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Oh dear, in a push to grind out my backlog, I finished more games this year than I ever have (I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing). So let's get it out there:

Amnesia: The Dark Descent: Compared to Outlast, I felt this was the scarier game, and man, was this scary. I was going to do all 3 endings from the final save point, but after the "Revenge" ending, I couldn't have been more satisfied with that lasting image of Daniel walking out the front doors and into the sun.

Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTYE: I may get some flak for choosing this over Arkham City, but I felt that this was the best of the Arkham games. "Nothing beats the original" rings true in this case, and I simply enjoyed the story of this one better. Which brings me to:

Batman: Arkham City GOTYE: I played this a little later in the year. Same great game, same great story, same great Batman.

Batman: Arkham Origins: Oh dear, what happened? The Batman game that I've played most recently. It's not a bad game, just not as good as the other two. And there's way too much filler in the form of taking on endless amount of thugs. Every where I go, it seems like I'll have to take on like 10 guys just to advance, over and over again. BUT focusing on the positive, this did have some great boss battles, and one of the best I've played in the form of Deathstroke.

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea


Dragon Age: Awakenings: Felt like a stapled on expansion to Origins, which I finished last year. But I felt satisfied with the conclusion in the "Witch Hunt" DLC

Fallout 3: GOTYE: Did all the DLCs. Just be a good person, and you have my Lone Wanderer.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty CIty: Wanted to play this for a long time since finishing GTA 4 way back in 2011, and it didn't disappoint. Finished both "The Ballad of Gay Tony" and "The Lost and Damned".

LA Noire: Where did this come from? I mean, I remember it being both a critical and commercial success back when it was released, but you never hear people talk about this one like they do with the GTA series. LA Noire wins my "Game (that I played this) Year Award".

Medieval II: Total War

Metro 2033: Got the Ranger ending

Mount and Blade: Warband: Doesn't have a real ending, but I put quite a few hours into online multiplayer.


Outlast: Whistleblower

Red Faction: Guerrilla

Saints Row 2

Tomb Raider

Total War: Shogun 2

The Witcher 2: Vernon Path.

Also, shout out to Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 3 games that I sunk quite a bit of time into, but didn't manage to complete the main story.
Aaaand here's another post about a game I finished weeks ago but did not advertise! :P

Anvil of Dawn

Anvil of Dawn is a dungeon crawler game coming directly from 1995, as classic as a game could ever be: you are one among five heroes chosen for their superior skills, ready to embark in a dangerous mission aimed to save the world of Tempest from the reign of terror of the Warlord, a coward turned evil king after a pact with a Dark God.
His deal was defintely good: in just a few months, he drove the armies of the desolate lands across "The Scar" (an enormous fracture in the earth that divided the world in two parts), invaded all the known countries and exterminated their inhabitants with his newly acquired black magic.
The only way to avoid exctinction - or worse, eternal slavery- is to find a way to severe the Warlord's link with the Dark God, destroy his source of power and aid the almost annihilated armies of Tempest to take back what was theirs.
No big feat!

The gameplay side is precisely what you can expect after reading the store page: the entire game is divided in many different dungeons that you will explore using a grid-based movement system (just like the more recent Legend of Grimrock, if you are not accustomed to older titles in the genre), each one filled with labyrinths, physical and magical traps, riddles and peculiar kinds of monsters.
The puzzles are never really difficult to overcome, but given the fact that the game NEVER (and I repeat, never) holds your hand, leaving the players to figure things out by themselves, you are guaranteed to have a few headaches during the way. That is actually very positive, rewarding your efforts with satisfaction each time you manage to clear a dungeon and making you sweat to find the best possible ending, something not so easily achievable if you have not kept your eyes open during your explorations and paid attention to what the NPCs told you. Sometimes, even the apparently most modest of gifts could make a real difference, if used wisely...

The character developement is very straight-forward, and along with the inventory system contributes to craft what I would call a " light RPG" aspect of the game.
You can increase you abilities simply by using them and allocating the derived skill points in the selected discipline, either among one of the magic schools or one of the weapon disciplines.
During the character creation, you can assing a fixed number of skill point however you prefer among the four main statistics (strenght, stamina, agility, magic power); be careful, though, as those parameters cannot be permanently modified after this point, but only temporarily influenced by spells, items and fatigue.
Almost any build is viable, though specializing in close combat with swords or magic is undoubtedly more efficient due to plot needs (in the latter phases of the adventure, a certain sword and a few spells are insanely powerful and extremely useful).
The equipment is organized in a dedicated screen: you can put how many items you want in the space you are given... but you should always remember that for each additional object you weight on your shoulders your efficiency in combat is reduced, reaching even dramatic lows when over-encumbered.
Also, keeping order in that mess can be painful: it is best to keep track of the objects using sacks and chests, so you can easily drop them on the ground to minimize your fatigue while in a dungeon and reach them whenever needed.

