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Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

The story was great, but this game has some of the most annoying and frustrating pixel hunting that I've ever encountered in a point and click adventure game. I had to use a walkthrough much more often than I normally do. Voice acting was pretty inconsistent. There are some great actors (Tim Curry and Mark Hamill), but they also did a lot of weird over-acting and the fact that the voice acting wasn't edited very well certainly didn't help.

All in all it still was a good adventure game, but I have to admit that with all the praise the game gets I expected something better.

Complete list of finished games in 2015
A ton, all together with still some time left: 38 Games

Super Mario World
Donkey Kng Country 1-3
Tomb Raider (2013)
Prince of Persia Sands of Time (2003)
Penumbra Overture
Alien Isolation
Legend of Kyrandia
Condemned Criminal Origins
1954 Alcatraz
Papers Please
Max Payne 3
South Park Stick of Truth
park Stick of Truth
Hotline Miami
the Blackwell Epiphany
Duke Nukem 3D
Devil May Cry 1 HD
Gear of War 2
MGS Ground Zeroes
Deus Ex HR Dir Cut
A Bird Story
Shadow Warrior (the old one)
Uncanny Valley
Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper
Shadow of Mordor
Blood Dragon
Far Cry 4
Super Mario 64
A Golden Wake
The Last Door Season 1

Update: Just beat Prisoner of Ice and Outlaws, bringing the total to 40 games.
Post edited December 19, 2015 by ScotchMonkey

Boy this one was hard, especially the Challenges and a couple of the dungeons until you get a good team together. Then it became doable. There was a lot more strategy than meets the eye in this game. But, I cleared all challenges and dungeons, and even though I didn't save up to buy everything in the shop, I now consider the game finished.

What happens when when a first person shooter meets a spaceship fighter? Descent could proudly answer.

The PTMC, the biggest mining corporation in the whole solar system, is having a big problem with their drones. As an elite pilot, you are tasked with the mission of blowing up each infected mine reactor, thus erasing the threat in the area. In the meantime, you should also rescue all the surviving workers still kept as hostages.

Definitely a child of its time, Descent combines the old golden rules of first person shooters with supreme manoeuvrability, becoming a game you will probably be familiar with even before playing it but at the same time feeling completely new due to its uncommon controls.
I could compare Descent to the Build Engine games: the structure of every level is complex (especially when compared to modern canons, it would be like the difference between an highway and a labyrinth), articulated in a tangle of narrow corridors and rooms, each with multiple entrances, branching paths and secrets. To navigate the entire map, you have to find three keys (blue, yellow and red, a classic) to open the correlated doors.
The action is as fast as what you may see in Blood or Duke Nukem, you can use five different main weapons, 5 different kind of missiles and there is a good variety of enemies always providing a new challenge for all the 27 levels.
What really sets the game apart form the others is the fact that you car reach every single spot in the map: since you happen to pilot a fighter in a 0 gravity condition, you can really assume every position you like and navigate the level in every sense and direction, in a complete freedom of movement. I have never seen another game doing this, and I must say that I am impressed by the speed and agility this title from 1995 still shows. Also, it is worth to notice that Descent was among the first pioneers of real 3D polygonal models.

I have only two issues with the game: it is clear that it is meant to be played with a joystick, so if you want to use mouse and keyboard you will have to rebind almost all the keys (I changed them to use the standard modern fps controls, and from then playing it has changed form impossible to being a pleasure), and a particular type of drone -the one armed with a Vulcan cannon- has an obscenely high damage output, basically destroying you in less than two seconds and thus forcing you to reload and hit it with a homing missile before it enters in your field of view.

I recommend you to check the <span class="bold">DXX rebirth source port</span>: the DosBox game still plays fine, sure, but the source port adds high resolution and widescreen support, improved framerate, better loading times and much smoother mouse controls without touching the gameplay, still identical to the original.

I can warmly recommend Descent: despite its age, it holds up perfectly and it remains a great and peculiar game you shouldn't miss, especially if you are into shooters.
Steamworld Dig

Just finished it on my PS Vita. I expected it to be longer, but it took me just a little over 4 hours to beat the final boss (not all successes unlocked, though).

