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I haven't finished many games this year, a little hard to get a lot of time in when planning a wedding, and you decide to play The Witcher 3. Witcher 3 will most likely be one of my favorite games of all time, so far I've poured 80 hours into the game. As for games I remember beating this year. Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 4, Doom, & Guacamelee. Have to say Doom is currently the standout for completed games
magejake50: Anachronox

A rpg with plenty of humour set in a sci-fi future. You Play Sly Boots, the private detective who ends up having to go and save the world alongside a cast of unpredictable and varied characters. The story is ok and humour is very good, however the combat, which is turn based is a huge let down, the main reason being how slow it is.
andysheets1975: Did you use the \ key to speed up the battles? As I recall, it's a must to cut down the wasted time in the game.
I got told about it and I did try it but it was still slow, my game crashed during a battle once and a guide said to avoid using the \ key as it can cause crashes in battles so I stopped using it.
<span class="bold">Sunset</span>

The game that made Tale of Tales leave game development forever. I knew Sunset had been a commercial flop (even though its Kickstarter campaign was an unquestionable success), but I was totally unaware of the drama that surrounded ToT throwing the towel.

Anyway, I had been enjoying some fast and mindless action with Broforce for a couple of hours so I wanted something calm and thought provoking for a change, and Sunset seemed like the perfect choice. It's a narrative-heavy game with an original and interesting premise: you play the role of Angela Burnes, a young black woman from Baltimore (or is it New York? Both cities are mentioned during the game) who somehow ends up living in San Bavón, the capital of the fictitious South American republic of Anchuria. The country has recently suffered a coup which instaurated an autoritarian and culture-loathing military regime, but some revolutionary groups are increasingly opposing it. Amidst all the turmoil, and despite having an engineering degree, Angela is working as a house cleaner for a rich businessman, and she'll inevitably get involved in the local politics.

I wanted to like this game, I really wanted. But even when facing it with a positive attitude like I was, it's impossible not to notice its many shortcomings right from the start. Technical problems aside (it runs at a much lower framerate than what you can expect by its graphics, and the controls are clunky at best), I felt like the creators weren't exactly sure about what kind of game they wanted to do. At first it seems very goal-oriented: clean this, arrange that, fix those things... And you better do it quickly, because the time you've got to do it is limited: 1 in-game hour. The 'main quest' actions can be completed either in a careful/loving way or in a fast/detached fashion, so it's not uncommon to run out of time if you always choose the former, or if you get distracted with 'side quest' actions.

However, as a few days go by and the plot starts to unfold, there are fewer and fewer things to do. It's right at this point when the player runs the risk of entering a sort of an 'automatic mode' and start doing the chores mindlessly and skipping to the next day, without paying attention to the subtle clues in the environment about what's going on in Anchuria. And that's what I would have done if I hadn't found out that Angela could speak her mind to the player by writing a personal diary if you make her seat at the easy chair. So for a good while I spent most of my in-game days listening to what she had to say about recent events, which greatly helped me better understand what was exactly going on in San Bavón and in Anchuria.

But then, I began to get angry at the game. First, because sometimes Angela started rambling in her diary entries and talked endlessly about things that didn't seem to have anything to do with the events in the game. In these occasions I wished there was a button to skip a line, but there isn't: either you wait patiently, or give up entirely on the entry by standing up. But second, and most important, because I began to feel rushed again: most of the days there literally was not enough time to do the requested chores and listen to Angela's thoughts. And since I tended to leave the latter for last, in too many occasions the game literally kicked me off the appartment in the middle of that day's diary entry. What's the point of that? If narrative is the main focus of your game, why do you allow its mechanics to get in the way of the player discovering and enjoying the story you want to tell?

So this is where I thought 'fuck it' and I limited myself to doing the chores and going home immediately afterwards every day. I probably missed some details and insights, but so be it. Plus, there's no guarantee I could have learned them in their entirety anyway...

I think my final assessment of this game has to be a good opportunity lost: if done right, it could have been a pretty good first-person narrative experience. It probably wouldn't have been a huge commercial success anyway, because the potential audience for this kind of games is not that big to begin with, but it wouldn't have disappointed said audience. Or, at the very least, me.

My list of finished games in 2016
Post edited September 25, 2016 by muntdefems
<span class="bold">Unhack</span>

After the disappointment with Sunset I looked for the shortest and silliest game I could find in my backlog, and Unhack came out of it. It's basically a puzzle-ish, action-ish game in the guise of a visual novel. It tells the story of an 'Unhacker', i.e. a network security specialist, who must defend his company's network and the artifficial intelligences (anthropomorphized as hot girls, of course) that inhabit it against the attacks from a competing security company. The story comprises 10 missions which the Unhacker will have to complete in order to save the day, and each mission corresponds to one action-puzzle game. Between missions, the story is told in cutscenes, and I mean 'cutscenes' in the visual novel sense: static images with a ton of dialogue. At least the dialogue is fully voice acted and, while some voices were a bit grating, it sounded professional enough.

