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Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Finally after all these years, beating it without cheating. (still on easy though)

Quake 2
It was fun, got lost a few times and needed Youtube sadly.
Enjoyed it way more than what little I played of Quake 1, this one had great music.
<span class="bold">Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart</span> (played on Wine v1.9.9)

Lazing (and hungover) on a Sunday afternoon, I needed an easy-going, casual game compatible with my (at that moment) very low reaction times and intellectual capabilities. So when I found this game at the bottom of my Windows-only backlog I knew the time had come for me to give it a go. I had played other Artifex Mundi games before, so I knew perfectly well what to expect: beautiful but mostly still graphics with a couple of sub-par animations thrown in, a plot full of fantastic/supernatural elements, lots of puzzles, and perhaps the core gamer most feared enemy: hidden object scenes! However, having played similar games from other developers before, I must commend this studio's approach to such a dreaded game mechanic: they don't constitute the bulk of the experience and they don't usually suppose a serious hindrance to the player's enjoyment and progress through the game. Plus, you can always skip these scenes by playing a round of Mahjong instead (or at least you can in the normal mode).

The plot of these kind of games isn't usually anything to write home about, but even with these standards, I found this one particularly silly. Maybe because, in contrast with other titles like the Time Mysteries or the Grim Legends series, here I was left with the impression that the mystery was revealed quite early in the game and then it was explained to me several times over by different NPCs. Well, since this is one of A.M.'s earliest games I guess this is something they learned to master as they went along, and that's why I enjoyed best other more recent games of theirs.

But all in all it achieved its main purpose of entertaining me during a boring Sunday afternoon/evening, so there's that.

My list of finished games in 2016
I've now gotten through all my PS2 games, onto PS3.

Gregory Horror Show (PS2)

Based on a Japanese cartoon, in this game you play a kid whose wondered through some misty dark woods and found Gregory House, a hotel run by Gregory, a Giant Mouse who kindly gives you a room. But something is amiss, the door is always locked for 'Security Reasons', in your dreams Death meets with you and offers you a way out, you just have to give him the souls held by each guest in the hotel. Now guests don't give up their soul easily, and they know your after them, you have to stalk them and look for an opportunity to take it, whether through Stealth, Fear or Coercion. The guests in this hotel are unique individuals: A lizard nurse who just loves to take blood samples, a creepy girl endlessly looking for her dolly or a zombie cat whose had every single opening sewn shut. When the guests find their souls have been taken, they stalk the halls looking for you, and if they find you treat you to a horror show of their own invention. Whilst you do this you have to keep your sanity up. because once it's gone, you'll be stuck forever.

Though technically a survival horror game, the game centres more on being creepy and creating tension rather than gore and jump scares. When ever you peak through a keyhole at a guest, you jump every time you hear a door open nearby. Items are in short supply, your most useful tool should a guest spot you is a banana peel. It took me 6 hours to finish, and though it can get difficult trying to figure out how to get a guests soul, if you eavesdrop on enough people you can usually figure it out. I would recommend it, though it isn't available in USA.
Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure. Beat this yesterday evening and got the lame ending. A couple of hours later I spent some time mopping up the last few levels and beat it again for the good ending.

Another nice game from Falcom. In this one you control a cute little girl who goes to a small mining village to spend time with her grandfather and she realizes she can see and talk to monsters. There's a hidden door in the village that lets her travel to the monsters' world, but just as they're all making friends, some bad guys from another dimension come in and start wrecking stuff, so she gets a special drill to use as a weapon and heads off to save her new friends. It's all incredibly cute, probably like a 0.7 on the Hello Kitty scale. It makes the Smurfs look like a Scorcese movie. I love cel-shading, so I enjoyed looking at the characters and the general look of it is very nice and clean.

It plays sort of like the later Ys games (I think it's made with the same engine), but there's an interesting feature of a rhythm meter added to the top of the screen. If you hit monsters in time with the music, you'll perform a critical attack. Sometimes I was good at doing this, other times not so much. The game isn't very difficult - I don't think I died a single time during the game - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention because it does get challenging on the later levels and I did have a few close calls and needed to stock up on healing items and such for second half of it. The fighting feels pretty good and I found the combos mostly easy to pull off, but there are some platforming sections that I never got on with because the movement is a bit slippery and I wasn't keen on the camera's low angle.
magejake50: Gregory Horror Show (PS2)
I've never heard of this game before, interesting.
Finished season 1 of The Last Door. Graphics are heavily pixelated but it doesn't mean it's ugly. However I had a few places in episode 2 where I missed an item due to those pixels. Story is quite good and interesting. Puzzles are on the easy side.

