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i just ended dust an elysian tale.

Being a fan of the castlevania saga was really happy to play this game, the engine in which the game is built is top notch.

i was digging a little bit and it was made on xna, too bad it was closed by microsoft. This game was prior to the craze of indie developers i think . With a platform like xna, microsoft could have been a safe haven for indie developers.

Since i´m mostly a pc gamer i dont know if summer of arcade is still a thing, but i remember being very jealous for all of the great games that came out. Eventually most of the games came out on pc so yeah for us.

Is there any news about the guy that made Dust? it´s a real shame that didn´t continue with more elysian stories. he create a lot of content for this, i like even fidget at the end.

Great game
Post edited April 11, 2015 by martigasin
Tomb Raider II

Firstly, let's get the negative stuff out of the way - horrible textures, completely filled with glitches, and a bunch of questionable design decisions.

Luckily though, the core (heh) gameplay is solid. Just like the original game, once I got into it, I really got into it. There's something about deliberate Prince-of-Persia-1-style movement that really appeals to me. I also really enjoy games that leave you to your own devices and let you figure stuff out yourself.

If you've played the original Tomb Raider, well, this is more of the same, except this time, less DOS and more boob polygons.

To summarise - I really enjoyed it. You probably already know if you want this or not: can you look past a lot of jank? Do you like very deliberate movement and unguided exploration?

Super important:If you plan on playing Tomb Raider II, use F3 to change resolution. There's no mention of it in game. Sadly, I only discovered this on the second last level. I'm sure it's probably mentioned in the manual, but I have a tendency to ignore manuals...
martigasin: [...] Being a fan of the castlevania saga [...]
Have you already tried Valdis Story? It is probably my favourite game in the genre!

I wrote an overly long and questionably correct (grammar-wise... I wrote it around 11 p.m. :P) review here a few days ago with my opinions about it, if you are interested.
martigasin: [...] Being a fan of the castlevania saga [...]
Enebias: Have you already tried Valdis Story? It is probably my favourite game in the genre!

I wrote an overly long and questionably correct (grammar-wise... I wrote it around 11 p.m. :P) review here a few days ago with my opinions about it, if you are interested.
never heard of this game, wow looks really good. i like the graphics, has like cleaner, smoother 16 bit style.
its on my wishlist.

Thanks for the recomendation. i will check it out. if it has your seal of aproval i´m sure it´s worth it.

Personally i did not enjoyed the lord of shadow game, it look´s like a bad clone of god of war, Dmc, etc.
i can´t judge too much because i only played half of the first one, but for the reviews i read, they are not very good.
martigasin: Personally i did not enjoyed the lord of shadow game, it look´s like a bad clone of god of war, Dmc, etc.
i can´t judge too much because i only played half of the first one, but for the reviews i read, they are not very good.
I did enjoy them (well, I cannot say about LoS2, since I have yet to play it), though they are certainly far away from "Iga's standards".
There are a few common misconceptions concerning the LoS series: first of all, even if it was clearly made to appeal to a certain audience, it did not copy God of War, just like the new Thief didn't copy Dishonored. It could be the other way around, actually.
The awful Castlevaina 64, Legacy od Darkness and Lament of Innocence preceded God of War (and DMC, for what concerns the first two) and they had similar gameplay, so LoS actually brought back a trend the series abandoned years before.
Granted, in any case not liking it is perfectly legit! ;)

To be fair, even the overly praised (and also quite overrated, imo) Catslevania: Symphony of the Night received lots of hate from the original "hardcore"-sidescrolling-action for being completely different from the previous standards, being extremely easy, borrowing Metroid's mechnaichs, resorting to cheap tricks to boost gameplay lenght like the excessive backtracking and the "inverted castle" and replacing the old soundtrack style with an "orchestral" one.
That does not make it necessarily bad, just different.
Objectively speaking, using the same parameters the "haters" used to judge LoS, this latter one is by no means a "less true" Castlevania than their beloved post-Playstation installments. If everyone were to reason like that, the last chapter should have been Rondo of Blood.

The only real critique I could move to the series is that it fossilized itself after 1997, recylcing SotN assets for nearly a decade!
Lords of Shadow was imo a breath of fresh air.

