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damien: Half-Life 2: Episode Two (hard)

I already mentioned in my previous reviews that I didn't like Half Life 2, but enjoyed Half-Life 2: Episode One. Episode Two, however, I think is a great game. This one, unlike the previous Half Life 2 games, is extremely fun to play with full of breathtaking moments. It is also the only one I totally enjoyed shooting -especially at the striders in the final chapter-. The story also seems to be more focused. At the end, I would not consider myself as an Half Life fan but it was a blast to play this final entry to the series.

damien score: 9/10

List of all games finished in the last years with best and worst games played in each year
Yep, I've played all the Half-Life games (err...except the Japanese arcade game...), and I have to say that Episode Two is, by far, the best. I especially love the cave area (absolutely brimming with sludgy atmosphere) and the incredibly intense final fight.

BTW, have you done the gnome achievement? :P
Austrobogulator: BTW, have you done the gnome achievement? :P
no I haven't. actually I found about it googling it after your message. Sounds fun lol
Tomb Raider III

Compared to the second game; this is somehow much glitchier, has worse textures, more awkward camera angles, and more level design issues. I really felt myself getting to the end of my tether during this game. This is the first Tomb Raider game I've played where I've felt that the negatives outweigh the positives.

The main thing that should be mentioned is just how glitch-filled and janky this game is. I have no idea how they managed to do it, but the clipping issues are more extreme than before. There's also some pretty glaring hall-of-mirror glitches. Enemy AI is sub-par, at best; but, really, it's pretty bad. There's a lot of enemies walking into walls and generally moving around in all sorts of nonsensical patterns. I imagine the dialogue between enemies going something like this:

"Hey, there's that person we're supposed to kill!"
"Oh no! What should we do!?"
" about we just...walk in a circle a bunch, then walk onto a slightly sloped surface, then, um, just stand there. Forever."
"Shouldn't we just try to kill her? We have guns."
"Nope, just stand there motionless. Whatever you do, don't shoot her. You can move your head to look at her, but definitely no shooting."

A lot of the textures are ugly - inconsistent quality, compression artefacts, textures that are squished down in size. Not only that, more importantly, some textures are very poor at communicating their function. It can be very unclear which textures are climbable and which aren't. There are even certain textures that are used to represent both climbable surfaces and non-climbable surfaces, making some areas far more confusing than they should be.

There are a lot of arbitrary and sudden camera angle changes, most of which hinder instead of help. Thankfully, you can usually press the look button to reset things back to normal. As well as annoying scripted camera changes, TR3 has a bunch of cramped spaces that cause the camera to look in all sorts of useless angles.

The game also has some absolutely bewildering level design. Most levels feel like they have a lot of padding and go on for much longer than they should. Then there was one baffling level that I accidentally skipped 90% of the content. I thought I was heading towards a secret area or something. Nope, I just ended up at the end of the level...

Tomb Raider II had a good way of dealing with secret areas - three secrets in each level, each marked with distinct statues. This made it easy to tell where the secrets were and the challenge was usually figuring out how to get there. In this game, they did away with that, which made secrets a lot more frustrating. There were times where I accidentally stumbled upon secret areas. Then there were places that seemed like secrets areas, yet they were actually a part of the critical path.

One welcome change is the ability to set the resolution through the menu, it isn't hidden like the last game. I should mention some other positives while I'm at it, because it's not all bad. There are a handful of cool enemy designs; a few good puzzles; and dare I say, some areas actually look nice.

All things considered though, for me, it's certainly not more than a 2-star game.

So, this means that I've reached the end of the Tomb Raider 1+2+3 package. Overall, I'd say the whole thing is a 3-star experience.
House of 1,000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster

Not bad. Typical HOG/point and click hybrid. Animations were impressive in areas. LOTS of backtracking but the map makes its easy to zip around as needed. Very short game.
Added a queue:

I'll add more titles to it as needed, but hopefully it will be empty (more or less) by the end of the year.
Last night, I completed Ys 1. I am now currently playing Ys 2.

More of an adventure/puzzle game than a HOG. The HOG elements were very sparse and poorly done. The art, audio, voicing, and other puzzle elements were pretty good. Typical back tracking was annoying, but all in all, not bad for a bundled game advertised as a HOG that really wasn't.

What grinds my gears is the developers making the game intentionally short and then adding on "bonus" chapters. To my knowledge, this bonus content can't be bought. Everywhere I am seeing the game sold is collector's edition only. This is a very annoying trend, especially amongst HOG developers. Can't you just make a game and sell it? No gimmicks, no trickery... just let the full game launch and play. Wouldn't that be nice? :P
hucklebarry: What grinds my gears is the developers making the game intentionally short and then adding on "bonus" chapters. To my knowledge, this bonus content can't be bought. Everywhere I am seeing the game sold is collector's edition only.
This seems to be a Big Fish Games thing, and it may be a requirement for devs - they sell "base" games for one price, and "Collector's Editions" for another, and most games move from one tier to the other. I was wondering about this, in part since the de rigeur bonus chapter is generally not very good and is usually clearly tacked on to a completed project, and then I was poking around at Big Fish for a bit, and that seems to be where it comes from.
Post edited April 23, 2015 by LinustheBold
Hitman GO - A good puzzle game for tablets. It's got a nice board game aesthetic, and does an good job of using the mechanics of the Hitman games. Being a mobile game, it's a much better direction to go than trying to be a full Hitman game on mobile devices. It's got 7 different missions to complete, with between 10 and 15 stages for each one, so it's good a far amount of content. However, there's not a lot of replay value other than trying to get all three stars on a stage. Still, one of the better mobile games I've played.

