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Red Faction Guerrilla (360)

I didn't know this was even a Volition game until I started it up and saw the splash screen. Once started it made perfect sense, it feels a bit like Saints Row 2 on Mars, but without the humour.

Once I got used to the weird vehicle steering, I enjoyed the game quite a bit. It's one of those open world games where you take over the map sector by sector, mission by mission. With, of course, a few side missions like delivering vehicles to a time limit and destroying building targets etc.

It's the only Red Faction game I've ever played, I believe this is the third game and the first two were more standard linear shooters. Though the selling point of all the series are the widely destructible environments. The latter is backed up by a very suitable set of weapons for doing such destruction.

Overall, not the equal of the developers Saints Row series, but fun just the same. I think I'll add the first 2 games onto the play list for some time later. This game should be on GOG...the first two are, and many other ex THQ published games are here. No idea what may be holding this one up.
Witcher 1, 2 and 3
Half Life 2

Continues off from Half Life, the great fps, I'd expected more of the same. There is greater emphasis on physics, puzzles are more than simply looking around for a lever or moving boxes like in the first game, you often need to blow something up or weigh down a platform with enough objects to raise something else. The gravity gun is the best part of the game and is really fun to use. Story wise, characters suddenly have names, and there is an actual villain who is prominent throughout the first game. A few of the characters were supposedly in the first game, but I can't recall them, probably because there were only about 3 character models in that game for non hostiles. The music is also really good... when it plays, which it does rarely. The game is also easier than the first one, except for a few parts. My main issue is it, is that there is a real lack of aliens (Or Extradimensional beings, whatever), and that was one of the main things that separated Half Life from other FPS's, in this game they've basically got rid of most of the aliens and replaced them with 3 types of head crabs, which while a staple of the series, are really overused in this game. There are only 3 types of combat encounter in this: Standard FPS soldier fight, Headcrab Zombies, Airship. There are others but they are rare and don't appear for long, making the other 3 overused and repetitive. That's why I think the first game in the series is better, that doesn't mean this isn't a good game, it is, but the first was better. Also it isn't on GOG so there's that as well.
Lure of the temptress
The visuals were good for 1992, with the intro being the most memorable to me.
Unfortunately everything else is of poor quality and there are some really annoying engine features.

The story and protagonist are dull and generic. Large chunks of the story(including the villain and ending) had to be rewritten due to a joke that backfired. (lure of the temptress was a mock title but Virgin liked it and so Revolution had to change most of the story at the last minute. Or at least that's how I think it went down.)

The 'revolutionary' features of the “Virtual theater” engine are also a huge problem.
Yeah, the characters can move around, doing their daily stuff – like walking at random, getting in your(and in their own) way, interrupting your dialogue with other characters, having to search for them when they're needed and most of all: screwing with the game's poor pathfinding.

Overall: I can't really recommend it.
4/10
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard ('Human' difficulty, used secrets guide)

This FPS has a lot going for it - the Star Trek license (such that it is - they seem to have licensed just the Kligons and, for some reason, the Andorians, of all races!)
Honor of being the first game to market to use the Unreal engine, other than Unreal itself
Good mix of linear, semi-linear and really quite non-linear levels, that seem to be based on real environments like town and starships and not just a bunch of corridors, you even get to strap on mag boots and a space suit and walk around the hull of most ships, if you like!

Buuut... ultimately it's not the best, unfortunately, I don't know if it's that so many of the guns use the same, slow moving snot-ball ammo with a weird 'dodge' mechanic that you never think to use or the fact that so many things like the triple damage 'blood wine' or the non-canon bouncy-disk gun have been taken straight from Unreal like it's a fan mod or something

I know that complaining that a game is too long is a bit like complaining that it's just got TOO much value for money but those 20 multi-part levels were a bit of a slog towards the end

Plus a couple of other weird things - unlike every other FPS of the era you can't pick up guns you already have for the ammo, even though it seems like you should and they've put them there for that. They also decided to slap a time limit of 2 of the most key-carderific, convoluted levels in the game - if you don't do it in time... BOOM!

