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Tower of Guns

Thanks to adamhm for the generosity of this title.

It is not the best at any element (shooting, platforming, bullet hell) but it is competent. I have made a successful run, but I still have secrets and stories and unlocks to finish. Overall, it is an impressive effort by the developer, but not a classic.
Deadlight: Director's Cut good zombie platformer. Thank you Gog for your generosity, game was good relax although game time is approximately 5 hours for the first run and controls could be better. The whole game is linear and konondrums are easy, but I hope, that it would be this way - sometimes easy is good.
muntdefems: A pair of Android puzzle games I've recently enjoyed (and beaten):

<span class="bold">klocki</span> (Android)

(...) klocki is, much like HOOK was, a relaxed and slow-paced puzzle game. Its only goal: to form continuous lines. Its only mechanic: to exchange (and later on, to slide and to rotate) pieces in order to achieve said goal. It's got 82 levels of more or less increasing difficulty, although they all can be solved without too much trouble. Sometimes it's only a matter of experimenting a bit, and the solution comes to you almost all by itself.
In my case such games comes and goes. But I enjoyed klocki enough to remember the game - it was great blend of puzzle and relaxing gameplay. I also appreciate the mechanics - something a bit different then well-known puzzle schemes. The only disadvantage is that the game seems to be quite short and simple (as you've noticed). It would be nice to have some more complicated levels added there.
ciemnogrodzianin: The only disadvantage is that the game seems to be quite short and simple (as you've noticed). It would be nice to have some more complicated levels added there.
Yeah, I guess it must be really difficult to strike a perfect balance and not fall into the excessively easy or mind-boggingly, rage-inducing hard. Right now I'm playing through Slayaway Camp and Deus Ex GO (from the same bundle as klocki), and they both seem to have achieved the sweet spot in fun and challenge. Let's see if they keep it till the end...

And now for something completely different:

<span class="bold">Gone Home</span>

After owning this game for ages and in no less than 3 different stores (here, Humble, and, I was finally able to fix a game-breaking bug/glitch and play it. I had read reports of many different bugs people were encountering across all OSs, but nothing like the one I was suffering: right after the start at the porch, the mouse would start to accelerate upwards all by itself and leave me looking at the ceiling forever.

Fast forward to earlier this month when Tacoma was released, which reminded me of my failure with Gone Home, so I decided to give it another try. And this time around I found the solution, discreetly mentioned in a Steam discussion thread. Turns out it was as simple and stupid as starting the game on windowed mode and then switching to fullscreen. Sigh...

Once the technical hurdles were overcome, I had a blast with it. I loved both the story and the voyeuristic way of telling/discovering it. I must say I was a teenager myself during the same time the game is set (mid-90s), so it's possible that both the themes and the many references resonated more strongly with me than they would with you if you're significantly younger (lucky you!) or older (poor sod...).

Being it a four-year old game, and one that was extensively discussed, I don't think I need to explain what's it all about and the controversies it stirred up. If anything, I could come to understand those who were disappointed because they thought this was a horror game, given the initial setting. But then again, this is why one should read a couple of reviews before jumping blindly on a game.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Deus Ex GO</span> (Android)

Alright: Lara Croft and Deus Ex down, only Hitman to... GO. :P

Bad jokes aside, I've just finished Deus Ex GO. It's been my first ever Deus Ex game (gasp!), so I didn't know what to expect story-wise. In retrospect, it didn't matter much as the story is extremely bland and it's not why anyone would play this game anyway.

On the other hand, I knew very well what I was in for mechanically: turn-based puzzles of increasing complexity, in which all I had to do was getting to the exit to the next level. Pity that those levels were usually filled with a not-too-varied cast of enemies: security guards that would charge me on sight, sentinel droids with a taser, walking droids that would stomp me if I got in their way, and grenade-launching flying droids. To oppose them I had to hack computer terminals and use the augmentations I could find scattered around, which would let me turn invisible for one turn, hack a remote terminal, or shoot an enemy from a safe distance.

Whoever designed the 54 levels that comprise the main story, did a good job of combining an admittedly limited amount of enemy types and player abilities in such a way so they create a lot of different emergent situations the player needs to exploit in order to solve the puzzles. In that regard, I think the game successfully achieves a good balance between relaxed gameplay and challenge. I only needed to check an in-game solution once, but many levels got me stumped for a good while before I was able to solve them.

