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Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry (PS4)

This is a stand-alone DLC for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and it’s basically a much smaller, shortened, simplified, and slightly reskinned version of the base game.

I think it would serve as good introduction to Black Flag, a game you could try to see if you’d like the base game. But if you’ve already played Black Flag this DLC doesn’t add anything new enough to make it worthwhile, unless you're already a big fan and just want something more.
Post edited October 30, 2017 by 01kipper

I liked it, it left a good taste into my mouth and overall I enjoyed it, and didn't face glaring annoyances like I usually do in many many "good" games (Thief Gold, System Shock 2, Fallout 1-2, Fallout Tactics...). Some thoughts here and there:

- I recall hearing beforehand how people dislike its "clunky" controls. I felt the controls were quite fine as long as you enable the "alternative" controls in the options, and are ready to play with mouse+keyboard (too bad for people who insist playing with gamepads).

As long as you figure out how to act with items/people, inventory management and combat, it is fine. It is not fully intuitive (like there is no single "action" button, instead you e.g. keep the left mouse button down while pushing W), and there are little things you should just learn, like how with moving things in/out of inventory, using WASD moves 10 pieces at a time, while the arrow keys move only one.

Anyway you get used to it quite fast and it feels fine. It is far better than, say, Daggerfall or System Shock controls (esp. combat).

- I like how they hadn't tried to make the world nor the story/quests too "massive". I felt the game is a good size as it is. While there is lots to explore and to do, it felt refreshing there really are like three "towns" (camps), compared to Daggerfall's hundreds or thousands of towns (for what purpose?), and I think the number of quests, including subquests, is merely a couple dozen, not hundred(s).

- I also liked how the stat system was kept pretty simple. With some RPGs (including, and especially, many JPRGs) I feel they have just made the stats and skill system big and complicated because they think RPG players want complicated systems.

I don't, I was quite happy with Gothic's simple damage system like "damage done = your weapon stat + your strength - enemy melee defense stat" (ok there is more that that, like how critical hits are calculated). While I used less magic, I think it also used similarly straightforward system.

- I didn't run into severe bugs or such, but the game did crash occasionally (on Windows 7/64bit). Normally I didn't mind much as you can save the game anywhere, but at the very end it seemed to crash more often. However, nothing I couldn't handle, just remember to save the game when you achieve anything important, like killing a difficult baddie.

I read somewhere that back in the day Gothic was touted as "the game Ultima 9 should have been", which left me wondering whether I should at least try U9 (I have finished Ultima 7-8 already a long time ago). I've checked some U9 mods, they seem to be still work in progress...
Post edited October 31, 2017 by timppu
South Park The Fractured but Whole

Preordered it, played it from Day 1 and finally finished it today. It lived up to my expectations after the first South Park game: it's whacky, corny, stupid, offensive, gross, in short, everything I love in South Park! The combat atmosphere kind of reminded me of Costume Quest, it's funny! So, I loved that game!

The only thing I'd say is that the game drags a bit towards the end, especially a few of the last battles are quite tough, but it didn't take anything away from that great game!

So far in 2017:
F.E.A.R. (GOG)

This game reminds me a lot of a first-person Max Payne: it’s a shooter with slow-mo bullet-time and hallucination sequences, only this game is in first-person. The guns feel satisfying, the enemy AI is half decent, and the destructible environment adds a little extra realism. The difficulty is alright, if you play cautiously there’s plenty of ammo and armour around to keep you alive. However, it is quite linear, and there is not a lot of variety in the environments.

Overall it’s an OK game, worth a play if you enjoy linear shooters.
System Shock 2 is now complete.

After 3 years I finally went back, restarted, and played it all the way through. Overall, that was a very good game. Although a couple of criticisms. The game dragged on a bit too much near the end. And SHODAN is a great antagonist, but good grief, the things she says at the end are so repetitive. She keeps saying the same exact things when she gives you cybernetic modules after revealing who she is. I understand that she cannot get over herself and her "magnificence," but damn, have some more variety in the dialogue. It was just grating at the end to hear her. Also, while it never really became a problem for me the weapons degrade too fast. That should have been scaled back a bit, and made disposable maintenance tools a little harder to get.

Still, I very much enjoyed the game, plowing right through it in the past couple of weeks.
Baobab's Mausoleum Episode 1: Ovnifagos Don't Eat Flamingos (Steam)

From that title you’d expect a weird and quirky game, and that’s exactly what you get! Gameplaywise, it's mostly a fairly linear 2D adventure game.

