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Finished Mark of the Ninja (sorta*) the other day. I do believe that's the first title I finished this year. Really good stealth platformer. Controls surprisingly well with keyboard & mouse.

*I still haven't completed all the optional objectives etc., or tried 'New Game+' mode, or started the DLC storyline.
<span class="bold">Trine 2</span>

Our three heroes -the mage, the knight and the thief- are back, and this time, once again summoned and guided by the Trine, they will have to face both the Goblin menace and a curse that is corrupting a nearby realm.
Each of the three possesses unique abilities: the mage can make objects appear from thin air, the thief can throw arrows and use the grapnel on any wood surface while the knight can fight without mercy and move even the heaviest object.
All the game is based on physics puzzles scattered around several beautifully designed and deeply diverse areas (not only woods and deserts, but even the belly of a beast and flying cities!), each with its own theme and peculiarities. While each character could theoretically finish the game by itself, the cooperation between the three would be fundamental to get the best out of the game; while the level ups based on experience (represented by blue flasks coming from monsters or found around the levels, more often than not in the many secret places) that improve the characters' abilities have been retained, the special treasures have not; in their place, you can find stories and poems hidden in chests that can spread light on the whole story, not as trivial as it might seem at first.
Also: there are not timed levels, and Frozenbyte has learned from the lesson of the last level in Trine 1.

I warmly recommend Trine 2 to everyone: its humor, beautiful envoronments and varied challenge are all that a videogame should be. It would be impossible not to enjoy it, its charming characters and its magic atmosphere!
<span class="bold">Definitionado</span> (Android)

Simple but effective word game to exercise your brain during your commuting (or toilet :P) sessions. It asks for no shady permissions and even though it includes microtransactions, you earn in-game currency (which allows for hints, or even for skipping a word that's resisting you) by guessing words. Plus, you can earn even more in-game currency by "watching" video ads. Of course, every now and then I had to resort to watching at a bunch of videos to be able to afford me some much needed hints.

There are 15 regular levels with 40 words in each, plus 3 'theme' levels (Music, Pop Culture, and Pop Trivia) with 50 each. So, a total of 710 words to be guessed: some very easy and straightforward, but others I found their definitions too convoluted (or referring to a nursery rhyme or a traditional song I was totally unaware of, what with English not being my native language and all).

My list of finished games in 2016
Cognition: An Erica Reed thriller

The good:
1. Interesting visuals
2. Good music
3. The story managed to keep my attention
4. A few interesting mechanics
5. Every episode feels a bit different which lessens the feeling of repetition

The bad:
1. Some actions take too long to perform and the characters movement speed is lousy
2. Glitches galore like clipping issues, pathfinding and freezes
3. The mental abilities and item use tend to be cumbersome
4. As a FBI agent, Erica is a total dunce. She breaks procedure an almost every occasion
5. The plot is needlessly overcomplicated which even the characters are aware of and mention it a few times in in the last episode. This makes some characters look idiotic while at the same time, the game builds them up to be an almost H.Lecter level of evil genius.
6. Some lines of dialog can't be skipped, which I can't understand why.

Far from perfect, but still recommended.
I finished The Witcher, at last!

I must say I didn't quite manage to immerse myself a lot in the game, guess it was mostly because of the English VO. Heard the Polish version is better, but I never changed the language. Ah well.

Lore was still quite interested, just the presentation wasn't that great for me. Will play the other games too, of course!
Batman: Arkham City

Beat main story and the Harley addon mission.

Arkham Asylum on Hard was pretty easy, for the most part, so Arkham City was a bit of a wake-up call when I had to repeat pretty much every early fight a dozen times. I did get better, eventually, but this game is definitely significantly harder than the first one in the series.

The end of the main campaign did come as a surprise - I didn't think they'd go there.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it, though I'm not gonna keep banging at some of the side quests or try 100%ing the riddler stuff since it's too much of a bother.
Call of Cthulhu: Prisoner of Ice - 4/5

Much better than the previous game. Even though there are a bunch of death situations, the game autosaves beforehand, so it's not too bad. Also, make sure you read the "newspaper" that comes with the game...
Just beat Darksiders 2. And what a drag it was. A huge step back from the first game.

I was a fan of the first game; it was stylish, had a good story, and War was extremely charismatic with a matching voice talent. Now this one's all about collect 5 of this, find 10 of that, kill 5 monsters, flip 3 switches... for 20+ hours. I had a good laugh when Death actually complains to an NPC about whether they thought he was their errand boy. Well, sorry to break you the news but...

Gameplay wise this is open-world gone all wrong, a grind-fest of meaningless side quests to artificially extend play time, which are better completely ignored. GUI is utterly broken, which wasn't the case in the first game. Camera is shit. The first game's Devil May Cry style abilities and a few but very detailed weapons are replaced by a stupid loot system, where things only differ by minor stat numbers, and only serve to distract you with inventory management. Leveling up and the skill tree is a joke: I ended up with a spare 20 skills points or so because there was nothing worthwhile to spend them on and I didn't even care to use any skills after a certain point. Money is meaningless, there is nothing to buy, you find 1 or 2 good weapons and use them all the time, nothing better to buy.

