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Ultima Underworld I, today. A great game. I'm happy I can still play gems like this here. Thank you Gog.
Kingdom Hearts 258/2 days (5th June 8:50pm)

Great game. I hated roxas in KH2 but he is quite likeable in this one. Gameplay is good and just overall great game
Dragon Age Origins

Mostly a great game from Bioware. The only bad part was The Deep Roads that was very boring - and it goes on for way too long at about 10-15 hours of non-stop combat. The game also has some crazy difficulty spikes that can be annoying. But other than that it is a great RPG in the style of Baldur's Gate. And you will get your money's worth since it took me about 90 hours to finish including some DLCs. Great game!
Dream Chamber
This game was completely boring. It's a shame, because it has some nice ideas I've never seen in an adventure before (like dialogues with your own subconscious or conversation in form of a attack-the-castle minigame). But unfortunately the developers weren't able to create an interesting story or characters you'd care for.

The best thing about the game is the soundtrack and the fact that it is very short (about three hours). It ends with a cliffhanger though and I don't think there will ever be a sequel.

Complete list of finished games in 2015
The Wolf Among Us

The first time I tried it, expecting to like it, I was actually kind of put off by how it started. I hadn't read any of the Fables comics before, and that wasn't a problem as such, but it made me a little less invested in the characters and settings, and the way the first episode starts didn't do too well in introducing me to them - I mostly perceived it as one awfully long WTF QTE sequence of two guys smacking the shit out of each other, without giving you any explanation as to why this is happening and why you should care. I quit right after that, and put my playthrough on hold for several months and almost forgot about it.

Then, at some point, I started to read the comics and got hooked on them. I didn't read a lot yet, just the first 22 issues, but it made me want to give The Wolf Among Us a second chance. I started from scratch and played through it in a couple of days. And I liked it a lot. The music, the voice acting, the art direction, the overall cinematic presentation is fabulous, and I felt it was quite faithful to the spirit of the comic series. I thought the writing was on par with the original series, too; maybe quite a bit more cursing than I remember from the comics, but still pretty nice. To me it was a perfect adaptation of the source material, and while I'm generally critical of Telltale as a company, I really have to give everyone who worked on this game credit for that. They did a great job, and if they'd make a sequel, I would buy it again. It was at least as much fun as watching a great TV series, and because of that I didn't care a lot about how the gameplay was, because it was really entertaining even when I was just watching.

The gameplay is limited, of course, but I feel it suits this type of story-telling experience. And the choices really added to the fun and immersion (although my favorite choice was often not to say anything and leave them hanging, just giving them a stare :D). Sometimes it wasn't quite clear what the choices meant and I went with something I didn't really want to do, because it looked like there were no alternatives or I misinterpreted it, but that just made it more lifelike, I guess. ;) The adventure gameplay - walking around and interacting with hotspots - was serviceable enough, it's not particularly interesting but it adds the illusion of freedom, doing things in my own order and my own time. The 'inventory' thing only appeared sporadically and didn't seem to serve much of a function, that was a bit weird, but it wasn't too distracting either. I actually thought that the worst part of the gameplay was the most 'active' one, the QTEs during action scenes. They weren't hard, they weren't fun, they were only annoying. I understand that they're meant to convey the tension and involve the player in those moments when the going gets tough, but hammering onto random buttons just doesn't do it for me, and like I said, it really put me off at the start of episode one. Still, the rest was so good that I managed to overlook this slight annoyance and go along with, even though it made me roll my eyes occasionally.

Apart form that I only have some minor criticisms. I didn't like the previews of the upcoming episodes, but I don't like that in TV series either and it's just a matter of preference. The recaps at the start of each episode, however, I thought were also quite sloppily done, in part. Some scenes in them seemed rather random and didn't make much sense in the context of the recap, and on a few occasions, the recap 'repeated' a piece of dialogue that didn't even happen on my playthrough due to my choices. The stats at the ending of the game also listed one choice that I didn't quite make that way, but that was probably a bug. I liked that the game was set in a time before the first issue of Fables, so that no prior knowledge was required to play the game and there would be no spoilers for the comics. I still think the game is more fun if you're a bit familiar with the series, and I think one or two of the descriptions in the Book of Fables might have contained spoilers for the comics, even though they generally tried to avoid them.

