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The Book of Unwritten Tales

This a very good point-and-click adventure, with one flaw.

The story is good, the characters are great, the voice acting is uniformly excellent, and the puzzles are engaging and logical. Plus it’s very funny, including a lot of pop culture references and occasional breaking of the 4th wall. (I was personally not that fond of the 3D art style, but all the great features I just mentioned more than make up for it).

So what’s the problem then? The game feels ponderously slow. Everything seems like it takes at least twice as long than you’d think it would require. The character animations and walking are painfully slow, and to do a certain action the character will always need to walk first to the particular spot to do each one. If there are multiple items in the location, they’ll need to walk to a different spot to interact with each. In addition, everything needs to be clicked at least twice: once to look at it and then again (after hearing the description) to pick it up or use it or to get more information about it. Also, certain actions need to be completed in a certain order, so you very often have to return back to locations to click on something again which you had previously checked with no results. Normally this wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except again the animations/actions are so slow!

This slowness was really very annoying (or at least it was to me), but otherwise the quality of the game is completely top-notch. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone, if the ponderousness doesn’t bother you.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

By far the most interesting of all the official NWN campaigns I've played through (which are all but SoU and SoZ, and I very much doubt they could top it). It's pretty obvious that the designers were heavily inspired by Planescape: Torment, and big fans of it, too. That doesn't mean it plays in the same league, as far as setting, writing and length are concerned, but they did a good job regardless, by creating something that feels both somewhat familiar and quite fresh and original at the same time. For one, the story is set in Rashemen, a part of the Forgotten Realms that to my knowledge hasn't been featured in any CRPG before and that's decidedly different from the Sword Coast or Icewind Dale. It's a mysterious land of superstitious barbarians and animal spirits, ruled by witches, which I liked better than the average D&D setting. The story also involves a personal quest directly linked to the fate of your character, unlikely companions, plane travel, as well as ambiguos themes and twists that I found more intriguing than the usual "hero of legend saving the kingdom from the villains". And it's full of choices that can actually make a difference.

The combat was a bit on the easy side, since some companions are pretty overpowered, and my own epic level cleric PC wasn't bad either, but I didn't really mind that. It made up for the mildly bothersome Spirit Eater mechanics that generally discourage frequent resting. And I enjoyed that there was a good balance between combat and story or puzzle elements most of the time, and that the game was consistent in that and didn't just turn into a grindfest at the end like so many others. The soundtrack was great and memorable as well (e.g. when merging Jeremy Soule's classic theme of NWN2 with the exotic sound characteristic of Mark Morgan's PS:T soundtrack, listen here). I still haven't quite come to terms with my pet peeves concerning NWN2's UI and design (that is the camera and pathfinding issues and the lack of feedback in combat, when your commands are just canceled or ignored, without the game alerting you about it or giving a reason), but the gripping story and setting made it easier for me to overlook them this time.

Broken Age (Act 2, after replaying Act 1)

As a slacker backer, I definitely got my money's worth. It's certainly not perfect, but still an enjoyable, charming and unique point and click adventure. And although the design might not be oldschool in every regard, I did think it was close to the old LucasArts adventures, in all the parts that matter (to me). Of course, the criticism directed at it is not totally unfounded. The controls are simple and probably devised with tablets in mind. Personally, I didn't think it made that much of a difference though. For a small, almost indie adventure game like this, there still were quite a lot of options for interacting with the environment and getting funny comments. And I really didn't miss being able to interact with hotspots in all kinds of different ways, only to get comments like "That doesn't work". Something like that (which was a frequent occurrence in some of the oldschool adventures) hardly ever happens in Broken Age.

But sometimes the gameplay takes a backseat to the cutscenes; even a non-gamer that I showed the beginning to complained that the game just had her watching most of the time and she felt like it didn't really hand over the reins to her. So I think that's a valid complaint and something you have to be prepared for. There are some linear parts with very simple puzzles and only few possibilities of interaction. But for the greater part of the game you get to explore on your own and can solve several puzzles at the same time, in any order, and also switch between two separated characters in different areas and settings (comparable to Day of the Tentacle). This helps to reduce the risk of getting hopelessly stuck, since you can always try to solve another puzzle first and come back later, and maybe you'll get some new ideas in the meantime, or discover something new while walking around. And that's part of what made the classic LucasArts adventures so much fun IMO.