Not a bad game, loved the setting and the characters. As for the gameplay, it xas simple but good, with more and more possibilities unlocking while you're exploring. Enemis required a bit of strategy sometimes, which was nice.

But the maniability was not always smooth, a bit too much of inertia on the jumps, I found. But sometimes the backtracking to the surface was a little bit boring.

Anyway, glad I got it with the playstation plus offer. Don't think I would have bought it otherwise. Again, not a bad game at all, but a bit too short and clumsy to my liking.

So far in 2015:
Mario Tennis

The elite tennis skills would be too much for most normal gamers, but I worked on my backhand in an Eye of the Tiger training montage and defeated Donkey Kong for the Star Cup. With Waluigi.

Great simple but fun game you can play anytime. I nearly gave up again in frustration, but I tried out different characters until one worked better with my playstyle.

*Won the doubles tournament as well.
Post edited December 14, 2015 by bad_fur_day1
Enebias: Descent

What really sets the game apart form the others is the fact that you car reach every single spot in the map: since you happen to pilot a fighter in a 0 gravity condition, you can really assume every position you like and navigate the level in every sense and direction, in a complete freedom of movement. I have never seen another game doing this, and I must say that I am impressed by the speed and agility this title from 1995 still shows.
Descent has aged gracefully, for sure. I remember this being the first and aside from Terminal Velocity the only game to make me feel slightly dizzy in the head when I first played it. The only game I can compare to Descent is Forsaken which greatly impressed me when it was released, it was one of those games that took full advantage of the early 4MB 3Dfx cards. The lighting effects are great and colorful. It has frantic gameplay like Descent although Forsaken doesn't have quite the same sense of urgency that Descent has when you have to make a break for the exit. And the pulsating soundtrack is absolutely epic in the Descent series, I still have my Descent II CD somewhere and used to listen to it often on my HiFi system (Descent 2 has CD audio tracks).

Forsaken gameplay video:

GOG wishlist:
Shadow of the Colossus HD (PS3)

Whenever I hear talking about Shadow of the Colossus, I hear nothing but praise. Often, the game find its place near the very top of the “best games ever” lists, and it is described as a great achievement in gaming.
Well, this time I row upstream, as I couldn't disagree more.

Shadow of the Colossus is an action game starring an (as it is tradition with Japanese game games, it seems) androgynous warrior trying to resurrect his loved one by striking a deal with a mysterious entity.
Nothing is explained: you arrive in the entity's temple in silence, you have no idea of who or what it is, how you have arrived there and what happened before that. You also have no idea of why the entity asks you to slay the 16 giants that roam that land, but you do it anyway because it seems to be required to achieve your goal. There are no dialogues, no character development, nothing: it is just you, your horse and the entity directing you to every enemy by providing a description of what and where they are.
I will not enter into details to avoid spoilers, obviously, but the game's plot fundamentally moves forward only during the ending, after you have slain all the giants, and even then I think it is fairly underwhelming and it doesn't really make much sense.

Coming to the gameplay, the most proper word I could use to describe it is “emptiness”.
There is literally nothing to do aside form finding and killing giants. The game world is very large, but also completely void: most of the times, you will be traversing plains displaying only the ground texture, not even a tree, a bush or a rock here and there. Technically, you are supposed to raise your sword to the sky and see where the reflected light will point to know where to go next; the problem is, the light points straight to the target, but the map always throws mountains and uncrossable pits in your way, so you will end up passing ages to find the only passage that can bring you closer to your destination. After minutes and minutes of galloping, you will reach a giant's lair, and there you will find a bit more details, and probably the best the game has to offer; each colossus is visually impressive, and usually the environment they are immersed in is very atmospheric and perfectly fitting a melancholic, decadent and grim vibe.
Unfortunately, that is basically all there is to see: while it is true that to defeat each giant you must do different things (like jumping from buildings, target the eyes, threatening them with fire or exploit their own attack moves), in the end everything boils down to finding their weak spots with the sword light beam, and hitting them after having climbed their bodies. Rinse and repeat.