Full list here.
<span class="bold">LYNE</span> (Android)

I'm not entirely sure whether I've enjoyed this game or not. I started playing it last July and haven't finished the regular puzzles until today (though admittedly there's a good amount of them: a group of 25 levels for each letter in the alphabet, so that's 25 * 26 = 650 levels no less). So on the one hand here's a game that's taken me 10 months to beat, but on the other hand I never quit it and I've regularly come back to it. In the end I guess it could be best described as a love-hate relationship: the mechanics are as simple as they get and the game is certainly appealing and engaging, but I tended to lose interest after a while. Probably because the later levels, the bigger ones with lots of octogonal gates in them, didn't seem to have a general method of being solved and they invariably ended up as one big trial-and-error after another, which obviously wasn't much fun to me. However, and in spite of all I've just said, the tingling feeling I got every time I finally solved a resisting puzzle almost managed to compensate the previous frustration, and acted as the necessary boost for the good old "just one more level and I go to sleep/back to doing some work/whatever".

As I said, I've just finished the regular puzzles and I'm putting down this game for good, or at least for a good while. However, its daily challenges (2 or 3 packs of 25 levels, depending on their difficulty) can and certainly will extend the game's lifespan for any diehard puzzle fan. Their only purpose though, other than entertaining you for a while, is to collect bonus points that will eventually unlock additional color palettes. I personally found the alternative palettes quite ugly and thus I stayed with the default one throughout, so here's another reason why I'm considering this game done.

I wouldn't want to end on a negative note though, so my last recommendation to anyone considering giving it a try would be to go for the mobile version: first, this is the kind of game that plays best on a touch screen, and second, the mobile versions are slightly cheaper.

My list of finished games in 2016
Dark Souls + Artorias of the Abyss, PS3, 5/9

After weeks of effort, I finally beat this thing into submission. What to say? It's a gorgeous game with extremely solid controls, and stunningly good level design. I made made me a tank with big heavy armor, a big heavy shield, and a big heavy sword. If you scrupulously upgrade all your equipment and dump souls into strength, vitality, and endurance, you might find that this build makes the game's famously difficult bosses into something of a cake walk. The only ones I had trouble with (but oh, I had a lot of trouble) were a pair of gargoyles (only the third boss of the game) and notorious pair of assholes, Ornstein and Smough--not coincidentally, the two fights with multiple enemies where I couldn't just lock onto the boss and keep my shield up. On the other hand, the moment-to-moment gameplay was just as deadly as I'd been led to believe. I racked up many, many deaths before I was through. Still, I probably dies more playing Dragon Age on the hardest difficulty; what this game does, which other hard games do not always do, and which I think is what makes it so memorable, is contextualize the difficulty in terms of the game world. In terms of the lore, undead who lose hope "go hollow." You see it happen to NPCs around you. So when you die for the twentyith time against fucking assholes Ornstein and Smough, and are dragging your way to their chamber for match twenty-one, the fact that you--and by extension, your character--are refusing to give up feels like a meaningful part of the narrative. Compared to Dragon Age, which I think you could play on pretty much any difficulty you wanted, the difficulty really feels like part of the game.

So what don't I like? Well, the game features a huge number of weapons with various move-sets, which is nice; but upgrading weapons and armor to high levels is a tedious chore, since you need to farm upgrade materials. So the game in that way kind of forces you to find something early on and stick with it; I'd have liked to be able to experiment more freely. Similarly with stats; if you don't decide exactly what kind of character you're going to play very early, you can easily create a dud. Most of the level design was amazing, but there were two notable exceptions: lava level Lost Izalith, and invisible bridge insta-death level Crystal Caves.

