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Coelocanth: You bet. I did a short review Here. Should be spoiler free. Note that there will be spoilers in other posts in that thread though.
I see, thank you! :)
I always avoid that kind of threads to avoid spoilers, so I missed your post!
Just another question: if you had to compare PoE with the Infinity Engine games (and the NWN ones), what would you think the former does better, and what worse?
<span class="bold">S2: Silent Storm</span> (includes the expansion S3: Silent Storm Sentinels)

Silent Storm is a turn based strategy game with light RPG elements developed in Mother Russia by Nival Interactive.
Set during WWII, S2 will put you in the shoes of the newly appointed leader of a special secret service commando section either siding with the Allies (interpreting a Russian, an American or a UK citizen) or with the Axis (in this case you can be an Italian, a German or a Japanese).
Choosing a side will not make much difference, changing only the course of a few missions and giving you access to different (but equivalent) companions and service weapons; in the end, both factions will fight the same enemy and visit the same places.

Let's talk about the elements that make the game great: Silent Storm is pure, unadulterated realistic tactic fun!
The great game engine is so extremely well crafted and careful even to the smallest details to make even the most demanding simulation fanatic cry for joy: the environment is completely destructible, each object and weapon having a different penetration value; the arsenal is as vast as the weapons used from the 20s to the 50s were, spanning from pistols, SGMS rifles and mines to the legendary AK-47 assault rifle, each one being perfectly balanced and studied to react like the real-life originals with several different firing modes for each one; the projectile trajectory is calculated in real time (!!!), allowing the player to exploit ricochet and hitting multiple targets in line.
You can really manipulate the environment in any way you like to achieve your objectives. For example... those snipers on the other side of the building are giving you an hard time? Use a bazooka on the roof positioning yourself in their blind spot and crush them, rather than picking them up one by one with the very high risk of being hit to the head. Problem solved.

The game also provides a perfectly studied sound system: this will not only affect the enemies awareness and your stealth tactics, but it will also allow your characters (based on their perception) to “guess” the position of an enemy they cannot see and try to hit him anyway, sometimes even cutting trough thin walls with high penetration weapons.

“Sentinels” add several new elements: while in the main game you were working for your country, so you could have weapons, medicines and maintenance for free, this time you are on a smaller organization, and you need to find, pay and repair your equipment. This makes the expansion more RPG-ish, forcing a wiser use of the inventory and your reliance on “shops”.

The amount of actions the characters can deploy is impressive: there are six classes (Soldier, Sniper, Grenadier, Medic, Engineer and Scout), each one with its own peculiarities and special perks; the characters can move around in four different ways (run, walk, sneak and crawl), they can heal wounds to regain HP and treat injuries to eliminate critical effects, launch objects, trap doors, pick locks, defuse explosives, hide, snipe and many more.
Each skill can increase by using it, and after enough experience each squad member is allowed to select a class-specific perk.
Unfortunately, I have to move a major criticism to this aspect: character progression is not well balanced in the main game, requiring you a lot of effort an training for minimal results and making a few important skills almost useless. In the main game, you can level up a skill by using it 8 times; this means that while a few key abilities like shooting will not be significantly affected, other vital ones like medicine will always remain very low, giving you a lot of problems in the last missions and putting you against foes much more powerful than you could ever be.
There is a mod to overcome the issue (skill watchdog), yet if you intend to use it be warned: it makes the game way too easy, so in that case I suggest you to play it on the maximum difficulty setting.
Luckily, S3 completely solve this issue with a massive overhaul of the entire system and tying the speed of stats increase to your level and class: for example, a level 1 soldier character will need to shoot ten times to improve their shooting skill form 30 to 31, while a level 5 he will need to fire a single bullet; a medic will react the same way with medicine, but not with guns.

If all this is not enough, know that Silent Storm has tens, maybe hundreds of hours of gameplay, and the good design of maps, clever enemy AI (well, most of the times) and random encounters that can add a solid explorative element will make sure you will never get bored.

I'll add another thing, without going too much into the specifics to avoid spoilers: when you think you know everything there is to now about this game... the plot makes a strange twist, introducing a couple of new, unexpected elements and forcing you to develop new tactics. Some didn't like this aspect, yet I found it awesome.

The audio department has its highs and lows. While the sound effects and the music are very good, the tracks are very few and can get repetitive fast and the voice acting is absolutely terrible.
The actors don't even try to sound convincing, and the accents are so over the top to sound comical.
Really, just try to build a squad with Axis members and you'll see what I mean (also, I can safely state that they had absolutely no idea of how to use Italian words. “Confermare”? It is like saying “To confirm” rather than using “Acknowledged” or “Got it”!)
Another downside is that if you want to maintain a decent framerate you have to disable the shadows on nVidia cards: apparently, the updates made a mess with the rendering, and now the only way to keep them with more than 10 fps is installing a very old version of the drivers. I didn't try this solution though, as I needed the newer ones to run a few other programs; anyway, even without shadows the game is just as good.

