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Metal Slug 1,2 so far doing 3 and 4 soon
Finished 2 more HOGs:

Vampire Legends: The True Story of Kisilova
Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart
<span class="bold">Braveland Wizard</span>

Second chapter of the trilogy (for the time being) by Tortuga Team. Just like its predecessor it's a cutely drawn, casual-ish, turn-based tactical strategy game. Something of a HoM&M-lite, featuring only the battles, and a simplified version of them at that. Even though this time around, probably because the main character is now a wizard, you can cast spells during said battles and there's a mini-tech-tree which you uncover and learn by spending talent points that are awarded to you as you level up.

And here end all the differences with the first game that I can remember. The rest is basically more of the same: one battle after another, interspersed with the occasional shop where you can buy gear for your hero, or a recruiting station where you can enroll new fighters for your cause. The story, as generic as it is, has some ties with the events from Braveland. In fact, most of the characters from the previous game (either friend or foe) make a comeback in the form of enemy mobs.

I've beaten it in the Normal difficulty setting and I breezed through it in like 3 or 4 hours, losing only a single battle in the entire playthrough. I guess I should have played it in the Expert setting for a real challenge, but after beating it once I don't really feel that invested in it as to warrant a new playthrough. Plus, IIRC, the first episode had a sort of Endless Mode which kind of extended the game's lifespan, but it is absent here. I do feel like moving on to Braveland Pirate though, so I'll take that as a sign that I've enjoyed this game and that I'm still not fed up with this formula.

My list of finished games in 2016
Barony: Cursed Edition

Frustrating but fun first person blocky action roguelike dungeon crawler. Through many deaths I learned to not challenge the minotaru, though I think I could've taken him by the end this time, but decided that better safe than sorry. Ring of Slow Digestion was a life saver, as of course were the amulets of life saving (used up 2 on the final boss fight.)
Gunforce II. Probably best known these days as "the game the Metal Slug guys did before Metal Slug", which actually covers it pretty well. It's the same type of game - side-scrolling run and shoot stuff, vehicles you jump into, hostages you rescue for power-ups (sexy women instead of grizzled POWs), gorgeous graphics and animation - but it's not quite as refined as Metal Slug in any aspect. The gameplay is especially hectic and it's easy to get killed simply because you can't see the bullets coming at you because they blend into the background too much.

Oddly, the one thing that is more interesting about it is that there's quite a variety of vehicles to use. Also, while it's not as good as Metal Slug would be, it should be said that it's a massive improvement on the original Gunforce game.
Completed Dark Souls 3 yesterday. It was pretty good.
Far Cry 4 (no DLCs, around 78% completion)

Far Cry 4 is an awesome open world game (in the sense that it's a game that offers awesome open world gameplay, as opposed to being a great game overall). Not that it's anything new, it's basically Far Cry 3 with mountains and elephants, but elephants are awesome! And mountains are beautiful to look at and fun to explore. I played around with it for about 50 hours and was mostly enjoying myself, exploring the map, doing silly stuff, causing explosions, and more explosions! If that's all you need to know, don't read on. And if you read on about everything that prevents FC4 from being a great game IMO, just keep that in mind - mountains, elephants, explosion, 50 hours, open world FTW! I like!


(incoming rants, wall of text, and *MILD SPOILERS IN THIS PART*)

The story campaign is a joke, essentially a big middle finger to anyone who's seriously looking for a meaningful story and choices that matter in an open world game that's all about releasing your inner psycho and blowing shit to bits. So was the story of Far Cry 3, for that matter, but IMO it still had a bit more to offer, and in any case, after FC3, SpecOps: The Line and Hotline Miami, the novelty of this concept has definitely worn off by now. It basically comes down to: "Admit it, you just want to feel good about the killing spree you're going on, but we're not giving you that satisfaction". But at the same time they give you that game that's all about going on a killing spree for no reason but enjoying yourself. "Hey, we developers put lots of time, effort and money into an awesome game that you should totally buy, and it's violent! violent! violent! deliciously violent! But, um, remember, if you actually play it our way and enjoy it, you're just like the villains in it, ha! what a great joke" (which, as a sidenote, isn't really true). Consequently, the "best" way to reach your alleged goal in the game is to not play it at all. Hur hur.