Now, I love puzzle games but neither visual novels nor the whole manga/anime style appeal to me at all, so I just played the missions without paying too much attention to the story. But again, the bits I caught here and there seemed well written and interesting enough, although a bit typical and formulaic. The 10 missions were over in less than an hour, and not only because I played with the easiest difficulty setting which grants you infinite lives. In the normal mode you've got 3 lives to complete each mission, and I only remember spending more than 2 lives once, in the final mission/boss battle.

Overall I had a good time with it, despite how short it is. In fact, I'm considering getting the extra/DLC <span class="bold">Unhack: Destruction</span>. I've also learned there's a sequel in the making, but I'm not sure whether it'll also have action-puzzle elements or it'll be a regular visual novel...

My list of finished games in 2016
<span class="bold">Spectraball: Extended Edition</span>

One of the longest-standing games in my backlog, Spectraball belongs to one infamous club: that of games I started playing a long time ago, only to leave them without finishing them. In this particular case, after finally beating it today I've discovered I had abandoned it in the next-to-last level. Go figure. I wonder how many games I've 'nearly completed' like I did with this one...

Anyway, this is basically a 3D version of Nightsky. Or rather, Nightsky is a 2D version of Spectraball, as the former was released 3 years after the latter. But differences in dimensionality notwithstanding, the goal and mechanics in both games are almost the same: you control a ball and you must take it to the end of the level by way of the laws of mechanics and some not-so-realistic abilities. Here you can make the ball jump at will (and even double-jump after you complete your first playthrough) or make it stop dead even in mid-air.

In essence it's a physics-based precision platformer, where most of the time your punishment is not so much losing a ball (you've got an infinite supply) or losing time (unless you go for the leaderboards, of course), but having to repeat some tricky section between checkpoints. The controls are tight enough for the required precision level, both with mouse & keyboard as well as with a gamepad. I played with the latter and, though I was able to beat the game relatively painlessly, I sometimes felt I would have had a better time with the mouse. Especially during the fastest sections, when I needed to change the camera perspective as my ball made its way through loops and twists, lest I risked getting off-track. And speaking of the camera, there were other times in which I wished it was not completely fixed and it had a little intelligence of its own: more often than not, and usually at the worst moment, the ball got behind some wall or floor and, unless I reacted immediately and rotated the camera, it usually ended up falling to its doom.

So yeah, even though I think the aforementioned Nightsky provided an overall better and more complete experience, and I'm sure there must be better 'rolling marble' games out there, I still had a good time with Spectraball and I appreciate it in spite of its flaws and quirks.

My list of finished games in 2016
I've been re-reading the old Sam and Max comics recently, so I decided it was time for another run through Sam and Max Hit the Road. It holds up really well. It's hilarious, has good voice acting and music, and because the comic features such absurd humor, it's a case of a classic adventure game in which absurd solutions to absurd puzzles feels entirely appropriate. Oddly, I ended up feeling like one of the harder "puzzles" in the game was simply finding the stupid hot tub area, as some of the "walk there" commands can be a little fuzzy and it sometimes took me a couple of tries to get them to go where I wanted them to go.
Gone Home (PS4)

I had heard a few good things about this and I was in the mood to try something new. I got this game for free so I gave it a shot, not really knowing if I’d like it or not… and I ended up enjoying it as a very easy and relaxing exploration game.

The story is quite simple, just enough to keep me wanting to explore a bit more but not so detailed that I got bored. The snippets of information you find around the house are quite short, I didn’t feel bogged down with reading.

The game itself is fairly short and can be completed in under 3 hours or so. Overall I’d say it’s an “OK” game, and I’d recommend it if you enjoy relaxing/exploration type games.
Post edited September 26, 2016 by 01kipper
andysheets1975: Did you use the \ key to speed up the battles? As I recall, it's a must to cut down the wasted time in the game.
magejake50: I got told about it and I did try it but it was still slow, my game crashed during a battle once and a guide said to avoid using the \ key as it can cause crashes in battles so I stopped using it.
I don't think i would have ever bothered finishing the game without that \ key which I think was originally put in to get past a bug in the game.

Amazing they took out the random battles which is a great idea but then they have the battles so slow it doesn't matter....
Broken Age

For the most part it was a very fine (double-fine? get it? sorry) adventure game, with some very clever righting and possibly too easy puzzles (one of the rare games I managed to complete without a walkthrough) but towards the end...

Some adventure games have obtuse puzzles, some adventure games have illogical puzzles, but this game.... Well, you know the standard combination puzzles where you look all around until you find the right combo and use it? Well here you have one character finding solution that the other character needs to use, and vice versa. And these two have no way of communicating with each other!. The game relies on the Player knowing what both characters know to make them solve puzzles that neither one should be able to without telepathy. What the fuck kind of puzzle design is that???

