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hucklebarry: Skyrim.

Fun and frustrating. They really deviated from the any-way-you-want-to-level approach from past games. If you level up via sneaking, lock-picking, persuasion, pick pocketing, restoration magic, etc... you will spend more time reloading from getting one-shot by mud crabs than you will playing the game.

Aside from the forced combat focus and the locking down of skills to prevent you from leveling a character in a way they don't want you to, its still a lot of fun to play. Quests, visuals, voicing, and content are all very well done.

I've yet to find a mod that satisfactorily solves the way Bethesda forces leveling upon you. But if you can finally just decide to ignore that (or I used a perk 'cheat' to allow to me round my character with skills I earned as in previous ES games) its a great fun game.

You don't really "win" in ES games, but after 200+ hours and 100% achievements, I'm uninstalling so I can actually play some other games.
I just hope they bring back levitation and super jump/agility for the next game. I miss being able to leap over mountains and fly around like an idiot. They kinda nerfed the skills in Skyrim.
Finished Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny. Still a good game even though some levels are a bit dull near the end. Level design is way better than in the last 3 episodes of Wolfenstein 3D.

Full list here.
Finished The Banner Saga yesterday.

I'm in two minds about it, while I love the story, the graphics and the setting and the battles are fun and have some interesting ideas (more on that in a moment) the fact that outside of combat the game plays out like a Visual Novel didn't appeal much, as it's not a genre I appreciate. While the story and characters were engaging, the choose wrong and you lose one of your characters or half your supplies (or even worse, lose something 3 chapters later because you made a bad decision earlier) element is a bit annoying.
Quite often it's not apparent what the outcome of your choice might be, or what the best course of action is. Sometimes you think you've chosen the best thing (and even get a positive text outcome) but you get no reward for doing so (whereas choosing badly almost always punishes you with a lose of supplies or clansmen). But even that doesn't make sense, as it's hard to see what your tally of clansmen and fighters actually does, I've played through the whole game and couldn't tell you if there was any benefit to having a larger caravan...
I will be interested to play through again and make different choices to see what effect it actually has on the wider story.

As for the combat, the other half of the game, it's mostly typical turn based tactical battles but with a few nice additions. You have two basic stats, strength and armour. Strength functions as both damage and health, so the more damage you take the less you can dish out, while armour is a traditional defence stat and reduces the damage you take from strength attacks. When attacking you can choose to attack your opponents strength or break their armour (making them easier to kill in subsequent rounds). You can also spend will points to increase your damage, move further or perform class specific special attacks.
While the combat does often boil down to breaking your opponents armour before finishing them off with a few powerful strength attacks the AI and scenarios presented are varied enough that it doesn't get overly repetitive.
I think it could do with a tiny bit of refinement, but it is mostly good fun.

All in all, apart from the some what arbitrary events and outcomes, it's a great game with a very well designed and realised world which I would heartily recommend.
I look forward to playing the sequel when it arrives.
darthspudius: Good review, should post it on the store page. It certainly beats the usual "I played this 20 yrs ago and it was the bestest thing ever!" :)
Thanks a lot, I did post the review to the store page but they have limit of 2000 characters so I had to shorten things down quite a bit.

If I had to write one of those en vogue one-liner reviews , it would be "I has played this the day before yesterday and it was the bestest thing since The Slicing of the Bread!"

Enebias: I agree. I was actually expecting awalterj's review for this particular game, since he always explains everything in detail and supports his opinions with neutral facts, so that even after reading his points of view everyone could still have a different perception of the matter; his reviews are much more useful to give an idea of the game than many professional ones and, most of all, those under the store pages.
Thank you, and very much likewise! Btw, your reviews are often about games I've been putting off and really need to get around to, e.g. Silent Storm or Edna & Harvey from a couple days ago. You confirmed one of my worries about the game needing an overhaul, that's one reason why I haven't played it yet but I realize there won't be such an overhaul anytime soon so I've decided to download it from my shelf and give it a go. I'm terribly behind with all the Daedalic adventures, so far I've only finished A New Beginning, Chains of Satinav and Memoria (plus Journey of a Roach and Alcatraz 1954 which are only published but not developed by Daedalic). I got stuck in Deponia 1 a long time ago and haven't continued due to lack of motivation, same for The Whispered World. Those German game designers have taken the obtuse logic of Sierra/LA and revived it with malicious glee. German designers used to stick to Bundesliga soccer manager games and build & conquer games at which they're pros but now that they've ventured into adventure territory, they're doing it with fanatical zest and loyalty to tradition (for better or worse). Deponia and The Whispered World have left me cold so far but I hope to regain motivation to complete them all.

