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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)

Got the complete digital edition for A$13 recently, which includes Ground Zeroes. I'd already played Ground Zeroes on Xbox when it was a GwG game and it's also been a PSN Plus game as well. I replayed Ground Zeroes first and still think it's only an average game that serves it's purpose of a prelude to TPP, the replay took about 45 minutes to play since I knew what I was doing and where to go.

Then onto The Phantom Pain. Any criticism I had for the prelude is wiped away with TPP, it's an outstanding experience that everyone should play. First technically, the game looks awesome and runs at 60fps which is not common for largish games like this on consoles.
I'm not the best person to comment on the story since TPP and Ground Zeroes are the only MGS games I've played. So I don;t know how well it fits into the story from the other games. But stand alone, it was pretty good- though the story was ...out there...but not as ridiculous as most Japanese games. It had more plot twists and flashbacks and flash-sideways that I lost count. But it was fun and at least everything made sense in the games own weird way.

Game play is some of the best around. I truly enjoyed the world and just selecting missions and dropping in and executing objectives however I felt like- almost entirely without scripting and only the occasional (lengthy) mid mission cut scene to get in the way. The game really deserves it's accolades. And content? Well there's plenty. The main story is around 31 missions, plus another 19 or so after completion, plus around 150 side missions. It took me around 70 hours. The only issue I had was my own making- initially I tried to play too perfectly, aiming for perfect stealth. I wasn't enjoying it that way, so I just started playing however I felt like and the game caters to however you want to do it. In future I may go back and replay many missions and try to do better. But for now it's done.

One of the best games I've played this year so far.
Post edited September 26, 2017 by CMOT70
skeletonbow: Titan Quest Anniversary Edition (GOG)

I have successfully completed Titan Quest Anniversary Edition for the first time today, including the Immortal Throne expansion (Thanks THQ Nordic for the free expansion and Anniversary upgrade!). I started the game earlier this year and completed everything up to about 3/4 of Immortal Throne before experiencing a power supply failure. After recovering the PSU I never got back into completing my game for some reason, so I picked it up again recently and continued the last few days working up to completion tonight after finally defeating Hades.

Unfortunately, Hades did not drop the special item known as the "Overlord" which unlocks a secret easter egg in the Rhodes map at the beginning of the final act, so I'll have to grind fight Hades multiple times until he drops it if I want to see that part.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing Titan Quest both the story, lore and setting, as well as the art work and game play. I played a dual-class character specializing in Warfare as my primary and Hunter as my secondary, so I got a nice combination of melee and ranged combat throughout the game.

I highly recommend Titan Quest Anniversary Edition to anyone who likes old school type ARPGs, it was a lot of fun. I will likely continue my character (currently level 44) in Epic mode which I've now unlocked, however I'll take a break from it for now to play some other games.

Rating: 9/10

P.S. I own the game on Steam, however I linked the GOG version above. One important thing to note is that the game uses THQ's own game servers so multiplayer is compatible between the GOG and Steam versions. Here is a link to the Steam version as well:

Titan Quest Anniversary Edition (Steam)
Congratulations, skeletonbow!

I finished the game even in "Legendary" difficulty and I can tell you that Hades can only drop the "Overlord" item (a tiny turtle, by the way) in "Legendary" difficulty. Even then, you have to farm him frequently. The ensuing secret level is ridiciously hard, I could never beat it with my level 70+ Conqueror ;-)
Have fun!
Nymes: Congratulations, skeletonbow!

I finished the game even in "Legendary" difficulty and I can tell you that Hades can only drop the "Overlord" item (a tiny turtle, by the way) in "Legendary" difficulty. Even then, you have to farm him frequently. The ensuing secret level is ridiciously hard, I could never beat it with my level 70+ Conqueror ;-)
Have fun!
Seriously? Damn, I don't think I'm likely to play the game that much to accomplish that. :)
Just finished Alarm für Cobra 11: Nitro (essentially the Germany/Austria/Switzerland-only predecessor of the Crash Time games), all levels completed on Nitro (the hardest level). Wasn't too difficult.
Mafia III (PS4)

This is an open world game set in 1968. It has a good story and a great soundtrack, but the open world activities mainly consist of driving to a location, killing everyone there, driving to the next location, repeat; there are usually many different locations available and you do choose which location you want to drive to next. And there is a *lot* of driving in this game, the map is quite large.

