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Go! Go! Nippon - My first trip to Japan 2015

Whew! What a long name for a game! Well, not a game, a Visual Novel.

So, you play that american guy who goes for the first time to Japan to meet his online friends, Makoto and Akira. But when he arrives at the airport, he realizes that Makoto and Akira are girls! And romance will ensue, of course.

I'm heavily conflicted on that VN.
First, don't expect even the littlest game parts in that VN. The only choices you will be able to make are the spots in Tokyo you want to go for sightseeing. That's all. Absolutely all. So, if you like your VNs with a pinch of choices, avoid.

...or maybe not. Characters are likeable (except maybe the hero, more on that later) and well drawn, cliché but not too much (big chested big sister, boyish young sister). Animation for them is quite good, if limited. Alas, it's almost the only animation you'll ever see in the roughly 2h45min it'll take you to complete that VN.

In fact, it's not as much a VN as a Tokyo sightseeing guide in disguise. Makoto and/or Akira will accompany you in the areas you'll select, providing you with guidance and historical informations. Even more, when you arrive somewhere, there's an hyperlink which will lead you to Google Street View, where you can wander by yourself in the surroundings. A quite nice touch, even if I live currently in Japan.

I would almost recommend this VN to somebody having a slight interest in Japan. It could be a small, light-hearted introduction to that country, even if more oriented towards guys since there's a romance element.

Unfortunately, some things about the hero irked me, maybe especially since I live in Japan. He's supposed to be a great fan of Japan, to have studied japanese at the university and to make his dream of going to Japan come true. But he is clueless about Japan! Like, he doesn't know where the airport is, he doesn't know the most famous areas of Tokyo, even by name. You really wonder what he studied. The problem is that you're impersonating him, so it's really difficult to like the character when he is obviously so clueless...

Anyway, the main flaw of that VN is that they could have make it a real game, maybe a dating sim, since there were so many opportunities for interactions between the hero and the girls. But it simply kept to unfold its story, putting it in the most basic form of VN possible. What a shame...

So far in 2015:
CMOT70: Eventually played on Xbox One. Been meaning to play this for some time, and intended to play the PC version as that's what i had. But it only took a few minutes to realize how bad the PC port is. From back in the old days i came to action gaming via flight sims. That's probably why i naturally felt more comfortable using "puppet" or "aircraft" controls in 1st and 3rd perspective action other words push forward to look down, pull back to look up (like you have a stick attached to the head)- or in even simpler terms- i have to invert the look "Y-axis" in most 3D games. What does this have to do with BGaE? Simple, if you invert the mouse look Y-axis the game also inverts the X-axis for some unknown reason! This made the game unplayable for me, 20 years of habit is hard to break- or at least not worth the effort.
I used to be like you. In all FPS games and such, ever since Duke3D and Quake, I felt more comfortable using inverted Y-axis, possibly because of all those years playing flight combat sims and such with inverted controls.

A couple years ago I played yet another FPS game, Area 51. For some reason its mouseaim felt odd to me, I couldn't really tell what it was. At some point I happened to switch the Y-axis from inverted to non-inverted, and to my big surprise, I felt much more comfortable playing that game without inverted controls.

That's not all. When I later tried to play some other FPS games I had always played inverted, I couldn't do that anymore. Suddenly they also felt more natural with non-inverted mouseaim. I have no idea what that Area 51 game changed in my brains, like flipping some inverted switch on or off just like that. Some alien shit.

Ever since playing Area 51, I've played all my FPS games (and 3rd person shooters too I think) with non-inverted controls, as if I had always played them that way. Flight and space combat games which I play with a joystick still feel more natural with inverted Y-axis, though.
Post edited December 08, 2015 by timppu

This game is very odd, but also very good. I’m not even sure how to describe it, in gameplay it’s like an open world point-and-click adventure with a ton of mini-games thrown in. But that’s just the basic framework, it’s so much more than that. For each mission you’re given an objective, but if you explore around there are a lot of other things to discover, more than the mission itself! It’s silly, surreal, funny, one of a kind. The only downside is that it’s fairly short and very easy, but still highly recommended :)!
Histant: 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
And 3 more now, all from GOG:

Quest for Glory I
Pilot Brothers
Victor Vran
Highschool Romance

An american (I guess? Not japanese at least) VN.

Nothing much to say. Few choices, 1h45min for a single route. Anyway, there are only 3 persons you can ever date, so it's not like if it was a long VN anyway.

Not bad, but nothing to get up at night for either. Art has its own personality, very different from japanese VN. You like it or not. I liked it quite. But it's also quite prude. I've not seen anything besides bras and panties. I guess there's no nudity (accidental or on purpose) to expect from that VN.

This VN also deals with crossdressing and maybe a little about transgenderism, since the hero has to spend a school year in an all-girls school, so he has to wear the school's uniform, which is a dress. And he quickly feels comfortable with it. So, yeah, the authors is comfortable with that topic (which doesn't means that he deals with it in a credible way - come on, that guy never has to shave??).