It’s very short (under 2 hours) and very simple, but it also still needs a lot of polish. For example:
- there is no guide to tell you which is the “action” key, you can only find out by trial and error (pro tip: it’s the spacebar)
- in the 3D section you can’t invert mouse look nor did my controller work for looking
- the volume is very loud (or at least it was on my computer even with my computer volume turned to minimum) and you can’t adjust it, only turn it off completely
- to progress past a certain part of the game you need to visit the developer’s website to get a passcode… but the website has expired and doesn’t exist anymore! Luckily someone had posted the passcode online. (pro tip #2: it's 160217)
- there are many grammatical errors

Overall it’s OK if you’re looking for a weird and quirky game and you can get it for cheap, otherwise I’d not recommend it.
Post edited November 02, 2017 by 01kipper
Ack, wrong thread.
Post edited November 02, 2017 by andysheets1975
Pharaonic (Xbox One)

Another game I've managed to fit in with my month of bonus MS game pass. It is also on GOG .
It was actually pretty awesome overall, one of the best Indies I've played in recent years, though with two annoyances I'll mention later.

It's a side scrolling heavily combat oriented game, with exactly the style of action RPG combat I like best. Whilst I've had some fun lately with como based brawlers like DmC, they are not my preference because I'm too lazy to remember too many actual combos and always end up just spamming the same handful that I've learned. But Pharaonic is more like Bloodborne or the souls games done in a 2D side scrolling form.
You have heavy and light attacks on the right hand and shield and parry on the left. You can build light and fast and try to dodge attacks, or heavy and slow and try to absorb damage, or any combination. I came to prefer, like always, light fast weapons and armor, with the exception of heavy shield. All this ties into your set of upgrade able abilities.
Combat means watching your opponents carefully for openings and drawing them into over extending and leaving themselves exposed. Again it is very much like the souls games. Charging in and button mashing gets you dead fast, the enemies are tough and outnumber you. You have to fight smart.

The world is done in a stylistic form to evoke the ancient Egyptian world it's portraying. The levels are short, but sometimes confusing because, despite being 2D, you change planes regularly and unlock shortcuts. Playing the the levels is, again just like the souls games, about carefully running the gauntlet between the save points. Slowly working your way through the game, save point by save point.

It's was one of the best games of this type I've played. It's tough in parts but almost never to the point of feeling impossible if you take your time and learn to fight each enemy type. Story is simple, just enough to be giving you a reason to seek the ending but not distracting.

It did have two issues that stopped it being perfect. The first one is that the maps that you find and buy to help navigate were blank! It seems to be a bug with only the Xbox version from what I could find when Googling it. So PC should be fine. I got around the problem by finding a helpful thread on Steam where a user had posted the in games maps as images. So I just used those on my tablet when I found them in game. Easy enough fix, but the devs should fix that.

The other issue almost proved game ending. The final battle of the game in the palace before getting to the end boss almost proved insurmountable for my character build, where I had to fight 12 of the games toughest enemies in a row. I built a fast agile character with a heavy shield and worked my way through to the last regular battle without any undue problems. Up to that point I died about 50 times in a tough game. That final battle I then died about 200 times trying over and over again for about 3 hours! I almost gave up until I finally got past it, I think more by luck than any skill. Talk about difficulty spike! The problem is that the game provided no way of respeccing... I'm sure a heavy armor build would be the answer to that last battle. Then onto the final boss...which was a pushover compared to the final regular battle.

But those two problems aside, I loved the game...and apparently only 0.61% of players have managed to finish the game according to the end game achievement. If you like this sort of thing get it, it's worth the $15 or so asking price.
Post edited November 03, 2017 by CMOT70
Bioshock Infinite

A replay from when it originally went out. Still excellent.

So far in 2017:
Just finished Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, got close to getting 100% too. It's good, certainly a million times better than the awkward Liberation that looks like a shitfest by comparison, gameplay-wise it's also definitely better than AC3. However, I've heard like a million times that it's supposedly the best one in the series which I can't agree with at all.

The story, both the past and present one, is kinda stupid and also quite underwhelming in terms of scale, there's no big revelations concerning that whole precursor race lore nor the Assassin or Templar orders. Edward Kenway's story starts out kinda interesting but the fact that he becomes like the most efficient assassin of them all just by putting on their robes and without ever joining them is beyond stupid. The intrigues with all the colorful pirate characters are pretty interesting and entertaining at first but things really go to shit towards the end.

