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Dreamfall, The longest journey
One of the most disappointing games I have played. Vastly overrated by the fans of the original TLG.
It's basically an artsy cinematic experience, which in normal language means: style over substance.
The puzzles are poor, the combat is poor, the stealth is slow and bare-bones, lock-picking is ok but underutilized, it has one of the least interesting hacking minigames I have seen. The constant backtracking is annoying to say the least, the game allows you to skip story-crucial events and dialog, but is unwilling to allow the same for many other (mostly pointless) scenes and dialog.
And the story? Oh boy, where does one even start?
It utilizes every contrivance in the book, falls back on every cliche it can, spoils the puzzles for you and the fact that some characters are cryptic for no reason is even pointed out by April, TWICE.
I guess the thing that bugs me the most is that it isn't interested in telling a story, but to set up the third game instead. And that the multiple cliffhangers remained unresolved for eight years.
5/10
<span class="bold">Samorost 3</span> (Android)

Say what you will, but by sticking to the AIR/Flash technology, Amanita Design are basically showing us Linux gamers their middle finger. I'm fully aware that we are only a minuscule fish in the PC gaming market, but anyway if I were in their shoes I wouldn't entrust my entire modus vivendi to the whims of a company like Adobe. Alright, rant over. Since I don't see a native port happening any time soon (especially now that the game is more than one year old), I was glad to see Samorost 3 popping up in the recent Great Adventures Humble Mobile Bundle. If I can't play it natively on my PC then I was going to play it on my Android tablet, and for a fraction of its MSRP. :P

I remember being shocked back in the day by the sheer beauty of the original Samorost, and even more so with its sequel. So after playing the third instalment for a while I was under the impression that graphically it was just 'more of the same': certainly beautiful, but not significantly better than its prequels. I only had to compare screenshots from and [url=https://www.gog.com/game/samorost2]the other to realize how wrong I was. Samorost 3's art is several orders of magnitude better than that of its predecessors. I'm of course talking about its graphics, but also about its music. The former are extremely detailed, sometimes bordering the excess but never really reaching it, with a couple of unsettling touches here and there, like some celestial bodies having a distinct biological texture to them. As for the latter, it's an integral part of the gameplay and therefore of the whole experience, as most of the main character's interactions with the environment are carried out by playing magical tunes with a flute.

Plot-wise it's a bit confusing at first. The story begins with the aforementioned magical flute appearing at the protagonist's doorstep without any other indication or hint about what to do. In fact, you spend the first 'act' of the game looking for a couple of parts needed to build a makeshift spaceship so you can leave your home asteroid... and you do it for no apparent reason other than that's the only thing the game let's you do. Fortunately as the story advances and you visit other places, you start to gather fragments of information about what happened in your... er... spatial neighborhood so you can figure out rather easily what you'll have to do to sort it all out.

A good thing about this game, or at least its mobile version, is that the story is entirely told with drawings and music and it doesn't use any word whatsoever. Not even in the menus, and that ultimately led me to be disappointed by the short length of this game. Now, I knew it was not particularly long, but the thing is that I didn't correctly interpret the Save/Load screen as such, and instead I assumed that each slot in it corresponded to a new asteroid/planetoid/location of the game. And since there are nearly three times as many saving slots as main locations, the end of the game hit me when I thought I hadn't even reached the midpoint. Oh well. After the initial confusion and disappointment, I must admit that it was a satisfactory experience even on a touchscreen device. I'd recommend it to adventure fans, casual and hardcore alike, but maybe not at its full PC price.


My list of finished games in 2017
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benmar: Dreamfall, The longest journey
Vastly overrated by the fans of the original TLG.
That's a surprising statement, because my impression is that many fans of the original TLJ disliked it.

Personally I did not share their dislike regarding the gameplay, I actually liked it a lot at first (maybe more so than TLJ), but I agree that the story gets really messy, especially in the second half, which is a shame. Couldn't really get into the third game either (which graphically and mechanically seemed a step down from Dreamfall, so you'll probably want to stay away from it). :/
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benmar: Dreamfall, The longest journey
Vastly overrated by the fans of the original TLG.
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Leroux: That's a surprising statement, because my impression is that many fans of the original TLJ disliked it.