So, to sum up, not bad, a bit too short. An extended version would be nice.
Post edited December 10, 2015 by xa_chan
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards - VGA (Linux)

Sierra loves to kill you.
The only Larry game I've played before was "Love for Sail" so I didn't know what lay before me. This game is very different, because you can die at every corner and only have one save slot (even in ScummVM).
I've died in many absurd ways and had to do stuff over and over again, but in the end I've beaten it with only having to look into a walkthrough two times, which isn't often for my standards.
If you're money runs out, you're dead too, so I've figured out how to make much money in the Casino, afterwards it was easier but I've still died in several ways. I wonder why you don't just get set back to the point before the "wrong" decision, but unfortunately that's how many p'n'c adventures were back then.
It's a good but short game overall and deserves to be among the classics indeed, so I look forward to try the remake of the remake soon.

Post edited December 09, 2015 by Klumpen0815
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Guess I'll post this one now although I do want to figure out the trials at some point. Otherwise this was a surprisingly good game. It had its issues, but I'd highly recommend it to LotR fans. There are lots of lore bits and story found if you explore. Lots of orc banter, hidden items with story, etc.

It certainly has some flaws in the combat. I find it very repetitious, easy at times and impossible at other times. (luck of the draw can land you in unbeatable situations). But as a whole package, its worth the occasional tedium to flesh out the story and advance the game. I love the leaderboard style orc hierarchy map that lets you hunt down, dismantle, and even put your own puppets in charge for specific ranks.

I'm breaking at the trials right now as those are not very fun. They impose a time limit on you, but the game is riddled with non-skippable time sinks (like orc taunts, animations, overviews, etc.). All of them eat into your precious time and I would much prefer the ability to plan and act rather than race an imaginary clock. This was implemented to artificially inflate play numbers and doesn't belong in games, IMHO.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (Xbox One)

I actually bought the first 2 games on GOG during their release sale, they are waiting for a small PC upgrade i'm doing early next year...then the new Xbox version was released with Games With Gold this why not give it a try. The Xbox GwG version is only the base game and not with the DLC included like GOG. Otherwise, apart from a change in interface to suit a controller, it is apparently the same game. As for the menus and skill trees, it took me a good 30 to 45 minutes to get the hang of flicking through them with the controller, but after that it actually worked just fine- in a way i even like never having to look away from the game to look at a keyboard.

I'm not a fan of the Diablo games, but recently i've discovered that some of these fast paced isometric action RPG's actually are quite good, and i think Van Helsing is the best so far- even better than Inquisitor (i'm one of the few that loved that game!). Why i like Van Helsing so much are the character options, most turn based tactical type RPG's don't even have the depth of character building this game has...and that is without even counting the DLC characters.

Eventually, after a bit of playing around, i decided that the Katarina Bot was better with her auto aim than i could ever be. So i built a melee AOE character based around the body stat and also a strong healer using the heal "trick" and used Katarina as fire support. It seems from reading forums that most prefer the opposite, but i found i could melee better than her and she was better at shooting (with her auto aim) than me. Anyway it was a style that worked well for me! I hit the 30 level cap one map before the perfectly paced!
After finishing i began a "game plus" mode but quickly lost interest...there's no fun playing an RPG once you're at the level cap for me.

The graphics are great (better on Xbox than what my current PC setup would manage i think), the sounds and music were just as good, as was the voice acting. The maps are pretty linear, but it's not an open world game and isn't trying to be.

The Xbox version had one annoying bug: whenever you played around with Katarinas inventory the game would often reset her fighting options which, if you went on playing without noticing, would mean she would just stand there and do nothing. So before closing her inventory i made it habit to always quickly check her settings just in case. The devs know about the issue and are fixing it i think, but it's not a game breaking bug- just an annoying one. Otherwise the game ran just fine.

I really enjoyed it. My PC could probably play the GOG versions i bought for the first two parts, but i'm going to wait until making some small upgrades in January...then i will hopefully play through the first game again with a different character, followed by the second game for sure.

Edit: my second "Hardcore" permadeath play through just came to an unfortunate end. I wasn't paying attention and got slammed by something (don't even know what got me!) at level 22.
Post edited December 10, 2015 by CMOT70

It has a lovely art style and gimmicks in the start that drew me into the game,it's ok as a shooter with lots of possible weapons to find but gets repetitive fast with very limited number of enemies that you face the entire game.
The enemies are the same just get buffed.

The story is weak with a huge number of fetch quests and some ridicilous quests that don't make any sense at all and I ended up just running shooting getting the items and running back to the quest giver to get on with the story.The gameplay lost all fun towards the ending.

The population of the planet of the game seems to consist of 50 productive people,millions of bandits and predetory dogs birds and spiders.I have no idea how it works as an ecological system.

There are better shooters out there.
The Last Door

8 bit pixel goodness. The design philisophy of "do what you can with what you got" fits well with the 8 bit aesthetic. The music seems to belong in a big budget movie or AAA release, here it is just a treat and sets the mood perfectly.

Smart writing in a love letter to Lovecraft. The game provides a genuiny tense and unnerving experiance without the use of jump scares or orchestral hooks that only blow your eardrums out.

The Last Door sets succeeds in every endevour.

Minimal but evocative and detaied artstyle? Done.

Set your hair fire and put you on edge? Done.