The puzzles in Broken Age are a bit uneven, in that most are very basic and immediately solvable, some in between, but then there is also the occasional puzzle that's so obscure and complicated that you wouldn't have expected it in this game. Most of the time I was happily making progress, thinking how great it was that I didn't have to resort to a walkthrough, and even when I got stuck on some puzzle I managed to solve it after doing other stuff first or getting a good night's sleep. But in the end I still had to look up one or two things, which was a little disappointing, though sadly common in the genre (to tell the truth, there aren't that many P&C adventures with purely fair and logical puzzles that are easily solvable without a walkthrough; I'm not even sure if I would count the old LucasArts adventures among them).

That being said, I very much enjoyed most of the puzzles, the art style and animations, the story-telling (despite some silliness and plotholes), the humor, the music and the voice-acting. I was also positively surprised when I noticed that the game has now German voice-acting as well, and of quite good quality, on top of it (I replayed the first act with German voiceovers before switching back to English in Act 2, and I liked both). Now I should watch the rest of the documentary, which I liked as well.
Post edited February 01, 2016 by Leroux
The Bluecoats: North vs South

A surprisingly fun casual/lite turn-based strategy game covering the American Civil War.

Each individual game is fairly short, the game itself plays out like a boardgame somewhat similar to RISK with mini-games to resolve battles and other actions, and a number of random events. I found that I didn’t enjoy the mini-games, so I turned them off and just let the actions be resolved by the computer instead. The random events can also be turned off, but I left them on for more variety.

I certainly recommend it if you’re looking to kill an hour or two now and then, because it really is a lot of fun!
Gears of War Ultimate Edition (Xbox One)

One of the best (though not very long) shooter campaigns ever. Now looks way better and has the extra levels from the original PC version added in as standard. Also has improvements in some of the checkpoint locations and added a "normal" difficulty which is a lot easier than the "hardcore" i previously played on.

This is proper shooting, not circle strafing and jumping around like a lunatic style shooting.
<span class="bold">Toby: The Secret Mine</span>

After <i>Nihilumbra</i>, another puzzle platformer, and one that claims to be inspired by it, no less! However, it seems to me that the dev drew a lot more from the other cited inspiration: LIMBO. You just need to look at any screenshot to spot the undeniable similarities: black-silhouetted characters and environments? Check. Side-scrolling platforming? Check. Physics-based puzzles involving boxes, switches, pressure plates and elevators? Check. I could go on for a while but I guess you've got the idea already.

Don't get me wrong, the game is good. Quite good, actually, considering it's the début title of a one-man indie studio. But when you release a game *so* similar to one of the golden boys of the genre, comparisons are bound to happen. So here are my comparisons:

· Gameplay is quite similar in both games, with a good dose of puzzles and platforming alike. In Toby, the puzzles tend to lean on the easy side, while some platforming sections are perhaps more demanding and ability-based than on LIMBO.

· Although the art style is almost the same, I liked that the dev decided to part with a strict monochromatic look and introduced a touch of color. Each level has a characteristic background palette, and then some interactive elements also have a touch of color (usually red, like spikes, to hint of their danger). Curiously enough I found the first levels were the most beautiful ones (especially the first one, with its bloom effects), only to get more plain and dull as the game progresses.

· In Toby levels are separated by loading screens, and the end point of a level and the start of the next one are usually quite different, so the beautiful continuity from Playdead's classic is lost here.

· The story of this game is quite run-of-the-mill (bad guys attack peaceful village and kidnap some of its inhabitants; brave young villager sets out in an attempt to rescue them), but the ending is quite apparent and straightforward and it won't come up unexpected. Plus, you'll be able to make a final decision that will determine the fate of both your character and your village.