I played on “Hard” difficulty and the combat is not difficult if you play cautiously, however whenever I got careless and took a risk I was quickly gunned down. The AI is not very smart, they will use cover and flank your position if they know where you are, however if you’re well hidden the AI will often repeat the same search pattern looking for you (I once shot over 20 enemies who came slowly one-by-one out of the same doorway).

There are also collectibles to pick up, but most of them are just for the sake of collectibles and have no in-game benefits. I did collect all the Playboys and all the Vargas paintings (for what I think should be fairly obvious reasons :)), but not the other items.

There is player choice involved, assigning rackets to different lieutenants will give you different in-game benefits, and the ending of the game will vary depending on how you distribute things among your lieutenants.

Overall I’d rate it as “OK”, it is fun but it would have been much better if there was more variety in the gameplay.
Finished Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 on Xbox One last weekend, already started playing Halo 3. It's the Masterchief Collection versions I'm playing, which are heavily remastered.

So... they're very good. They definitely aren't the mindblowingly perfect masterpieces fans make them out to be. I'm sure nostalgia, the fact that it's a console-focused franchise and the insane marketing play their part in people's obsession with these games. I played Halo: Combat Evolved on PC back in the day and my impression holds up. The games are very well-designed, especially compared to the competitors they had on console back in the day, and they do have a fair amount of great features and most importantly the game's universe and story, while not particularly sophisticated or original, are iconic. Anyway, as for the specific games...

Combat Evolved actually holds up better, in my opinion. It has more rough edges than the sequel but it certainly feels more unique, largely thanks to the outdoor combat in mesmerising environments where you fight together with the scattered remnants of the human fleet - especially the remastered version offers some amazing vistas and in combination with that kinda oldschool and experimental soundtrack it has a bit of that Unreal vibe going for it. Just like I remembered, the enemy design and behaviour are the gameplay's biggest strength and the game's aspect with which few titles can compete to this day. The enemies have really original and cool designs - they range from hilariously cowardly to seriously menacing, they have to be fought differently and their visuals, sounds and AI are perfectly adjusted to their role on the battlefield. The AI isn't clever but the behaviour really lends the enemies character and keep the game entertaining. The only problem is that there's a total lack of boss fights or anything really resembling them. Also, the gunplay is pretty much perfect. The guns are diverse and really pack a punch, the ones that don't are at least interesting (namely all the alien weapons). The only problem I have with them is that the assault rifle is ridiculously inaccurate and there seems to be a lack of guns optimal for medium range. Oh, and the plasma grenade is one of the most fun weapons ever invented and reminds me of Painkiller's stake gun. Hard to use but insanely satisfying when they hit.

Anyway, the game's biggest problem is exactly what I remember from back in the day: first off, there are no challenges besides combat and interiors are insanely monotonous, with seemingly every single chamber and corridor being reused over and over. Especially the infamous Library level at the middle of the campaign is the worst offender and seems to drag on and on. And the game really takes a turn for the worse when the Flood appear and basically introduce zombies. Unlike the Covenant, these fellas are very bland and not particularly fun to fight. In my opinion it's also very bad that they turn out to be the main bad guys, an even bigger threat than the Covenant. And past that Library level all levels seem to be remixes of earlier ones, making the problem with the monotonous interiors even worse. However, story-wise the game really holds up and keeps you engaged and the repetitive levels aren't that big a problem thanks to the highly dynamic combat. Also: the devs really did an amazing job optimising the game for gamepad. At no point did I feel that I'm being held back by using a controller besides sniping and even then it was okay.

Oh yeah, the Warthog's physics are great but the handling friggin' sucks.

