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Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - a JRPG I haven't played since I was a child.

Its an old-school Final Fantasy stripped down to the bare essentials. A hero, four elemental crystals, four fiends, a big bad behind it all, and not much else. Very short too, I cleared it in just under 9 hours over the last couple afternoons.

It was a fun little nostalgia trip for me, but probably too simple to recommend to anyone who isn't looking for that experience already.
I'm pretty sure someone just finished playing "GAME NOT ADDED TO ACCOUNT, PAYMENT CHARGED BUT NO HELP FROM SUPPORT"

I hadn't heard of that one, but the reviews suck. I think I'll skip it.
I finished Ultima 0, the free game, today. Ahh, classic games...
AI War Collection

A wonderful gift I got from Gnostic, thanks again!

At the beginning I planned this little review differently, with a lot of details and examples but then I've realized that important part of this game is discovering new things yourself, learning from each game and exploring vast universe of AI War. Therefore I decided to give a more general impressions with just a few examples so that I won't spoil any fun you should have from this game. It also means that some examples are not 100% accurate so please do not correct me if you see something and know that it's not really like this. I'm well aware but let us not spoil the game for people who haven't played it yet. And definitely they should :)

I'll start with the obvious thing: the game is difficult to get into. Right from the beginning you are overwhelmed by the number of units, types of ships, turrets, buildings, planets, units' stats, buttons, type of orders and so on. Yeah, the game is really complex but don't worry, you don't have to know everything right from the beginning. Start with tutorials, they will give you a rough idea how to play and then you will start discovering new features. After some time you will realize that despite the first feeling they are very well implemented and make the game incredibly deep and fun to play so I beg you here: don't let the first hours discourage you! Keep playing!

The second thing I would like to discuss is AIs themselves. As you can imagine the whole story of the game is that humanity is facing an extinction and has to fight against powerful AIs to survive. Right from the beginning you are informed that you shouldn't really discuss if AIs are cheating or not, is the game fair or not. The point of the game is to offer a challenge so AI controlled enemies are different then you and have different set of rules. I can guarantee that this concept works amazingly well and makes the game special. Even though AIs in most cases use similar units as you do their attack and defense mechanism are different then yours. At the beginning of the game they mostly neglect you but your actions can increase their suspicion that perhaps those humans are not as weak as they seemed to be. So you have to be really careful. Obviously you have to progress, conquer new planets, find artifacts and research new ships/weapons. But if you do it to fast they will send a huge army that will crush you immediately.

You can expect your fleet to be huge as units cap is rather non trivial. Not only there are many types of ships but you can research their upgrades as well. The thing is you are only limited per unit type per its level so when you research an upgrade you don't have to get rid of older ships to build better ones - both caps are completely independent so it's beneficial to get them all, even the lowest level ships (at the very least they can serve you as cannon fodder). As I've mentioned earlier this can be a bit overwhelming, especially because besides standard ships you can produce larger starships which can boost certain stats of your fleet and sometimes you will get even bigger units that will have special abilities. After some time you will learn how to command your whole fleet efficiently.

I've just mentioned that you can research upgraded versions of your ships so it's nice moment to mention how research works because it's rather nontrivial. In many RTS games you have to spend some resources to research things but you usually aim to research everything and it's not THAT important in which order you will get new inventions. Here however, knowledge is a separate resource on its own. Each planet you conquer can give you a limited amount of knowledge so have to plan carefully which inventions you should get first. Getting a new type/level of ship makes your fleet bigger and better but you should keep in mind that turrets are much better in defense because cap limit is not only per turret type per level (as it's for ships) but also per planet! So each of your planets can have the same defenses without limiting other planets. You can't do that with your ships! So at the beginning it's good to invest in ships so that you can conquer a few planets but then you should probably get some turrets because you won't be able to defend every planet you have with your fleet as you may need it elsewhere. Once again this concept works perfectly and you can use any strategy that suits you best.