Despite its several flaws, Silent Storm is one of the games I enjoyed the most this year, a true hidden gem that does not deserve to remain unnoticed.
If you are searching for an excellent TBS experience (I'd dare to say, very close to the legendary Jagged Alliance 2 or X-COM) that will keep you entertained for many, many hours, look no further: Silent Storm is the game for you!
I will warmly recommend it by awarding it with the Official Seal of Approval!
So many seals this year... I'm moved... sniff
Post edited May 11, 2015 by Enebias
Vampire Saga: Pandora's Box
Deadly Voltage: Rise of the Invincible

Every now and then I remember to check in at the Game Giveaway of the Day site (which actually gives away one or two games each week, and does other software on the other days). The site mostly offers Big Fish casual games; I've played a couple of pretty good ones in the past.

These two are both pretty run-of-the-mill, which, given how good casual adventure/hidden object games are getting these days, is really not enough to recommend them, unless you get them for what I paid. Both titles are from Russian publisher Alawar Entertainment.

Vampire Saga is the more interesting - and the more irritating - of the two. It's got a pretty good story, framed in 1950, with much of the game playing out in a set of flashbacks on an ocean-going ship in 1898, where the protagonist's grandfather once found himself in mysterious (and dire, of course) circumstances. The game's puzzles are mostly very simple, its fix-this solutions are fairly silly, and the hidden-object scenes are frequent and sometimes a little hard to finish. Happily, there's no penalty on using the hint button, except for an occasional jerky wobble in the cursor. Or, uh, so I'm told. By a friend.

Saga dates from 2009, and it's a little old in design and tech - resolution is fixed and the graphics, while quite attractive for the genre, are spiky. After you eliminate items from the hidden object scenes, if you come around for another pass the stuff you took is back, which always bugs me - I mean, I just took them, and here they are again where I found them in the first place. Oh well. Objects are scattered around without much regard to whether they would be in that setting in real life, and sometimes without much regard to scale, but so it goes.

More problematic is the ongoing run of mistranslations: I spent a while in one scene searching vainly for an elusive cabbage, until I finally clicked on the broccoli, which was one of the few green things in the galley. Ding! Guys, broccoli is not cabbage. Seriously. The devs also confound jars with clay urns, and I forget what it is that they call a stack of three pillows - it comes up twice - but whatever it is, that word only means "a stack of three pillows" to Russian translators.

Deadly Voltage came out in early 2013, and it is more modern in look and feel, but I found it bland. The player enters delivering an important package to a reclusive small city that no one has heard of, but the first stop is the lobby of the fancy hotel, which is down the way from the police station and near the hospital. You'd think a city with a hospital, a police station, and a hotel would not be that hard to find. The town is littered with broken retro-style robots and a few electrified crazy townspeople, and you need to track down the hidden scientist who is barricaded in his hidden lair, because - well, let's just say that you need to save the world, and we'll leave it at that.

The aim is definitely to hit an antiquey tube-punk gear-driven aesthetic, but the art style doesn't stand out enough to make the necessary impression.

This one is all about the hidden object scenes, which are constant but lack character - they are rendered in that standard HOG style, with many objects, like the souvenir Eiffel Tower, recycled from scene to scene to scene. As in Vampire Saga, objects recur when you return to an explored scene. Early puzzles are very simple, and as the game moves toward the end they get very fiddly. In several cases I understood what was required, but couldn't be bothered to actually match the flashing color bars or move all the tiles: I skipped two of the late-game puzzles, which is very unlike me. They just weren't that interesting, which is the problem here overall.

My friend tells me there's no penalty for using the hint button here either, ahem. While the translations are pretty good, I got hung up for quite a while at one point before I realized that the devs had confused bowties with butterflies. *sigh*

The games of 2015

Where to start? I can't say that it was the best thing that i've played this year or that it is my goty (something tells me that it will be Wolfenstein The old blood unless something good is announced for this year), it's a good game though (even if it still needs some patching).

I felt like the dificulty was all over the place, in some parts it's easy but in others is a real pain in the ass, i had more difficulty with some enemies (spoilers*hunters*spoilers) than with some of the bosses, especially the later ones that are really easy.
I've made some mistakes and shamelessly killed some enemies because i honestly thought they were enemies, especially one important because it looked like one of the regular enemies...

And the story... well... it was confusing, it's one of those dark and confusing tales that you need to dwell on the lore to get what is happening, hell, even the ending was confusing (and supposedly it's the better one)...