Personally, I never trust the reviews; I tend to judge after my personal experience, and when in doubt I prefer to search for opinions in communities like this one rather than on gaming magazines or sites.
I found them ridiculously biased -and also quite uninformative- even before the whole gamergate scandal!
Post edited April 11, 2015 by Enebias
Death to Spies

There are not many "hide in plain sight" kind of games around; crafting one is surely not simple, since to make it playable the developers need to allow a certain degree of freedom and avoid to force their solutions on the player like in a puzzle game.
Though deeply flawed, Death to Spies manages to find balance between wild interactivity and clear, fixed objectives.

Set during WWII, you take the role of Captain Strogov, an elite member of the SMERSH (an acronym literally meaning "death to spies" in Russian, if I'm not mistaken), the USSR counter-intelligence service; unlike in other stealth games, this time your duty does not mainly revolve around gathering new information or eliminating enemy targets, but it rather lies around recovering stolen data while finding traitors and security leaks and dealing with them.
Like Agent 47 you are a master of disguise, and if you know Hitman you already know what to expect in that regard: the system is clearly inspired by and basically identical to IO Interactive game, but imo a bit more refined.
Whenever you knock out or "cleanly" kill a NPC, you can take his uniform; once you do it, you have to make sure to change your equipment accordingly and you'll have all the privileges and restrictions that your rank allows. Unlike in Hitman, bullet or knife wounds will damage and soil the clothes with blood, making them completely useless for stealth purposes.
To make a practical example: if you stun a Nazi officer with clorophorm, you can wear his induments; you'll have to make sure to bring German standard weapons with you, or everyone will notice your foreign equipment and raise the alarm; once you do it, you still have to be careful and avoid higher rank officers or partol leaders, since they know every face and can see trough your mask; also, you cannot have access to all areas, and even a General unfirm will not allow you a free pass for everywhere.

The vast amount of different possible combinations of items and actions is immediately evident and a proof of the game high complexity.
Talking about equipment, there is plenty to look at: not only a good number of historically accurate firearms from both the Allied forces and the Axis, but also grenades, lockpicks, lethal or non-lethal poisons, pliers, first aid kits, chocke cords and many others -vehicles included- each one having its own efficiencies and deficiencies.
You character can move both rapidly and slowly in four different positions (stand, crouch, crawl and sneak) that affect both the enemy's range of detection (composed by a coloured zone of instant discovery and a wider, progressively raising "suspicion" one) and the amount of noise your movements produce. The NPCs are painfully perceptive, so you will have to carefully consider distances, visibility and timing of your actions.

During the 10 missions you will have to frequently change your plans and adapt to each situation, avoiding tedious repetitiveness and eliminating each kind of "always winning" tactic.
I warn you: Death to Spies is not a game for everyone. Its very high level of challenge (at least on par with that of Codename 47) will require a good amount of patience, and many moments require absolute precision and flawless execution.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides, too: unlike Mr. 47, your abilities in combat -exception made for knife throwing, a real godsend in many situations- are not superior to the average soldier, and considering the fact that you are constantly outnumbered starting a fight will almost always result in your death, essentially turning each non-silenced weapon into a useless tool. Finishing this game guns-blazing is impossible, so you don't have complete freedom.
Also, sometimes a few actions require really too much precision, leading you to a quite frustrating frequent reloading.
Moreover, the base version of the game is censored (exception made for the origianl Russian version): give a look to these [url=]pages for an easily usable mod that resores the original content while fixing a few bugs and trnslation errors.

All in all, Death to Spies is a very good game, and it will surely bring a lot of fun to those willing to fogive its sometimes nasty flaws.
I am surely interested in playing the sequel, Moment of Truth (please vote for it, if you think it would be worth it): DtS has a lot of potential, and if the developers managed to improve the formula addressing the issues I mentioned I'm sure the sequel could be a little masterpiece.
Post edited April 12, 2015 by Enebias
I *THINK* anyway - I mean I beat the end boss and saw the credit roll but it lets you go back and find more secrets and cards, apparently there's a 50 card gate but only 49 cards in the game or something?