In the end I would like to briefly mention one thing (without spoiling anything). The universe is very rich. It's not that you just conquer a few planets so that eventually you may destroy AIs. Many planets have some secrets, artifacts or other inhabitants that may help you. During the game you will get a lot of secondary objectives that fulfilling may be beneficial. The very good thing is that you can solve them as you like. Or even abandon them as soon as get something nice - for example you get a great super-ship that you are supposed to use in a secret mission but you may still decide to take the ship and use it against AIs and forget about the mission. It's really mind blowing how many things may happen while you explore the universe. I've played this game many times and I'm still finding completely new things.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the game. As I mentioned earlier, it's not that easy to get into it but then it's pure awesomeness. Just give it a try, struggle through the initial WTF-is-happening phase and you'll love it!

Full list
Impossible Mission (OpenPandora - C64)

More or less the grandfather of todays puzzle platforming.

Finally over 20 years after my early attemps I have finished this game.
I had to look up a youtube video to understand how you are supposed to solve the puzzle with the strange pieces given to you, all those years I thought youd just have to find the 4 fitting parts and put them in the box, it never occured to me, that I was supposed to staple them.
I used an unlimited time trainer, but now that I know how it works, I may replay it again someday with the time limit (although I usually don't like those at all).

The graphics and sounds are awesome for the time, movement is fluid and if anybody knows a jump'n'run for C64 with equally fluid motion, I'd be interested.

Full list:
Post edited December 26, 2014 by Klumpen0815
I finished The Blackwell Deception. It's a PC copy, but I played it on Android using AGS. AGS crashed quite a bit, but I feel that the game was still more playable than it was on my Windows tablet. The crashes did allow me to explore different dialogue choices, which I wouldn't have done otherwise, but they don't really affect the game.

I quite enjoyed the story, and I think that the puzzles are generally not that hard, but I have to admit I used a walkthrough quite a bit, partly because I play in a somewhat disjoint fashion (a few minutes here and there) and there's need to remember some stuff (which I couldn't), but mostly because I just enjoy more continuing the story than solving puzzles.

Now on to play Epiphany, but first I want to see the text after the titles. I missed it attending to my kids, and replaying the ending, AGS crashed, so I need to try yet again. I hope that Epiphany works well with AGS.
Shadowrun Dragonfall

Oh man, my love/hate relationship of the year... The game is really amazing and now i understand why people praise this one while dismissing the first one (but i still love both), it feels more complete, you do care what happens around you and with all the characters, the story is feels complete (on Shadowrun Returns was... mediocre, had a good start but midway it become really dumb and i lost most of my interest in the story) and it has a good pace, the game is long (+20h) and you want to continue to play.

What about the hate part? Well. the game is a broken mess:

Terrible performance
Bad Pathfinding
Saves went missing (Steam)
Getting stuck on the matrix and having to load another save
One character that was introduced into the game went missing after i restarted the level
At least one dialog is broken because it doesn't account previous events making it dumb what the person says
After killing "a boss" the game didn't' respond correctly to the commands (i took me 5m just to exit the level when that would only take 20s)

I'm sure i'm forgetting a few more...

Don't get me wrong, i love the game and i still recommend it but at the same time it just sad that such amazing game is tainted with so many bugs...
Gigantic Army

Meant to post when I finally get around to beating it on Normal, but doesn't look like that's going to happen this year so I'm just gonna count Easy for this. Fun run&gun that gets really hard.

Drox Operative

Well, I beat a bunch of the randomly generated sectors (scenarios) for what it's worth. The game has no actual story campaign, so I guess that'll have to do. It's not "Diablo in Space", it's "Din's Curse in Space". The lack of a story is really holding it back IMO, but that hasn't stopped me from putting 70 hours into it over ... the past week? That's not good. But hey, I'm no longer addicted to Marvel Puzzle Quest, so that's something, right?