So all in all, here's a more than competent puzzle platformer that may seem worse than it really is just because it's so similar to one of the cornerstones of the genre. Definitely recommended to any puzzle platformer enthusiast out there.

My list of finished games in 2016
Post edited February 04, 2016 by muntdefems
Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Today I finished Dragonfall. I enjoyed it all the way, although in the beginning I found it a little shallow for some reason.

Generally it's a good game, good mechanics overall (combat is good, inventory management leaves more to be desired for me, skill system is OK), great writing from start to end, a really really good story and fully fleshed characters that fight with their own demons over the course of the campaign.

Overall, it's better than Returns but not to a point where you should not play that too. After all, Returns is a completely different story with different characters, set in a different city.

For the record, it took me ~14 hours to finish it.

Click here for my 2016 list
Surgeon Simulator A&E Anniversary Edition (PS4)

I loved the game on my desktop computer, so I jumped at the chance to purchase the PS4 version when it was on sale. It’s the same awesomely fun game, although I’m now using a controller it still feels very similar :). It has the new feature that you can play couch co-op (two controllers, two hands), but I never tried it.
Death to Spies: Moment of Truth

Agter finishing Death to Spies, I eagerly awaited for the sequel to appear on GOG; the first game showed a gameplay similar to those of Hitman and Commandos combined, but was undoubtedly flawd due to a series of questionable design choices.
Since The game is basically the same in mechanics, I'm sending you back to my original review because repeating would just be redundant; instead, I'll talk of what is new, for better or worse.

Aside from a little graphic overhaul, DtS:MoT plays exactly like its predecessor, yet this time the developers addressed many issues that made the original much less enjoyable.
First of all, the mission objectives are much more varied and complex than in the previous chapter, requiring you much more effort to think about a working plan; still, the possibilities are far more numerous as well, and while several times during the original you had to cheat the AI to obtain what you wanted, this time your enemies are much smarter – a nice counter balance to all the possible distractions. Environmental manipulation has been especially curated in this new installment, especially when put in combination with smaller (but still huge) and better designed maps, and the disguise system has received little but meaningful modifications.
While in Death to Spies you were (figuratively) less visible the higher rank your uniform displayed, this time the system is based on both hierarchy and location, and even if you are dressed as the highest official around there are zones where you are not supposed to be and people who will easily unmask you. For example, in a mission you will find yourself in a U-Boat facility: if you knock out the only Captain and dress like him, EVERYONE will recognize you. You can access the water pumps disguised as a worker, but if you try to use them to ascend or descend without being seen, to walk freely you will either have to be dressed as a patrol official or a mechanic. Also: if you dress like a submariner, the mechanics will not bother you and will allow you to enter the sub, but as soon as you step inside the crew will recognize you as a spy in a matter of seconds.
There is also a nice new addition in the awareness system: while before enemies marked on the mini-map were either green or red (openly hostile), now they can also be yellow. The first will leave you be unless you do something very stupid and react slowly when you are discovered; the seconds will notice you and shoot you as fast as lightnings, and the third will constantly be suspicious but will leave you be if they see you doing what the role you are currently covering is supposed to be doing or if you show them particular documents.

Now, the criticism: once again, the game discourages the use of weapons. Exception made for knives and the silenced Nagant, if you use any weapon you are screwed. Period. That limits the possibilities a lot.
Also, the story -a direct continuation to the abrupt interruption of the first character- ends once again with a cliffhanger; alas, the plot will probably never be revealed, as an official sequel will probably never be made -the rest of what should have been DtS 3 going towards Alekhine's Gun, another game I'm eager to try (so vote for it, please! XD).
Those first two points are really no major problem, but this last one is, though: the game is tremendously brief. Its mission are excellent, almost in line with Hitman: Blood Money... but they are only seven, and despite the brutal difficulty they can be completed in a matter of hours.

All in all, I absolutely loved Death to Spies: moment of Truth, a game of such depth is extremely rare to find and can be compared to nothing but the best Hitman titles, making it a very welcome entry in a shamefully overlooked genre; unfortunately, it loses the perfect score because it leaves you hungry for more content, something that would be positive is only the game wasn't so ridiculously brief.
Still, I believe you should play it at your earliest convenience, if stealth is your genre.