Personally I did not share their dislike regarding the gameplay, I actually liked it a lot at first (maybe more so than TLJ), but I agree that the story gets really messy, especially in the second half, which is a shame. Couldn't really get into the third game either (which graphically and mechanically seemed a step down from Dreamfall, so you'll probably want to stay away from it). :/
I absolutely loved Dreamfall but I fully admit that its not much of a game, and barely interactive story. Lots of walking, not much puzzles or exploration just discussion.

But the world and characters, and of course story made it so enjoyable to play.


I finally beat Fallout NV. Still last DLC left but the main campaign and first three DLCs are done.

I got the Complete edition almost five years ago. 16 July 2012 according to steam.

What a ride. Of course I sided with NCR. Could have not pick any other side.
As overpowered level 48 guy I had a lot of fun murdering them all. And having armour automatically give me stimpaks fights were easy :)

Now time for lonesome road.
Driver (PS1)
Finished the PS1 version of Driver which I bought from the PSN store. Damn. I officially loathe this game now. I used to believe that the game's main problem is that tutorial mission that the majority of players apparently never even managed to get past or at least had a shitload of trouble with. I was so wrong. Almost the entire game is a mess, it's just masked by the excellent and extremely satisfying driving and impressive cop AI. It's one of those games that serve as a reminder that while the 90's were a time of huge ambitions and originality it was also a time when game design was still in its diapers.

First off, though: content-wise the game is just plain and boring. The plot is the most generic and infantile mob story one can think of and presented in an utterly awful manner, apparently there are characters in the game but it's hard to identify them as such as all of them talk with an over-the-top growling voice and that's actually their only noticeable feature. It doesn't help that during cutscenes characters are always shown from a ridiculously large distance, probably to cover up the bad quality of the models, so it's hard to follow who is who and who is talking.

And as for the gameplay... damn. It sometimes feels kinda right thanks to the aforementioned excellent driving and AI but all other mechanics are pure bullshit. Most of the time the only true enemy is the timer and in the majority of cases said timer is absolutely unjustified because the mission does not suggest any sort of urgency, the cops are usually just a minor obstacle meant to make it harder to finish the objective in time. The worst offender, though, are missions where you must reach the destination without a tail (which is sometimes also not justified by the mission at all) because the time limit is usually pretty much adjusted to barely making it to the destination in time with optimal driving, leaving you no time to shake off the cops if you happen to be chased when you reach the destination. It literally boils down to luck whether a mission is even beatable. What also doesn't help is the map design. Most maps, particularly the first one, Miami, feature extremely long passages without any crossings so you can't possibly avoid cops or police barricades and you WILL get chased and you WILL take damage breaking through a police barricade (only on easy mode there always seem to be gaps in barricades). And of course there's no sort of difficulty curve in the game whatsoever, it just goes up and down and up and down, without the slightest sign of sense or logic behind it. And that last mission, THAT GODDAMNED LAST MISSION! An infinite stream of enemies with faster cars than you, automatically filled felony counter, bad weather crippling the handling and the destination of course in the opposite corner of the map. There's a very special place in hell for the person who designed this mission.

And seriously, isn't there fundamentally something wrong with a game about an undercover cop where regular cops are the only actual enemy during gameplay? That sole thought makes my blood boil.

In conclusion: shitty game. Hope Driver 2 is better despite the somewhat lower review scores.
Post edited May 07, 2017 by F4LL0UT
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F4LL0UT: Driver (PS1)
And seriously, isn't there fundamentally something wrong with a game about an undercover cop where regular cops are the only actual enemy during gameplay? That sole thought makes my blood boil.
I could be mistaken but I think I read somewhere that the original concept was that he was just a regular crook but they added the undercover cop angle late in development to try to avoid controversy.

I finished Darksiders last night. I can't say I've ever been a Joe Madureira fan, but I'm happy he seems to be having a go at video games considering his Playstation addiction allegedly caused him to miss so many deadlines during his comics drawing career. It was pretty clear what he really wanted to be doing.

Darksiders is quite a silly game, with a convoluted story that's basically a bunch of post-apocalyptic, Revelation-inspired gobbledygook, full of characters that tend to glare and talk through gnashed teeth a lot. War has a distractingly tiny head (he looks like the big executioner goons in Brutal Legend except played straight). It's very 1990s comics.