This was time wasted.
<span class="bold">The Fall</span>

Somehow, you are falling from space. You activate the anti-matter shield, and manage to reach the ground of an unknown planet in one piece. You will find yourself in a strange robot disposal facility playing as your combat suit AI, as it seems the pilot is wounded and unconscious, forcing the automatic response to take over command for him.
From this point on, the game becomes the perfect fusion between an adventure game and an action platformer, with the usual item combination united to a shooting with a simple cover sistem: roaming the facility in decay, you will start discovering dead crucified human bodies almost everywhere and hostile droids ready to make short work of you, and between that mess you will have to start to wort to have things make sense.
The most interesting part in the game is that you will have to interact only with robots, reasoning with their core commands and trying to find alternate solution that do not break the rules, forcing your way out by acting at the limits of the freedom an AI could take.
The puzzles are very well thought, neither obvious nor really hard and sometimes they can make you seriously question the morality of what you are doing -all to abide to your main command, saving the pilot.
The atmosphere of the dark and almost destroyed facility is great, especially since you will have to explore it with a flashlight and interact with the items or pieces of environment it highlights for you. Even if most of them are just descriptions and cannot be used, all manages to keep the mystery thrilling and give a constant sense of dread and the feeling that something has gone very, very wrong. The complete lack of information of the newly booted up AI helps, too.

I cannot say more without falling in spoiler territory, but I will say just this: The Fall is a great game well worth playing.
Its only significant downside is that it is VERY brief (like 3 hours long) and it is just the beginning of a series, so I am already craving fro the sequel.
Warmly recommended!
I'm calling Escape Goat 2, although I haven't beaten the secret levels. Sorry, dude, but my backlog is huge; I don't mind spending a lot of time beating a difficult level, but flailing around for hours trying to find the levels is where I draw the line; I'll have to be satisfied with 89% complete. I watched the credits, which is the minimum I need to mark a game as beaten.

Still, I enjoyed the game a heck of a lot, much more than the first one, which I already enjoyed. Different power-ups provided a lot more level variety, and the game was significantly longer than the first, so it had time to make use of that variety (at least, I didn't count levels, but I beat the first in an afternoon; this, not even close). When it fell down, it was because the platforming-heavy levels could be a little irritating; the delicate balancing act that all puzzle-platformers have to face; but only a few levels really irritated me.
Post edited June 27, 2016 by BadDecissions
Hunted: The Demon's Forge

An extremely linear hack and slash / cover based shooter in a fantasy setting with bows and magic, originally devised for co-op play but I played it in single player mode (and co-op mode apparantly needs fixing these days). Made by Brian Fargo's inXile, but under the guidance of Bethesda as publisher, and from what I gathered, Fargo wasn't very happy with the game. I wouldn't call it a very good game either, the lukewarm reviews it got do have a point. Nevertheless I enjoyed playing it, and I thought it was worth the few bucks I paid for it in the Steam sale.

What you can expect from it is mostly combat similar to Mass Effect, without any noteworthy RPG elements. There is an upgrade system for your skills, but it's weirdly balanced, in that during the first two or three chapters of six, you'll already get enough points to upgrade anything, even the skills you're not using that much, but then you have to wait until you get to chapter five before you're allowed to unlock the highest tiers of the skills (which cost 4 times as much, but even if you'd save enough points, you can't unlock them earlier, and that makes your choices rather meaningless).

There is some exploration with tiny side quests and secrets to find, but it's not that much fun, since you're so limited by how small the areas are, how there's only one way and everything else is blocked off, you can't jump, you can't pass the smallest obstacles, and the game is constantly shutting doors behind you (literally and metaphorically), preventing you from going back if you missed a secret, so you have to be wary about going ahead too quickly. Also, while there are some clear signs for points of no return, once you've understood how the game works, on other occasions there is no way for the player to foresee them. In addition to that, there is only one autosave, so everything you miss is gone for good until your next playthrough (if you ever feel like replaying it). The game also has two different endings, and it's very easy to get the bad ending, even by accident (good thing there's still YouTube!).

Add to that those NPCs talking to themselves constantly repeating their text, so that you might hear the same sentence every 5 seconds or so if you're near them, or that lighting can be weird and make the game look a bit drab at times, or that the AI of your partner is perfectly able to simulate a co-op player snatching away stuff that you meant to pick up yourself or standing in your way, but often fails at reviving you when you're down. If you must, it's safer to die close to your partner, because they won't come running across greater distances like your RL co-op buddy would do ... Well, you get the picture.