Anyway - very nice surreal, pixel art Zelda-like that feels more like Mother / Earthbound at time, a dream-like homage to 16bit Nintendo, just don't expect everything to be explained neatly at the end or anything...
Recommended all the same
Fever_Discordia: Anodyne
How did you ever manage to get past those jumping trials at the end? Did they fix the mechanics at some point or do I just suck that badly? I used to love the game up until they introduced those jumping pads which went from nuisance to game-breaking for me. You have my eternal respect for skillfully overcoming what looked like a terrible bug or design flaw to me!
Fever_Discordia: Anodyne
Leroux: How did you ever manage to get past those jumping trials at the end? Did they fix the mechanics at some point or do I just suck that badly? I used to love the game up until they introduced those jumping pads which went from nuisance to game-breaking for me. You have my eternal respect for skillfully overcoming what looked like a terrible bug or design flaw to me!
The accelerator pad / travellator thingies? Do you mean the first time you come across them in the 'Circus Dungeon' or, after you've opened the 36 card gate, in the snowy area to the right?

I remember there's some parts in the Circus area where you have to run along left traveling ones, onto downward travelling ones and go off a a weird diagonal angle to get over a large gap

Or in the snowy area, there was a part that gave me trouble despite looking fairly innocuous, where you have to jump down the screen from one conveyor pad to a one square conveyor with chasm all around while there's rollers going left and right too - I kept slipping off the second pad until I realised that you have to be careful to let GO of the stick / down button before you land! Then it's like having a 2 square chasm jump, unaided

Dunno if they patched them to make them any better at any point though - their activation DID seem a bit hap-hazard though...

Worth sticking with because the final boss fight with Brier is actually quite cool - with a 'puzzle' aspect to it - I never would have worked it out without looking at youtube though, admittedly!
Post edited April 12, 2015 by Fever_Discordia
Afterfall Insanity Extended Edition.

A bit of an odd game, it's supposed to be a horror game but it's not very scary save for one or two brief moments, and ends up feeling like more of a solid but shallow beat 'em/ up (and occasionally a over the shoulder shoot 'em up) featuring mutants and ghosts. I honestly feel like the first half of Afterfall Insanity was very mediocre but the second half really picked things up and made it entertaining and well worth the time wasted to get there.

The melee is the meat and potatoes in the game as ammo is scarce until late levels, and it's fairly well done. There are a ton of melee weapons to choose from, fire axes, sledgehammers, regular hammers, crowbars, steel pipes, cattle prods, saw blades and more.

Each melee weapon is slotted into one of two categories: heavy weapon or light weapon, and the moves available are based on that instead of the actual weapon, however there is very little control over what move you're doing anyway, you just point and click until the enemy is down. The might sound boring, but the combat is just gory enough to keep it fresh, and as a whole it feels just feels solid despite the lack of depth.

Guns are your typical pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, with around three guns per type. The gunplay is solid and even the weakest can pack a nice punch, however the general lack of ammo means you'll be using your guns to take down the big baddies and taking on everything else with melee.

Enemies are fairly interesting (although not really original) visually although never much of a threat, and there isn't a huge variety. Another weak point is that they all act basically the same way, so the only real difference between enemies is their character model and what weapon they have.

The true enemies in the game are the puzzles, most are very poorly explained and worse, timed! None of them are actually that hard, but you're forced to basically figure out what you're supposed to do and how to do it all while racing a clock and getting to an area where you can actually solve the puzzle. The game likes starting the countdown while putting an obstacle (IE: having to power on an elevator so you can reach the area where the puzzle actually is is) in your way, so with most you automatically can kiss a half minute away (out of usually three minutes).

Speaking of that, level design is generally uninspired, a lot of backtracking is to be found. Later levels really work to fix that, but the first half of the game is Doom 3-esque.

Story wise it's not especially good overall (typical throwaway post apocalyptic stuff) but at the same time it gets really entertaining if you're willing to sit through the first half of the game, if only because the game just stops taking itself seriously and starts getting weird and unhinged (in the best way possible). You'll dine with cannibals, survive a plane falling from the sky and have your mind blown by the plot twist that blows your character's mind too. Dialogue itself is a bit stilted but passable.

The atmosphere is mostly poor in the first half of the game thanks to being stuck in generic maintenance areas and poor use of lighting, it's both bright and dark at the same time and there is never any tension thanks to enemies A: announcing themselves and B: being weak. The atmosphere in the second half of the game is greatly improved, the lighting gets sorted, and the environment gets more interesting as do the enemies.

The sound work is well done musically and for the action (including combat) sounds, however the voice acting is all over the board. I personally like the main character's voice and a few side characters, but some important characters have nails on chalkboard type voices (looking at you, Karolina).