And I often felt like the game reveled in confronting you with the most cruel and cynical shit, just for its own sake, worse even than The Walking Dead (e.g. the character of Noore). "Um... satire?" I found that neither entertaining or funny, nor mind-opening or cathartic, or to be taken seriously as a meaningful comment on real world events, apart from "The world is fucked up and humanity is dominated by power hungry psychos, and if you believe you can do anything about it and change things for the better, you just become part of the problem". The story-telling and writing is not all that bad in itself, when examined in detail, but on the whole, it's all over the place. The game is mimicking the approach of a "shades of gray" morality, but in truth those shades strongly tend toward the dark side of the scale.The credibility of the characters really suffers from the attempt to partially (though not very successfully) deceive the players about this and mock or punish them for the choices they make, resulting in sudden mood swings and u-turns on the part of the NPCs. And when you are given choices, they are very limiting, and most of the time the alternatives are presented in an uneven way (e.g. Sabal's proposals are often made to sound more sensible and rational than Amita's, and most players will probably miss the better ending, because they are given no reason to even consider the choice that would lead to it). All of this doesn't really add up to anything worthwhile, despite any interesting individual ideas that might have gone into it, it's neither satisfying nor thought-provoking, neither a very clever commentary on politics nor on gaming. And it was all done before in FC3.

What's telling with regard to how unsympathethic the characters in this game are is that many players actually grow to like Pagan Min, the main villain, best - up to a point where they try to convince themselves and others that he's not such a bad guy after all. I guess the reason for this is that despite all the atrocities committed by him that these players graciously overlook, he's the only character in the game that shows some sort of humor (apart from Yogi and Reggie, but those are just clowns). Sabal and Amita are completely devoid of humor, while Yogi, Reggie, Longinus and Rabi Ray Rana are just plain annoying, and their side missions are for the most part more pointless and less enjoyable than the average open world mini-game. But as mildly entertaining as Pagan Min is, to me he didn't feel all that original either, just another predictably unpredictable psycho whose constant pseudo-polite babbling was rather reminiscent of Handsome Jack, except that he was wearing a pink jacket.


The open world gameplay that I praised above isn't perfect either. There are a lot of side missions and activities to do if you want to, but there's no great incentive to actually do them all, other than for their own sake, which can be fun for the first few times but soon gets old. For completing them you are rewarded with money or XP which allows you to unlock and buy new weapons and skills. But the thing is that you already get lots of money on the side, during main missions or casual exploration, and you'll never really be as low on money that you'll need to do side missions just to earn some. It's more likely that you'll carry too much of it and reach your wallet limit. I could always buy whatever I wanted (which wasn't that much) and sometimes I bought stuff just to make room in my wallet or do anything with all the money. Most weapons are either quickly unlocked and bought or off-limits to you until you've passed certain points in the game. It never happened that I actually had a long term goal like saving for a specific weapon. Besides, as many weapons as this game has, most of them are just boring variations, and I mostly used the same 4-5 ones for the whole game (got them rather early too). And I always had more skill points to distribute than I really cared for (there is one overpowered skill allowing you to ride elephants, and all other skills pale in comparison). So the side mission rewards lost their meaning to me very soon. Later on, you get to spend money on improving your base, but at that point you probably won't need the benefits you get from it anymore, and you'll hardly ever visit it.

Another thing: if you have liberated an outpost, but not the fortress (aka uber outpost) in the area, it can happen that the liberated outposts gets attacked when you're in the vicinity of them and you have to rush to their defense to hold them. This happens very frequently and soon becomes a real pain if you're not in the mood for it and actually on your way to doing something else. Especially since it would often go like this: You fast-travel to an outpost close to your destination, find yourself a car for the rest of the way, but shortly after you've left the outpost in your car you get a call that the nearest outpost is being attacked, so you have to turn around and return to the outpost you just left, in order to drive the invaders off. I guess you could also ignore the call and just go about your business, but then you lose the outpost as a fast-travel-spot and sooner or later you'll have to liberate it again, anyway. At the beginning it was interesting enough as an unexpected event, but after the first few times I found it really annoying; it happens much too often, to the extent that I could almost predict it correctly every time.