So, at the end of the day, s'alright, I suppose, at least I finally finished it after owning it all these years...

Full list:
https://www.gog.com/forum/general/games_finished_in_2017/post430
Post edited July 25, 2017 by Fever_Discordia
Kathy Rain
I liked it a lot. Think it found the right balance between supernatural mystery and a personal story with emotional moments. Pixel graphics look gorgeous, soundtrack is great and voice-over is excellent. The UI is simple, but efficient and very intuitive and I liked the way the dialogues were done (you have all the key words on a notepad and they fade to grey when you have already chosen that option).

Puzzles are not really the strong side of the game. They are quite easy and everytime things get a little harder, you'll get so many hints that it's almost impossible to miss the soulution. On the other hand they won't distract you from the interesting story.

Overall the game reminded me a lot of the Wadget Eye games (especially the Blackwell series), so when you like these, you should give Kathy Rain a try as well.

Hacknet
Awesome game! It's very immersive and even if I knew it's just a game, I had more than one moment when I thought: "Damn, I hope that didn't damage my computer for real!". Story isn't the most innovative one, but the hacks are fun (and there are several funny easter eggs on the computers).

For the genre the game is very accessible, even for people who don't know anything about programming, hacking or who are generally not very tech savy. Game has a nice way to teach you everything you need to know or to remind you of stuff you might have forgotten.

Soundtrack is great too.

Complete list of finished games in 2017
Post edited July 25, 2017 by PaterAlf
<span class="bold">Lifeless Planet Premier Edition</span>

Here's a game that didn't fulfill my expectations. It's got a truly intriguing and interesting setup: in the not-so-far future you arrive to a distant planet in search for alien life only to discover that, unbeknownst to the world, said planet had been colonized (and subsequently abandoned) by the USSR decades earlier. Unfortunately as the story develops (after the first hour or so) the game didn't succeed at keeping me interested.

Mechanically it's a puzzle platformer, but it's more focused on the story than anything else. And it shows: the puzzle content is rather low, and the platforming isn't stellar either (with its somewhat unreliable controls not exactly helping matters). But what contributed the most to an underwhelming experience was the fact that many levels and sections were essentially more of the same, they had a certain tendency to overstaying their welcome, and new mechanics were introduced only rarely.

I believe this was the work of a single guy so I don't wanna be too harsh with my judgement. I tend to enjoy narrative-focused games, but the aforementioned splendid premise of this game quickly develops into something straight out of a 1950s sci-fi B-movie, so I cannot even praise that aspect. Instead, I'll give a thumbs up to the beautiful landscapes and scenery of the first half of the game (the later ones didn't look as good or as detailed). But other than that, I wouldn't recommend it.


My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">The Little Acre</span>

Gorgeous point'n'click adventure with an old cartoon vibe, thanks to its hand-drawn and hand-animated art. It tells the story of Aidan and her little daughter Lily as they get stuck in a sort of magical world or parallel dimension while looking for their father/grandpa. Each dimension has a distinct art style in order to clearly differentiate them: the magical world is rendered in an isometric perspective, while the real world features a more traditional sidescrolling viewpoint. All in all some great visual art. The voice acting is also pretty good, but Aidan's voice sounded a little odd to me (it's probably that he's got a marked Irish accent, though).

So far so good, but there's two rather big cons. One: as a point'n'click adventure it's too easy, or at least it felt like that to a veteran enthusiast of the genre like me. Two: it's waaaaay too short. Like, a little over an hour long. That probably makes it more adequate for newcomers to this kind of games, or to be played alongside your little kids (they're bound to love Lily and her antics). In fact I can easily see myself replaying it in a couple of years with my nephews.