Also, there's what I consider to be a pretty major hitch in the multiplayer. I was actually intending to ignore the multiplayer, but I suprised myself. There are three types of multiplayer, basically. There's a passive system, where you can leave messages for other people on your server to see ("Why don't you try hurling yourself to your death?'--every Dark Souls player ever. But the people who marked the paths in the Crystal Caves are saints.) That's fine. Then, you can summon people to help you out, particularly in fighting bosses--as I mentioned, my build caused me not to have a huge amount of trouble with bosses, and when I did, my ego wouldn't let me summon help (which is ridiculous of me, and not intended as a slam against anyone who did.) Third, invasion--other people can invade your world and PVP you. I thought this mechanism would drive me crazy, but I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I also didn't get to experience much of it. See, in this game, you start out as a human. When you die, you become a hollow, and need to use a somewhat rare item if you want to become human again. You have to be human to do active multiplayer, but the item for becoming human also has very practical uses (it allows you to power up your checkpoints, basically), so I ended up spending most of the game as Hollow, without spare humanity to run human, cut off from the multiplayer. It was really frustrating, and I think they changed it in the second game, so I can't be the only person who thought so.

The second game ... some day. For now, although it was a mostly rewarding experience, I am completely burned out. I am going to play some nice visual novel now, I think.
xa_chan: Can't wait fot Blood & Wine next monthe maybe!
Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine will release on May 30-31, that's 3 weeks from now:
Quake 3 Arena - Normal difficulty.

Blasted right through the later levels, I out sniped the last guy with his own rail gun.

Still one of the best straight up shooters, I don't like that many but this one is fun. And pretty challenging.

I am saddened that the cool deathmatch action and violence and pieces of your enemies exploding is over now. ; ;
Post edited May 10, 2016 by bad_fur_day1
xa_chan: Can't wait fot Blood & Wine next monthe maybe!
mobutu: Witcher 3 - Blood and Wine will release on May 30-31, that's 3 weeks from now:
Yup, saw that shortly after posting my message... That should still let me enough time to finish LEGO Marvel Avengers ;)
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter (10 May 1:36pm)

The first one was better since they didn't have all of those traps which were a pain but the last two levels were fun. Open field, fire coming from the sky an unlimited bad guys to kill
Blackwell Unbound

This is a prequel point & click adventure to The Blackwell Legacy and is equally short. Like the previous entry, I'm not sure I would have paid anything close to "full price" for this snack. Taking place in New York City on a single day during 1973, this 2 hour experience is easier than the first game but just as entertaining.
Post edited May 10, 2016 by Negatus
bad_fur_day1: Quake 3 Arena - Normal difficulty.
Nightmare, then? :p
<span class="bold">Lost Echo</span> (Android)

This is the first point-n-click adventure game I've ever played on my phone (if we don't count several HOPAs from Artifex Mundi), and it's been an overall positive experience. Having been raised during LucasArts' golden age, to face a PnC adventure without a mouse in my hand feels very, very wrong to me. But with a couple of tweaks here and there (like a stronger emphasis on dialogue, a severe reduction of the amount of objects and interactive elements, or the inclusion of a few logic-based and ability-based puzzles), the people at KickBack made me forget my mouse dependency for these kind of games pretty quickly. Now, I really cannot tell whether all these changes were introduced as a way of adapting to the mobile medium, or simply because this game is a child of its age and this is how you make adventure games nowadays. Either way, I don't actually care since I genuinely enjoyed the experience.

The game tells the story of Greg, an engineer on the verge of a big breakthrough in his work, who gets involved in a mysterious and quasi-paranormal event. As a result of said event, his long time girlfriend Chloe disappears without a trace and, what's worse, nobody else seems to remember her. The plot thickens and thickens (and it even performs a couple of elaborate twists along the way) as Greg tries to find out what happened exactly and where is Chloe. Since the story is the strongest aspect of the game, I won't delve any deeper into it to avoid any spoilers. But without revealing anything, I'll allow myself a small complaint: a couple of ridiculous characters and silly situations in this game are at complete odds with its more or less serious façade. I'm all for comical and goofy plots (as I said earlier, I grew up with Monkey Islands, Maniac Mansions and the like), but I think it's best to stay on one side of the tragedy/comedy line all the time. Crisscrossing all over it doesn't usually produce anything good, and that's the impression I got from a couple of elements of this game. But then again I'm quite a nitpicker, so for anyone else this might not even constitute a minor annoyance.

Finally, there's an upcoming -and free!- update/epilogue aimed at providing a better ending and at clarifying some of the events in the main game. Not that I was complaining about the original ending, but I'll make sure to play this epilogue whenever it's released.

My list of finished games in 2016