Prior knowledge of the comic series made me appreciate the game a lot more, it helped me acknowledge that this is a very well done and entertaining interactive TV series kind of thing that is fun to watch and take part in, with very high production values concerning art, music, writing, voice-acting and cinematic direction. And all of this also helped me overlook that the gameplay is only serviceable, not great (apart from the choice mechanic, which actually is great), and that the QTEs are more annoying than engaging. So, yeah, not a perfect game, but a perfect adaptation of the Fables series in interactive TV series format that I would like to see more of.
Post edited June 27, 2015 by Leroux
Tengami - A very beautiful, relaxing game. It's sort of an exploration game with some puzzles, and as long as you have a little patience (or use the hint option, which it freely allows), they're easy to solve. The aesthetic is unique, as far as I know - you're not exploring a world, you're exploring a pop-up book, and every stage is lovely. The music is some of the most beautiful I've heard in ages and I really wish it came with the soundtrack. It's extremely short - I solved it in less than two hours, and that was with me fiddling around with it while watching some tv.

If you like point-and-click/relaxing/exploration games and/or beautiful background music, I'd suggest picking this up, although in all honesty, I'm not sure if I'd pay $10.00 for it.

Nightmares From the Deep: The Cursed Heart - It's an Artifex Mundi first-person adventure/hidden object game, this time offering mahjong as an alternatives to the hidden object scenes. As always with AM, the scenes are gorgeous, the voice acting is okay, and the story is pretty good.

For some reason, though, this particular game has some of the worst translation errors I've ever seen. I finished it a few weeks back, so I can't remember specifics other than spending over half an hour on one scene, with my husband looking over my shoulder, trying to find what they called an "onion," only to discover through sheer random clicking that they really meant "(a string of) garlic." There were at least half a dozen instances like this throughout the game, into the bonus chapter, and it's severely annoying as well as a huge strike against a HOG.

If you like HOGs, I'd recommend picking this up, but only if you get it on a good sale.
Post edited June 28, 2015 by penumbren
penumbren: Nightmares From the Deep: The Cursed Heart - It's an Artifex Mundi first-person adventure/hidden object game, this time offering mahjong as an alternatives to the hidden object scenes.
Oh, so the mahjong games were in The Cursed Heart already? I didn't remember that; and there was me writing about the sequel above and uninformedly claiming they were an invention of The Siren's Call. :D

Anway, nice reviews. I'm planning on trying Tengami soon.
Post edited June 28, 2015 by Leroux
Freedom Planet. I remember playing the demo of this a while back and thinking that it sure was really, really Sonic-ish, which wasn't surprising since it was originally a Sonic fan-game, but for some reason it didn't hugely impress me. Either they really stepped up their game for the final release or I was just not feeling good when I tried that demo because the full game is GREAT. It's basically every major 16-bit Sega platform game thrown into a blender, mostly Sonic but also kind of like Rocket Knight and some Ristar and such. It's just a very charming game with excellent character and level design and it's a good challenge. It reminds you of a lot of other games while still being its own thing.
Star Wars: Republic Commando - Played this for the first time in many years, and it was great to see that it held up well. The squad command is tight and feels effective, easily ordering them around and they're mostly able to hold their own without any direction from you. One thing I didn't remember was how long the Kashyyyk section of the game was. It felt like it dragged on at times, especially when spider droids start getting thrown at you in short succession. Overall, one of the better Star Wars universe games.

Mirror's Edge - Did my annual summer playthrough, and this game is still great. The movement is intuitive and the feeling when you pull off some crazy actions is fantastic. The combat system is passable; however, when I play now I tend to try and avoid the combat where possible (no guns at all). This game has a couple of my favorite gameplay moments in them. The first is the atrium where you have to ascend to get the sniper rifle is my favorite part of the game, no direction of where to go other than up. Working out how to move up scaffolding and partially constructed walkways is rewarding. The second is the sewer portion of Jacknife, moving through that otherworldly drainage system is exciting and something different we don't normally see in games.

