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Saints Row IV

I'd messed with it over a free Steam weekend years ago and had waited for it to be <$5 for the complete version to buy it.

All in all maybe 20-24 hours of playtime, if you move towards completing the majority of challenges and hidden objects. Most of that is fun, but of the 34 main quests, arguably 1/4 or so could have been cut for just being repetitive or dull, which would also make me more prone to just replaying the whole thing. As is....maybe not?

I will say that, after the novelty of alien powers wears off, the game isn't quite as good as SR3. But a lot of the humor, the creativity with the world environment, and the consistently great voice acting make the game an enjoyable companion for most of the journey.
TxK is a fixed shooter. That is to say, there is no screen-scrolling to be found here and you can only move left and right, like Galaga or Space Invaders, while doing your best to prevent enemies from reaching your line and destroying you in one hit by merely touching you (or by shooting you). I'm pretty sure, though, that none of the aforementioned games sported a techno soundtrack or a visual style that was reminiscent of an acid trip and neither contained stages that resembled a circle, a wavy line, a rectangle, a cross, a tube, etc. Presentation-wise, TxK hits some high notes, while the controls are smooth and there are plenty of levels (exactly 100) to go through, which make it great for bite-sized chunks of gameplay. It's not without annoyances, though.

Annoyances like the visuals. While the vector visual style makes the game look very impressive, it can also be pretty overwhelming and make it difficult to discern the exact position of an enemy projectile, leading to an accidental death every now and then. The game's sometimes weird camera angles (which can be accidentally adjusted by tilting your Vita in the heat of the moment) and the fact that stages can change their shape (making it unclear in the process which is left and which is right) don't help one bit. Also, the game's difficulty can be pretty uneven, resulting in a pattern of 1 tough stage that needs many retries, followed by 4 easy stages, then another tough stage that needs many retries and another 4 easy stages, and so on. Finally, while the game is great for bite-sized chunks (as I noted above), I wouldn't recommend playing it for long periods of time, as it can be become pretty repetitive.

Complete list.

Link to the official site:
http://minotaurproject.co.uk/txk/
Post edited March 03, 2017 by Grargar
avatar
Grargar: TxK is a fixed shooter. That is to say, there is no screen-scrolling to be found here and you can only move left and right, like Galaga or Space Invaders, while doing your best to prevent enemies from reaching your line and destroying you in one hit by merely touching you (or by shooting you). I'm pretty sure, though, that none of the aforementioned games sported a techno soundtrack or a visual style that was reminiscent of an acid trip and neither contained stages that resembled a circle, a wavy line, a rectangle, a cross, a tube, etc. Presentation-wise, TxK hits some high notes, while the controls are smooth and there are plenty of levels (exactly 100) to go through, which make it great for bite-sized chunks of gameplay. It's not without annoyances, though.
I always wondered about this one. I'm still a huge fan of Tempest 2000 on the Jaguar and haven't found that any of the other remakes have quite measured up (the original arcade game is still great, of course). T2K at its best is literally entrancing. I think it was around level 60 or so when my brain would sort of stop working and my hands would keep playing out of instinct.
Updated my list with first two games finished this year :)

Gran Turismo 5 on PS3 and Platinum Trophy and Dishonored 1 Low Chaos ending :)
Clever Girl

The premise for this FREE game is what really got me interested enough to try it out (a time-traveller and dinosaurs). I don't have anything extra to add to the recent review by muntdefems, except to say that I enjoyed it as well and would also recommend it if you're looking for a short action-type game.
Finished Resident Evil 4. It was ok but definitely not a masterpice. The story, dialogues and cutscenes are dumb, I guess a 12-year old wrote them. The gameplay is ok but difficulty comes mostly from the stiffness of the character.

Full list here.
Post edited March 04, 2017 by sebarnolds
Finished Mibibli's Quest.
A rage-inducing, yet highly original retro-platformer. Wry and sarcastic, vibrant and macabre are words I'd also use to describe this weird, weird game.

Also finished DmC a few days ago. Contemporary, and absolutely fantastic. My combo-chaining needs work, though.
PixelJunk Shooter - 3/5

For the most part, I enjoyed the game. There's some fun gameplay mechanics - particularly playing around with the fluid dynamics.

Some of the music is great. Some not-so-much: given that the game revolves around rescuing people on a far-flung mining planet 1000+ years in the future, it seems pretty ill-fitting to include tracks with lyrics such as "I wasn't there when JFK got shot" and "if you work in the entertainment business and you make money, you're a sellout!"