Graphically everything looks good save the terrible lighting in places. Character models are especially nice, everything is nice and detailed.

All in all I have trouble rating Afterfall Insanity Extended Edition as anything other than slightly above mediocre but just below good. It does have some bright points, the second half of the game is really fun but the question is, are you willing to spend four hours being just slightly above bored to get to the second half of the game?
Fever_Discordia: The accelerator pad / travellator thingies? Do you mean the first time you come across them in the 'Circus Dungeon' or, after you've opened the 36 card gate, in the snowy area to the right?
I don't remember the exact place but it wasn't the first occurrence. I never thought the jumping pads worked that well, but in the beginning I was still able to deal with them, even with the diagonal jumps, as annoying as they were. But ten there's this sequence of two or three rooms of just jumping over gaps, possibly with ice tiles in one of them on top of it? But I already have big troubles with the first room where you need to jump onto a small ledge at the bottom right of the screen and then jump north from there, and that ledge is just two tiles long: one regular floor tile to stand on and one accelerator pad, no place to take a running start. And it sounds simple enough, but I just don't manage to do that jump in more than 80% of cases and it drives me nuts. I abandoned the game there, and each time I took it up again after several months, I despaired anew. These mechanics just feel so unresponsive and imprecise, almost random ...
Post edited April 13, 2015 by Leroux
I kept meaning to post an update here and now I have a fairly large list of completions to report :D I'm up to 51 for the year so far! (But to be fair, I'm targeting a lot of short games.)

Zoom! - I had never heard of this game until I stumbled across it online a few months ago. It reminded me of Qix and Fortix, so I decided to pick it up. Needless to say, it had me hooked from start to finish!
Future Cop: LAPD - I played the demo for this game back in high school when it first came out and it just slipped off my radar for oh, 15+ years or so! I would occasionally look it up online to try and purchase a used copy, but kept hoping GOG (or anyone) would offer up a digital release. But alas, I finally caved and bought a big box copy and it was worth it! Though this game had some jarring difficulty spikes, it was really fun all around.
The Great Waldo Search - I borrowed this from a friend waaaay back in the day on the Genesis. I was probably a few years too old for Waldo then, so you can imagine how unbalanced it is for me now ;) I finished it in less than 10 minutes and I wasn't even trying to rush! Oh well, nostalgia overload.
Shelter - To be honest, I knew nothing about this game. I had seen it pop up in stores and stuff, but had no idea what it was. I was looking through my library one day and decided to look up info on it and realized it was about surviving the wilderness as a family of I immediately started playing it! I was really pleased with this game and can't believe it took me so long to try it out..
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures - Alright, yes, I'm a 33 year old male and I'm playing a game that requires you to buy toys. Now that that's out of the way, let me say that I thought this game was fantastic! It was a little on the easy side, but hey, it's for kids, right? It had me hooked in the same way Diablo, Dungeon Defenders, etc hooked me: the constant grind for more stuff! I just started playing the second one yesterday.
Virtua Cop - This was one of three games I got with my Sega Saturn back in 1996 and it was the first one I finished. I hadn't played it in soooo long, but man, I love it! I felt lazy and didn't pull out my CRT to use the Stunner gun, but that's okay, it was still great.
Die Hard Arcade - Sadly, I had Die Hard Trilogy in high school and not the vastly superior Die Hard Arcade! I finally picked this one up a few years ago and it's a great game to play every once in a while.
Ziggurat - I'm not a huge rogue-like fan because I hate hitting a wall where I can't seem to progress any further, but this game felt juuuuust right to me. And boy was it addictive! I'm definitely going to give it another whirl.
Ray Tracers - This is another game I thought looked interesting in the '90s, but I'm just now getting around to playing. It wasn't very long and I completed it in one sitting, but it was a blast.
Postal + Special Delivery - I beat the base game back in high school and it's just as crazy as it was back then. I sure wish I could get into the second one...
They Breathe - Here's another indie game I knew nothing about, but decided to load up somewhat randomly. And once again, I was pleasantly surprised! This is a short, but very satisfying indie game.
Muffin Knight - Meh, this game was a weird one. I didn't really care for it that much, but for some reason I couldn't stop playing haha!
Dungeon Defenders - This is one of my favorite games in the past few years and it had been a looong time since I played it. I started with a new character and rolled through the original levels. And yep, it's still awesome.
God of War II - Hey, look at this, I finally finished this!! I thought this one was a little more balanced than the first one.
Back to the Future (NES) - Ugh, what a terrible game! But I love it! My neighbor had this when I was growing up and we played it a lot. So I blame nostalgia for having me play this damn game.
Blood: Plasma Pak - Blood is one of my favorite FPS games of all time, but I've never actually played the expansions. I thought this was a pretty solid set of maps. Cryptic Passage, you're up next!
Maximum Force - And here's another "not very good" game. This would've probably been better with a lightgun, but again, i was lazy.
Gitaroo Man - I finally shelled out the cash to pick this one up and oh my was it worth it! It was challenging, but not frustrating. I'm a metal head, but I'm not afraid to say I enjoyed the soundtrack on this one :)
Avengers - This is an okay arcade game that I had never heard of until I played it on the Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 set.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - I'm not totally sure I understood the mechanics, but I think I had fun? The artwork was fantastic though.
1941: Counter Attack - Woohoo, I finally beat 1941! This was a fun game, but a little hard to play after so many great shoot 'em ups have been released since it came out.
Black Tiger - Ugh, this one was rough! It had some neat ideas, but some aspects were too damn frustrating. Like the jumping. If I didn't have infinite continues, I don't finish this one, it's that simple.