My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Legend of the Skyfish</span> (Remix OS for PC)

Like most of the Android games I play, I got this one with a recent Humble Mobile Bundle. I ended up playing it with my PC on Remix OS so I could use my controller, and the reason for that I'll tell you in a moment. As per the game, it's a 2D action/puzzler with some clear Zelda-esque inspirations. Its main novelty is that the protagonist wields a fishing rod (her name is 'Little Red Hook', after all), which performs double duty as an offensive weapon and as a grappling hook to jump between islands. That's why I wanted to use a controller, as I didn't see how could the grappling hook be reliably aimed and operated with touchscreen controls.

The story is nothing exceptional and it's only an excuse to give way to the 45 levels that make up this game: basically, a too intensive and non-sustainable fishing policy leads to catastrophe as the legendary Skyfish is awoken. With the help of an army of fishmen, the Skyfish destroys the entire fishing fleet and kills everyone... Everyone except of course Little Riding Hook, who is saved by the Moonwhale and together they'll fight the Skyfish in search of revenge.

The artstyle is rather nice, colourful and cartoony. Pity that the three different worlds (of 15 levels each, the last of them being a boss fight) are too similar, with little more than a palette swap between them. Gameplay-wise there is some variety as you will find unlockable upgrades for all your equipment (hood, pole, and hook) and new puzzle types as you make progress in the game. The aforementioned puzzles are rather easy and only the timed ones posed any real challenge to me. Enemies and combat in general is also quite straightforward, bosses included, so it caught me totally by surprise how difficult the final boss battle turned out to be. You see, before being able to hurt the boss you first have to stun it. And to do so you need to employ the good ol' technique of bouncing back its own energy orb attacks. After failing no less than 20 times, I realized what my problem was: in order for my rod swings to effectively deflect the enemy's attacks I had to face it straight on, otherwise they would fail (even though the swing animations seemed to make contact with the deadly energy orbs). After I corrected my mistake I was able to beat the damn boss at the first try and thus finish the game.

To sum it up, Legend of the Skyfish is a good-looking and competent little game that makes for some good light entertainment. Recommended if you like this kind of games, or as 'filler' between two more 'hardcore' ones. I played the Android version but it's also available for Windows and macOS on Steam, if you're interested.


My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Shardlight</span> (AGS v3.3.5)

This is the first adventure game developed (as opposed to simply published) by Wadjet Eye Games after the Blackwell saga. As such, it's got everything we've all learnt to expect from a Wadjet Eye game: low-res but beautiful and detailed graphics, full voice acting (plus a behind-the-scenes commentary track), and the story-mechanics balance leaning noticeably towards the former. In other words, you'll spend way more time speaking to people and unfolding the story than solving puzzles and wondering what to do. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, provided it's done well and the story is solid. Unfortunately the setup of Shardlight is very enticing, it builds up quite well... and then it all fizzles out in the end. I don't mean it in an 'everything is wrapped up in a rush' way, even though some of the later parts (I'm thinking particularly of the quarantine zone) did feel a bit rushed and underdeveloped. It's more a case of some events not being very plausible. It's rather difficult to go into more detail about this without getting into spoiler territory, so I'll just leave it there.

So, what's the infamous story about? It's a futuristic dystopia with some retro (as in, 18th century-retro) aesthetics and steampunk touches. It depicts a desolate post-apocalyptic society with marked social inequalities and it touches a bit on the causes and consequences of such a society. Before anyone grabs the pitchforks and cries 'SJWs!' let me tell you that the game doesn't take any obvious stance on the matter and in fact lets you choose how to deal with the situation.

As I said, the puzzles are not the most prominent feature of the game and most of them are quite straightforward. The only exception being perhaps one puzzle pretty early on in which you need to figure out how to gain access to a building. It's very clever in concept and execution, but it's another example of something you would never find in real life, and it doesn't even make much sense in the context of this particular story. But if you're able to ignore such inconsistencies, here's a rather good modern adventure game with and old-school feel that's well worth its current 80% off price.


PS: Just like <i>Technobabylon</i>, Shardlight is not officially available for Linux, but it's perfectly playable with the native AGS engine build (v3.3.5 only though, as voice acting doesn't work with newer versions).