Boo Bunny Plague

This musical hack&slash is really short (3 hours), the graphics are merely serviceable and the gameplay is meh. But the story & dialogue are hillarious and the musical numbers are great so I just can't not recommend it. On a sale.
Child of light - beat the game on Christmas day, damn was the game awesome, the art the unique gameplay which got a bit repetitive as you are keen or exploring then fighting monster. Regardless of what people say the game being easy, i found the combat pretty hard, if you avoid grinding. Overall a really must play game of this year
Klumpen0815: The graphics and sounds are awesome for the time, movement is fluid and if anybody knows a jump'n'run for C64 with equally fluid motion, I'd be interested.
I'm not sure if it really fits to your description but Dead Zone was the first thing that came to my mind after reading your request for recommendations. And it has really nice music ;)
AgentBirdnest: I've read almost every post in this thread. It is the best source for reviews that I know of.
The reviews and opinions here tend to be pretty level-headed.
damien: I also read almost every post for the exact same reason. I find the more unbiased and helpful even much more so than game reviews on GOG game profiles.
This! I am always looking over this thread and reading the reviews here, normally they are very helpful :-)
Hey, just a heads up: someone else will have to continue this thread next year. I've had a good term as President of the Games Finished thread, but I think it's time for someone else to take over in 2015.
Gabriel Knight 20th anniversary (27th december 11:40am)

It looks better than the first one but there are a lot of weird movement bugs. I have had gabriel's private parts really close to his grandmothers'' mouth. The police walk is completely taken out and a few added things do hurt the game.

I recommend the first one over this one any day
I started and finished <span class="bold">Puzzle Agent</span> yesterday. Great game! Short, but very easy to handle, thus pleasant and relaxing. And so humorous! I was smiling or laughing the whole time playing it. Now I wish I got my hands on Puzzle Agent 2.

If you can - try these games! No regrets, lots of fun!
I had a good start this year, clearing a number of lengthy RPGs out of my backlog, but now I'm so busy I can barely find the time to play anything. I've only beaten three games this month, and their common theme is 1) short and 2) on the Playstation Network so that I could play them for an hour at a time on my Vita between other things, instead of sitting down for a lengthy session.

Jumping Flash
(PSN, originally on the Playstation)
Played this game as a kid; you play as a robot rabbit, and the "gimmick" is height; getting to locations high above the map, etc. It's a fun enough game. Six worlds, three levels, one of which is a boss. There are a few indoor levels; baffling that someone thought a game about jumping and getting to high locations needed tunnels and low ceilings. After you beat the game, you can play it again with objectives in different locations, or harder enemies, or something. I didn't like it enough to play it a second time, even if I had the time to.

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side
(PSN, originally on the PSP)
I have a soft spot for visual novels. You play as a teenage girl (shocking, I know) trapped in an amusement park with a bunch of hot guys (even more shocking!) by a lunatic in a pig suit who's rigged the place to explode if you don't win a serious of deadly games that he's set up. Interesting concept. Being a visual novel, you pick a character to latch onto, and choose dialogue options that will make him happy. The first few chapters are shared across all the characters, but once a certain point is reached, each path turns unique.

There's a lot I like about this game. I like the story, the characters, and the ability to lose your temper and resolve conflicts by screaming the other person into submission. But even with the story branching depending on your choice of characters, my goal of seeing all of the character paths ended up being pretty excruciating. The stories aren't always different enough, and all the "main" paths end up without things being really resolved or explained (although the player should be able to figure out the villain's motives, even if the characters are clueless). Then (light spoilers) there's an extra path, unlocked by beating the game. It's a short path that explicitly tells you what's going on and who the villain is, but by the end of all the main character paths, "Count Hogstein" has been established as such a complete scumbag that the game waving it's arms around and screaming "But he has a TRAGIC BACKSTORY! And also it turns out that he's really hot!" is not terribly convincing.

Hotline Miami
PSN, 12/27

This game is basically the polar opposite of a game like Sweet Fuse. A predatory stealth game where a man in an animal mask commits mass murder in accordance to cryptic instructions he receives on the phone, it's pure gameplay with a smattering of plot compared to Sweet Fuse's pure plot with a smattering of gameplay; I believe there's a place for both those things. I died and died, again and again--one hit, you're dead--but the challenge was immensely rewarding. It did feel like the AI was a crapshoot from moment to moment; an enemy that spotted and shot me one playthrough as I dashed past a window might ignore me the next time.