Apart from the aforementioned main storyline, there's some additional content like daily challenges and user-made levels (the game includes a level editor). And while Lara Croft GO had you scrutinizing the backgrounds in search of bonus clay pots, here the game rewards you for completing levels in the minimum possible amount of moves (I think Hitman GO did the same). For that, at the end I was awarded some... errr... thingies? to be used in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Yay, I guess?

My list of finished games in 2017
Sakura Clicker

The game really has no end, nor even any particular goal to reach, so whenever you stop you're finished, whether that's 5 min in or 50 hours. Installed it? Hooray! You basically won and can now delete it from your drive!

This was a game Steam had recommended to me following the very good HunieCam then (also recommended by Steam and clever but deeply flawed) Crush Crush (CC). Sakura Clicker has fewer fatal flaws than CC, but also less upside. The devs clearly spent too much time on the art and not enough on flushing out the systems. There's really not much there there with this one.

Case in point, the action bar at the bottom has 5 slots, yet there are only 4 actions. That, uh, seems like it should have been pretty obvious. Also, it doesn't seem you can hotkey the actions, so you have to mouse down to click them while you're supposed to be clicking other things.

The art is...detailed. I hesitate to say 'creative' because it's basically 2-3 core female models with varying styles of cleavage-enhancing outerwear. Well, I suppose closer to underwear in many cases. I have no issue with nudity (and technically there's none here anyway) but the art is not nearly enough to carry this game.

The scaling is nearly as broken as CC, and unlike CC, you can't even P2W if you have the money but not the time. For example, after 3 weeks of semi-active playtime in the game, I can reset my progress just to get a 15% bonus! So it would only take me 2.5 more weeks of boredom to get back to where I am now. Awesome?

The one mechanic I did like were the 2 types of ghosts that would randomly appear (sometimes behind or camouflaged against other objects, however) that gave notable boosts, and were at least some reason to pay attention to the screen instead of just having it running in the background while watching Netflix. Otherwise pretty much nothing about it really works well or offers any real reason to persist. Once you've seen the first 10 levels you've really seen everything the game has to offer, you just get to hang around for more of the same.

The best thing about this game, really, is that reading other reviews to see if I was missing something led me to the vastly superior 'Clicker Heroes.'

Not sure it quite measures up to HunieCam, but Clicker Heroes has rich mechanics, semi-meaningful customization, and scaling that has some actual thought behind it. Also some notion of 'early game' vs. 'end game' that has some intentionality instead of just higher numbers.
The Legend of Kyrandia (Book One) - 3/5

A marginally above average point and click adventure game with a novel inventory system. Love this track from the soundtrack so much.
Titanfall 2

I loved it. Respawn was founded by the former Infinity Ward founders and much of its staff, so I should preface this by saying that I did enjoy the campaigns of the CoD: Modern Warfare games for the "Michael Bay-esque" bombastic spectacle that they could be. This game feels like a natural evolution from those games. Mainly how it retains the quick time to kill offset by health regen style of gameplay. However, while in those games the main tactic for avoiding damage and triggering the regen was hiding behind cover for a few seconds, which could result in tedious and slow peek and shoot gunfights, here the game wants you to be always on the move instead. When compared to Doom for example, it is a bit slower, but it has a more "skill-based" movement system. You can boost your speed by sliding and wallrunning, and keep your speed by chaining these moves together. I hear there's even a slide hopping/bunny hopping mechanic I'd like to learn if I play the campaing again.

The other half of the gameplay comes in the form of the titular titan, a giant mech you pilot around. Naturally, it is slower than the pilot character as it stomps around, which is a trade-off for the more powerful arsenal at its disposal. Although, even with the titan the developers seem intent on avoiding the cover reliant style of gameplay. Opting instead for giving the titan a rechargeable damage block and dash. The block comes in different types, ranging from a stationary shield you place on the ground, and can shoot safely behind it, and a mobile stasis field that stops incoming projectiles, and can shoot them back at your opponents. The dash has two charges max, so it can't be spammed. The titan gameplay then is more about deciding when to fire, when to block, and when to dash, and resource management, so you don't get caught unprepared.

