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Continuing on with my replay of games I finished previously a few years ago and have now finished again:

An enjoyable and relaxing (although fairly linear) game where you play as a mother badger looking after her cubs.

A fun take on match-3, combining it with a dating sim. The game is very light-hearted, silly, and funny… but does get a bit repetitive after a while.
Far Cry - Blood Dagon

VHS era recreated by modern generations.

Way shorter than FC4 which was shorter than FC3 (what a sluggish game).
Had some technical issues when enemies could spot you through the wall so capturing outposts without alarm and/or detection was harder than usual business.

Dragons are main source of XP past lvl20 (obviously) or you can ride around and find some patrols skirmishes and stab them like chain lighting. Thing is - when you acquire best weapon to deal with them they vanish after final mission. Dangit.

Hitboxes are weird, both for shooting and takedonws. I could run around enemy that spotted me and there was 50% chance to stab him from behind (obvious) but also 50% to stab them frontal.
Goldfish have better memory than them.

Best part of the game? Music, it's fantastic. Since UT3 there was no other modern game soundtrack that I could play beyond game itself while playing other videogames. Vast majority of them are fillers with maybe 1-2 good tracks and that's it.
Post edited November 18, 2017 by SpecShadow
Two more games out of my backlog for a while:

Final Fantasy XII - The Zodiac Age on PS4. This time, just the main story with 1 Job License for 1 character rule. I have finished the game twice before on PS2 and once almost on 100%, so I wanted just experience the story without spending to much time on sidequests. Still 62 hours long session O.o

and Mortal Kombat - Komplete Edition on PS3. I have not played it for a very long time, and completely forgotten, that I have not finished endings for all DLC characters. The game plays different than MK XL, so I needed to get used to it for a little bit.

Complete list of my finished games is here
Flight of the Amazon Queen adventure full of teen jokes with mostly logical puzzles. If you like this genre, than go for it.
NecroVisioN: Lost Company

Wow, what a mix - imagine merging horror ("B" class), nazis, Castle Wolfstein, zombie, Painkiller and First World War warfare in one title. I would never looked at the game without Soccorro - thanks, pal! It has stupid clichéd story, but has also great dark atmosphere, gen. Patton, epic music, tanks and planes, hypnotic pace and rythm. And it's fun like a hell.

Go get it and enjoy the slaughter. If you lost your chance during release promo, note that buying both games (N+N:LC) still gives you 43% discount.

List of all games completed in 2017
Hotline Miami

I enjoyed the game for a few levels a lot. Intense gameplay, unique art style, good action and psychedelic plot (even though there is little story here). Sadly, after some time the game started to become boring. AI is incredibly stupid, every level is very similar and the weapons offer little to no variety. I don’t regret finishing the game and learning the whole story (as far as I’ve checked I’ve seen all possible endings) but I don’t think I’ll ever play it or its sequel again. With some more gameplay variety it would be a much better game.

Full list
Wolfenstein II The New Colossus

First, forget about all the bullshit you've heard/read about this game promoting communism/mixing of races/whatever, I'm sure that around 99.7% of these reviews have been written as trolls from people never actually playing the game or even launching it once.

That said, Wlofenstein II is, to me, a slightly above average game, especially compared to the former new episodes. I mean, there's lots of action, yes, characters are over the top, yes, (and often that made me not liking them much, because over the top doesn't always equates good writing).

But. Sometimes the action is a bit cluncky, weapons are not so impressive (in terms of sound desing at least). And the story is... a bit dull. Some parts are easy like butter, some other need you to try again many times.

All in all, I had good time playing Blazko again, and I'd like some more adventures, but for once I was happy that game was finished, which is not really a good thin in my book.

Maybe I'll get back to it later for the Überkommands' hunt, that looks funny, but for the moment, I'll shelf it.