Full List + Completion Times
Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret is a quick dip into a still, ancient, underwater world. It's little like Amerzone with more water and hidden objects, which makes it a happy light entertainment for, say, downtime at work, which is where I played it in 15- and 20-minute slices. My 3.7 hours in the game involved reminding myself where I was and what I was doing since I wasn't playing straight through, and I reckon an average player would complete it in three hours.

The game is a pretty slide-show exploration adventure set in a deserted underwater habitat called the Ark, where you are awakened at the beginning with little memory to explain why you're there and, of course, with a destiny to discover. This is pretty much par for the course, but happily the voice acting is fairly subdued and the plot is delivered calmly, so the routine nature of the story doesn't compete against the pretty scenery.

You're met early on by Jacob, a disembodied voice that will come to you from time to time over your little handheld device thingy (map, clues, and collections) with encouragement and vague instructions. He tells you to collect the three parts of a family artifact, and you're off through a trio of giant, partially-collapsed pavilions. A furtive little-girl voice will join in later, and she and Jacob push and pull for your trust until the end.

The art is beautiful, and not especially detailed. It's pleasant to push through and ultimately feels like an inert high-fantasy world of science, though without the splashy excesses of, say, Rapture. There isn't much to explore - the eye captures each screen quickly unless there are puzzles present - but I thought from the bones of the design that the game idly aspired to Myst as an influence, rather than entirely embracing its hidden-object heritage.

Still, it is absolutely a casual game, with none of the crazy-making that kind of ruined Myst for me back in the day. You'll push a button in one scene, activate an orb in another, collect a few stray inventory items here and there, and move similarly through the peaceful scenery at a good clip. The game introduces an "Area Finished" star icon that displays in the upper left of each screen when all actions there have been completed, and it's a great convenience. Less usefully, it awards you with flowers when you finish puzzle segments, and you're meant to collect them all, but since they arrive automatically as you progress through the story and don't do anything but sit on their collection page, it's easy to forget that they are there.

This is the first of a trio of games, and a flurry of action at the end contains a satisfactory reveal, as well as putting the player into position for part two.

Incidentally, one of the two female voices in the game, and I don't know which because credits, belongs to Lucy DeCoutere, who plays Lucy in the Canadian TV and movie series Trailer Park Boys - she has, sadly, been in the public eye as one of the assault victims of Jian Gomeshi, the ex-CBC radio guy.

The harvest to date
Post edited April 13, 2015 by LinustheBold
moho_00: Muffin Knight - Meh, this game was a weird one. I didn't really care for it that much, but for some reason I couldn't stop playing haha!
Have you played Super Crate Box? It's free and it's the same concept, but better.
Half-Life 2: Episode One (hard)

I liked it more than Half-Life 2. It felt more focused, without any tedious and unnecessary gameplay moments. I also found the graphics considerably better. The negative side is the game is even more linear, stuffed with scripted scenes. At the end, I think this is a more polished game than the original, although pretty short.

PS: Alyx is hot

damien score: 8/10

List of all games finished in the last years with best and worst games played in each year