Oh, also, your ship looks like Rouge the Bat. This haunted me all throughout the game.
Batman: Arkham City

Finished Arkham City on my PS3 two days ago. I had played the game in the past, shortly after finishing Arkham Asylum, but couldn't quite get into it. I finally gave it another chance and enjoyed the heck out of it. I still prefer Asylum, which I feel was pretty much perfect, but City is definitely an amazing game. A few hours in I really got drawn into the plot which only got better the closer I got to the finale. And I actually enjoyed the game so much that I went on to collect all Riddler trophies and do all side missions (of which there admittedly aren't too many) and am actually considering to do another playthrough in the New Game Plus right away. Really great stuff. And can't wait to play the remaining Arkham games, even Origins.
Night in the Woods

I absolutely love this game and doubt that I will play anything better this year. It's very well written and even better designed, the mini-games were fun and the choices you make always felt relevant (even if I don't think they really are). The fourth chapter felt a little rushed though and I'm not completely sure how I feel about the supernatural stuff (I'm not even 100% sure it was real, there was at least one article in the library that indicates something different).

Besides that it was an awesome coming-of-age story and probably everyone who grew up in a small city and returned to it some years later (forever or just for a few weeks) can connect to. I even have to admit that the game quite often was emotionally too much for me and I always had to stop playing when one day in Mae's life was over. Just to think about what just happened and to not get the game and it's characters too close to me.

I will miss Possum Springs and it's inhabitants (most of all Mae, Gregg, Bea and Angus, but also the many side characters). Pretty sure I will return to see the events that I've missed in my first playthrough (and also to complete Demontower).

Complete list of finished games in 2017
Post edited March 05, 2017 by PaterAlf
Epic Mickey. As an example of a "licensed game" (even though Disney owns it), this is quite outstanding. It takes after the earlier cartoons in which Mickey Mouse was more of an asskicker and mischief maker than the later version, which IMO is the only way to go with the character now (they largely domesticated Mickey in the 50s and he never truly recovered from that). I'm also a big fan of Floyd Gottfredson's old newspaper comics, in which Mickey would get into these pulpy adventures against Peg-Leg Pete and the Phantom Blot and those comics are practically the foundation for this game's story, along with a lot of Fantasia. It's a joy to see all the stuff and references they packed into this game and to see characters like Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow again.

As a game, though, it's just alright. Mickey has a double jump! Uhhh, that's about it. Of course the gimmick is that you carry a magic paint brush that lets you restore or erase parts of the environment and I think the need to justify the Wii's motion controls held the gameplay back because spraying stuff just isn't very interesting as a primary gameplay technique. Same problem Mario Sunshine had except Mickey doesn't get as many moves out of it. Also, there are a lot of fetch quests to do and the camera can be a real problem in certain parts, especially toward the end of the game when the action gets more intense.

The game does track how you resolve major boss fights and whether you restored or destroyed certain parts of the setting, which is nice in how it affects your ending. I wanted to love it, and as a tribute I do, but as a game it's maybe a bit above the average 3D platformer and that's it.

*****************

Metal Gear. I played the MSX version, which is quite different from the NES port, although the basics of the gameplay are the same in both. The MSX version has better graphics. You swim up to a terrorist group's fortress and have to sneak around, get weapons and items that will let you progress farther into the complex, and then blow up Metal Gear, a mech that can launch nuclear missiles. I would think just having nukes would be sufficient, but I guess terrorists are mech fanboys, too.

The gameplay basically takes ideas that were floating around in various prior games, such as Castle Wolfenstein and Infiltrator, and makes it a bit faster and more inclined toward pure sneaking and killing, rather than infiltration. You do actually get a uniform at one point, but it's an item that is only useful in a specific area rather than something that gives you an ongoing pass with dumb guards. It can be challenging, and there are some trial and error bits, but it's not too bad if you're meticulous and note down which doors still need opening and such. It would be easy to say that it's clunky or dated, but once I started playing I couldn't stop until I was done, so the game must have been doing stuff right.

There's a storytelling aspect that's mostly nonsense, with a big twist that inspires questions that the game isn't able to answer (considering how long the cutscenes get in this series, that's maybe a good thing...). What is clever is how the game goes about the story, with things like your commander acting increasingly erratic as you get close to the end of the game, giving you bad advice and at one point directing you to "TURN OFF YOUR MSX NOW!"
Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress

I spent a while today to get to the castle of Minax and fight the final battle. Let me warn you - U2 is boring like a hell. The whole gameplay is to collect a lot of gold (everything, including hit points and increasing attributes, need to be bought). In order to get gold you need to kill thousands of creatures by walking around a map and waiting for them to be respawned. It is impossible to be killed (except the very beginning) so the gameplay is more like neverending Farmville or sth.

Some idead are totally crazy:
* Some character's attributes are useless
* Also a lot of items and places are just unnecessary
* There are some immortal creatures and there is no way to identify them before becoming dead
* Parameters and number of items resets to 0 when increased above 99

List of all 2017 games.
<span class="bold">Evoland</span> (Remix OS for PC)

Evoland has been available on Linux for a long time but only on Steam, so my only hope was to play its Android version on a mobile device. This is one of those games for which a gamepad is almost a necessity, as its on-screen controls are annoying and unreliable. Unfortunately, my Bluetooth gamepad didn't fully work with it, so I reluctantly gave up and accepted I would never be able to play this game... or would I?

Enter Remix OS: it is a relatively new Android-based family of OSs, and there's one specifically designed for PCs. It runs on both x86 and ARM architectures, offers full mouse and keyboard support, and allows you to run Android apps on both your top-of-the-line gaming PC, but also on older and quasi-obsolete machines. It is supposed to be run live from a USB stick (and a USB 3.0 port is almost a requirement, so I don't really know if those older PCs will be able to run it this way), but fortunately there are ways of 'installing' it on your hard drive. E.g., here's how to install it alongside Ubuntu and dual-boot between them. I guess there must be ways to install it alongside Windows, but I cannot speak from experience about them.

So after getting Remix OS running on my PC, the first thing I tried with it was Evoland. I verified it ran without issues, and I started playing it with the keyboard. But then it occurred to me to try my XBox360-clone USB gamepad, and lo and behold, it worked flawlessly! So I continued to play it at full HD and now with a gamepad... and I beat it in one sitting. The next day I picked it up again and proceeded to find all the secret stuff (hidden stars and playing cards) until I 100%'ed it.

Oh, yeah, about the game! Evoland is a kind of review of the history of jRPGs and Zelda-likes, with lots of humorous references to the clichés of this genre, but also to modern gaming tropes and 'mechanics'. For instance, even the slightest funcionality (like the ability to move the main character to the left or to the right) must be unlocked and is celebrated by the game as a big achievement on the part of the player. Other things that can be (or rather, must be) unlocked are in-game music, better graphics, or 3D environments, and that's how the sense of 'evolution' hinted in the game's title is conveyed.

Apart from that, the story is (intentionally) as generic as you can think of, and the game mechanics change a few times throughout it in order to adapt to the current game style that's presented to the player. As I hinted before when I said I completed it in a few hours, this is a fairly easy game. And a considerable amount of the playing time is spent in random monster encounters both in the overworld and in some dungeons. Many people complain that these encounters become pretty quickly a drag and a chore, and I agree with them in part. They did annoy me during my second session with the game, when I was looking for secret stuff and I was constantly interrupted by battles with enemies that by that time were not a match for my OP'ed character. But during the main quest these encounters supposed a bit of a challenge and were at least a little fun.

On the whole, an enjoyable game if you don't expect deep mechanics or great storytelling, and don't take videogames in general (and jRPGs in particular) too seriously.


My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Un Pas Fragile</span>

This game was given away for free to anyone who bought something in the recent IGF Awards sale at the Humble Store. I wasn't interested in anything from that sale, but I found a workaround for buying it for 1€. Unfortunately, the game card for this game has been removed from the Humble Store, and I don't know if/when it will be available again.

Availability issues aside, Un Pas Fragile is a short narrative interactive experience about a little frog and her struggles with learning ballet and her life in general. It's basically a succession of brief scenes in the frog's life, from the moment she enrolls in a dancing academy until her debut on stage. The hand-drawn art style is nice and cute, and the audio is just OK. Gameplay-wise, even though the mouse-only interactivity is rather limited it varies quite a bit between one scene and the next, and you need to figure out what to do in order to move the story forward.

It was developed as a student project (incidentally, it won the IGF Best Student Game award) and it shows in its short length: I completed it in under 20 minutes, but I don't regret the Euro it cost me. It would be nice if they expanded it with the money of the prize though, and maybe release it for tablets as it would make a nice game for little kids.


My list of finished games in 2017
Post edited March 06, 2017 by muntdefems

One Night Stand


Technically I've only unlocked half of the endings, which speaks to both what's great and frustrating about this game.

The premise of the game is the ostensibly male protagonist wakes up in someone else's bed and has to decide how to engage the scenario, and it plays out over roughly 3 stages of the female (whose home it is) rushing from the room giving the player time to take 1-2 actions, and then returning.

Pros:
Decent value for the money (if bought for $2 on sale, anyway)
Wide variation in paths
Intriguing and charming
Appealing art style

Cons:
Certain dialogue phases are repetitive, which the game acknowledges by allowing FF, but that seems a clunky way to handle it, and more than once I missed dialogue that seemed different than other times because the start of the dialogue was the same (so I hit the FF button) but then the rest varied?
Also, certain paths that clearly exist based on the achievements list are pretty non-intuitive. For example, "accuse her of _____" seems like it would be pretty straightforward and yet apparently isn't.

And I'm not sure if this is a pro or a con, but:
While some things seem constant, the female character seems (maybe?) like she's not entirely the same character based on the choices you make? Even after talking to the same character for 3-4 hours, I couldn't figure that out. Is she a complete character with the complexities of an individual, or just a composite that shifts completely depending on your choices?

At first that was intriguing, but not without some frustration too - perhaps it's fair in a way. After all, I could play the protagonist as kind, cruel, aloof, etc. But it was hard to feel adrift - is she nice just because I say she is? Or is she just pretending to be nice because I say she is? 3-4 hours into dialogue with just the one character, I don't know.

At some point I'll dig back in and try to figure it out, but for now going to call it done, and move on to something else.