Despite all that, it was hardly ever frustrating to play, and I was motivated to always "just play a little bit more" until it was over (~12 hours?). The normal "Gamer" difficulty was quite easy, and I thought it was fun just to run and 'gun' my way through the dungeons and fantasy landscapes with a pair of sexy anti-heroes constantly teasing each other. Kind of a guilty pleasure, I guess. What's odd is that in an interview, Brian Fargo said that inXile had no say in the voice-acting, and he seemed dissatisfied with that, while personally I thought the voice-acting was one of the better aspects of the game (it's worth it just for Laura Bailey!). So yeah, this was a game that's neither very interesting in terms of gameplay, nor really all that bad, if you're just looking for some mindless b-movie entertainment without too many frustatrations. Not sure if I'd recommend it, but I kind of liked it myself, despite better judgement.
Post edited June 27, 2016 by Leroux
Leroux: Hunted: The Demon's Forge
I was always kind of disappointed that this wasn't a sequel (AFAIK) to the original Demon's Forge (Fargo's very first game, I think?).
Leroux: Hunted: The Demon's Forge
andysheets1975: I was always kind of disappointed that this wasn't a sequel (AFAIK) to the original Demon's Forge (Fargo's very first game, I think?).
This one? Who knows, maybe that was Brian Fargo's initial plan, and then Bethesda said: Ok, we can do that, but it needs to be a bit more modern. Let's make it a 3D dungeon crawler made with Unreal engine. With an accessible skill upgrade system. You know, a cool new kind of RPG that's like a fast-paced shooter! With corridors and arenas! And turret sections! And secrets! And scantily-dressed leather babes! And the name needs more colon in it. Here, we've also made some changes to the script. Great idea, Brian! ;)
Post edited June 28, 2016 by Leroux
Leroux: This one? Who knows, maybe that was Brian Fargo's initial plan, and then Bethesda said: Ok, we can do that, but it needs to be a bit more modern. Let's make it a 3D dungeon crawler made with Unreal engine. With an accessible skill upgrade system. You know, a cool new kind of RPG that's like a fast-paced shooter! With corridors and arenas! And turret sections! And secrets! And scantily-dressed leather babes! And the name needs more colon in it. Here, we've also made some changes to the script. Great idea, Brian! ;)
Yup, that's it :) I have some nostalgia for that original game because it was one of the early PC games I played.
Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One...yeah, no shit Sherlock)

Goodbye "Console with no Game" (that's a WiiU). Hello new steering wheel controller. Thanks to the local EB store trade system. I started with Forza 5 since I already had it since, like pretty much half the Xbox population, it came bundled with the console.

How do you even finish a racing game? Well Forza 5 has a total of 41 built in racing championships across all styles and classes of car, that's basically what classes as campaign mode. And I did every one of them over the past 2 weeks...that's right, over 400 races! Whilst my driving/racing phase only comes around once per year, when it does I tend to get all "obsessive compulsive" over it. I immediately bumped the AI difficulty up several notches to "above average" when I got the steering wheel and had to increase it as I worked through the championships- finishing up on second hardest.

Anyone that follows the series will know that Forza 5 was a cutdown version compared to 4 and the current 6, only having about half the usual cars and tracks. MS really wanted a Forza game to bundle with the new console from day one. The good news is that what is present is as good as always, so if you have it anyway then play it for sure. If not then buy Forza 6.

What makes the series so damn good (and same goes for Gran Turismo on PS) is that anyone can play them, from car nuts that are not even gamers, to serious racers wanting a quick fix. Put all the assists on they are awesome arcade racers that anyone can try. Turn the assists off and you find cars that actually handle and drive as good as anything out there, all on circuits that are accurately modeled. And it doesn't matter what you like, there's everything from your Ford Fiesta to American vintage Muscle cars and modern Prototypes.
Some say they don;t like grinding to earn credits to buy their cars. Well I say that if you class racing cars as grinding, then you are playing the wrong game anyway. This grinding is what racing cars is all about, you like it or you don't.

Whilst I like both Forza and Gran Turismo, I admit to favoring Forza. The reason being the superior AI that now comes from the Drivatar system that has really matured. Basically, whilst most racing games just use a few drivers to feed in info at the developer level, what you always get are cars that mostly follow each other on the driving line like robots. Forza collects info from thousands and even millions that play the game and build AI avatars that you race against in single player. So they behave like human drivers, have strengths and weaknesses on each circuit just like you do. They fly off the circuit just like you do, they take odd driving lines that you didn't even think to try, some plough into every corner and run wide, some bounce over every curb, some park on the apex, some won't move off the line to pass, some will go 2 or 3 abreast to try get the idea.

I even had a go at online multiplayer racing and surprisingly even won a few races. Though like all these types of games, the multiplayer is best with friends and groups that you can trust to adhere to a code of conduct. But for me it's really about the single player side of things anyway.

I enjoyed it, but since it's a superseded version, I'm now done with it. Next time the driving phase hits it will be with a newer version. The upcoming Forza Horizon 3 is looking very tempting...
Post edited June 28, 2016 by CMOT70