It may seem strange to read, but what really impressed me about this game is the graphic aspect: each character is drawn in superbly crafted sprites with an impressive amount of detailed animations -especially considering its age, while the main map and several focal points for the narrative are by no means less good. You should really judge by yourself the wide amount of differnet "dark fantasy" monsters and human figures to have a clear idea about the artistic quality of the title.
Add to them a good soundtrack, and you will have a very enjoyable overall experience.

A note about the GOG release: the game ran flawlessly during my entire, very long playthrough, with the only exception of the very nasty bug reported here. Check it out if you don't want to have a terrible surprise: its effect deleted the objects required for the main mission from my inventory, breaking the game.

I think that Anvil of Dawn is a very good game that risks to be forgotten, perfectly playable and well worth your time even after 20 years from its release. Recommended!
I just finished Gargoyle's Quest: Ghost 'n Goblins.

This Game Boy game took me 2:26h to beat and it was a fun little journey. While Firebrand explored the Ghoul Realm I exlpored a few childhood memories. This is one of the first Game Boy games I've played and graphics, sound and gameplay are still good today, 24 years later. (I'm feeling old right now...)
The only negative points are annoying sounds when you talk to someone and a lot of slowdowns.

The game itself is mostly a side-scroller jump'n'run, but Firebrand can also fly and cling to walls. Between the levels the exploration is from a top down view. On the world map there are random encounters, which a fought in a side view, but there are no experience points or something like that.

Overall it's a great game. If you like Game Boy games you should give it a try.

Here's my list.
Enebias: I'm sure you are referring to the "great ride" in Mepmphis, am I right? :)
That part whas absoluteli insane... but that is precisely why I love Serious Sam! The Perfect run does not exist, and each time you play you have to face an unpredictable horde of monsters! This also eliminates the possibility of save-scamming: you can never know how a battle will turn, and if you quick-saved in a wrong moment your defeat could be assured. At least, on hard: I have never played it on normal.

The Second Encounter is my favourite shooter ever: it takes the best form the first and -imo- rebalances it to be just as challenging but more fair, while adding a good dose of weird humour and a greater variety of environments. Plus, the flamethrower is perfect against those damn kleers! :P
That 'great ride' almost made me quit the game, I had a ton of trouble beating it, but on its own it is just an (overly difficult) challenge, it is when the same thing is used repeatedly that I get tired of dealing with it. Still, I look forward to turning a flamethrower on them in the Second Encounter.
I just finished Creeper World 3 - Arc Eternal.

I still have the extra zones to play through, I especially wanted to finish the campaign before the end of the year though.

This series is wonderful, totally caught me off guard. Strategic, challenging, and a great storyline! The trilogy really should be played through, in order, to get everything out of the story.

I enjoyed them all, but Creeper World 2 a little less so... not to say it wasn't worth playing, I just preferred the "top down" approach rather than the side view.

Totally worth every penny for the trilogy.
Post edited December 21, 2014 by BoxOfSnoo
I am embarrassed about how many games are still in my collection but completely un-played.

On to the successes: I have finished the following games in 2014: Dead Space 1 & 2; Blackwell Convergence, Deception, Unbound and Legacy; Burnout Paradise; Cave Story +; Deadlight; Dear Esther; Duke Nukem 3D; Hector Episode 1, 2 & 3; MacGuffin's Curse; Machinarium; Organ Trail; Plants vs Zombies; Puzzle Agent 1 & 2; Rogue Legacy; Sniper Elite V2; Syberia 1 & 2; and The Walking Dead;

At this rate I will be able to buy new games in a decade or two. :-(
Hardrada: That 'great ride' almost made me quit the game, I had a ton of trouble beating it, but on its own it is just an (overly difficult) challenge, it is when the same thing is used repeatedly that I get tired of dealing with it. Still, I look forward to turning a flamethrower on them in the Second Encounter.
That is a valid criticism. Imo, the problem you are talking about is the greatest fault of the First Encounter.
I believe that the developers understood that, too, so they added more balance and variety in the Second Encounter, making it an overall much better game.