Eh, i'll say that even if i enjoyed my time with it it's not a game for me, i will probably end up buying the dlc (later, after my friends passed it and gave their opinions) but i'm not excited for it as the rest of the fans.
I finished shovel knight recently

I also got to the boss of spelunky but died in a stupid way during the fight
Master Levels for Doom II

Master Levels for Doom II is a collection of 21 mostly unrelated stages for Doom II, that weren't made by id themselves, but by various other authors. Nothing much to say about them, other than the fact that if you wanted more Doom II, Master Levels will do the job for you. However, there are some annoyances to be found here:
- If you fall to a damaging floor, you'll be unable to get back up and can do nothing but watch frustrated as you slowly die.
- There is no consistency between the levels, as to whether a type of floor is damaging or not. Imagine my surprise when I found out that a green sewage floor which was damaging me in one level, wasn't damaging me in another.
- Some of the stages are too large. Aside from lasting longer, you'll often find yourself unable to hit enemies from afar because the game's autoaim feature doesn't register them, but the enemies will be able to hit you.
- Some of the stages seem to have been made with mouselook in mind, as it can be tough to see what's under you at times.

Aside the above annoyances, Master Levels for Doom II won't offer anything spectacular to blow your mind. No new music, no new enemies, no conversions, nothing; just more levels for Doom II.

Full list.
Post edited May 02, 2015 by Grargar
Enebias: I see, thank you! :)
I always avoid that kind of threads to avoid spoilers, so I missed your post!
Just another question: if you had to compare PoE with the Infinity Engine games (and the NWN ones), what would you think the former does better, and what worse?
Wow, that's likely to be a long answer. I won't go into it here, and I can't promise I'll be ambitious enough to do so later, but if I get around to it, I'll post it for you.

Just finished The Banner Saga: Wow, really enjoyed the game. I'm becoming more and more of a fan of turn based combat and thought the combat in this game was fun and challenging enough for me in many of the battles. Loved the setting, and thought the story was pretty good as well - and I liked the presentation style of the story very much. Music was very enjoyable. I was skeptical of the art style, but it grew on me very quickly and ended up feeling it was beautiful. Very well done game.

Full List.
Just finished Gemini Rue. That was really, really great :)

Till the beginning of the year : Defense grid 2 (last steam game I will play because of KS essentially : contrary to the first which was great, this one was quite disappointing, won't follow the series), Kingdom rush (I get the hate it gets for the artstyle, but as far as tower defense and mecanic goes, it's awesome), space run (new tower defense style, the concept is interesting but the grinding bored me out of the game midway) and Primordia (absolutely great).

I'm going on a RPG spree now : aarklash legacy, shadowrun chronicles and expeditions: conquistador on the menu. Just before Shadowrun : Hong kong, Wasteland the classic and wasteland 2 GOTY version for the dessert :)
King's Quest. I played through this last night while seeing how it ran through the Galaxy alpha. I've finished it several times. It stumped me as a kid (that damn Rumplestiltskin puzzle!!!), but playing it now, the solutions always come back to me quickly and I just enjoy how open-ended it is. You have a mission and the only way to finish it is to wander around and see what's out there. It's a crude game compared to Sierra's later games, but I still find it entertaining.
King's Quest 2. Well, that was quick :) Just a general improvement on the first game. It's a little bit nicer looking, and it's still very open but also a little more directed because a big part of getting through it is through triggering events that allow you to access areas and do certain things you can't do previously.
Finished Castle of Illusions. It was a nice platformer... until the last levels and the final boss fight (which I skipped in the end) were checkpoints were not well placed and the final fight was not quite fair.

Full list here.
Gourmet Chef Challenge - Around the World

Half HOG, half mini-games. The first completion from my only order from gamersgate. It's my first HOG, so I have no frame of reference, but I enjoyed the time-wasting. :) I think it's listed at $10 and I couldn't recommend it there, even if you're into these types, but for a few bucks it's enjoyable. Short enough to not overstay its welcome.

full list
Post edited May 04, 2015 by budejovice
Just completed Ys II Complete. I enjoyed both Ys 1 and 2 and now I'm going to start Ys The Oath of Felghana.
Fallout 3: Broken Steel. It's just more of the same, same weaknesses and same strengths as the base game. I'm probably done with Fallout 3 now, the rest of the DLCs can go finish themselves.
NoNewTaleToTell: Fallout 3: Broken Steel. It's just more of the same, same weaknesses and same strengths as the base game. I'm probably done with Fallout 3 now, the rest of the DLCs can go finish themselves.
D: I was going to mention to you that you should play Point Lookout, but I didn't get around to it. I'd say that it's certainly one of the better parts of the game. But if you're done, you're done. I definitely know that Fallout 3 can get pretty tiresome.