So far in 2017:
Finished The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings yesterday. The Xbox 360 version on Xbox One, why not. Interestingly, while this version does look worse than the original PC version I enjoyed it more than playing TW2 on max settings on PC. Post processes are used VERY badly in the game and also the texturing is just weird, with far too many contrasts in all sorts of places which seriously fucks with my mind. The X360 version has simpler effects and lower resolution textures with far smaller contrasts which was easier on my eyes (and yeah, I know that I could probably get the same visuals on PC by reducing the settings). Aaanyway...

Frankly I never was a fan of The Witcher 2, I honestly think that it's a much worse game than the first one in almost every regard. The writing isn't bad but it's also not as original or engaging as the first game to me personally. Content-wise the biggest problem I have with the game is probably that it makes almost no use of the setting. The first game very much reflected the books' main feature of being set in a world that feels genuinely medieval with all sorts of beliefs from folklore being real. TW2 feels much more like a typical fantasy game by comparison. Also, I think the game takes itself too seriously. The first game was so dark and cynical that it made Gothic feel like a children's cartoon, yes, but it also had a fair amount of comic relief and warm moments with Geralt's old companions and quite a few fun NPCs. In TW2 even Zoltan and Dandelion are knee-deep in the intrigue and either depressed or angry. And the locations are also really uninteresting to me. The one I liked most was probably the valley in the second chapter, it had a pretty nice LotR feel to it, but well, it was basically New Zealand, big deal. Anyway, in the end I liked the plot, it was interesting, but there were no jaw-dropping moments. Oh yeah, and the romans "options" suck. Sure, I get why many people didn't like the first game's romance where humping babes is pretty literally like collecting trading cards (although personally it never bothered me) but come on, now you have one relationship that's fleshed out but for some reason deciding to bang that other chick has no negative consequences for that one supposedly meaningful relationship. Feels pretty half-assed to me.

But now let's come to the gameplay which is quite a shitfest in my opinion. First off: the combat is mediocre at best and combined with non-existent balancing it makes the prologue and first chapter a nightmare. Combat only becomes remotely functional once you get the first upgrade for the dodge roll but even then it's not great and suffers from technical issues. The collision detection is a joke. And there is nothing interesting going on in terms of geometry, fighting hordes is not a tactical ballet, as it is in good games, no, it's silly rolling around and hitting individuals at the very edge of the crowd. And fights against strong individuals are ridiculously easy if you use Quen and Yrden properly (and if you haven't figured that out combat even against individual enemies is ridiculously hard). Also, the game has probably the most useless counter attack I have ever seen in a game.

Secondly, the character development sucks. There are two kinds of upgrades: stuff that feels like it should have been base abilities (especially considering that Geralt IS A WITCHER) and stuff that slightly improves stuff by percentages - I never felt particularly rewarded when leveling up. And the separation into three categories, basically in order to allow classing, is dumb as hell. A Witcher already IS a class. Geralt is by definition an excellent sword fighter - that any attempt to invest in signs or alchemy seriously limits his combat abilities is just dumb. Why they didn't just give you one point in every "class" per level, no idea, but it certainly would have made things a million times better in my opinion. Also, it's probably the only RPG I know where every level is worth the same amount of XP. My guess is that they did it out of sheer laziness, to make it easier to automatically make Geralt level up by exactly one or two levels after doing certain quests. And killing enemies provides so few XP that they could have just as well only give you XP for doing quests.

Thirdly, alchemy has been nerfed so much that it has almost no impact on anything. In the first game you had potions that DOUBLED the damage against certain enemies, here you get like, what, 10-30%? Sure, they probably did that to avoid a situation where the game is impossibly hard without or too easy with alchemy but come on, it's such a prominent feature, just teach the player that they have to use alchemy to get the "right" level of challenge. It's also stupid that most potions last only five minutes AND you can't drink them during combat. In other words, they last too short to allow you to be prepared unless you save just before every encounter and once you definitely know that you need a potion you can't use it anymore. Stupid.