Not really surprising for an Ubisoft game, the savegame system is a mess. For one, you only get one save slot, even though (or maybe because) the game is offering alternative choices, paths and endings. If you want to see them all, you'll either have to replay the whole game (90% of which will stay the same) or watch whatever you missed on youtube. Secondly, the game auto-saves after completed missions, but it doesn't automatically save any progress in open world gameplay like money, items, collectibles you've gathered. Instead, additionally to the auto-saving and checkpoints, it introduces manual saving. Which might sound awesome at first, until you realize that this doesn't actually save your position in the gameworld, just your status and the things you've acquired in open world gameplay. So it's more of a chore to make sure you won't lose any progress, instead of being any help to you. All of this could very well have been integrated into the auto-save function and it wouldn't have made a difference, apart from removing the risk that you might lose hours of progress just because you forgot to manually save your status in a game that otherwise relies on checkpoints and auto-saves.

Also, there is a known issue with the game stalling for many players after they've beaten the final boss in the fifth Shangri-La mission, that you can only avoid by setting the overall graphics quality to Low. Similarly unsurprising for Ubisoft, they know about this since last year and still didn't offer any fixes for it so far. So be sure to lower your graphics setting before you undertake that mission, unless you want to run the risk of having to replay it over and over again. (The five Shangri-La missions, btw, set in another time in a mythological realm, were visually and atmospherically a great concept, but I didn't enjoy them all that much.)


- Mostly awesome open world gameplay, just like FC3 but with beautiful mountains and kick-ass elephants. If you like that, play FC4.
- Unoriginal, horribly cynical hoax of a story with lame attempts at any kind of commetary, whatever it would be aimed at, in any case it's not meaningful. You won't miss anything in that regard if you skip FC4.
- Ubisoft issues: Don't forget to manually save every progress you make while doing open world stuff like hunting for collectibles and crafting materials. And lower your graphics settings before you do the fifth Shangri-La mission, to avoid the risk of a crash.
Post edited May 17, 2016 by Leroux
Oh, I forgot about the long unskippable intro sequence that puts the game on auto-pilot and doesn't allow you to access the options menu or even quit while it's running. Yeah, that's some awkward design, too, but I guess developers must have good reasons why they keep doing that shit despite everyone hating it?
Finished Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. BTW, it belongs here GOG. You should get it and offer the 256-color version as well as the 16-color version (with French translation for this one). The game is interesting, but it is one of the first Lucasarts game and it had some flaws: dead-ends, deaths and puzzles with no clues to solve. Fights could be avoided when saying specific lines to specific guards but there was not a single clue as what we should say. Otherwise, I was amazed that more than 20 years after playing the game there was alternative to progress in the story (for example, I saw for the first time the inside of the zeppelin).

Full list here.

I don't get it. How did this game dominated every single gaming award show and critics/gamers 'best of 2015' lists? As far as Earthbound inspired quirky,meta indie games go Lisa:The painful RPG released in 2014 was better in every conceivable way.But while that game continues to wallow in obscurity Undertale gets titled to be the best thing since sliced bread.
Now don't get me wrong the game isn't exact bad. From time to time it does have genuinely good bits of writting and gameplay. However for every good bit there's at least two bad/dull/boring bits. Now that I played Undertale for myself it comes off to no surprise for me that it has a devoted tumblr fanbase. The damn game is filled to the brim with shitty puns&memes and it's meta elements are nowhere near as clever or subversive as the creator or it's fanbase might like to think.
Overall it never becomes greater then the sum of it's parts. Good score and some clever bits don't offset how a much larger part of the game is not all that clever or entertaining at all.
Post edited May 18, 2016 by Mr.Caine
Ether Vapor Remaster

An interesting take on a sh'mup, made for those pitiful players like me who are just no good at sh'mups. The more you play, the more shields your ship has, and the more continues you get. Given enough time, even an untrained monkey can do it! It took me 8-9 continues of 8 shields each (so 70-80 hits taken) to beat the game.
Red Dead Redemption (360)

Second play through, but 5 years since the first play- so it felt fresh again. There is a serious lack of American West games out there. Anyway I recently purchased Undead Nightmare in a sale, but decided to replay the main game again first. Still some of the finest story telling in an open world style game- probably only out done in that respect, for me, by the two Mafia games. But the Mafia games have the advantage of being entirely story based (no side missions or activities) which helps the stories flow better. RDD is still better than any GTA game, Rockstar really need to do a sequel IMHO.