The titan's health is different from the pilot character. Instead of full-on health regen, you have a regenerating shield and health points, the latter can only be restored by using batteries (health pickups) found in the environment or dropped by enemy titans. This introduces an interesting mechanic to the game: leaving your titan in the middle of a fight with another titan, though it will continue the fight using auto-pilot, is very dangerous; but if you manage to climb the enemy titan you can steal its battery, permanently lowering its max health, and if you can bring it back to your titan this will recover its health.

Moving on strictly from the topic of mechanics and onto the campaign itself. The story, granted, is not anything to write home about. It does do more to characterize its protagonists, the pilot character and his titan, and the enemy titan pilot team you'll be fighting, than most shooters of its ilk bother to, its just that it never goes beyond the surface. Leaving something perfectly serviceable, if entirely unremarkable. The structure of the campaign though is very creative. It relies much less on scripted sequences than the Modern Warfare games. There's no "rip the knife from your chest and throw it at the bad guy's face" scene like in MW2. Yet, in a way, the game still has the same passion for the setpiece heavy design its predecessors' had, it is just funneled into gameplay instead. During one mission you will find a gun that can activate machines, altering the landscape around you as you platform your way through it. During another you will enter a temporal anomaly and be able to switch between fighting alien wildlife in the present, and soldiers in the past, at the press of a button. You'll have to switch timelines multiple times during a single platforming challenge, and will be able to flank your enemies by time traveling. Both of these things are in just one level each before the game moves on to the next thing.

Bottomline: I loved it, same as the first line in this post.
Deus Ex with GMDX. What can I say? It's Deus Ex with a plethora of small tweaks that improve things in many ways. Heck, I'd like the mod if all it introduced was the ability to mantle. Sure, it makes some bits easier, but you won't find me complaining about that.

I will say that I did notice a few random spikes in difficulty that I never noticed when playing the game without mods. Two parts that specifically come to mind are the UNATCO attack in the 'Ton Hotel (where it is possible to save Paul) and the bit after talking to Stanton Dowd in Hell's Kitchen. In both of those cases, it seemed like there were far more enemies than in the unmodded game, making them far more difficult than I remember. Maybe it was actually all the small tweaks made to the gameplay, but holy smokes. The bit after talking to Stanton Dowd was especially ridiculous. Nearly thirty enemies came charging after me when I finished talking to Dowd. I beat feet to Smuggler's hideout to warn him about the raid (which is optional, but having done it the last few times I played the game I couldn't bring myself not to do it again). Unfortunately, leaving proved nearly impossible. At least half a dozen troops crowded around the top of the stairs out of the front entrance, and even if I killed them quickly, the bot was nearby and other troops would come. The back entrance was crowded with at least twenty troops. I finally managed to escape by using thermoptic camo, which allowed me to get halfway through the tunnel outside the back entrance. When that ran out, I just switched on my ballistic protection augmentation and my healing augmentation. That combination was just enough to get me to the bar. It was easy leaving the mission area after that, but good grief. That was ridiculous.

But as far as the game itself is concerned, I must say that some of the game's splendor has faded a bit. I haven't played it in a few years, and this time around... I don't know. It didn't grab me like it once did. The plot is a bit absurd and the cornerstone of the gameplay--the ability to approach levels from multiple angles and with various play styles--loses steam toward the end of the game (is that one of them there mixed metaphors?). Maybe it was the mod. I don't know. I just know that I came away from the game without that "wow" factor that came every other time I played it.
Post edited August 24, 2017 by Daedalus1138
<span class="bold">Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders</span>

I have a lot of mixed feelings here. At first I was in love with the game atmosphere, humour, Poirot's accent and mechanics. There is an interesting and innovative "brain cells" mechanism, which means you're collecting facts, observations and parts of information to match them properly deducting some other clues. It looked that it would be nice challenging adventure showing the brilliant mind of Hercules Poirot.

Unfortunately it quickly turns out that:
■ the game is extremely linear, with no exploration, just a location or two available at once (and not more then 4 items at max)
■ it's far to easy - the only challenge comes with some complicated mechanisms and hoards found here and there
■ a lot of answers are obvious before the game reveals them, which is fundamental mistake in case of detective story
■ the game is slow-paced in general and some operations may become frustrating (e.g. comparing letters - the result is known at first sight, but you need to execute a lot of boring actions and listen to the same comments a few times)
■ part of questions in "brain cells" minigames are terribly designed - instead of looking for clues and answer, you're wondering what the author had in mind
■ also scenes of crimes look quite obvious and there is absolutely no fun in guessing the events in "Reconstrucion" minigames

Nothing but wasted potential, I'm afraid.

