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Just few moments ago, I have finished my NG+ run of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PS3. I have now every item, consumable and equip, besides two soul boss upgrade items, which I am still missing for Platinum Trophy and 100%-ing the game. I've defeated Gwyn second time, after 32 hours and 139 deaths :D . Much less farming, this time, so it went much faster than my blind run and "everything possible" NG run.

List of games I've finished in 2018.
Post edited September 02, 2018 by MMLN
Just finished the Steam version of INSIDE, 100% including the secret ending.

It's funny, actually, I was kinda exiled to my office / "PC gaming" room (which my wife refers to as "the cave") yesterday, because the living room was occupied by my wife and her friend, so I ended up looking for a comparably short title I have on GOG or Steam. I also spent some time chatting with a friend on Skype and then I remembered that he has gifted me three games for my birthday over the last couple of years and I haven't played a single one of them yet. One of them was Inside and that's the one I chose.

So, I'm really not a fan of Limbo and that's one of the reasons I didn't touch Inside for so long. It's not just by the same studio, the whole premise seems very similar. Limbo disappointed me because after a very cool first hour, the game just failed to provide really interesting imagery, the challenges became very meh after a while and there was no big payoff in the end. Interestingly I have no such complaints about Inside.

First off: Inside is a masterpiece in terms of presentation. I was sceptical looking at screenshots, it seemed visually less interesting than Limbo, actually, but the moment I saw the game in action I was mesmerised by both its visuals and audio and I remained impressed until the very end. It's amazing how beautiful a game with such a minimalist visual style can be. The one thing that's not minimalist is the animations. The developers really did a perfect job of giving these simple shapes life. It's outstanding.

Secondly: As I said, with Limbo I didn't like the challenges much, especially towards the end the gameplay got just absurd, in my opinion. INSIDE, meanwhile, had genuinely good challenges from start to finish, with maybe a few exceptions. The game was maybe a tad easy, and as a result short, but it certainly didn't overstay its welcome and that's good in my book.

And finally: Limbo seemed to me like a rather senseless series of images which, if you follow all the clues, just provide some vague hints on the game's background story or something at best. Meanwhile INSIDE, the way I understood and interpreted it, is actually a really brilliant piece of art that delivers meaningful commentary. And what's great: If you don't care much about the game's commentary, it's still a pretty cool and focused journey, in spite of its hugely abstract content.

So I truly enjoyed the game form start to finish. If Steam is to be trusted, I finished the game in just below four hours which is a tad short but okay. I spent another hour or two getting the secret ending. I got most of it myself but I resorted to a guide for two of the toughest collectables as well as the final challenge because I just didn't feel like putting too much time into this.

Anyway, after all was said and done, I went on googling other people's interpretations of the game. They were so different from how I saw the game, I actually ended up wondering if I'm the idiot here and got everything wrong. Out of all the opinions I've found at this point, only one, by IGN's Brandin Tyrell, got remotely close to how I perceived the game and acknowledged the game's socialist subtext and that it's a bit more specific and sophisticated commentary than just some beatnik crap about conformity.

Anyway, great game, I wholeheartedly recommend it, regardless of whether you just want a great cinematic platformer or dig art games.
After dinner break, and 2,5 hours long NG++ speed run for last trophy (I have forgot to pick up Large Ember in the Depths, so I had to backtrack back from Anor Londo, and died few times), I have finished my Platinum Trophy run of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PS3.

The game was little bit easier than Demon's Souls, with the exception of Smough and Ornstein, and Kalameet's tail cutting. Still I am happy to have completely beaten another Soulborne game right after turning 40 years old :P

My list of games I've finished in 2018.
Post edited September 03, 2018 by MMLN
Snake Eyes Dungeon

A board game/roguelike. Sure, it has lots of flaws, such as being EXTREMELY dependent on the RNG for pretty much everything, and known bugs which have gun unfixed for a long time leading me to think the game is abandoned. But hey, its just a $1 and I got addicted to it for the 9 hours or so that it took me to 100% it, so whatever :)

here's only the one "level"/board that gets randomly generated each time, and whether you beat it or die trying you're sent back to main menu to try again. So it's not a progression of level each more difficult than the rest, it's just this one 6x6 randomly generated board with the difficulty as random as everything else.

In the beginning it is extremely hard (often impossible) to beat the board (i.e. find the key, make it to the door, and escape the level), much less clear all the monsters, but as you slowly store up gold and use it to upgrade your stats, it becomes easier. By the end of the upgrades, you can breeze through pretty much anything. Except the "secret boss" whom you may need to prepare for - make sure you get to it with full health and maybe a potion or 3 just in case.
Epistory - Typing Chronicles. I enjoy typing games since I need to type a lot for my job and games like this are a nice way to practice and hopefully have fun. I'm okay at typing but nothing amazing. In this game you're controlling a little girl who rides on the back of a 3-tailed fox and you explore a landscape that unfolds before you like paper. I found the graphical style interesting. Occasionally you're attacked by monsters and you need to type the words above their heads to defeat them before they can reach you and kill you in one hit.