The awful AI works hard to further reduce the enjoyment: giants act efficiently only when their actions are scripted, otherwise they will often loiter for minutes before doing anything. Sometimes, In the worst case I had to wait for nearly five minutes for several times before they finished wandering randomly and launched the attack I need to find a part I could climb, but waiting for at least a couple of minutes is the standard in every encounter.
I really couldn't stand the insane amount of my time that game was wasting, and I only needed 8 hours to complete it; of those, I believe I spent half traveling and waiting.

Also, the controls are among the worst I have ever had the displeasure of finding, their responsiveness bordering the obscene.
The main character and -most of all- his mount move as they were blind drunk: even a small movement with the analogue stick rotates them of at least 90°, making them wobble rather than walk and, when on horse, continuously providing for a most inappropriate U-turn at the worst possible moment. Even worse, they will not move in the direction you are pointing in relation to the camera positioning, but in relation to their own positioning, meaning that -for example- if you are watching your character's front and move the stick forward, he will not turn but he will go straight. You need to friggin' rotate the lever, first. Also, the control scheme is already awful on its own, requiring surgical precision and a ridiculous combination of buttons to climb hard surfaces, never providing for comfortable solutions regardless of what you do.

For what concerns the port... as always, we are not talking of real HD releases, but just upscales; the framerate is low, and very often it visibly falls under 30 to let us see the nice, severe stuttering we all know and love.
Also, the loading and saving times are awfully long (requiring even more minutes to waste).
It is clear that, once again, Sony didn't minimally care about quality and brought up yet another cheap conversion from PS2.

Shadow of the Colossus has been a massive disappointment, I find it a bad game on its own that received an even worse port. I would recommend to avoid it, there are much better ways to waste time and money.
Super Mario Sunshine. This is very good game in most respects but it is distinctly inferior to Mario 64. For the most part, it's really Mario 64 with the extra shine that the Gamecube could provide - you run around these big environments trying to find "shines", which are basically just fancy-looking stars. You re-enter the levels up to 8 times each, as each time to re-enter, the place where the shine appears and how you get it change.

The big change of course is the FLUDD, which is a fancy water hose Mario carries on his back. Mostly you use it to spray forward and clean pollution, but it can also allow you to float in mid-air by aiming it downward, and there are extra attachments with particular uses. The Gamecube was very good at displaying water effects, so this element looks quite impressive and provides some interesting gameplay possibilities.

What makes this game a step down from Mario 64, though, is that in both games you could get up to 120 stars, but in Mario 64, the majority of those came from beating the levels. You didn't need to get all of them, but it was fun to do so anyway because you saw more of the game. In Mario Sunshine, you get around half from beating levels, and the rest come from wandering around, trying to find special coins or beating this infernal human pachinko machine or whatever. It just isn't fun and comes across as busy work for the sake of completion. To that end, I beat the game with only like 75 shines and decided I didn't want to spend hours hunting around for the rest.


Super Meat Boy. I didn't get the full 100 percent ending on this, but I'm good with that. I like this game but I'm also not a masochistic platforming person, so leaving a lot of the harder dark world levels alone is okay with me. Maybe I'll pick them off one by one over the next few years or so, but I'm considering this game done :)
I beat World in Conflict on Friday and forgot to say anything. While I am still mostly focused on Xenoblade X at this time (I doubt I'll ever muster the strength to clear out Bravely Default) I took the sale as an opportunity to get some games I wanted (not as many as I had actually wished to, but some I just found out about and this one which I wanted since 2007). Anyway, World in Conflict is amazing. It is utterly fantastic from a visual and quick gameplay perspective. It has two problems in that the game is over too quickly (I don't say that much anymore) and it has no deathmatch (single player random map). That is really too bad, but what campaign there was was great. I liked the writing actually as well as the general feel to the hot Cold War. I enjoyed playing as both the Soviets and the Western powers (NATO and the USA) and loved the attention to detail with regards to the equipment (I kinda wish that there was more variety and use for the infantry and that instead of the small fireteams they were full sized squads. Also, I wish that somebody had just a rifle, it's weird to see five guys and all of them have the grenade launcher). I wish that they used the Soviets more extensively in Soviet Assault missions, but that's not so much a fault as once more wishing for more to this fantastic game.

