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benmar: Defender's quest: Valley of the forgotten
A very good tower defense game. The graphics are good, the music is fine, the story is surprisingly good for a defense type game and the characters tend to be funny and entertaining. My favorite were the dragon with a god complex and the sardonic archer girl.
The gameplay is your standard tower defense, with a few twists to make it more unique. I liked it overall, but the difficulty is lacking if you're just trying to win the game. Fortunately, a few achievements really need strategy and planning.
The "defense" type games aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea but if you want to try them out for yourself, I recommend this one. And Plants vs Zombies of course.
Play the NewGame+ ! :)
onarliog: The puzzles get progressively harder, and the final moments of the game are old-school Lucas Arts hard. I see this as a plus
Leroux: Were you able to solve them without a walkthrough?
I did, but it was far from easy. In particular, I got stuck two times and had to come back to the game a few days later to try again. However, there was no pixel hunting or absurdly illogical puzzles, so it's all good.

Some could find that frustrating, but like I said it was a nice change of pace for me. These days most adventure games can be completed in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.
It's been a while since I posted a review here, so let's try to catch up. It won't be easy to remember details from months ago, but what the hell, I'll just go with the lasting impressions.

SiN Gold

SiN. Not a bad game, but not a great one, either. While the appealing 90s™ vision of the future, the environments and the variety of weapons were pretty nice, it felt kind of lacklustre. Whether it was the somewhat slippery movement of your character, various collision detection issues (which sometimes resulted in me getting stuck in the environment), spongy enemies, or the really annoying snipers which turned the game into a trial-and-error exercise, it didn't really contribute to an all-that-great of an experience. In the end, I would equate the game to a nostalgia trip to the 90s, instead of a FPS that could stand the test of time.

P.S.: On a technical note, the game is not particularly playable out of the box, as it suffers from serious stuttering. While there are solutions posted in the subforum, the only one that worked for me was to disable the dynamic lighting. This worked well for the most part, but then I arrived into completely dark areas that necessitated the use of the flashlight to navigate them, which meant that I had to turn on dynamic lighting again in order to proceed. Thankfully, the areas didn't last long.

Full list.
Post edited November 14, 2016 by Grargar
The Last Door: Season Two GOG

Bigger than the first game in every way, and suffered from it. Tense claustrophobia and an escalating sense of unease is out; wandering around for twenty minutes looking for a hotspot I missed is in. Not bad, but a step down.
Post edited November 14, 2016 by BadDecissions
The Adventures of Shuggy

I like puzzle-platformers, but this one isn't one of my favourites. Puzzle section of the game is great and there are several levels where you have to to think of a quite original solution.

Platform section on the other hand is quite bad. The controls are not tight enough and Shuggy is moving like he is walking on ice all the time and because of that it's not always easy to do exact jumps and moves. The fact that Shuggy isn't very tough and will die from a single contact with something dangerous (enemy, skies, lava, mines) and the unpredictable movement of some foes didn't help. Because of this flaw some levels are not really challenging, but quite frustrating instead.

In the end I skipped about five levels that were absolutely no fun. Fortunately you can still beat the bosses and succeed when you haven't completed every single level.

Best part of the game were the levels from the Teleporting Troubles DLC that are completely focused on the puzzles.

All in all it's not a bad game, but there are several better and more balanced ones in the genre.

Complete list of finished games in 2016
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers - 20th Aniversary Edition

I had some free time this weekend and I managed to beat the game. I liked it , it had some good humor, some creepy moments and some smart puzzles.
Space Quest 3 (I played the DOS version via ScummVM)

The further adventures of Roger Wilco, space janitor! This was another great instalment in the Space Quest series. The areas to explore and characters are interesting and funny, the puzzles are not too difficult, and so many ways to die a gruesome death :)! I really cannot say which of these first three games I enjoyed the most, they are all really really very fun. Definitely recommended!
Major Stryker

Not a lot things to say about this free game. It's not smooth, it lasts too long and it starts becoming a pain in the ass if you get hit. You see, while you won't die with one shot, your weapon power will go down, lowering your chances of successfully completing the stage. Thus, it forces you to go on the defensive, which I find it a pretty boring way to play the game. I wouldn't really recommend it; there are better shoot-em-ups out there.

P.S.: I hated that lava world. Trying to discern enemy fire and ships was an excercise in frustration, as they were blending in with the scenery.