The game has a gentle difficulty curve. In the beginning, the monsters generally come with words no longer than three letters each, and by the end, you have to take out multiple enemies whose words have multiple syllables. It's not quite as challenging as Typing of the Dead to me. That game always gives me trouble when it starts throwing shift-characters at you (damn % and &...), but this game doesn't seem to go any higher than making you type numbers in a few spots, and it's always just single words, no sentences or phrases. Things get more interesting when you have to factor in enemies that are only affected by specific elemental powers, and you switch among your powers by literally typing them out (fire, ice, wind, spark), so there are some tactical considerations that become important when you're really being swarmed. I found spark to be the most useful because it causes chain reactions that will weaken surrounding monsters even if you only type something very simple.

According to my final stats, I averaged about 32 words a minute, peaking at 45, which sounds about right for me.
Eventide: Slavic Fable- Beat the story mode and bonus chapter. Still have a few achievements to get.

Very nice artwork and offers a variety of puzzles.
Fallout 4 (XB1X)

Just over two weeks of full gaming for around 110 hours, and it's finished. As usual for Bethesda games I loved the freedom- no railroaded scripting, deal with things almost any way you want, go where you want, make your own story without being pushed along artificial paths such as paragon/badass etc.

Of course, following the eventual main quest you do have to finally choose one of the 4 main factions to play out the final quest with. Well I found the Railroad were a bunch of annoying left wing loonies, the Brotherhood of Steel were like a group of religious nut jobs and the Institute stood for everything I'm against- playing mother nature when they don't even understand it. So the Minutemen it was then. At least the Minutemen are just a group out to help people the best they can.
People say that Fallout 4 and 3 and Skyrim have poor stories. I say people look at it wrong. If you have to have a story fed to you using a silver spoon (cutscenes and carefully scripted gameplay scenes) then you obviously won't like Fallout 4. But that's why I loved it. The main quest is not the story. The story is the life and times of your wasteland wanderer. It is made up of all the things you did, the choices you made, places you went and it is yours and not exactly the same as the next person that plays it. You fill in the gaps with cutscenes of your imagination- just like playing old table top RPG's.

The game actually has some good quests that ask you to make a judgment call and role play. You know the "R" part of RPG. And you can do each situation differently without feeling your messing with some silly "moral compass" or rigid faction system that so many games now have. My favorite example was finally meeting Kellog, who I could tell was about to launch into a dull monologue. No sooner had he uttered 2 words when I'd shot him in the head. It was going to be a boring conversation anyway. Now that's role playing and that's something very few games allow- usually you have to listen to some major bad guy go blah blah bullshit bullshit, whether you like it or not, after which they ambush you with 6 gazillion enemies that pop up from holes in the ground. Fallout 4 never pulls that shit, everyone is in plain sight and you can deal with them however you want.
Likewise, quest givers do not have artificial "!" on top of their heads. You find quests by exploring and talking to people mostly. Despite heavily exploring the map, I have no doubt there are still lots of little quests I've missed.

So the game does things I really like and refrains from pretty much all the things I hate. That's why I came to really love it. I had no bugs at all either, it played and performed faultless and at 4K as an added bonus.
The one single thing that Bethesda need to improve are companions. I hate them. They just cannot seem to stay out of my way. Seriously, you are better off without them, which is why I took the lone wanderer perks. Though I did still travel with Dogmeat when exploring sometimes, since he doesn't invalidate Lone Wanderer and can be useful as a pack rat (how he carries stuff I have no idea). He still got in the way too much though.

I went with my traditional Fallout build, the same way I've played each one from the first matter how much I try to play a different style I always end up the same way. Specialising in single shot rifles with a shotgun for close up. That's it, no high tech special weapons. So I went with perks in rifleman, sniper, lone wanderer, bloody mess, stealth, plus lockpicking and hacking (I hate not knowing what's in something or behind some door)- all maxed out. I finished up at level 50.

Lastly the game was not a glorified shooter to me, the way so many people say. Using my build, I played approximately 90% of combat entirely using VATS. So to me the game play was primarily Real Time with (Semi) Pause in a way, nothing like a shooter at all.

For the 3D Fallouts, I put number 4 about level with 3. Whilst I did enjoy New Vegas, I thought it's play was too railroaded and forced and the "wastes" were far too civilised to feel like a Fallout game. One of these days I will have to get the DLC's for Fallout 4 I suppose.
Post edited September 07, 2018 by CMOT70
Just finished Knack on PS4. Oh dear Lord...