This time I did all the Stranger missions and challenges but stopped at trying to unlock all the outfits. Despite playing the game twice, how the "duel" mini game works is STILL a mystery to me- though I somehow managed to beat them all by mashing the trigger.
Notably, this time I actually managed to take my original horse all the way to the end of the game without it dying even once. Compared to the first play where 8 horses died when I accidentally rode them off cliffs, 3 drowned from accidentally riding of jetties, 5 mauled by Grizzly Bears and 1 run over by a train. I have no idea why I did so much better this time.

So on to Undead Nightmare next, which is a completely standalone expansion- well it needs the base game of course, but it's played separately from the main menu.
Post edited May 19, 2016 by CMOT70
Gothic 3

Played this with the 1.75 Community Patch, the Questpaket, and Content Mod. Game was beautiful and ran very stable. No crashes at all.

As far as the gameplay goes, I went the thief/archer route and found it fairly satisfying, but when it came to instances where it was necessary to go melee, I found it really, really tough to get used to the combat. Probably more to do with me than the game, but still I think the combat mechanics/controls are rather... crappy. Even though there are complaints about the controls for the first two in the series, I found them easierr to get used to than this one.

A lot of the quests were fetch and/or kill quests, but some were pretty good and quite fun. Although, I have to say the documentation of them wasn't all that good. Took a while to figure out how they structured the documentation for the quests in the journal and then it was better, though still could have been improved. One thing I really liked about the quests though is the fact you can get credit for solving them by doing what's necessary without even receiving the quest. You can then get a few extra XP for actually turning the quest in to the quest giver later, if possible. So, you don't necessarily lose out on a quest by not finding the giver.

I liked the reputation aspect, although without realizing it, you can get yourself in a situation where one or two of the three major factions hate you and attack on sight (which is what happened to me) and thus cut off a lot of opportunities for quests and XP (mitigated somewhat by what I mentioned above). Still, it's obvious that you have a choice of whom to help/support and can play the neutral path for quite some time before having to finally take a side.

I think they did a very nice job with the environments other than Nordmar. And while that area was nice as far as aesthetics, the multilayered layout of the area made it an absolute nightmare to navigate.

While I love looting chests and containers, one aspect I thought was a bit on the ridiculous side was the sheer number of locked chests out in the wilds. There were literally dozens of them laying about and sure, many were tucked away where maybe they may not have been found, but it boggles the mind that a huge number were out in plain sight and not looted. Kind of silly.

Another silly thing that this game (as well as most other RPGs) suffers from is the "Can you please kill those terrible creatures for me?" quests, given to you by people supposedly too weak to care for themselves but they can beat the everloving snot out of your character without taking a scratch. This always bothers me. But, as noted, it's pretty much a staple in RPGs, so I manage to overlook it for the most part.

Story was pretty average fare, although no worse than the first two, IMO. I can see why fans of the first two felt let down due to the change in voice actors for many of the recurring characters, but I don't really understand some of the hatred many of the fans of the first games seem to direct toward this one. It takes the story further, taking into account the events of the first two games, and I think it treats the lore fairly evenly as well. Now, if the game was as buggy as reported when first released, I can certainly understand why people were pissed at that. But using the patches and mods that I installed, the game was very stable with few recurring bugs other than once in a while some of the creatures would slip into the environment (and a few times my character sank up to his knees into the terrain. But jumping brought him back to the surface).

Anyway, I had good fun with it and sank quite a lot of hours into it (probably around 80+). I do prefer the first two games though, but there's certainly nothing hugely wrong with this one, IMO.

Full List
<span class="bold">Always Sometimes Monsters</span>

I never finished a game made with RPG Maker before this. Always Sometimes Monsters delivers a interesting tale with many choices the player has to make, and a huge number of secrets to find.
The game puts players in the role of an author who receives notice that the love of their life is marrying someone else across the country within a month. After being evicted from their apartment on the east coast, players then head to the west coast in order to intercept the wedding and win back the love they lost.
The soundtrack is also worth mentioning, since it keep my interest throughout the whole series.

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Post edited May 21, 2016 by sanfueg
kalirion: Clive Barker's Undying
Or if the "dispel" spell spell had some uses I didn't think of - it seemed virtually useless to me, acting as a key to a single door, and maybe a way to dispel the shields on the very few enemies who had them.
You can kill the skeleton with it.