Complete list.
Post edited November 15, 2016 by Grargar
Halo 2 Anniversary (Xbox One)

As much as I think this was the greatest thing ever when it released (dual-wielding, hijacking vehicles, drivable wraiths, battle rifle..), I'd say it hasn't aged as well as the rest of the games. A lot of the levels don't hold up, and are pretty unmemorable, but the biggest problem is how cheap the difficulty feels on Legendary. A lot of the levels are full of snipers that never miss, and kill you in one hit. Unlike the other games, you have to restart at checkpoint if one of the co-op players die. Hands down the hardest Halo-game.

Aside from all the frustration with the snipers, it's still a good game. There's memorable missions like the one with the mechanical spider attacking the city, and the alien ruins with the underwater elevators. The improvements I mentioned earlier are also welcome additions to the franchise.
Phantasy Star 3 (Crys route)

Just finished the game. During the final battle, I used Gires once; my healing was otherwise done with Kara (who I cast Ner on) using a Royal Vest (Nasak 50) and other characters using Force Vests (Rever 10). The final battle is a lot more fun that way, though it can be frustrating when the Force Vests refuse to work. I only used Gires because I was getting unlucky.

The biggest flaw in Phantasy Star 3, I would say, is the extreme amount of backtracking you do. The game doesn't require any level grinding, but it does require way too much backtracking; there's one passage that, in the first generation, you have to go through 4(!) times. Also, the game has a problem with long paths that eventually lead to dead ends, which is rather frustrating.

I may load an earlier save and take the generation skip route, or I may play something else entirely.
<span class="bold">Deponia Doomsday</span>

This year I've played through the first three games of Deponia and it was just fine the way the series ended. Having said that, Deponia 4 was worth it. There was no need for another chapter, but the addition to the series is well worth your time. It's the same crazy and fun game with great visuals and a new soundtrack.

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Just finished Ultima 5. it was quite fun to explore the Britannia world.
I wrote discovered towns/dungeons/shrines on the map manually.(look at the attached image!). This is one of good fun things which these day's RPGs lost.
Although finding necessary items was quite difficult so I need to look at a walkthough.
I'm going to play Ultima 6 too.but it will be in distant future. I want to play other games now.

My 2016 finished games is here
Post edited November 16, 2016 by yoshino
yoshino: Just finished Ultima 5. it was quite fun to explore the Britannia world.
I wrote discovered towns/dungeons/shrines on the map manually.(look at the attached image!). This is one of good fun things which these day's RPGs lost.
Although finding necessary items was quite difficult so I need to look at a walkthough.
I'm going to play Ultima 6 too.but it will be in distant future. I want to play other games now.

My 2016 finished games is here
A few years back I went through an Ultima binge and bogged down somewhere in the middle of Ultima 6 because of computer problems. I still have my save game from then and I think I'm finally ready to jump back in. Maybe after I've cleared Persona 4 and have an RPG void.
Torchlight II

I was close to finishing it already in 2014 when I took a long break from it. Yesterday I decided to continue my playthrough, and today I beat it. Mind you, only once, and on Normal difficulty, but even though I know games like this one are supposed to be replayed in New Game+ mode and higher difficulty, that's just not my thing, so I consider it completed anyway. I liked the graphics, the sounds, the music and all the nice features that allow you to build the character any way you want and vary the gameplay, and the areas were varied as well, but ultimately I always get a little bored with the simple hack and slash dungeon crawls and the lack of gripping story-telling, and I feel overwhelmed with the amount of loot and the tedious inventory management. Not the fault of Torchlight II, that applies to the whole genre, and in fact Torchlight II is one of the very few Diablo-style action RPGs that I was actually motivated enough to finish eventually, even if it took me a long time (meaning two years, the actual playtime is 40 hours at max for one playthrough).

As far as I can tell, Torchlight II is a good game, and it gives you a lot to do even after you've completed the first playthrough, not just in the form of New Game+, but also by offering you random adventure maps for loot and leveling. It's just not really my cup of tea, in the long run. If you play it for story, it's rather disappointing, but I guess noone plays these games for story. Still, it's a huge step up from the first Torchlight, even in this regard. And at least it's very nice to look at, if you don't mind colorful cartoony styles. ;)

I know that was a pretty useless review, but I don't know what else to say about it. :P
Post edited November 17, 2016 by Leroux
Gone Home

Was free on last weekend, said might as well. Mind you, played on a Pentium G3440's integrated graphics on medium detail, framerate was likely not anything you'd want if it was actually a game. But since I managed to crank out a full review of it too, here ya go:

This is a difficult one to review. Or maybe I should more exactly say it’s a difficult one to review as a game, because I find it rather hard to call it one, and in fact it is listed in the Notgames group on MobyGames, even though I don’t see it in the releases list on the Notgames site. Still, it is a way to use the medium and definitely interactive, in fact containing no cinematics and, according to the developer commentary, one single scripted event, so can’t call it a movie in software form either.