P.S. This version is uncensored!
Post edited February 04, 2016 by Enebias
Knights of Xentar (uncensored version)

Rather old, but I didn`t finish it back in the 90s, so I had to do it now. A nice little JRPG with lots of humor and some really explicit content. :-)
<span class="bold">Dark Echo</span>

Here's a game that truly deserves the nowadays overused adjective "unique". It's a mix of puzzle, stealth and horror in 2D with an extremely minimalistic graphic style. This stylistic choice (justified by the game taking place in complete darkness -or because the main character is blind, I'm not sure-) is the cause of this game's rather unique mechanics. Since you cannot see, you must use sound to navigate the level you're in and find its exit. You can make sound simply by walking, or else by standing still and stomping your feet in the ground. Whatever the method, the sound waves will propagate in all directions around you until they find an obstacle: then they'll bounce off it and thus you'll be able to get a rough (and brief) sketch of your surroundings. But be careful! You're not alone in this dungeon/castle/whatever, there are also some deadly enemies that will kill you instantly should they get their hands/claws/whatever on you. Luckily, as you progress into the game you will acquire the "ability" to walk stealthily (making no sound) or to throw rocks (very useful to lure away the nasties).

With this basic set of mechanics (and minimal graphical assets) the devs have manage to produce an interesting and varied game, albeit quite short. As diverse as they are, 40 levels feel like they're not enough. To be fair, once the game is beaten a new mode is made available to the player, but it only consists of a "negative" version of the same levels where everything is white and the sound waves are black, plus the addition of one or two extra enemies to make things more difficult. Now admittedly, I only checked the first 6 or 7 levels of this bonus mode and they were all like I've described, but for all I know the more advanced levels could be quite different (please someone tell me if that's the case, as then I'd like to give these bonus levels a go).

Additionally there are 15 hidden "treasures" scattered around the regular levels. I found one by accident, and then the OCD in me made look for the other 14. I finally resorted to a walkthrough to find them all, only to be disappointed in the end as nothing special happened, so don't bother unless you're an inveterate completionist.

As it seems, this game was first released for mobile devices and a couple of months later for PC. While I really can't see how it can be comfortably played on a touchscreen, both controller and M+K work well on a computer.

So all in all, Dark Echo is a game worthy of attention if only for its different mechanics. As I said it's rather short and can be completed in a single sitting, a quality than can be seen as a pro or as a con, depending on who you ask. :)

My list of finished games in 2016

It was certainly not the best JRPG ever, but it was well written, had nice graphics and music and a combat system with an interesting element (the enemies will always attack the character which is the greatest thread stat and you can use it to your advantage and to defend weaker characters).

The story wasn't the most original one. but the characters were very likeable and in the end I was a little sad that the game was over and I had to leave them. I certainly wouldn't mind a sequel or another game in the same universe.

Took me about ten hours to beat the game. I tried to complete all sidequests and to find everything, but I still missed some stuff. I'm interested what would've happened if I beat every opponent in the arena and also what the reward for finding all cards would've been, but I'm not going to replay the game just to find out.

Complete list of finished games in 2016
Finished LEGO The Movie - Videogame. It was fun but the weakest LEGO game I played (I already played Batman 2 DC Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes). Maybe because it's a movie tie-in and I saw the movie recently (it follows the same story).

Full list here.
Worms Crazy Golf

This game is sorta like a worms game, except you’re trying to get your golf ball into a hole instead of blowing up other worms. There are 4 different worlds with 18 holes on each world. As you play you can collect coins and crates to unlock different hats/balls/speech (purely cosmetic) and different golf clubs (each has their own benefits and drawbacks). There are also a number of optional challenges.

Overall it’s a pretty lite/casual/easy game, the graphics are cute and I certainly enjoyed it in short bursts.
For a moment I thought Games Finished in 2016 is thread about GOG in Dev games!!!
amrit9037: For a moment I thought Games Finished in 2016 is thread about GOG in Dev games!!!
Haha, you're such a ... rascal?