Downfall - I picked this game up after being impressed by The Cat Lady. Unfortunately, as I liked The Cat Lady, it doesn't have the most traditional interface/mechanics for a point-and-click adventure game; it's got some contextual stuff and quite logical puzzles. Downfall skews more traditional, and this means some illogical (for me) item combinations and puzzles. The most frustrating was the necklace and the mirror one. This is currently being remade to follow more closely with The Cat Lady's interface/engine.
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China

Yes, we all know how Ubisoft is blatantly milking their Assassin's Creed franchise at this point. Nevertheless, I found this game to be interesting and fresh, because the events now occur in 2.5D instead of an open world 3D setting. The fact that the events take place in the very interesting Ancient China, don't hurt either. While playing the game, I didn't necessarily feel it to be any superior to the regular AC games gameplay-wise - plus the game definitely owns a lot to Mark of the Ninja - but I would still much rather choose to play another AC in 2.5D, than a 3D one, which are so, so done. Head-on combat, AI and level design could be better, but maybe they'll concentrate on those in the sequels. Some more color wouldn't hurt either. But at least there was none of that "present day" crap, found in the 3D AC games. That's the way it should have been since the first Assassin's Creed.

Well, that was probably the last game I'm going to play and finish with my current rig. Next weekend, I'm picking up a new and shiny gaming beast: current-gen AAA games, here I come!
Blades of Time

I originally attempted to play X-Blades before tackling this one, but then I gave up after 3 stages. Why? Easy; because it sucked. Horrible weightless combat and a series of arenas with no exploration and no sense of adventure, but just wave after wave of enemies, till either the computer was bored of sending waves (eventually), your character died (no way, because the enemies dealt pathetic damage), or you died from boredom (the most likely outcome). Thus, I uninstalled that piece of shit and decided to instead go instantly for Blades of Time, this time a bit more wary after the suckage of X-Blades. Thankfully, Blades of Time is an enjoyable game, unlike SuX-Blades.

You take control of the hot treasure hunter, Ayumi, in a nice adventure that will take you across all manners of gorgeous-looking environments, while fighting a variety of menacing-looking monsters and solving puzzles through the power of time. Yes yes, it sounds like Sands of Time, but it's simpler both in terms of combat and in the kind of time powers you can use. Combat, specifically, consists of a single sword combo, a kick (which is useful against enemies with shields), a rifle to attack enemies from afar (when you use it, it switches to an over-the-shoulder camera view, similar to other third person shooters and you can deal more damage with headshots), some magic to help you with crowd control, and a dodge move to avoid attacks. You also have a rage meter, which is used to cast magic, but can also be for used for healing, and that's it. Honestly. No complex combos, no air-juggling, no blocking, no counter-attacking. As you progress through the game, you'll be finding chests that give you new equipment that grants a bonus, whether it is increasing the damage of a specific type of magic, increasing your health points, reducing the amount of rage you are using when casting magic, etc. The interesting thing about the equipment is that later loot isn't stronger than earlier loot; just different. You can totally complete the game with the earlier loot you find without any problem at all. You'll also find statues that, in exchange for souls you gain by destroying enemies/objects, will grant you new abilities (like dashing in mid-air) or enhance your magic. Unlike other games dealing with souls (like God of War), the process is automatic and you get no option to select the ability you want.

As for the time mechanics, they are also pretty simple. You can only rewind time (not slow it or move it fast-forward), but only if you are alive (thus, no coming back from the dead like in Sands of Time). Rewinding also doesn't undo any damage you might have received. In fact, what rewinding does is repeat the previous seconds for the enemies, as well as creating a clone of yourself that also repeats the actions you previously partook. Huh... I had no idea that rewinding time could work like that. You can also have more than one clone active at a time (yes, by rewinding when one clone is present, you can create a second one!) and they can be used for puzzle-solving (like putting a clone and yourself in two different pressure plates to open a door), distracting enemies (who will be attacking your clone instead of you, but do note that they will attack you if you attack them while they are distracted by a clone), or even killing specific enemies (like shooting a shielded enemy with many clones or killing an enemy who has been grabbed by a clone).

But how does it fare as a game overall? Well, it's gorgeous-looking and enjoyable, but it could have been better. Less linear exploration with secrets (you are a treasure hunter after all!), more weapon options and some combos or extra combat options would have both made the game more engaging and prevented its combat from being too repetitive, because at the end of the day, you'll be either shooting enemies, or hitting them till the finishing move prompt appears and then move to the next one and rinse and repeat. OK, maybe you also toss some magic here and there, some necessary use of the time rewind ability to combat shielded enemies, as well as lots of dodging, but you'll still feel that the way you are fighting the enemies doesn't really change all that much from beginning to the end. At least, while the game is not brutally hard, it can still be a challenge, as enemy attacks cause quite a bit of damage. Fun, but it does leave me wanting for more.