Chalenge your critical thinking skils with wel thought out puzzes? Done.

Give a send up to Lovecraft with a well written story? You bet.

I can't wait for the second season to come here in a bundle.
Post edited December 10, 2015 by ScotchMonkey
Wing Commander Secret Ops

So this is the stand-alone expansion for Wing Commander (5) Prophecy. I finished the main game (Prophecy) before this two weeks ago or so. I used my old trusty Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 flightstick for the game.

Overall WCP+SO left a good taste to my mouth. I don't get the bad rep and lukewarm reviews this game got, I think I consider it as the best game in the main Wing Commander arch (not sure about all the spin-offs like Privateer 2 as I haven't played them all). Back when I played e.g. WC4 a long time ago at the hardest difficulty level, I recall being quite pissed off and frustrated with some of the missions.

I played WC:P + SO in the hardest difficulty too, and maybe 80% of missions I was able to clear with the first try, so if anything, some of it was maybe a bit too easy, but not so much I'd really complain. I found the gameplay quite enjoyable, just a good mix of arcade action and slight sim-feeling (ie. it wasn't a mere shooter, quite).

I was a bit surprised that SO apparently had more missions than the main game? I think the main game had little over 30 missions (not counting alternative branching missions), while SO had 39 if I counted right. I think the length of the game(s) was quite ok, not too short and not too long, albeit at times it felt many missions were quite a lot alike. But that's Wing Commander, I guess.

When i played the main game (Prophecy), I always felt a bit disappointed that the music during missions (flights) was quite ho-hum, while the simulator training missions had quite exciting rock and industrial/techno kind of music. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Secret Ops had replaced the boring mission music with the more action-packed simulator music from the main game. Nice touch.

Also, I must say I didn't miss the lack of full-motion video with B-actors in the expansion pack at all, almost the opposite. Less talk, more f(l)ight.

I will still play the last SO mission two more times. So far I've seen the win-win ending, but apparently there is also a win-lose(?) ending, or the lose-lose ending, depending what you do in the last mission.

After this, I'll put my teeth into either Privateer 2 or Descent Freespace. I've yet to finish the expansion pack of the first Privateer game, but somehow I lost interest to it (I have finished the main game of Privateer already twice).
Post edited December 11, 2015 by timppu
Today (well, yesterday actually) I finished Postal 2: A Week in Paradise, a mod comprising Postal 2 and its expansion, Apocalypse Weekend.
Post edited December 11, 2015 by Ikarugamesh
Mutant Colossus from Outer Space

Definitely the best game ever!!!

Ok, not really, but it belongs in the so-bad-it's-good category and I had fun playing it. Cheesy, with hilarious acting and FMV sequences and full of bugs. You might need some love for trash movies (and games) to enjoy it.

Complete list of finished games in 2015
Finished Fire. A nice, good-looking puzzle game. A point'n click with no dialogs and no real story (only an intro and a small outro, but the levels have no real connection between them). Music was good but repetitive. Most puzzles were logical.

Full list here.
Just beat The Witcher, my second full run through the game. I was mildly surprised to find that my thoughts on the game haven't really changed much since my first time beating it a few years ago.

It's a classic case of the whole being greater than sum of its parts. It has a lot of ragged edges but it's good enough in enough areas that I enjoy playing it.

The worst thing is the pacing, I think. Chapters 2 and 3 feature an absurd amount of running back and forth all over the place, particularly in the swamp that also features constantly respawning enemies that are more of a nuisance than a challenge. There's an awkward moment in chapter 3 when Geralt learns he has to go back to the swamp and he reacts with exasperation, which I think is amusingly self-aware but also unfortunate because it's bad form for characters to remark on how boring their own story is. Hey, designers, maybe you should have come up with something else for Geralt to do besides going to the swamp again?

About 20 hours I remembered someone once telling me I should experience the game in Polish, so I switched over to that and did find the voice acting a general improvement. If nothing else I liked Geralt's Polish actor a lot better. The English voice actor sounds like a Vulcan pervert; my wife watched me play for a few minutes and said "That guy is creepy." Polish Geralt hits the right balance between weird and cool. I'm uncertain about the translation, though. I can't speak a word of Polish but even I could tell that the subtitles weren't matching the dialogue in a lot of cases. I might stick with English voices for the sequels, unless people really urge otherwise.

My favorite thing about this game is that it so thoroughly puts you in the shoes of the character. You learn how to kill monsters better by filling up your journal after reading books and scrolls. You do alchemy to get yourself ready for fights. You use the corpses of your enemies to do more alchemy. I love that whenever Geralt meets someone new, usually the first dialogue option is "Got any Witcher work for me?" He does his thing because it's his job (I would love a Hellboy game like this). Somehow, this context makes all the "kill x monsters for me" side-missions so much more palatable. And the game never judges Geralt for charging money for his services. Some peasant wants his basement cleaned out, Geralt says "Okay, but it'll cost you this much...." Witchers have to eat, too. This is probably why my favorite chapters are the first and fourth ones - those are the ones that most stress Geralt as a guy who's just helping (jerks) people and the political intrigue is backburnered in favor of the folklore.