Edit: Corrected "the singular fault " to "It has two probelms..."
Fixed some grammar.
Post edited January 10, 2016 by AnimalMother117
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II (GOG)

Was going to wait until i made a small RAM upgrade, but i enjoyed the first one on Xbox so much that i couldn't wait and installed part 2 to see how my PC would cope. Surprisingly well actually, well enough that i played it. The devs have done a good job with the options here, and it is easy to get it cranking along and still looking decent enough. I think having a new(ish) GPU helped me a lot. Anyway, i found using the DX11 rendering was a bit stuttery so i switched to DX9 and honestly didn't notice a big difference, but it ran faster and allowed me notch the texturing quality up to max to compensate. It looked nice, but obviously for me it's not as good as the Xbox version which appears to simply be the PC version fixed at 1080p with all settings maxed.

I enjoyed the second part. I did try out the keyboard and mouse control scheme, but the controller interface is so good that i went back to it- especially as i was playing primarily a melee build and i feel the controller suits that better. The devs tried to mix up the game play a bit more this time- with semi military style area occupation missions as well as the usual exploration maps. The tower defense missions return and are expanded- and also optional if you don't like them, though you will miss out on the extra XP they bring. Overall it's a good mix and it's good that the devs do try to mix it up a bit- they have done a good job as they have hooked me on a type of RPG that i usually don't like much.

There were some bugs or issues. In my part one Xbox play, i mentioned how there was an annoying bug that would often reset Katarinas fighting settings when you make changes to her inventory. Well, that also happens in the PC games as well it turns out. I think it may only happen when you use the controller interface- but i didn't explore enough to be certain. One problem that only happened on PC was whenever i tried to send Katarina shopping the game would freeze and require quitting to desktop and restarting. I did some research and a lot of people have had this issue in both parts 1 and 2. Both issues were annoying and not game breaking.

Only other point worth mentioning are the loading times... they are LONG! I thought they were a bit long on Xbox, but my PC is more than twice as slow to load the maps.

Looking forward to part 3, despite some negative reviews it receives. Though since i haven't purchased part 3 yet, i may just wait for the entire series on Xbox.
Blood Bowl Legendary Edition (Story Mode)
Well, I'm declaring it finished anyway - I've won all the major trophies in the one season I played, apparently it gets stuck on the last one - The Bloodbowl itself forever after that, repeating it over and over!
Really fun and faithful adaptation of the Games Workshop boardgame I played Dark Elves for an aggressive running game,
takes a while to get your head around how all the various abilities work and interact but you feel pretty smart for working it all out and scoring Touchdowns - very much a 'one more match' type game

Full list:
Tropico 3

It has a overall fun cuban dictator theme going on, I was pretty impressed as soon as a little plane flew into view flying over a cute little tropical island.
Shantae: Risky's Revenge (Director's Cut. Man, those cinema-like title additions are annoying!)

Shantae, the charming half genie, is a victim of pure bad luck. The first entry in the series was released in 2002, and despite being probably one of the best games -if not THE best game- for Gameboy Color, appearing a whole year after the commercialization of the Gameboy Advance did nothing good for its sales. The few connoisseurs knowing about its existence valued the product as it should, making it a valuable collector object of interest -as it is proven by the insane cost of the last few physical copies available.
Risky's Revenge suffered a similar fate: originally released only on the “DSiware” store, the game was critically acclaimed as the best downloadable title Nintendo had to offer, yet due to the complete lack of popularity of the service (after all, it was restricted to a sub-type of a console nearing its final days, and Nintendo isn't praised for its online store management) it has once again been relegated to the shadows.
With the PC release, Shantae can finally have the recognition she deserves.