So, the game has a metascore of 54 which, let's be honest, indicates a pretty lousy game. However, I actually assumed that it's just a mediocre game that got lots of extra slack due to being a AAA launch title for a new console generation, (which it clearly failed as). But God damn, no, it's a game that, excluding parts of the presentation, belongs in the same league as all those crappy shovelware movie adaptations everyone knows and loves.

But first let me get this out of the way: as a big new thing, and an introduction to this console generation, it's a failure on so many levels. There's the obvious thing that they stuck with a minimalistic cartoonish visual style, that frustrated people the moment the game was announced. I kept telling myself back then "well, it's not what we expected, but come on, a game that looks like a Pixar movie is a pretty amazing thing, when you think about it". Well, no. The game really looks very last gen most of the time, just at a higher resolution than possible on the PS3, and manages to suffer from slowdowns while doing so. Damn. To make things worse: the cutscenes, the part that looks best (but is still a far cry from modern CG animated films) are actually pre-rendered. Once in a while there's a nice sight in this game, but those are total exceptions and nothing breathtaking.

Then there's the thing that Knack is a total failure as a mascot. I'm pretty sure he gets maybe one thing right on any checklist of good mascot design (which would be his unique power). He's just dull and unlikable - and when I finally heard him talk with that "cool black dude" voice, always throwing around cocky one-liners, never demonstrating any actual personality it occurred that he's a real-world Poochie. But where the game really fails is that it's as archaic as it gets. I mean, it's literally a God of War clone, it even inherited the latter's control scheme with dodging on the right analogue stick. The game intended as a showcase title for a new console generation was a simplified inferior clone of the showcase title of two console generations prior. Holy shit.

In spite of all that it could still be a great game, right? But it's not. The moment you assume control of Knack you can just feel that something isn't right and it only gets worse as you go. The game isn't just badly designed, they literally botched everything they could. Some of it can surely be attributed to the fact that the game had to be rushed for the PS4 launch but some stuff just leaves me scratching my head, especially considering that some it could have been easily fixed in a patch but was not. First off: the game is really just a brawler - nothing less, nothing more. There are these moments that pretend to be platforming sections or puzzle sections but they aren't. I mean, hitting a switch that opens a door two feet next to it is hardly a puzzle, is it? And it's hardly platforming when you just need to press X a few times to reach a higher location, without any need for any sort of precision or effort. And it's hardly stealth gameplay when you just turn "invisible" so you can walk through lasers but can't avoid any enemies.

So, is the combat at least any good? It is not. There's literally one attack button that can do a three-hit-combo, there's a spin attack that you can do in the air and, as I discovered by checking out the trophies, I noticed that there's also a dash attack, that is, you can press the attack button while evading. That's it. Wait, no, there's also three super attacks which you can perform once in a while but they aren't really part of the combat system, they are really rather a "fuck it" option that you use whenever you're not in the mood to actually fight, as either one will usually destroy anything on screen. Anyway, there's nothing to the combat. Dodge attacks as you run at an enemy, hit a few times, repeat. One might argue that almost all action games work like this. Well, in brawlers there's usually lots of variables at play, at least the good ones. Positioning is important, reading the battlefield, using the various means at your disposal. Here it's really just evading and hitting. Period.

But where the game really falls apart is the "balancing". Saying that makes me feel dirty because it kinda implies that any sort of balancing has been done on the game. Well, it honestly feels like it hasn't. For one thing, regardless of how big you are, you can always only take a puny amount of hits. You can be a giant but the game has this obsession with making you die from a few tiny attacks which goes against everything you see on the screen. How does this massive, seemingly immortal, giant made of floating rocks die from a few hits? The most insane thing is that this stays true even if you "grow big", which actually extends your health bar. It's the first time I've ever seen in a game that there's a growing health bar but damage seems to scale along with it. To make it worse, health pickups aren't just rare and badly placed, most of the time all health pickups between checkpoints aren't enough to fully heal you, heck, sometimes all health pickups aren't enough to make you survive a single additional hit. The primary method of replenishing health is just dying and respawning. And even more insanely, the amount of health you get from pickups is entirely arbitrary. The visually same pickup will sometimes give you a tiny bit of health, fully heal you or - I shit you not - not replenish any health at all! And what does growing big actually give you? It makes you move faster, deal more damage and gives you a larger attack range. It changes the combat from unbearable to barely passable. It does not extend your health, as the growing health bar implies.

Another botched thing are collectables. There's a crapload of secret areas in the game. Some of these contain chests. These contain upgrades. The only problem: there's a crapload of sets and you need all pieces from a single set to actually get an upgrade. And what you get is actually randomised. Apparently there's a genuine risk of not getting a single upgrade in a single playthrough (and I pity the fool who would willingly suffer through the game more than a single time). Personally I completed two of the items in the game, one of which was entirely useless (indicating when a health pickup is nearby) and the other meh (slowly replenishing super powers by killing enemies).