I guess I’ll simply use the name instead of trying to categorize it, so I’ll say Gone Home takes place entirely in one house, but at least the house in question is a sizable mansion with secrets of its own to discover. Also, you can’t deny the attention to detail, including in some little ways which other games pretty much ignore as a rule, though there are of course other things that are implemented in ways which can’t be called as realistic, or even some that are completely missing. You probably won’t notice those though, being used to the approach other games take.
You’ll also be able to interact with just about everything you expect and also plenty of things you wouldn’t typically expect to be able to interact with, even if most of the time it’s merely a matter of being able to pick up items and examine them on all sides. At the very least, that means many objects created well enough to stand such scrutiny even if they don’t actually serve any other purpose than making the house seem like an actual home that people live in, or used to until shortly before your return. Plus, a little bonus point for the “put back” mechanic allowing you to set things back the way they were instead of leaving the place as if a tornado came in your wake.
As for the actual point of Gone Home, the story you uncover, it is an interesting one, albeit at a very mundane level, and the same may go for the largely optional side stories about the other family members. Now, I aim for escapism and fantasy worlds and events, so I wouldn’t normally have too good of an opinion about something which is very realistic and certain to have happened, in various variants and to a lesser or greater extent, many, many times all over the world, yet… This was all right. More than all right, I’d say, and it will definitely move some people deeply. Sure, will also annoy plenty and leave many entirely cold, but it is what it is.

I also want to make a note about the developer commentary, which you can turn on and then access in relevant spots throughout the game. That’s what I did and I definitely recommend it, since I feel that it really adds to the experience. After all, this is not exactly a game, and having that small team of developers behind it explain what you’re seeing and why they chose to do things that way, and perhaps pointing out things you may have missed, adds a more direct method of communication between them and you and, if anything, I’d say that makes the experience even more immersive.

Still, they could have made it more immersive in itself by allowing you to actually do more while interacting with all the objects that may be interacted with. Maybe writing or doodling a little with one of the many writing implements, maybe playing at painting for a moment with the brush, maybe washing hands in a sink, maybe taking a tissue out of one of the many boxes, possibly to wipe something, maybe opening some book or magazine, even if only to a title or dedication page or something of the sort, maybe trying to make a call, even if nobody’d have answered… Sure, that’d have added to the development time and costs, but it doesn’t stop me from saying it would have been a noticeable improvement for something that relies on realism and attention to mundane details.
Also on this note, they could have had a little more content on the TV and more songs on the few tapes you can find and play, especially since they either worked with the artists or used public domain works, so it may have simply been a matter of adding some more sound files and maybe an option to change sides or fast forward or rewind, which would simply result in playing the file from a certain different point. Again, not something one’d typically notice in a game, but it would have made a difference here… Plus, there is something called Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines released almost a decade earlier which I’d say still sets some standards with the included radio and TV broadcasts.
Otherwise, I may have appreciated more if finding the pieces that form the stories wouldn’t be so optional, or at least if you’d be told you missed something and given a chance to go back to find it after reaching the end. As it is, it simply ends, with no other information or chance to go back. Sure, I guess it’s another bit that says this isn’t exactly a game, but it makes for an uncomfortable feeling and I’d think that if the entire point is to uncover the story, or all the stories, the developers should have done more to increase the odds that you actually will.

In the end… It’s very short even with the developer commentary, there are no choices, no actual rewards and no loss states, and the few keys, combinations and secret places to find, some of which not even being mandatory, can’t make this a game. So maybe I could call Gone Home something like independent theater in software form, where the audience doesn’t get to actually influence the play but may leave and come back whenever they want and may pay closer attention or tune out at any moment, and where the actors may explain what they’re doing and why.
Again, there’s a lot of attention to realistic detail and the story is quite all right and some will deeply relate to it, or in some cases to the more general ideas presented. It also definitely makes points that unfortunately still desperately need to be made in this rotten society of ours. Overall, it is a way to use the medium which I’d actually encourage as an alternative for those interested. At the same time, it’s not something I’d personally pay for, so good thing I grabbed it while it was offered for free. You may entirely disagree with this, however… In either direction.