List of all games completed in 2017
(temporarily the list cannot be updated due to some technical reasons on GOG forum's side

Quake II
- 4/5

More of the same as the first game, but not quite as good. The gameplay is more open, but the enemies are less interesting and sadly, no more foreboding, atmospheric music.
Machinarium, again. Damn that snake puzzle!
On Sunday I completed Deus Ex human revolution missing link pretty much in one sitting.
Played half an hour on Friday of it and rest from Saturday night till 3 am Sunday.

Decent dlc but forgettable. It's just the same thing as main game doesn't really add anything to the world. Definitely feels like they cut the part from main game.

I missed some achievements but really don't care about getting them anymore.

But hey. One item crossed from my backlog
macmac2: 07/22: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Took you some time eh?
Post edited August 29, 2017 by lukaszthegreat
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

Pretty good game overall. First some noteworthy technical things. As a game that fully supports the PS4 Pro the first thing I had to decide was what graphical mode to use. There is a choice of "4K" which I believe is 1800p that uses some trickery to get the rest of the way to 2160 plus excellent AA and overall fidelity. Or choose performance mode which lowers the resolution to 1080 to prioritize stable frame rate, but still with some extra effects and better AA than a standard PS4. Since I don't have a 4k display (soon though), the performance mode sounded the best. Except it wasn't. You see the performance mode still has a 30 fps cap! So what's the point? Even on a my 1080 display the supersampling still made a noticeable difference to the display using 4K mode, whilst I honestly couldn't notice any difference to performance in "performance mode". I spent the first 2 hours swapping and trying to see how the performance mode made any actual difference and the only thing I could see was reduced graphics. May as well make full use of the better graphics, it was decided. And this is a stunning looking game world. Great voice acting as well, except an annoying tendency for the main character to mumble her thoughts way to much, which is often impossible to hear and understand in noisy areas.

As for game play, I'd nickname this game "Witcher Creed". It's about 40% Witcher 2 (I haven't played 3) and 60% Assassins Creed 3. The questing feels Witcher in that the story is driven via a scripted cutscene fest and is the part of the game I found the least enjoyable. Whilst I love this game, I don't believe it's a strong RPG- just like The Witcher 2. I don't like following a scripted story where you are continuously taken hold of by cutscenes and dropped forcefully into situations I have no say over- not in an RPG anyway. Luckily that's the worst aspect of the game for me, everything else made up for it.
The 60% Assassins Creed 3 comes from the open world. It's one of the best around. It's immersive, full of lore that isn't compulsory to read or view but adds so much. It's a great open world that I really enjoyed exploring and completing the side quests and activities. I especially liked the Bandit Camp takeovers.
Oh yeah other AC touches are the Eagle Vision (call it Batman detective vision if you like) and the climbable map syncing towers- which in this game the towers are mobile which is unique.

I liked the story. Just like the game mechanics, a lot is borrowed from other games here as well. There is some obvious influence or themes that feel borrowed from the meta stories in Mass Effect, Halo and even the overall Assassins Creed meta story as well. HZD seems to have taken the concepts from those games and added in it's own unique spin and made a very decent story that I really wanted to see to it's end.

Anyway I ended up almost completionist finishing. I did everything and explored every corner of the world except some of the Hunter Lodge challenges. Those hunter lodge challenges just became too tedious for me and are the sort of party trick thing I don't like much..."just for laughs, kill this many baddies of this type, in this much time using only a bent fork and a wet towel, whilst standing on your head with an XXL butt plug in your ass". That sort of thing. So I left a few of those.
Otherwise I did or saw everything else, reached the level cap and maxed out the skill tree.

If you have a PS4 it's a no brainer, at some point you will want to pick it up and play. It's an excellent game- though not the 10/10 that die hard Sony Ponies say, but absolutely worth playing. As far as PS4 exclusives go, I'd say I still enjoyed Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank more overall. It took me about 65 hours, and I'm a slow thorough sort of gamer.
Post edited August 29, 2017 by CMOT70
The Legend of Kyrandia: The Hand of Fate (Book Two) - 4/5

Much better than the first - particularly given that there's no way to get yourself into an unwinnable state. And I'd say a lot more of the jokes land this time. Also, generally, I think Zanthia is a better character than Brandon.
Post edited August 29, 2017 by Austrobogulator