As for the second game... well, the game is far more polished, weapon balancing is better, there are even more guns that are even more fun to use, health packs have been abolished entirely, there are some more enemy types etc. and finally there's a few sections that resemble boss fights. However, the setting is much more generic, with some urban warfare, another batch of alien structures and sadly very few open environments. And the exterior worlds on the next Halo are not only smaller but also more generic with some Mayan thing going on. And the story is more developed, there are more characters etc. but in the process they demystified the Covenant by actually allowing you to play as one of them in like half the levels and feels more childish all in all. However, I still enjoyed the game very much, it's just fun to play and it's still an adventure.

Many people seem to consider this the best entry in the series and I can see why, especially after having played some Halo 3, but this only further affirms my impression that Halo owes much of its legend to the fact that it did not have to directly compete with PC titles. Especially compared to the Half-Life games Halo just feels very simplistic and repetitive.

And I have to give lots of praise to both remasters but especially Halo 2's. Curiously a review of the Masterchief Collection I read when it was released suggested that Halo 2's remaster is of notably lower quality than that of Halo: Combat Evolve. In my opinion this couldn't be further from the truth. The developers really went above and beyond with the environments, the sounds were extremely improved, the remastered soundtrack is so far the best I've heard in the series and they replaced the original real-time cutscenes with some extremely high-quality pre-rendered videos. And all of that still without altering the gameplay the slightest bit. I really wish more games received that kind of treatment.
Post edited September 28, 2017 by F4LL0UT
Just finished Steamworld Dig the other night. Fun little game, very quick. I got SWD 2 for Switch and apparently it's at least twice as long.

Steamworld Dig imo was a hidden gem - I had no idea how cool it is till I started playing it.
Finished Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet. I highly recommend it if you're into point'n clicks. Graphics and animations are nice. Voice-overs and music are good too. Story is ok but the dialogs and the puzzles are very good (but easy most of the time).

Full list here.

And I also finished Dirty Split, another point'n click. This one is a free one but a good one nevertheless. Graphics are nice, puzzles and story are good. It should take 1h30 for a playthrough.
Post edited September 29, 2017 by sebarnolds
Beat the campaign mode in Brigador. I enjoyed this game because it's basically taking a weaponized vehicle (often but not always a two-legged mech) into a well-drawn city environment and just blasting and trampling everything in sight. It's like a mash-up of Syndicate, the Crusader games, and Mechwarrior.

There are simple goals like "kill this many enemies" or "blow up this many structures", but basically each level just comes down to a somewhat different layout, how enemies are present, and which vehicles you're allowed to choose from. The vehicles have the usual range from "strong but slow" to "quick but weak" (I usually tried to pick the slow, really destructive machines because I'm lazy and unimaginative). In freelance mode, you can assemble your own mech.

The game is really easy in the early-going but there's a difficulty spike around halfway through the campaign. The game basically starts denying you the use of more well-rounded mechs and starts doing stuff like asking you to fight tons of enemies while strapped into an eggshell. It's a little frustrating at times but it can be figured out.

Controls are pretty good with the mouse and keyboard, although there were some times in which I found it tricky to line up my aim from the third-person perspective. I'm probably not very good at the game, though.

The graphics are very nice, which is important because it's not as fun to destroy stuff that isn't pretty. When you're really going you feel like Godzilla, blasting enemies, kicking through buildings, and randomly stomping on tiny pedestrians like bugs. Although there are exceptions (especially when you're using a smaller vehicle), it generally pays to play aggressively because dead enemies will drop shield recharges and ammo that you'll want to pick up to replenish what you lose while you're being swarmed.
Finished Beauty Bounce, the second VN in the same series after Beach Bounce.

Nothing much to say, very short, quite uninteresting, in fact...

So far in 2017:
GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

I've never played the N64 version, but I really hope it's a lot better than than this spiritual remake. It has decent James Bond feel with it's music and atmosphere, but everything else is painfully ordinary. The levels are dull and linear as can be. No enemy variety at all. Enemy AI is of the pop in out of nowhere type, that then runs to a fixed scripted point and does a fixed scripted action. Difficulty is mostly easy...but then near the end you get these RPG users just pop up out of nowhere and they one shot you before you can see where they are due to the terrible view distance.