Enebias: Half of them are simply ridiculous ("I played this in 1492 in co-op with Columbus while traveling to India", "I have the Steam version" - who cares, I'm inquiring about THIS one, not the original or those sold elsewhere!- "I like it, it has cats", "Good. 5 stars, would play again"), and the other half has to be excessively short due to characters limitation. I wish GOG allowed to post longer reviews.
Haha! I'll call the first group "1492 Columbus reviews" from now and, one sees those a lot indeed. The "I like it , it has cats" variety seems very popular on Steam as well as with people who like The Oatmeal style of humor (where one would have to write "I like it, it has cats. And lasorz".

And the "Good. 5 Stars, would play again" type of reviews has currently transformed into the "11/10 would use time-traveling toilets again" variety. It's a monkey see , monkey do phenomenon: If someone gets a laugh for it, everyone starts doing it. The Bubonic Plague has nothing on that.

I also wish that GOG would allow longer reviews, on the other hand it's a good exercise having to write something as short as 2000 characters. I find it an interesting exercise because if not limited, I'd go potentially go on forever and no ones wants to read forever. My first ever review was back in 2001 for Arcanum and it was 18'000 characters long and I really doubt I'd have been able to cut it down to 2000 characters. It seems that for every sentence one makes, one needs 3 more sentences to explain the first sentence in detail.

In some ways, I feel as if one would have to write differently for each person who reads it, depending on each individual's questions, priorities and concerns. Some people have clear no-go criteria such as "I'm out if there is blood & gore" or "I'm out if it's shorter than soandso many hours" and other people might want to know if the story is deep or if the ending is satisfying etc - which is difficult to address without giving spoilers.

awalterj: Stasis
fishbaits: Good review, thanks.

I`m curious though, what resolution is Stasis fixed at? Can it be played windowed/borderless too? If so, using BorderlessGaming could help with that.
Thanks for reading! There is no windowed mode as per the game's settings, you'd have to brute force it externally but I can't guarantee how that turns out.

Resolution is 720p - prerendered so no chance to increase and unlike Diablo where there are HD mods to at least increase the visible area, that wouldn't really make sense with these condensed room-to-room spaceship areas, it's not like Fallout where you can walk around large maps and a HD mod is good to have.
Crusader No Remorse could -really- benefit from a HD mod just for increased viewable area, I really didn't like having to shoot at security cameras that were outside the field of vision and there is a lot more walking and backtracking in Crusader than in Stasis where you progress slowly within relatively confined areas and the game closes off access to areas behind you so you never have to travel around more than a couple screens and there is no worry about forgetting something 20 rooms earlier.
Post edited September 03, 2015 by awalterj
Finished my first Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition game today. I don't understand those who say the EE is a rip-off doing what you can do for free with mods. I've played BG:Tutu endlessly (that is, using a mod to play BG1 in the BG2 engine), but despite all that's good about Tutu, I couldn't go back now that I've experienced how fluent the Enhanced Edition plays.

First there's the layout. The Enhanced Edition makes optimum use of the screen. In Tutu, many menu screens are quite small, surrounded by big black borders. In the in-game text field, Tutu uses a small font that takes up the full breadth of the screen, making for a very uneasy read, with your eyes having to move full left to full right, turning your head a quarter of the way around your neck for every sentence. In the EE, the text field uses a large easy font and uses only the middle 2/3rds or so of the bottom of the screen.

Then there's all the info on the character sheet that breaks down the numbers: how much of your To Hit comes from your class, from special abilities, from the weapon itself, the same for Armour Class and Hit Points.

But most useful of all is the icons that show what the next action is, the character will do. In Tutu and especially BG2 in its vanilla form, I often find myself giving the same order multiple times for one action, if in a frenzied battle I'm not sure if the order was already given or not and if a spell is still in the middle of being cast, if a character is just standing around doing nothing, or standing around waiting for his second in the round to start the casting. In Tutu/BG2 there's no visual clues to that, in the Enhanced Edition, you can check the action icon on the portrait.

Then there's small things like the quick-loot bar, with which you can easily see if there's things on the ground you still might want to pick up and pick them up without having to manually walk up to each pile on the ground.

The EE NPC's stick out a bit from the NPC's that haven't been enhanced for having side-quests and lots of dialogues, but by using the NPC1Project (which I have been waiting to get updated before I started EE) the gap is al little less.

All in all, money put in the Enhanced Edition is money well spent, even more so now with the experience of creating 3 Enhanced Editions under their belt, Beamdog has created an expansion that will tie the end of the BG1 story to the start of the BG2 story with an interlude with possibly over a hundred hours of play.
Battlestations Pacific (360)

Well it's this months first 360 GwG game, so i thought i'd have a quick look at it even though it's not really my style of game. I ended up playing fully through both the Japanese and USA campaigns and really enjoyed it.

Anyone looking for a highly realistic WW2 battle simulator should look elsewhere, even as far back as SSI's old Great Naval Battles. But Battlestations is a fun RTS/Action arcade hybrid, i enjoyed most of it except for maybe one or two tedious missions. Jumping around between the different aircraft and ship types in different missions really mixes things up. It did take me a bit to get used to the pace and the controls in the bigger combined operation missions, but after a slight learning curve it was all good.

The visuals were fine, especially the water effects and it ran fast enough and had no glitches or slowdown.

All in all i'd only list 3 negatives. The worst aspect of the game is the missions load SLOW, so patience is needed. The voice acting is hilarious...i think it may even be tongue in cheek...since every American commander sounds like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Johnny Rambo all rolled into one person.
Lastly, in the bigger missions where so much is going on you end up pretty much playing the game entirely from the strategic map like a standard RTS- it's hard to find time to actually jump in and control something directly.

But i liked it, and would like to know of any similar RTS/Action hybrid games as i'm not very familiar with the genre. I'll be coming back to this one sometime to play through again on Veteran difficulty.
Post edited September 04, 2015 by CMOT70
Project Eden

I admit I never heard about this game before joining GOG, then I sometimes heard community members calling it “a hidden gem” and decided to see if it was true. After playing it, I can say they were right.

Developed by the same company (Core Design) behind the much more famous Tomb Raider, Project Eden combines the mechanics of a third person shooter with the puzzle genre, combining them in a clever way that excellently balances action and intellect.
Set in an unnamed futuristic city, it brings back the Cyberpunk vibe by sending you, a team of UPA agents (a police section specialized in the use of any kind of technology), to the rescue of a few genetic scientist kidnapped by a gang. Your mission will bring you deeper and deeper below the surface, forcing you to progressively scout the lower level of the city, long abandoned after the population progressively migrated towards the new ones built straight above.
While descending from the clean and ordered heights to the forgotten ground level, you will notice not only the constant regression in technology, but also the different lives of the inhabitants of each level.

On the gameplay side, Core Design decided to keep everything as simple as possible without subtracting anything to complexity. Your squad is composed by four members: Carter, leader of the group, is the only one able to access areas requiring a special clearance and interview subjects; Minoko is the computer expert, capable of hacking and manipulating any kind of software; Andre's engineering skills are dedicated to repair any kind of broken object; Amber is a robot packing heavy weaponry and immune to any hazardous environment.
The four will need to combine their abilities to progress, sometimes acting alone, sometimes in different groups and sometimes acting all at once; even if each character has basically only one skill apart from combat, the tech-based puzzles are often surprisingly clever and will always require a good amount of effort to be solved. None of them will ever feel illogical, and success depends more on the combination of several different operations in the same zone rather than in a linear succession of small challenges.
The levels are few in number (only 11) but very large in dimensions and each one has a specific theme, so you can expect many hours of entertainment.
The combat is quite basic, consisting in the bare minimum a game needs to be called third person shooter; considering that all the different weapons (each of them having two modes) can also be strategically used to overcome the obstacles you will find, it is pretty clear they they are there more for the sake of the puzzle side of the game rather than for the fights.
The enemies come in many kinds, some of which you will surely not expect, and each one can be taken out by adopting an appropriate solution; while the concept works perfectly and despite all of PE's merits, the developers made a significant design mistake -infinite respawn. Unfortunately, in some (fortunately few) areas you will have to deal with endless hordes of minor annoyances, and this will get in the way of your progress, periodically requiring you to stop whatever you were doing to deal with them and loosing a lot of time in the process, especially since you will often have to recharge your weapon by finding the dedicated stations located in a few selected spots. Alas, no energy on the fly.
At least there is no game over, a detail that many players will surely appreciate: once one of your agents is killed, he or she will disappear from the field and regenerate at the closest medic station (the equivalent of a checkpoint) without breaking the flow of the game and without any loading time, an aspect present exclusively at the beginning of each level.

The sound is another serious problem: almost the entirety of the game has no music, and while this can actually be a strong point, allowing to focus the attention on the sound effects of the rusty and neglected environment or enemy movement I don't doubt some players will not be very pleased (I didn't mind that at all, to be sincere).
The same cannot be said for the abysmal voice acting, though, among the very worst I have ever heard in a videogame. Only Amber can be saved, and only because robots lacks expression; all the rest of the cast is atrocious to say the least, so much that I even wondered if they had serious reading issues. Each line is not simply bad, but painful to hear, especially during moments that would require a bit of pathos; as it is, it seems like a few first-graders decided to rehearse Shakespeare's Hamlet... with the results you might expect.

Anyway, despite its flaws, Project Eden is a great game almost unique in its kind that I cannot hesitate to warmly recommend.

Edit- A little addition: despite being from 2001, the game natively supports high definiton up to 1080p... but to dispaly it correctly in 16:9, you must select the 4:3 option. I have no idea of why this happens, I just know that selecting 16:9 will strech the image while 4:3 will keep it fine even for widescreens.
Post edited September 04, 2015 by Enebias
Enebias: Anyway, despite its flaws, project Eden is a great game almost unique in its kind that I cannot hesitate to warmly recommend.
Thanks for this review. This game has been on my wishlist forever. I guess I should finally get around to picking it up...
andysheets1975: Final Fantasy Adventure, aka Seiken Densetsu, the first game in the Mana series. I was feeling a bit bogged down in some of the other games I've been playing so I decided to start on this one, figuring it might give me something I could play as an occasional alternative, but instead it got its hooks deep in me and I ended up beating it in a couple of binges over the weekend.

It's an action-adventure in the style of the third Zelda game. I say third because unlike the original Zelda, which was completely open from the start and quite mysterious, this one has a fairly detailed storyline and characters you meet will always give pretty good directions on where you should be heading next. Usually that means going to a town, talking to someone, finding out you need to go to a dungeon and kill a scary monster and/or get an important item that will allow you to make it to the next place you have to be. It's all pretty easy to figure out EXCEPT for a couple of puzzles that are pretty obscure (it doesn't help that the game's text is so limited, so the "clues" can be very slight).

The controls are good - only rarely did my character do something I didn't intend - and although you have experience points and levels to gain, I never felt like I was grinding. If you're good at not getting hit, you can zoom up in experience very quickly if you're somehow running behind but that's really not a problem. It's a very well-paced game.

Graphics and music/sounds are good. Not amazing but they're about as good as you could get on the 8-bit Gameboy.
This game makes you buy keys, and doors re-lock when you move up or down a level, as I recall, together with a save-anywhere system. Good game in many respects, but my first childhood playthrough ended in baffled frustration.
Here are all the games I've finished so far this year. So include me! =)

Grey Goo
Ori and the Blind Forest
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III
Monument Valley
Magicka 2
Dying Light
Plague Inc: Evolved
BadDecissions: This game makes you buy keys, and doors re-lock when you move up or down a level, as I recall, together with a save-anywhere system. Good game in many respects, but my first childhood playthrough ended in baffled frustration.
Ah, yes. The two most important items in the game are the keys and mattocks, so anyone that plays it should keep plenty of them in inventory (I used the healing items early on, until I got magic, but didn't use anything else that wasn't a unique item). You eventually get the morningstar weapon, which makes the mattock redundant, but keys become even more important for the final dungeon and you might as well fill your entire inventory with them just to be safe.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
A fun point-and-click adventure game, I enjoyed it because it has humour, nice pixel graphics, and follows the plot of the movie fairly closely. However, it is not without its faults, particularly a lot of conversations where you need to use trial-and-error (with reloading) to pass. There are also certain critical items which you will need to pick up and you may not discover you need until later when it’s too late to go back! I consulted a walkthrough after I completed each section to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and went back to a previous save if required. Overall I’d rate it “OK”, not great, but recommended if you enjoy point-and-clicks and the Indiana Jones movie.
Post edited September 05, 2015 by 01kipper
Last night I finished Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia before I went to sleep.

The last boss (Dracula, as usual) was a piece of cake. Only the swarm of bats gave me trouble.
01kipper: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
There are also certain critical items which you will need to pick up and you may not discover you need until later when it’s too late to go back!
Wow, I always thought you couldn't run into issues like that in LucasArts adventures, but I guess Indy 3 was made before they had their design philosophy fleshed out?
01kipper: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
There are also certain critical items which you will need to pick up and you may not discover you need until later when it’s too late to go back!
Leroux: Wow, I always thought you couldn't run into issues like that in LucasArts adventures, but I guess Indy 3 was made before they had their design philosophy fleshed out?
There are lots and lots of issues with the first Indiana Jones game. It's one of the worst adventure games I've played. Luckily, they learned from their mistakes and went on to create some of the best ever adventure games - including the second Indiana Jones adventure game (which happens to be one of my all-time favourite adventure games.)