Then there's a lack of side quests, a lack of rewards for exploration, a lack of interesting NPCs etc.. There's also not much meaningful decision-making. There's basically one meaningful decision in the game (Roche or Iorveth) that admittedly does change almost everything that happens after that point but there's no relationship between the nature of the decision itself and the "weight" of the consequences. Meanwhile the decision to commit regicide, which is like the biggest possible deal in the game's universe, has little impact. That's just bad compared to the regular seemingly small but tough decisions from the first game with consequences that would bite you in the ass in the most surprising manners and moments.

And finally, the balancing and progression are messed up beyond belief. After a tough start that made me rage quit a few times the game becomes ridiculously easy. I constantly died during the first hunting contracts (which should be a walk in the park for a FRIGGIN' WITCHER and should serve as a tutorial!) but then did all the boss fights on the first try, no sweat. Oh yeah, excluding the first big boss fight, the Kayran, which is a frustrating shitfest until you figure out what you have to do and even then it's really badly designed and can bite you in the ass. And oh my god, the balancing of the items. You don't get anything good throughout the first chapter, which was the longest in my case, you get a lot more stuff during the second chapter, which was a piece of cake compared to the first chapter, and then, in the brief last chapter, you get a new badass sword and a new badass piece of armor every couple of minutes. Also, the last chapter is the only one where you can't sensibly farm money so in order to actually craft all the good stuff I had to go through a frustrating procedure of selling tons of stuff I didn't know I would need or not.

And finally, that UI, oh my God, dat UI. And those controls! And the UI! And those controls!

Anyway, good game. 7/10.
F4LL0UT: ...
Anyway, good game. 7/10.
lol - nicely done.

fwiw I played through on regular back when and didn't even bother with alchemy.
Requiem: Avenging Angels

I didn't know it before I bought it on GOG. Played and completed it for the first time now. It made a mixed impression on me, similar to when I played through Red Faction.

+ In addition to the regular weapon arsenal (pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, railgun) you also get loads of varied angel powers that work like magic (drawing from a sort of mana pool that regenerates over time). And they're more than just additional ways of attacking, they also include options to heal yourself or others, possess opponents or charm them to fight for you for a short time, resurrect an unlimited number of fallen opponents to make them your permanent companions (until dead for a second time or lost due to pathfinding issues; only works if their bodies are still intact and not gibbed), fly/jump higher, haste yourself, slow time around you etc. For a 1999 shooter that precedes games like Messiah (2000), Max Payne (2001), The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002), or Bioshock (2007), I found that pretty impressive. Personally I don't know any other FPS game older than Requiem that offers that much variety in mixing weapons with magic-like powers. This is definitely the game's best selling point, both from a historical perspective and regarding how much fun it can be to play around with these powers.

+ It's comparatively fast-paced. No mine fields, lethal snipers and other traps like in Half-Life, you can just rush into combat if you want to, and your opponents' missiles don't hit immediately, so you can try to dodge them if you dare. It also allows saving everywhere and has an easy to use quick save function, for all you save-scummers out there. All this makes it one of these games that had me constantly thinking: "Just a little bit further, before I quit. I just want to see what's behind the next corner, in the next room", and eventually I finished it, within a couple of evenings.

+/- I found it remarkable how weird some of the character models look, especially the female ones; they're much more detailed than, e.g. 1996's Lara Croft, and still manage to be uglier, in a way. I don't remember playing any other FPS with character models that have such detailed textures on such oddly angular-shaped alien polygon body structures. Quite curious.

- The story really is nothing to write home about, it left me indifferent, not in any way curious or involved. I couldn't care less about the characters, including the hero, and the plot doesn't really offer any great surprises, even though it tries to pretend a few times. I found the plot, the storytelling and the scripting worse than in the slightly older Half-Life, which might explain why Requiem didn't get that much love in its wake. Contrary to how it's handled in Half-Life, you have to actively press an Action button in order to make characters talk, then you exchange a few lines, and then you have to press the button again for the next part of the conversation. There are instances when you get a new mission assigned in your log after the first lines of a conversation already, but in order to go through with the mission, you still need to press Action two times and listen to the rest of the conversation, otherwise the opening of a crucial door somewhere else won't be triggered. The game does not tell you about this. It's also not quite clear from the conversation. Anyway, this is a minor issue if you make sure to exhaust all conversations, but there was also at least one occurrence when I got a new mission assigned without anyone having told me about it yet and it didn't make any sense and left me confused what I was to do in order to move on and trigger the next scripted event. The solution was the use of a specific angelic power, which brings me to the next point.

- The game hardly explains anything to you. I guess that's because it's from a time where games still came with a manual and expected you to read it, but I've played plenty of games from that time and even before that still managed to be quite self-explanatory. The game gives you all these cool powers at certain points in the story but hardly ever talks about them. At best you get a short message "Access to ... granted" or something like that, that is shortly displayed in a corner of your screen, possibly while you're in the midst of a battle or conversation. Since I didn't read the manual, I only ever learned I actually had powers by way of redefining the controls, because there is a button for calling up a powers menu, a button for switching between offensive powers, and you can also assign a key to each power individually. The powers menu is good for getting an overview of what powers you possess, but it's inconvenient to use for switching powers in combat, since you have to select them with the mouse, while the action continues in the background. Also, unless you're not in the mood for meticulous experiments, it's not always clear what a certain power does and how it works. The powers only became fun once I read up on them in a guide and assigned my favorite ones to the number keys (while contenting myself to just use the mouse wheel for weapon switching - by pressing it, scrolling is not an option). That was rather late in the game though. Before that, the powers were causing more trouble than excitement, because they are used as puzzle solutions as well, in some rare but crucial cases, which can be tricky if you haven't thought about them much before or don't even know you have them.

- The boss battles are lame. Yes, there are only a few, maybe four or so, and yes, I'm not very fond of boss battles in general. But they're still kind of a slog, since they're not difficult, only long. The bosses are immune to certain weapons, actually to most weapons and also powers, so first you have to find out which ones still work (not much room for experimentation and different tactics). Thankfully, bosses blink when you damage them. But that's your only indication that they're hurt. They're sponges and need to be hurt a lot, without you knowing how badly you actually hurt them. It's not hard to dodge their attacks, and you can always heal yourself and/or save scum, and the battles still take forever without being much fun. At least that's my experience.

The angelic powers make Requiem kind of special, even historically, and they can be fun once you've figured it all out. Sadly, the game does its best to try and hide this aspect from you, unless you study guides and read the manual, something I did not expect I needed to do when playing a straightforward FPS game. Controls are clunky at first but can be reconfigured. Plot, storytelling and scripting are rather mediocre. Boss battles suck, but are few and far between and can be overcome with a little patience. For the most part, I guess I did enjoy my time with the game, but more as a distraction, to take my mind off other things, just running along corridors shooting at stuff, and in the end I also had a little fun with the crowd controlling powers. But all in all I don't think I would recommend this game to anyone as something you need to play. I'm sure you could find a better use for your time, and I could have, too.
Post edited January 25, 2020 by Leroux
Realms of Chaos
A gift from SCPM, thanks again!

As it turned out I was in a mood for playing action platformer from 90s: I couldn’t stop playing until I finished it and I had a great time with it! Basically the game is as refined example of its genre as you can get, both in positive and negative aspects:
+ tons of action
+ many secrets
+ short but intense levels
+ great boss fights
- unfair traps that you can’t see before they kill you
- ridiculous plot
- after a few levels you wish for more variety
- unfair limitations that don’t make any sense (like screen rushing you with no apparent reason)
I played on normal so that I couldn’t spam everything with fireballs and I’m happy that I did so because I was making a full use of both characters. Highly recommended to every platformer fan!

Full list
Dungeon Siege

Just finished this. This is the retail version including the expansion "Legends of Aranna", but I've yet to play the expansion pack, only finished the base game. I have the Steam version too but since it is missing the expansion pack, I went with my retail version instead.

I was pleasantly surprised by this game. Back when it was released, I mainly remember people bitching how simple and "casual" game it is, even compared to Diablo, so I guess my expectations were low too. As long as one doesn't expect a serious CRPG (Fallout/Baldur's Gate/whatever), this is quite a great light-RPG. IMHO the gameplay is very well thought of, getting rid of annoying gameplay elements of Diablo clones (like constant clicking) and making it all just quite enjoyable.

Plusses and minuses of the top of my head:

+ No constant clicking in combat. You just tell your party members how aggressively you want them to fight and with what weapons/spells, and then let them rip. You can fine-tune their actions if you wish, like escaping if you are overwhelmed, tell them to attack certain enemy (instead of e.g. the closest one) etc.

+ You can pause the game at any point and give commands there. I didn't usually need to even do this as the gameplay was so finely tuned already, but during e.g. the last boss battle I used it often.

+ With your main character and early companions, you are given quite free hands to which direction to develop them (melee/archer/combat magic/nature magic). While the game doesn't make it apparent, each party member should really concentrate on only one of those four, no jack of all trades (otherwise you can't do anything well). I had to restart the game from scratch once because I was doing exactly that at first.

+ Inventory management etc. is made pretty easy, albeit there is some of that "inventory Tetris" when stuff keeps accumulating, but you get chances often to sell the surplus. At the last two chapters I already had maximum amount of money (999999999 or something) so money never seems to become a problem in the game.

+ I played the game on the hardest difficulty, and I felt the difficulty was quite spot on. Sometimes fights got quite hard, but there was always the option to back down in order to regroup.

+ I really liked the gameplay mechanic that when a party member's HP goes to zero, they don't die right away, but first pass out and you still have time to heal the and join the combat. Some big battles got quite exciting when e.g. all other party members were already knocked out and you had e.g. one fighter up fighting the last few enemies.

- Ok so the game was quite linear. but in a way I liked that. Sometimes the road branched out but usually the other branches were dead-ends (some optional cave etc.) and there was a main branch to follow. I don't feel games like this necessarily need to be "unlinear", such games quite often just irritate me as I am never really sure which way I should be going, and if I will miss something important if I keep going that way.

- The gameplay is quite repetitive. You keep running around fighting monsters in combat (and doing a few subquests which are usually about combat anyway), enemies get progressively harder and you get better equipment, new spells, better stats etc. Rinse and repeat till the end.

- What's with the world map? There is an icon for it but it is greyed out, and I think i read somewhere it is meant mainly for multiplayer. The single-player game would have really needed a world map because sometimes I did start running to the wrong way, and only after minutes of running realized I should have been going the other way. Gah!

But overall, I enjoyed the game quite much, and I am hungry for more (the expansion pack, and Dungeon Siege 2-3 which I have at least on Steam, possibly 2 also as a retail version (not sure)).
Post edited November 23, 2017 by timppu
Rise of the Tomb Raider

An excellent installment of the modern retake of the series. I never was a fan of the original games, on the contrary, but the two last games were a revelation to me.

The only grips I had with Rise of the Tomb Raider were the combat system that was clunky (but it's maybe me having a timing problem) and maybe a little bit that it was sometimes just too "over the top" in that that Lara is better than many super heroes, lol !

Anyway, I've had a blast with that game!

So far in 2017:
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons

Aka "Co-op mode: the Game". Seriously, the game is mainly about playing it with another person (my wife in this case) plus some nice visuals and emotional story. I don’t really get emotional playing video games so the last aspect was not very important for me and while we did enjoy it playing it together I think this game should have offered something more than a well-executed co-op mode. Sadly, there is nothing much of it: puzzles are super easy and the plot is very straight-forward. In the end we decided that playing other games with optional co-op is more interesting anyway so we’ll definitely never come back to this game.

Full list

I Am Setsuna

Way better than I expected after reading a lot of negative user reviews. The soundtrack is something special, with only piano tracks and nothing else through the entire game. I actually got all the Steam achievements on this one, but it's not hard TBH.