So far:
Kingdom Rush: Frontiers
Kingdom Rush
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
FEAR: Extraction Point
FEAR: Perseus Mandate
Consortium: The Master Edition
The Cat Lady
Hitman GO
Mystery Masters: Psycho Train

Very simple point and click with HOG elements. Not bad, but nothing worth mentioning either. Nice timer killer (3 - 4 hours) if you can't get into anything else.
Include me

Gothic 3
Nice game: huge world to explore, quite nice combat but lack of enemy AI, better not talking about the ending... (Gothic 2 was the best for me)
Nice game too: open world, some combat issue (it goes better with magic), seems that someone forgot to write an end (also) for this game!
Very nice game: if played like Thief it can give you many satisfaction, many way to complete mission, a solid story & a valid ending!
<span class="bold">Two World (1)</span>
Post edited April 28, 2015 by Logtck
Just went through the rest of Yakuza: Dead Souls. Frankly, it's one of the best games on my PS3 as of now, and I own a few good and purportedly good games. The combat took some getting used to, but eventually (not a few hours eventually, more like less than an hour) one gets the hang of it and it becomes fun, more so with weapon upgrades. The minigames, side quests, and extra stuff you can do is plentiful and largely interesting, I'm probably going to have to run through this one again just because there was a good bit of stuff I had meant to do but had not gotten around to. I liked the way the game looks but one of my favorite things was the sound, I liked the voice acting a lot and the music is fantastic throughout, my favorite would be the track when in the Millennium Tower near the end. Dialogue and scripts were all done very well, this is one of my favorites at least as far as character interactions would be concerned.

This was a game that I thought would be good and yet I was still surprised at how much I liked it. Only real word of caution is that the controls will not make sense to someone experienced with typical shooter mechanics (having not played it yet, it kind of resembles RE4, but think of it like how Metroid Prime plays compared to any FPS).
Yesterday I finished Dragon Age Inquisition. It took about 100 hours.. I did quite many sidequests and stuff.

Story portion is pretty short and uninteresting, it kinda feeled that sidequests also were there just because.. like different world had nothing to do with anything. It really didn't feel much of an rpg at all. I never was like "oh that's pretty sweet, greatest game ever." And I do that a lot even in mediocre games for a few minutes.
Combat was boring they just scattered bunch of enemies which seemed to respawn too often and tac cam is still really horrible and even with action oriented controller mechanism it sometimes manages to irritate you. With charging bull move you rush towards enemies and mostly throwing them on their back which was kinda cool but in many places some wooden branch in the ground stopped that. I was a human mage (with beard and all) and at some point I got really bored shooting the same stuff, whirling that staff so I played mostly last 20 hours with Cassandra.

It was nice to see Morrigan, Hawke and Alistair but even their part weren't really interesting and the ending was lame and I didn't even see Hero of Ferelden. It had some wartable mission which took 14 hours of waiting and basically you got rewarded some crappy belt. I was there like WTF!

It was a decent game but such a waste that those beautiful graphics mostly went to waste with that story and mechanics.

Game of the year? Not for me.

Or I just hate all the games suddenly. That's another explanation.
Just beat Startropics, which is a classic NES game that never quite got the attention it deserved because it was a fairly late release, I think. It resembles a Zelda-type game in that you control a kid from an overhead perspective and battle monsters from one room to another, limited to vertical and horizontal directions only. The main difference is that the controls on the "grid" are a lot tighter and there's a jumping aspect in that you need to solve puzzles and avoid enemies by hopping on top of square blocks placed around the floor. There's a somewhat notorious puzzle mid-game that can only be solved if you have access to a feelie that was included with the original game, so thank goodness for the internet for that.

Graphics and music are really good. Peak 8-bit style. The level of challenge is just right - difficult enough to knock you down many times, but you always feel like you're learning as you fail and that makes it easy to get motivated for another run. People who are really into Earthbound's quirkiness might dig this because it has a similar vibe, with an ordinary modern kid (armed initially with a yo-yo) getting involved in a weird fantasy/sci-fi plot with goofy monsters and situations.
Shadowgate Remake (Linux)

Thanks again IAmSinistar for this great gift!
I started it a while ago in WinXP but since I had to work a lot on my archives in Linux I didn't boot it up for a while so I was glad to see that the Linux port arrived here and picked it up again immediately.
I played the lower (normal) difficulty setting but will definitely play the higher one at some point.

This is exactly what I want from a remake of an old game, the gameplay is mostly the same with some optional improvements, graphics are HD and beautiful but with a retro option too, music is awesome and the best point for such an old game was, that they added a lower difficulty setting, how I wished that for many games from that era.

It was a wonderful experience and will be replayed. :)

Full list:
Post edited April 25, 2015 by Klumpen0815