P.S. I'm sure you will love the flamethrower. It can mow down hordes of skeletons in a matter of seconds and in a wide radius (due to the sustained fire trail). Remembering how annoying they were in the previous chapter, this new weapon is a real godsend!
Dead State

This game really could have benefited from another six months of development - if not a year. The reason for this, is that it's the buggiest game I've played this year - and I played Wasteland 2. I'm not going to list every single bug, because they are literally everywhere, all the time. You can't go two minutes without running into a bug of some sort, be it minor or major. I had the Steam version and they've patched it four times already since they released it - the updates were automatic, but I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for those who have the GOG version. The patches have always been relatively small, which probably explains why it's even still so goddamn buggy. My favorite bug (though they've fixed it since) happened, when I was fighting a group of attack dogs once. Between biting, the dogs barked, which raises the noise level and attracts other enemies, such as zombies to the scene. During the fight the noise level rose up to 200 dB because of the barking. Two. Hundred. In comparison, a jet that's taking off, "only" makes around 150 dB worth of noise, and even that is eardrum rupturing. I really can't figure out why they chose to release the game in this state, when it's a 100% clear it's still unfinished: the devs couldn't have been blind to this.

Another issue I had with the game, is that it really overstays its welcome. It's so dull and repetitive; when you wake up each morning, here's how it always goes: 1. Deal with any complainers / listen to their hints of places to visit. 2. Assign tasks. 3. Gear up if you haven't already. 4. Go to a location. 5. Kill the zombies/humans there (btw, another thing that really needs fixing: zombies in this game stop being any sort of threat once you have acquired just a bit of armor). 6. Loot the place. 7. Return. 8. Repeat. I'm not going to spoil how many days there are in the game, but by the time it was day 30, I was already so bored. Anyway...I really can't recommend the game in its current state. It's just too buggy and some design choices are plain bad. Give it a year, then see how it has progressed: maybe it has become worthwhile then. As it is, it's easy to mistake it to a beta build, unfortunately. I had such high hopes...


Anyway, in other news: I think it's about time I wrap this year up because I don't think I have time to finish any more games. It appears I've made 72 entries this year to my list, which is here. I'm pretty satisfied with that number: that's an entry every five days or so, for one whole year...wait, should I be worried instead? Anyway, I've also kept a tally of which games I considered my favorites this year, so here's my top 5 if anyone's interested (my initial thoughts behind the link at each game):

#5 Dark Souls: Prepare to Edition
#4 This War of Mine
#3 Legend of Grimrock II
#2 Shadowrun: Dragonfall, a game made even better with Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut
And the #1 game of the year, is Divinity: Original Sin

Of course, I faceplanted into some rotten apples as well, so here's what I considered to be the shittiest games I encountered this year.
#5 Retro City Rampage
#4 Always Sometimes Monsters
#3 Unrest
#2 The Entertainment (nope, don't care if it was free)
And the biggest turd I played this year, the #1 stinker is ObsCure II. AVOID IT.

The year went by so fast. It feels like it was only moments ago when I was playing Tomb Raider: Underworld, the first game I played and finished this year. Thanks to Austrobogulator for once again organizing this thread: I hope to see a 2015 edition once we get closer to New Year's. Also, thanks to anyone who commented on these little "reviews" of mine throughout the year.
Zombie Shooter 2 - It's a Sigma Team game, which means it's full of hordes of zombies, including some that inexplicably have rocket launchers. It's definitely better than the first in the series, but it's not as fun as Alien Shooter 2 is. Alien Shooter 2 had more customization in the game and more varied environments. As to be expected with these games, you inevitably wind up in laboratories which make the game easier especially with weapons with good area of effect.

Having played through all the * Shooter games from Sigma Team, Alien Shooter 2 is the best one of the bunch, with this coming in second.
Played it in one go for the first time and it's really much more fun this way. Very good adventure, the only thing I would change is making it fully 2D. Ugly 3D models really don't fit that nice scenery.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, only took me 110 hours but I did it.

Thief (the new thief)

Jaws (NES)
Finished Meridian: New World. As I said in the Currently Playing thread, this is probably the best non-Blizzard RTS I've played.

Good: Interface is pretty intuitive, with most parts being explained in the first few stages along with plenty of tooltips. Controls are responsive, never had any lag issues at all. There aren't all that many units, but since you can give them a bunch of different weapons you still get a good variety in your army. All the units and weapons feel well balanced, and many have good upgrades that keep them relevant throughout a match. The pacing in a match is pretty good too, movement speed is just right and it takes a reasonable amount of time to kill units (more than in SC2 without being damage sponges). The campaign is pretty well done too. There are varied missions with a good progression of difficulty, with the exception of the last mission.