As for the gameplay, well, it's basically the same as always with the big addition obviously being the extended (compared to AC3) naval stuff which is awesome at first but becomes tiresome and boring rather quickly. And the game feels unnecessarily stretched out (nothing new, I know). Other than that it's same old all its strengths and flaws. As with every AC game I was highly entertained at first but eventually began asking myself what I'm doing with my life, doing the same shit again that I've done a million times in the past.

Also: A punch in the face of the writer who decided that Shaun and Rebecca should keep using their real names while trying to infiltrate Abstergo. That's stupid.
ELEX, what a great game.
I loved the first two Gothics, and I have liked all Piranha Bytes work ever since (even the undeservedly infamous Risen 2), yet this time they really outdid themselves.
Elex combines perfectly the Fantasy, Dieselpunk and Sci-Fi genre merging them in a coherent mix of ambient creation and plot where plasma rifles can be seen side to side with sword and sorcery.
Let's start with "the bad": as you can expect from a relatively low budget game made by a team of 30, graphic fidelity is not top notch and the animations leave much to be desired.
Still, the map design is superb (as a guaranteed PB mark), and even if the four areas (the green and lush Edan, the "Madmaxish" desert of Tavar, the lava wasteland of Ignadon and the frozen Xacor) are enormous in scope there is a maniacal attention to detail, plenty to explore, a masterwork of verticality made even more valuable by the jetpack found right at the beginning; all sidequest are varied and have serious impact on the outcomes of the main missions, the factions are unique and believable and the amount of choices is immense.
It is true that at one point you need to join one of the three factions, but the character building allows plenty of freedom. You want to adhere to the standards and be a fighter-mage Berserker, a psionic laser shooting Cleric or an aggressive, junkie Outlaw filled with explosives? you can, but you can also choose to stray from the path and be everything else without any penalty - if you manage to assign your skills cleverly. You like to be a priest but you want to take things personal? All right, train yourself with melee weapons and modify them with your technology. No love for magic but you need ranged attacks? Grab a silent bow and throw dirty grenades. The possibility are limitless.

Many complained that after Gothic 2 the Piranhas let the story side slide a bit, but this time the plot is stronger than ever and the cast of NPCs and companions is charismatic and very well written, slapping in the face all those Bethesda preachers (Piranha Bytes' racial enemy, for some reason) claiming that the German team wasn't great at story telling, and the effort to put together cohesively and coherently all the pieces of the puzzle is evident and rewarding. Also, while the main events are portrayed as seen directly from the player, there are many details hidden in notes and audiologs that expand the backstories of many characters and give information of the pre-apocalyptic world and how the factions came to be, adding another level of depth à la Looking Glass.
Also, your use of Elex and your emotions will play a major role in game-defining choices, but I won't say anything more to avoid spoilers.

Unlike what you may have heard, combat is a timing combo based fluid and well balanced work, even when you are a useless whimp at level 1; of course, you will have the need of companions during the early phases, but you can go solo soon enough, if you want, and in the latter stages, where missions start to become very risky and require a more tactical approach, it is probable that you'll find companions more an hindrance than an help and you'll want to go solo. Also, remember that every character,companion or not, will remember your words and actions, leading often to serious and unpredictable outcomes.
Melee weapons, shields, low-tech tools, guns, energy rifles, explosives, heavy weapons, magic, psionic power: every alternative is valid, and while the animations are largely the same for everything the variety of effects is stunning. Cut, backstab, explode, shoot, poison, burn, freeze, mind control, modify gravity, phase, hologram, heal... they are just a fraction of the whole.

The crafting skill set contains thieving abilities (lockpick, pickpocket, hacking and all the relative powerups) and the "real" crafting abilities like chemistry (nothing is more useful than that, especially for elex potions that give permanent stat boosts), mining, weapon modification, gem working and goldsmith. This game has EVERYTING.
Also, there are several charisma abilities that will allow you to be more diplomatic, raise the amount of experience you get from missions and combat and make your companions stronger.

Just one thing may bother you: there is no hand holding. You have to learn everything from yourself, and I admit not all the mechanics are crystal clear right from the start, so you may take a while to understand which thing does what, and it is likely you will have to start over after the first two hours because you haven't focused on a viable set of abilities. Here you need careful planning, and you can achieve the “jack of all trades” status only at insanely high levels, so spend those points wisely.