It looks great, though - very colorful - and it feels good to play. The gameplay is like a salad made of various other games. Most of the combat comes from God of War, but there are gadgets and environmental puzzles similar to the 3D Zelda games, there's a rail shooter section kind of like Panzer Dragoon, and there's even a Portal gun you get late in the game. But it all comes together pretty well. The game does run into pacing issues late, with a whole dungeon full of tedious puzzles and a boss you basically fight three straight times.
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andysheets1975: I could be mistaken but I think I read somewhere that the original concept was that he was just a regular crook but they added the undercover cop angle late in development to try to avoid controversy.
Yeah, that's actually what I always thought. Gameplay-wise there's nothing cop-related, it's basically a less violent GTA 3D. As a matter of fact I think that the cutscenes are the only part of the game that suggests that Tanner is a cop and those were presumably added quite late in development.

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andysheets1975: I finished Darksiders last night.
Congrats. It's actually one of my favourite games ever. I'm curious what you'll think of the sequel if you're actually gonna approach it. Personally I liked it much less than the first game but I wouldn't be surprised if you enjoyed it more, considering your comments on the original.
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F4LL0UT: ...rant...
Frankly, I never understood why this game was successful at all. Or praised by reviewers. Maybe it was a drop of water on a dried up patch of ground at its time... I don't know. I've played it... even past the horrendous tutorial... and never got what was so supposedly great...

And I'm really one to give any game the benefit of doubt and looking past even major flaws when I feel there was a lot of thought, hard work and love put into a game. Driver never managed to pull me in, I always found it frustrating and tedious.
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F4LL0UT: [Darksiders] It's actually one of my favourite games ever.
Good to know. Anything to be done about the cut-scenes totally out of sync (audio/visual)?
Post edited May 07, 2017 by toxicTom
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andysheets1975: I finished Darksiders last night.
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F4LL0UT: Congrats. It's actually one of my favourite games ever. I'm curious what you'll think of the sequel if you're actually gonna approach it. Personally I liked it much less than the first game but I wouldn't be surprised if you enjoyed it more, considering your comments on the original.
I've head a few folk say they enjoyed the second one less than the first but I have to say that I didn't enjoy either one of them more that the other - possibly because I Darksiders 2 first and then first one. They're both awesome games and I can't wait for number 3 next year!
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F4LL0UT: Congrats. It's actually one of my favourite games ever. I'm curious what you'll think of the sequel if you're actually gonna approach it. Personally I liked it much less than the first game but I wouldn't be surprised if you enjoyed it more, considering your comments on the original.
I do have the second one (these are the original versions, not the remasters) and I will get to it eventually. Probably not immediately, though. After I finish a long game I generally need to move on to something else and then circle back to the sequel when I'm ready for it. It's just a hang-up I have :)
<span class="bold">Kathy Rain</span> (Android)

Another one from the recent Humble Mobile Bundle: Great Adventures, and another one I was glad to get ahold of its Android version. You see, being it an AGS game I assumed it would just work fine with the Linux native build of this engine, like other AGS games do (e.g. Technobabylon or Shardlight). Luckily there's a demo available here on GOG, which proved my assumption wrong: apparently this game uses some custom Steam and GOG Galaxy plugins that make it crash on Linux. My Android tablet would have to do, then.

In my opinion, the major inconvenience of playing a point-n-click adventure on a touchscreen device is the fact that you cannot really 'point', only 'click'. So a hotspot-identifying option is really a must in these circumstances. Kathy Rain happens to have such a feature (or at least its Android version does), so everything went smooth. So smooth, in fact, that I completed the whole game in one sitting. Not due to it being particularly short or easy, but because the story is so compelling. The protagonist, the titular Kathy Rain, may at first look and sound like an unlikeable 'showoff rebel', and the plot may seem quite bland. But soon enough it all makes a turn for the weird and paranormal, and we begin to learn about Kathy's and her family's dark past. There are little bits of comedy here and there, but on the whole it's quite a serious game clearly targeted at adult audiences.

On the technical side, it sports some of the most detailed and good-looking graphics in an AGS game that I've ever seen (of the pixelated sort, that is. Otherwise, The Cat Lady could enter into the equation). The music is spot-on, and the voice acting is very well done too, with the exception of that of the sheriff character, which sounds noticeably lower than the rest. Gameplay-wise, the puzzles are for the most part challenging but not frustrating, except perhaps for one or two towards the end. But of course that could just be me being a little tired after playing for several straight hours.

To sum it up, it's an excellent adventure game. Probably the best I've played so far this year, alongside the aforementioned The Cat Lady, so of course I highly recommend it.