Full list.
Leroux: Oh, so the mahjong games were in The Cursed Heart already? I didn't remember that; and there was me writing about the sequel above and uninformedly claiming they were an invention of The Siren's Call. :D

Anway, nice reviews. I'm planning on trying Tengami soon.
I didn't play the mahjong, but if I play it again, I will. The mistranslations on the HO scenes were maddening, although the rest of the game was good.

Tengami was a lot of fun, and it encourages you to take your time and enjoy the scenery and the music.
Halo Master Chief Collection: Halo 4

Finally beat the last one playing co-op with my brother. The nice thing was it was my first time playing Halo 4 (the only one I haven't beat.) Good game, pretty standard Halo fare.

I'll take anything that I can play with my brother though, as he will only play co-op games with me. He doesn't quite get the PC format either, pretty much just a console guy, but I'm working on that.
I just completed Valkyria Chronicles for the PC. I loved it. I definitely would like to see the sequels get released for PC as well. I'm actually quite surprised how well it worked with my Xbox One controller.

I also need to keep an eye out if there is ever a re-release of Skies of Arcadia since the cameo appearances of the two characters in Valkyria Chronicles sparked curiosity.
Dead Effect.

Dead Effect started out as originally as a FPS on mobile devices before being ported to the PC, the PC version is the version I completed. Understanding that it's a mobile port and is based around shooting zombies, I went into Dead Effect with low expectations and just hoped to get at least 50 cents of entertainment out of it (the price I paid), I'm glad now that I took a chance on it.

The gameplay is completely solid although it's not breaking any new ground. The gunplay is fun, guns are nice and loud and they pack a visible punch, as you see enemies flinching backwards when being shot. There is locational damage which means more powerful weapons can remove enemy's limbs, and headshots can take down all but one or two enemy types much faster than body shots, depending on your weapon and its upgrade status.

There is a wide variety of weapons to choose from, however you can only carry four weapons at a time and you must choose at a menu screen between levels, you can't pick up new weapons during the level. Along with the assortment of weapons you can upgrade each one (or even buy new ones) between missions using money you find and earn throughout each level. Upgrades include damage, reload speed, accuracy and magazine size.

Along with weapons you also have two special abilities, ye olde bullet time and an attack that hurts everything around you within a certain distance. Both of these abilities can be upgraded but it takes about half of the game to be able to do so.

Enemies come in several different types, including but not limited to: your average zombie who goes down in a few hits, your crawlers, special soldiers, special soldiers with grenades, crawlers and a very large fat enemy who can spit projectiles at you, which is TOTALLY not reminiscent of a Doom monster (wink wink nudge nudge). The one thing they all share in common is being dumb and having no tactic beyond charging you, but hey this is a zombie game.

The levels are fairly simple and usually involve starting out in an elevator and fighting your way to another elevator, with a few levels that are a bit different. If you've played Doom 3 then you get the idea, just replace demons with zombies and hell with more spaceship, and replace keycards with the occasional keypad code.

The one "big" gameplay flaws it has is the inability to jump, which can lead to getting stuck on the crawlers, and the game's tendency to just fill rooms and corridors with zombies in an attempt to raise the difficulty. This is only really an issue on one level that forces to you to get through a tightly packed hallway right at the beginning of the level, and then demands you to get to three locations within a certain amount of time. In that level you can easily get stuck on zombies and die.

Graphically it looks great, enemies look good, the spaceship looks good albeit generic, the lighting is well done, basically there are no complaints to be found here.

The story is run of the mill sci-fi you're alone on an overrun spaceship stuff. There are only two characters: you and one other character who serves as the voice in your ear, like in every other sci-fi game, both are passably written.

The voice acting is good enough for what it is, but won't be winning any awards. There is a bug (or an oversight) that leads to the female character using a male's voice for panting/heavy breathing, which is a bit funny. The zombies sound zombie-like and the environmental sounds are a-okay. However the music is poorly balanced and must be turned down at least 75% of the way, as its default setting drowns everything else out and is loud to the point of causing distortion. I can't tell you if the music is good or not because I ended up turning it off completely.

On a technical level everything worked as it should, no bugs or glitches, although you can miss a story snippet PDA at the very end by opening a locker before you use the PDA.

It's not a long game, I figure I spent maybe three or four hours on it, but I did enjoy that time, save for one annoying level. It's definitely a B-level FPS but one well worth a few hours of your time.