My list of finished games in 2017
Ratchet & Clank (PS4)

The 2016 version of course. Insomniac comes through again. Awesomely balanced action adventure with a bit of everything. Like most Insomniac games, it's bright and colorful and this one has the best graphics I've seen on a PS4 game. It looks like a high quality animated movie and the voice work and music match.

The only real slight complaint could be the length, it's not all that long. Though even that is a double edged sword, as I think far too many games are padded out by developers needing to reach a play time quota. The game gets some play time extension with it's challenge mode (basically new game plus) after finishing the first play through.

It's funny how the two most enjoyable console exclusives I've played this generation on Xbox and PS4 are from the same developer: Sunset Overdrive on Xbox and Ratchet & Clank on PS4. Though the edge goes to Sunset Overdrive with it's open world and freedom over Ratchets and Clanks linear and more scripted adventure. But if you can, play them both.

Edit: It's still on sale on PSN, probably a good time to get it if you want it.
Post edited July 27, 2017 by CMOT70
Monster Truck Madness 2 (CD ROM)

Saw the disc in my collection yesterday and decided to give it a go after sitting there for 20 years unused. It installed and ran well on 32 bit Vista, though I set the compatibility to "NT compatibility" since the game originally supported NT as well as Win 9x. Until I set the compatibility to NT I found that the game sometimes crashed at the load screen after a race. No further crashes occurred after setting compatibility. The graphics looked pretty good for a '98 game using the D3D rendering, but limited to 640x480. I decided to give Glide Wrapper a go and that was awesome! With all settings maxed it looked an ran fine.

Next came the steering wheel. It came bundled with my old MS Sidewinder FF Wheel, that I still have and still works. BUT, I don't have a midi sound card port. So I tried out my more modern wheel and, surprisingly, after adjusting the sensitivity way up and assigning up and downshift buttons it was perfect.

The game is a great arcade racer, not just for it's time- I had a ball even now. There is only 11 tracks, plus 3 MP arenas. Only 3 settings you can adjust for your truck. I raced each circuit through 3 times and call it done. Back in 98' I wouldn't be seen racing anything other than GPL or other "true" sims...but I must be getting soft in old age as now I really love this simple sort of racer. Only problem is that once I moved from keyboard control to wheel it just became too easy, it needs a harder AI difficulty. Microsoft doesn't make them like this anymore.
Post edited July 28, 2017 by CMOT70

MDK

It's crazy, nuts, mental and a bit trippy. Run, gun, jump and slide.
I like it, even though there are a few issues here and there, like it's short length, little challenge after a few playthroughs and the occasional setion where you're sitting duck.
I don't have much more to say about it. It's crazy and fun. Far from perfect, but fun.
8/10
Post edited July 28, 2017 by benmar
Highrise Heroes: Word Challenge

Got it on sale for $0.50, and it was on the whole a pretty good boggle-esque, with a generally good mix of word-find puzzle variants, and a plot that wasn't bad. Enjoyment started to wane in longer sessions, but enjoyable in short bursts.

Like actual boggle, success was a mix of skill and luck - the quality of draw certainly makes a difference in how hard/easy a board is.

That said, one can go through this game in a variety of fashions - just to beat the content, or to max out scores for a global leaderboard. I was impressed (and in a few cases, confused) by the high scores, some of which seemed well beyond possibility, but then I was mostly just playing through, which still took about 15-18 hours.

Cons: a bit too much filler. The ending, while not totally a surprise, suffers from coming about 20 boards after it was expected, and even leading up to the final board (#120) there's a (worn-thin) joke making you go through all the game's variants (4-5 boards( one more time for no reason at all plot- or challenge-wise other than to drag it out.

Will probably keep it installed and dabble now and then.
Finished Shadownrun Returns last week. It's nice and fun but lacks something. I don't know the Shadowrun universe so it's a bit difficult to understand everything and the character progression lacks information and tips.

Full list here.