And another big offender is that they've created this mascot with amazing abilities but the game doesn't utilise them in any way. How big Knack doesn't just not do much, it's entirely predefined by your progress. Sometimes you're big, sometimes you're small, you have no control over that. Sometimes Knack changes forms and will absorb ice or wood or glass, which makes him look different, but doesn't really give Knack any special powers. On the contrary, they add weaknesses: wood can catch fire and slowly burn down, ice will melt in the sun. In both cases you gradually lose health.

And finally some more meta fuckups: while there's tons of checkpoints, the game only saves progress per chapter. A few times I had to replay an entire chapter because I quit the game just before finishing one. And there's a coop mode, as it turns out. That one just happens to be entirely undocumented. You just have to plug in a second controller and push something and another Knack appears. Even some reviews I read mentioned that the game is singleplayer only, that's how obscure the coop mode is. And the game just drags on and on and on. There's like four moments where it felt like the credits should be rolling very soon but that moment just never came. The game always found an excuse to add another chapter that adds almost nothing to the experience. God dammit.

Is there something good to say about the game? Well, when you're big there's some fun to be had from the combat. Smashing things is kinda satisfying then. The story and acting are okay. The music is pretty good, if repetitive and generic and the sound design is really good.

Anyway, that's Knack, for ya: Suffering for the whole family!
Tharsis (PS4)

It's kinda like Yahtzee, but in Space, where no one can hear you screaming at the dice. Seriously, once you play a couple of games and learn the systems, it then becomes a matter of waiting for your lucky numbers to roll. It's a board game where the PC/Console roles the dice for you, and there is strategy for sure, more than I initially gave it credit for. But the game also places you in situations where you cannot win, no matter what you do. When you're unlucky, you are really unlucky. Learn the finer points and keep at it and eventually your lucky numbers will come up.

Each game is very quick though, so failure doesn't hold you back from keeping on trying. You have ten turns to survive, keeping your space ship together until you reach Mars. As you play you also unlock different crew members that you can use in future play throughs, and they really help since they have some useful abilities.

Even though the idea sounds pretty crappy, I actually enjoyed it. It was good for some quick fun after a huge game like Fallout 4. I played the PS4 version, but it's on GOG as well.
Post edited September 08, 2018 by CMOT70
A Kiss for the Petals - Remembering How We Met

It's a Visual Novel, and it is pretty standard. It's a cutesy young love girl-crush story, with hints at some bigger story that are not explored here. Which makes sense, as this is specifically how these two characters met and this is the prequel to the bigger story. (I have not played it).

Overall, it's meh. Maybe if I was invested in the bigger fiction already I would be more excited. It is very short, other characters are given such great names as Girl A, Girl B, Teacher, etc. There's exposition, a dance around conflict that doesn't evolve or have any major story beats, and a pretty abrupt resolution that gives the happy ending. Serviceable, but unremarkable.

Art is fine, pretty standard fair for the genre. I turned off the music pretty quickly (really I just played the game on mute after about 5 minutes). There is no choice, no mini-game, no breakup of the text. If the story was more engaging, it would be fine, but the story is a big snoozer.

I really liked parts of Her Story, so buying #WarGames was a no-brainer. That said, hashtag is a very different experience. It is a movie that you watch, but along the way you can choose which feed to put into focus. The interactivity is limited, but there are moments when it is used well (I loved it during the hotel scene). The feeds that are chosen make choices in the game, and subtly change the story. There are no big branching paths here, sadly.

I am a huge fan of the aesthetic of having multiple visual feeds in a single shot, so the presentation had a leg up for me already. That said, there are plenty of times where there is only one view available, or multiple views that are just people's faces as they talk to each other.

Story is better than I was expecting, but not as good as I wanted. Some of the chatter is a wee bit eyerolling, but overall the script and the performances kept me invested. Several of the performances are very good, and on the whole it is better than usual video game acting.

Season 1 is not very long, under 2 hours in my first playthrough. I hope there is more coming.
Torchlight 2

Behold my Champion....before I delete her. :P
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Finished a bunch of Twitch Prime games lately:
- Metal Slug 3: Not very interesting and quite short. I used a lot of retries to get to the end. For run&gun fans only.
- Manual Samuel: A fresh concept (you have to control the whole body with separate controls for both legs, both arms, breathing and blinking the eyes), a short game and a good story with humour. I enjoyed it.
- I, Hope: Another short one. A action/platformer with dated visuals. The story is not always very subtle but the subject (cancer) is interesting and the music good.

Full list here.
tinyE: Torchlight 2
Roughly how long did it take you?
tinyE: Torchlight 2
Themken: Roughly how long did it take you?
oy. I don't know if I could even begin to guess.
40 hours maybe.