Bad: Two races that mostly mirror each other stopped being interesting in RTS a long time ago, and Meridian has only one race. Last mission is brutally hard - it took me longer to clear it than the rest of the game combined. Your units have an incredibly wide aggro range - if you have vision on an enemy, your units will readily run after it from more than a screen away. This makes it much harder than it should be to set up an ambush or keep your injured units out of the fight. Last thing I can think of: there is no multiplayer, only campaign and skirmish vs AI. Now I don't personally want to go multiplayer with this game, but it is a standard feature that people expect from an RTS.

Graphics & Sound
Good: Terrain and models all look great. Animations in-game are all smooth, though in cutscenes are a bit stiff. The music is great, mostly solid rock music with a bit of spacey-type music. Sound effects are all serviceable, being mostly guns, lasers, and explosions. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the voice acting, but at least none of it stood out as especially bad so that's a good thing.

Bad: I don't really have anything bad to say here. If anything I'd say that there isn't enough variety in the unit models, but that stems from the game only having a single race in it.

* Story is pretty run-of-the-mill sci-fi. Earth is overpopulated, you go to establish a colony on a different planet, and bad things happen.
* I ran into two crashes during my playthrough. The first was when a particular cutscene tried to play (I believe the one between missions 10 & 11) which was caused by my computer being set to Japanese locale. Setting it back to US English got around it, but I don't know if any other languages would have an issue. The second was a random out of bounds array crash that didn't reoccur.
how many have I finished this year,
Merry Xmas everyone....
Here are the ones I've recently finished:

Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition - This is one of my favorite shooters of all time and a game that I've sunk countless hours into. I hadn't played through the campaign in a long time, so I decided to roll through it. It's still so much fun!
Warpath: Jurassic Park - I'm a sucker for dinosaurs and this game has intrigued me for years. It's somewhat rare, so it took a while to find one, but I finally played it. It's a pretty standard fighting game and I was a little disappointed overall, but it was still fun.
Child of Eden - I had played through this game before, but wanted to give it another go. I don't like it as much as Rez, but it's still a fun and relaxing game to play.
BattleTanx - I purchased this game when it first came out and beat it in one day. I would go on to finish it a few times and would have considered myself pretty good at it back then. I was in the mood for a quick blast everything kinda game and this one jumped out at me. And boy have my skills gone downhill! I'm not sure if it's my aging fingers / reflexes or if my skills been dulled by the casual nature of games in the past 5-10 years, but this game hurt me pretty bad. I still enjoyed it though :)
Chasm: The Rift - Now this game has been on my list for a LONG time! I had it back in the late '90s, but my PC sucked and I wasn't able to play through it. I kept holding out that GOG might be able to get it, but I finally just broke down and bought a physical copy and used DosBox. It was surprisingly still pretty fun, though some of the levels / puzzles were rather confusing.
Cyber Speedway - I first saw this game on the sampler CD that came with my Sega Saturn back in 1996. It was only a video, but the game looked neat. Well, it only took me nearly 20 years to actually play it haha! It was a neat game and I'm glad I finally played it.
Valkyria Chronicles - I finished this game on PS3 and loved it. I was ecstatic when Sega released it on PC and even though I still have the PS3 version, I preordered it on Steam. This is a fantastic and really unique game that I'd recommend to anyone interested in a story-based strategy / RPG. I started a second playthrough, but I have too many games in my backlog right now, so I'll have to pick it up later.
Forza Horizon 2 - Out of all of the PS4 and Xbox One games I own, this is the one that truly felt "next gen". The production values were through the roof, the game is super smooth, there's tons to do, and it's just FUN! The last Forza game I played was the first one and even then I didn't play it that much since I preferred Gran Turismo 3.
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II - I hyped myself up too much for this one and I found myself to be a little disappointed and frankly, bored. I'm not sure how an action RPG like this can make me bored, but it did. It was basically the first game with new levels. I think I've been spoiled by Borderlands, Diablo III, Torchlight, etc, because 99% of the loot in these games is useless. Oh well, I'm glad I finally played it, but I don't think I'll play it multiple times like I did the first one.

Full List
Full List + Details
Nobake: Finished Meridian: New World. As I said in the Currently Playing thread, this is probably the best non-Blizzard RTS I've played.
Can't wait to start this one.