My list of finished games in 2017
INSIDE

Let's say it frankly, I'm a bit underwhelmed by Mass Effect Andromeda and after playing it 20h straight, it felt like I needed to give a short rest. So I knew that INSIDE was very short (and it is) and that it was quite praised. Decided to give it a try.

That's indeed a really short game (3h30 to finish it, but not with all the secrets), but it was really interesting: no dialogue, no interface, basic commands, and still, everything was so "beautiful" (in a twisted way) and quite clever that I'm really happy I played it.

If I understoof the backstory? Not at all. But maybe it's better like that, so everyone can make his/her own story about it. I've seen many threads online, including of people digging in hidden files and so on, but I won't dive in, everything is good like that.

What I don't like so much in such a game, is the fact there are hidden things. I mean, your character obviously runs from something, he shouldn't have the time to search for such things at all...

So far in 2017: https://www.gog.com/forum/general/games_finished_in_2017/post15
Post edited May 09, 2017 by xa_chan
<span class="bold">Burly Men at Sea</span> (Android)

Yet another game I got with the latest Humble Mobile Bundle, and another one that isn't hampered by a touchscreen interaction. In fact, and even though it was released simultaneously on mobile and on PC, it almost seems like it was expressly designed for mobile devices (just like these devs' previous and first game is).

Anyway, Burly Men at Sea is a quite minimalistic adventure game, in nearly all of its aspects: art style, soundtrack, gameplay, narrative, and content. And, except for when it comes to the amount of content, this minimalism actually works in this game's favor: the simple, geometrical graphics have a lot of charm to them, and the same goes for all the sound effects and a good part of the soundtrack, which are sung a capella.

The story is equally simple: three abundantly-bearded sailor brothers find a treasure map and are encouraged by the local coffee shop owner to set sail in search of adventures. They follow his advice, and proceed to have exactly 4 adventurous encounters before being inevitably sent home again. Back at the coffeehouse, the barista reviews their adventure and adds it in book form to his collection as a memento. Then, the loop starts again. Depending on what the brothers do in each of their encounters, their adventure will take one path or another. So, in a sense, replayability is not an added bonus for this game but a core feature.

Here's where the lack of content takes its toll, though: the first and last of the four encounters are always the same, and only the two in the middle vary. In the first one you can choose between 3 different options, the two middle ones have 2 each, and the last one offers you no choice. So, basic arithmetic tells us that there are only 12 different adventures to be had. And several of them are almost the same, differing only in a single decision, so after a while it can get pretty repetitive. Which is a shame because otherwise this game oozes charm through every pore, but it could certainly benefit from more encounters and new interwoven paths for the sailors' adventures. I'm not gonna complain though as I got it in a bundle, so I got more than my money's worth for it.


My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Eschalon: Book 1</span>

This game is an isometric RPG.

The story and dialogue are minimal, it’s left up to you to explore (the game definitely emphasizes exploration at your own pace). The world is completely open, you can go wherever you want, whenever you want. There is an automap, which becomes more detailed the higher your character’s “cartography” skill. There is also a quest journal which automatically keeps track of uncompleted quests.

Absolutely [I]everything[/I] is turn-based (including movement), it flows very smoothly and does not slow you down but at the same time there is never a rush, you can get up and leave the game running for however long you want and absolutely no time will pass in-game.

The combat system is very simple and easy. Perhaps my main complaint with the game is that the combat is too easy (at least when playing as a magic-user), but I’m willing to forgive it because everything else is awesome.

Definitely recommended!
Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers (HOG)

First off, I have no idea what the first part of the title means. Not the worst HOG, but far from the best.

The surprise ending is telegraphed pretty hard along the way, and not entirely plausible to boot. Actually, the whole plot isn't really that plausible. And how did _____ die? Still not clear on that, and probably more importantly, I'm not sure the game ever gave me reason to care.

Cons:

Some of the adventure aspects of the game fall between dull and arbitrary, in the sense that a number of objects aren't really located in places that make sense, and this game doesn't have 'map' support, so you either use the hint key to remember where Chest #37 was, or just meander around til you find it.

Not necessarily a con, but amusing that the game clearly put some work into the animations/quicktime, but didn't even bother with making the characters mouths move when they talk.

Pros:
In a 4-in-1 bundle I got for a dollar it was very, very cheap.

Not the worst 3-5 hours I ever spent, but a pretty forgettable game, on the whole.