Oh and the things the characters do in the final ending puzzle sequence make no sense whatsoever, only working out because of pure luck.

So yeah, fun game for the most part, but really dropped the ball towards the end.
<span class="bold">Back to the Future - The Game: Episode 3: Citizen Brown</span> (Sept 25, 2016) - approx 5 hours.

My former review of episode 1 gives an overall general assessment of the game as a whole.

The story line in episode 3 was a bit of an off the wall Orwellian style dystopian present caused by changes made during previous time travel to the past that had unfortunate long term consequences. You have to escape from the predicament you end up in when returning to the present (1985) and travel back in time to try to reverse the problems caused by the previous trip to the past to correct the time line.

I wasn't fond of the dystopian present portrayed in this episode and found it required too much suspension of disbelief, as it did not seem even remotely likely that such a scenario could be possible confined within a city sized region of the United States of the nature portrayed in the episode, without the federal government getting involved to put an end to it. It just seemed way too far fetched for me.

Rating for episode 2: 6/10

I will post a final summary review of the entire game once I've completed it.

<span class="bold">My complete list of finished games in 2016</span>
Ooops, I accidentally wiped out my review of episode 4. Crap, I wish I had a Delorean and could go back in time to fix my review. LOL

<span class="bold">Back to the Future - The Game: Episode 4: ...!</span> (Sept 27, 2016) - approx 5 hours.

My former review of episode 1 gives an overall general assessment of the game as a whole.


<span class="bold">My complete list of finished games in 2016</span>
Post edited September 27, 2016 by skeletonbow
Freedom Force (GOG)

I’m not into super heroes at all, but I still found this to be a very fun game.

The characters and plot are very funny. The episodes are quite short and manageable and take place on relatively small maps, which makes the game easy to play in short bursts. I played on “Easy” difficulty and it was still challenging at times!

The main flaw (to me) is that fact that it uses “real time with pause” combat, which I personally find somewhat confusing (and annoying) when I’m controlling a party of characters, I much prefer turn-based combat in party-based games.

Overall though, still recommended because of the zany characters and plot!
<span class="bold">Back to the Future - The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME!</span> (Sept 27, 2016) - approx 5 hours.

My former review of episode 1 gives an overall general assessment of the game as a whole.

The 5th episode wraps up the story of Marty and Doc in Hill Valley taking them on a few more time benders to undo mistakes of the past while creating new anomalies to cause problems in the subsequent future. The quality of the story in this episode is roughly on par with the 2nd episode more or less. It seems a bit contrived at times and interesting at others. I found myself not caring so much for the central character of Edna Strickland and her shenanigans. After 5 episodes it started to feel a bit of a grind as the linearity of progression becomes more and more obvious. It was nice to see the final conclusion of the story however even though it is left hanging wide open with a "to be continued" sequel teaser.

While I enjoyed the game, I doubt that they will actually make a sequel since the game as a whole is a bit on the "average" side of things, and it is a movie-franchise based game for a 25+ year old movie franchise that wont likely see further sequels or remakes any time in the near future I suspect.

Rating for episode: 7/10

I will post a final summary review of the entire game and update all of my episodic reviews accordingly soon.

<span class="bold">My complete list of finished games in 2016</span>
Post edited September 27, 2016 by skeletonbow
<span class="bold">Dreamfall Chapters</span>

Dreamfall Chapters is a sequel to the adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Chapters includes a recap of the previous games to ease the new players into the story.
The game consists of 5 episodes with a varying duration. Most of the episodes take about 3-4h to finish with the exception of episode 2, which takes about 6h to complete.
Dreamfall Chapters is set in two parallel universes: Stark, a cyberpunk future Earth, and Arcadia, its magical fantasy counterpart. Although the game features a linear plot with a set outcome, the players have to make many choices throughout the game that have far-reaching impact on the later story events.
The gameplay focus is on the exploration of the environments and the story and on solving puzzles in the third-person view. While not a completely open world, the game contains several free-roaming exploration levels. The on-screen interface is hidden by default to improve the immersion. Also, there is no combat or stealth gameplay in Dreamfall Chapters.
Dreamfall Chapters was originally developed on the Unity 4 game engine, but was retroactively upgraded to Unity 5 before the release of Book Four. There are some great looking environments, character models, and the soundtrack is amazing as well.
I highly recommend playing the first two games, since I did have some trouble understanding a few things here and there, however, the game is playable and enjoyable without the first two games, especially with the in-game recap video.

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Post edited September 27, 2016 by sanfueg
skeletonbow: <span class="bold">Back to the Future - The Game: Episode 5: OUTATIME!</span> (Sept 27, 2016) - approx 5 hours.
I just wanted to thank you for putting links to the games you're reviewing. I wish everybody did the same in this thread, especially for smaller, not-so-well-known, indie games. Sometimes it's not a trivial task to find the official site of a game, all the more if said game has a pretty generic name... :\