In Risky's revenge, after the burning defeat of the first episode the lady-pirate captain is back raiding the coasts of Sequin Land. This time, she stole a magic lamp that, according to Shantae's uncle, can bring no good -especially in pirate hands. The half-genie then decides that, for the security of the town, she should gather the magic seals needed to activate the lamp before Risky does, with a bit of aid from the cast of weird and funny characters. The plot is very light-hearted and doesn't take itself too seriously, a welcome change of pace in a genre that lately does the exact opposite without succeeding very often (I may name Valdis Story as exception, but I wouldn't be able to find a second one).

Following the standard Metroidvania scheme, the action platoformer will have you move trough different areas progressively unlockable when you receive new powers. In Shantae's case, she can learn new magic dances allowing her to change shape in a monkey, an elephant or a mermaid;in addition to that, she can also use three kind of magic (fire, spikeball and lightning). Each of those powers is upgradable and has its uses both in combat and in exploration (for example, the monkey can climb walls and a fireball can ignite vines blocking the path).
Though all those mechanics are fairly standard, Shantae manages to stand out form other similar games for the quality WayForward put in all the aspects of the development: not only a good level design, but also excellent artworks, an awesome soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman and some of the very best pixel art you could find for such a low-definition console -I'd even dare to say that, given the same amount of pixels, Shantae: Risky's Revenge could rival the best Lucas Arts looks, and this is certainly something.
For what concerns the difficulty, I must say the game is as “casual” as one can be, being quite easy and extremely forgiving. You can even purchase up to nine health potions, so losing is almost not an option; still, it manages to remain fun even for an hardcore-bordering-to-masochist gamer like me. It is the ideal game for when you want to relax a bit while keep on staying active.

The game plays, sounds and look wonderfully, yet there is a big downside: it is extremely brief, no more than six hours if you manage to gather every possible secret item. Considering the original version was a DSi downloadable content I can blame no one for this, yet when such a good game ends so fast a little bit of bitter taste remains.
I hope to see Shantae and the Pirate's Curse here, soon, along with as many WayForward titles as possible!
Divinity: Original Sin EE.

I have 2 thoughts on this game, conflicting ones. First, this is a very polished, high quality, entertaining, fun, and high value game (lots of content, its fun, and the price is more than fair).

The other thought is that the combat balance is so very messed up, that its ended up being one of those, you must use this class/build combination to prevent massive hair pulling and temper tantruming.

I tried Tactician (middle difficulty) to start as I'm fairly familiar with RPG, ARPG, Larian games, etc. I can't even get passed the initial encounter. You simply aren't provided enough at the start of the game to do so... unless you pick various class combos. Even picking the right class, borderlines on luck to get you through various encounters until you can finally get enough points, cash, and equipment to start making character decisions to help you survive basic encounters. This game is a saving sim. If you encounter ANYTHING that makes you happy... SAVE!

So what I love and hate about this game are the same. Its a game that does NOT hold your hand and it lets you sort out the game by yourself. You have to use trial and error and have a genuine head on your shoulders to figure some things out. But... the systems in place don't support that very well. Its very time consuming to get to the meat of the character builds to find out what works for you. They also don't take into account a very basic necessity when respeccing... and that is getting back the skills you learned. When you respec, you lose ALL the skills you learned and you have to go find/buy them all over again. (and they are scattered all throughout the game)

There are some simply annoying things that could be easily fixed, and then there are some glaring lapses in judgement that leave me scratching my head. Rock/Paper/Scissors is one of those hard to believe implementations in the game. Its a quaint and decent way to solve inter-party disputes against real people. However, you also have to use this on NPC's and if you lose the outcome is almost always combat. AND, you will lose.... ALOT. Even if you waste precious character build points on charisma, charm, leader, etc. Doesn't matter. The computer can just win. Which, IMHO, completely rips out the RP from the RPG. Now its just a random game. But from my experience, its far from random. The NPC's still win even with my charm outscoring theirs 8-3. Meaning they have to get 3 before I get 1 right. and they often do.

So its a highly recommendable, yet go in very cautiously type of game. It WILL be fun if you like the genre. But it will be frustrating to figure out some of the game mechanics and oversights.