I have enjoyed immensely this title from start to finish as a Cleric, but you can be sure that I will play it again with the other factions to see the good third of content I missed out in my 60 hours playthrough.
I warmly recommend Elex to every gamer with good taste, and since the end hints on a possible sequel I hope to see the developers expand this new and fascinating universe. As true an action RPG as you can be, Elex brought me back in an era when videogames respected and challenged the player while offering plenty of awesome content; if you forget the modern standards, you will love this title, too. Well worthy a full price and the highest score even with its flaws.
Post edited November 05, 2017 by Enebias
Valhalla Hills
A gift from Doc0075, thanks again!

The game wastes its potential. In theory it should be a good Settlers/Cultures type of a game with a few nice features. Sadly, most of these features are minor and some of them not really working. Production chains are mostly solid but nothing really special. Some things are weird though – animal breeder rises goats but you still need a hunt them to get meat. WTF?! The main problem is that the game is simply boring. There is no proper campaign, just some randomly generated maps (they are not even interesting) that you have to beat in order to unlock new buildings and features (sadly, unlocking is mostly very simple like finish x maps, gather x resources and thus once again boring). In the end you have to do the same thing over and over again with little variation. Battles are also boring and a bit ridiculous as you can teleport your war camps all over the map and this way you can easily lure enemies one by one and finish them easily. Dome dwarves are a bit more challenging but still nothing special. The game could have been decent or even good with a proper campaign, quests to fulfill etc. At this moment the fun lasts for a few hours only.

Full list
Love Hotel (This is another game I also finished a few years ago and wanted to play again)

This is a simple management game where you need to run a "love hotel" by building rooms and hiring staff to keep the couples happy. It's very simple and very easy (I don't think it's possible to lose), very short (perhaps an hour or so to complete the game), but it's also got nice pixel graphics, a lot charm, humour, and fun.

I'd certainly recommend it, the fact that it's FREE and very short means that you have very little to lose by giving it a try :)!
Odallus. I quite liked this one. It does the retro-NES thing except it's even more dedicated to it than something like Shovel Knight (which I really like, too). The game feels like they took Castlevania, Ghosts and Goblins, Highlander, and Berserk, threw them all in a blender and this is what came out. I dig the developers' sense of style. Very metal.

It's kind of Metroidvania-ish, except instead of a mostly seamless open world you have distinct levels that you're strongly encouraged to revisit and explore to get more items to help you out and let you explore sections of the other levels (a nice touch is that when you kill a boss, they stay dead so you don't have to kill them over and over when you revisit). It controls pretty well and gives a good challenge.

I would have liked a heads up that you need to get 100 percent of the collectibles to get the full ending. And as much as I like the aesthetic with all the dark colors and messed up looking demons, the story ends up being a bunch of grimdark gibberish (maybe a better translation would help).

D. Case of a game that is more interesting than good. I liked it okay but it's like playing a tech demo from the mid-90s that has some interesting gimmicks. You control a slow-walking woman who's investigating a hospital where her dad has gone on a killing spree, but as soon as you enter you're transported to a creepy mansion. It's an adventure game that has a limited amount of input, so the puzzles tend to be quite easy, but you have to complete it entirely within a couple of hours because there's no save/restore function. I guess the idea was to create a cinematic experience or something? A big chunk of time limit is taken up with a middle section in which you have to repeatedly rotate a hub room around to get to the puzzles. Definitely a game best gotten on sale if you're looking to buy it.


Botanicula. I had started playing this on my old PC but never finished it for some reason. Like D, it's pretty easy for an adventure game (not as easy as D, though), but it's got a lot of charm. I liked it more than Machinarium - I guess I gravitate more to organic things than robots. There are a couple of arcade-like sequences that were a tad frustrating but that's it.
andysheets1975: Odallus. I quite liked this one. It does the retro-NES thing except it's even more dedicated to it than something like Shovel Knight (which I really like, too). The game feels like they took Castlevania, Ghosts and Goblins, Highlander, and Berserk, threw them all in a blender and this is what came out. I dig the developers' sense of style. Very metal.

It's kind of Metroidvania-ish, except instead of a mostly seamless open world you have distinct levels that you're strongly encouraged to revisit and explore to get more items to help you out and let you explore sections of the other levels (a nice touch is that when you kill a boss, they stay dead so you don't have to kill them over and over when you revisit). It controls pretty well and gives a good challenge.

I would have liked a heads up that you need to get 100 percent of the collectibles to get the full ending. And as much as I like the aesthetic with all the dark colors and messed up looking demons, the story ends up being a bunch of grimdark gibberish (maybe a better translation would help).
Completely agree.

By the way, be sure to check Slain - Back From Hell if you want something similar but more focused on combat. It is fantastic.