And then there's the controls...I played using the Wiimote for aiming and it mostly works fine...except in a few areas where it doesn't and you can barely hit anything standing right in front of you. It's not as good as the near perfection of Metroid Prime that uses basically the same control and aiming system.

Nintendo magazines and websites thought this game was awesome, but they would wouldn't they? It's there's at least that in it's favor, but I can think of any number of better linear the true sequel to the original GoldenEye for example. Yes, just play Perfect Dark instead.
Post edited September 30, 2017 by CMOT70
Continuing my run through the Halo series I just finished Halo 3 on Xbox One. After my thoughts on Halo 1 and 2 there's really not much to say about this one, it really mostly feels like an HD remake of Halo 1 combined with the additions from Halo 2 which, I guess, is pretty much what they were going for with the first Halo game on the Xbox 360. Heck, it even ends almost exactly the same way as the first game with you riding a Warthog as the Flood are fighting another faction and everything is exploding around you. And the comically sad part is that, compared to the remastered versions of Halo and Halo 2, the third game, which apparently wasn't retouched at all besides an increased screen resolution, actually looks and sounds worse than both of them. Curiously particularly the gun sounds just utterly lack any punch.

Anyway, once again, it's good but it's literally just more of the same with yet more polish. There's lots of vehicle sections, lots of samey interiors, combat is still great but hasn't really evolved at all. Plot-wise there's more going on than in the first game but less than in the second one and there's not a single unexpected twist. Well, there was a potential one, with you briefly fighting alongside the Flood, but this arrangement literally lasts for less than five minutes, go figure. And at the core of this one's plot lies the fact that Cortana was basically captured and is being held hostage by the Flood since the ending of Halo 2. Throughout the game you regularly get weird messages from her but that really doesn't go anywhere interesting.

Curiously it's the game in the series where it's easiest to get lost. For one, they apparently tried to improve the game by having you not just follow tunnels in one direction but dialogue sometimes telling you to go to a specific place which is actually a spot you already passed earlier - and they really underutilize waypoints whose use appears almost random, they tend to only pop up once you've roughly figured out where to go. But it's especially the vehicle sections where I tended to get lost all the time, with the landscapes missing details that would guide you properly (which actually already the first game had). Besides that it's more heavily scripted, there's more "going on", but that doesn't really change the gameo much besides some pretty fun fights against gigantic "Scarab tanks" with the support of many fellow marines riding their own vehicles. Oh yeah, and it sucks that brutes have replaced elites as the standard Covenant enemy. They can take too much punishment and that tends to slow things down a bit.

Still, all in all I had fun. Halo 3 can really be summarised as Halo just being Halo with all its strengths and flaws.

Onward to the next one, ODST.
Master of Darkness. A Castlevania clone released for the Sega Master System. Unlike Castlevania, you can attack while moving, jump off of stairs, crawl while ducking, and control your jump in mid-air. It's also considerably easier than Castlevania because it's much more generous with health refills, and although the game has special items, it doesn't insist on their use during boss fights (although having the stake makes the final battle a lot easier). The bosses are generally pretty easy as such things go - they don't fill the screen, they don't do exceptional damage, and their attacks can be figured out and avoided quickly. It's not to say the game is a total pushover. It's just that there isn't much about it to figure out and if you're diligent and aren't a total button-masher, you'll make steady progress.

It's a very good-looking game. Everyone knows the Master System had superior hardware to the NES but it's really striking in retrospect just how pretty and colorful some of the games could look.
Post edited October 01, 2017 by andysheets1975
Inside, GOG

New job in a new city, so I've only recently found time for gaming.

I liked Inside, but I don't think I had quite the desired reaction to it; in particular, I mostly just found it relaxing and pleasant. Walking around, listening to the ambient music and sound, solving some simple puzzles ... it was nice. Occasionally you'd be killed by a dog or get shot or whatever, but you restart instantly, so no real harm done. I liked it, but as I say, for a game that was presumably meant to largely be bleak and disturbing, I found it to be a very peaceful experience.
Bunny Bounce the third and last game of the Beauty Bounce series.

More of the same, nothing more to say, really. Beauty Bounce was passable at best, the following games are barely passable.

So far in 2017: