?
But what about actually talking and doing something? That's a big deal, and is left hanging!
And of course, Zeus being murdered is... pushed away? There's barely any reaction by anyone for some reason despite having already set that killing your own dad is awful in Atreus's words, what the hell?
Did the writers forget to make those two characters relatable and human?
I felt more things for Freya and Badlr, because they actually have motives, and awful things that happens to them is understandable to a point. I actually ended up liking them more than the main duo, and they are very minor...
Kratos and Atreus just lack true interactions, and they crucially lack character progression. They are pretty much at the same place they started at in the ending, they're just passive observers of their own story.
So little happens, and so little changes for them that it felt like a filler prologue for God of War Ragnarok. Which it arguably is, but I find that very sad.
And it's not like the actors are bad, I put that firmly on the writers and the awful direction.
The last of Us I didn't like much, but it wasn't completely wooden and flat all the way.
What a disappointment the story and storytelling were in that God of War... but I don't want to give various grades to different elements, and keep the 6/10 for a fun videogame night.
But as art, and one that is supposed to tell the story of a father and son? What a wasted potential.