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gloombandit: [breathes heavily (asthma? dust mite allergy?)
Ghorpm: I bet it cannot be any worse then Alan Wake. Alan's lungs must be in terminal condition and his stamina is non existing ;)
I think it was with Alan Wake. At one point I got the idea it sounded like an obscene phone call. After that it was just weirdly uncomfortable listening to that huffing and wheezing.
Finished Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines on PSP recently. I did it pretty much only for the sake of completing the series eventually and because I wanted to play another "big" but accessible and not too long title on PSP.

So, it's a sequel to the original Assassin's Creed. It does not continue Desmond Mile's story, only Altair's, which seemed good enough for me considering that Altair was my favourite protagonist as far as I've played the series. The voice acting is so crappy, though, that I couldn't take any of the characters seriously and frankly the writing is also very meh - half the time I wasn't even sure what I was doing because I cared so little about it. Of course the game doesn't really push the story forward or extend the lore in any way - we get some more time with Maria, Desmond Mile's great great great great ... great great grandmother, who only briefly appeared in the original Assassin's Creed and even more briefly in Assassin's Creed II, but her additional screentime is pretty much worthless and, if anything, makes Altair's relationship with her even less believable. All in all it feels like they tried really hard to write another story in the AC universe that doesn't actually contribute anything for the sake of not making the game a prerequisite for fully enjoying the main series.

Gameplay-wise it's pretty much a downscaled Assassin's Creed 1. I think pretty much everything from the original game is still there and the parkour stuff and combat feel basically the same as in the original game, with maybe a few more problems with collisions and whatnot. The biggest differences are probably that the towns are far less populated (which is explained with a curfew or something) and divided into small districts with loading screens in-between them, there's no riding between cities - due to the small amount of NPCs you can't blend in with monks anymore. And there's even fewer types of side missions. But there's also some additions and improvements. You now get to collect gold by performing tasks and completing a few (painfully generic) challenges as well as collecting coins scattered throughout the world which you then use to buy upgrades (which were automatically awarded with story progress in the original game). There's a few actual bossfights, with life bars and shit, and two or three of these characters actually behave very differently than the standard enemies. All in all it's actually a pretty good translation of Assassin's Creed to the PSP and the controls work also very well, besides a few hiccups with Altair struggling with a few obstacles or difficulty using throwing knives (which were quite awkward to use in the original game to begin with).

I actually did enjoy the game, even if I was very unimpressed by it and it reminded me of how bad and repetitive the first Assassin's Creed really was mechanically. The stealth mechanics are a joke, with "blending" (putting your hands together) being the solution to almost any situation that involves stealth and combat is super easy. I think I died only a single time from combat, namely during one of the bossfights. Sadly there's very few tasks that involve full use of the parkour mechanics and even climbing towers seems perfectly trivial here - it's certainly not a hard or particularly engaging game but it's still satisfying to just run around, climb buildings and slaughter enemies. It's certainly not a must-have title for Assassin's Creed fans but it's a decent PSP title in its own right.
<googles 'PSP'>
Broken Sword 2: Remastered

A good point and click game, story is good, mild humour, very few frustrating puzzles that is thankfully made easier by the addition of a hint system. Would recommend.
Just finished Uncharted 4: A Thief's End on PS4 (obviously). Just recently I had finished the PS4 remaster of Uncharted 3 and written a very critical review (or "review") of it in this thread. I'm gonna say it straight away: Uncharted 4 is in my opinion a hugely superior game compared to the original trilogy on PS3 and addresses many of the main issues I've had with the series, at least to some degree.

What instantly shows is that the developers used their experience with The Last of Us to improve Uncharted, whether it's in the writing or gameplay. Content-wise Uncharted has hugely matured here without downright betraying the series' lighthearted style (i.e. they did not pull another Jak 2 here). The game isn't just a roller coaster ride anymore where the developers do nothing but one upping themselves with increasingly spectacular and absurd sights and events - there's finally some substance here, even some self-reflection, both by the characters and kinda the game itself (which they clumsily tried to do in Uncharted 3 already but failed at). It's not just the obvious stuff like the fact that the game basically starts out with Drake having a midlife crisis which is conveyed through beautifully calm and mundane sequences - the characters have gained some depth and it's the first time that we're dealing with villains who don't seem like they've escaped from a Saturday morning cartoon. The story is of course still pretty simple and bland and occasionally the characters behave utterly unnaturally but it's a real step up from the previous games. It's the first time the series has given me something to genuinely care about, whether it's Drake's relationship with Elena or his brother's fate.

Also gameplay-wise the developers have learned a lot here. At first glance it's just the same old Uncharted with the addition of a grappling hook and some climbing tool that seems copied straight from Tomb Raider 2013 but there's a ton of minor improvements in the mechanics and level design that, again, finally give the series some substance. The platforming isn't quite as trivial anymore, with different climbing paths available more often, sometimes requiring you to plan ahead a little bit and of course the grappling hook finally (at times) detaches Drake from the perfectly laid-out ledges - it's the first time I felt like I'm doing more than pointing and pressing. Heck, even a small addition like sliding sequences where you have to aim and time your jump is a major step up from the series' traditionally painfully trivial platforming. It's still no Tomb Raider, but it's much better. One of my biggest gripes with the series was also the utter absence of riddles. There's still very few actual puzzles and those are still very easy but at least there's quite a lot of these mini environmental puzzles now, even it just means pushing a box to use it as a ladder - it's pretty much what they did in The Last of Us. Yeah these puzzles are consistently banal but their increased presence certainly improves the game's feel. Oh yeah, and there's vehicle sections. Those are always good in my book and these ones are quite imaginative and fun.

Now, combat feels like it really hasn't improved, it's still a pretty meh cover shooter in my opinion - they still haven't learned to utilise movement as means of avoiding damage. Even while swinging around with the grappling hook you still don't get to avoid damage, at least by far not enough to make it a useful tool during combat which is downright criminal in a game where movement is the most developed mechanic. Sigh. But, again, they've drawn lessons from The Last of Us and finally introduced functional stealth mechanics - all they had to do was to add some delay to how quickly you're spotted and a few indicators helping you to avoid being spotted and voila, a good chunk of the "combat" is about stealthily weakening the enemy force as much as you can before open combat ensues (and if you're good you can often manage to eliminate all enemies without being spotted). And it works! Finally eliminating enemies is fun and the whole thing becomes at tad more believable, with Drake taking on groups of elite mercenaries by being more clever than them. It's no Arkham or even Tomb Raider but again: a major step up from the previous games.

Now, I would be lying if I didn't admit that in my opinion the game still fails to justify all the violence and make it compatible with the characterisation of the protagonists. It's still a game about lovable rascals who, while pulling shady stuff, are good people at their core - and it's still a game about slaughtering people. There's still these awkward moments where the game switches between mass murder and heartwarming dialogue in a second. However, by the series' standards things have hugely improved.

Another thing that the game has done very well is opening up the locations a bit, fill them with interesting details and make them fun to explore. Even though the series has always had pretty good graphics and interesting scenery, this is the first entry in the series where I would often just take my time and explore every corner, in awe of the unreal and magnificent place I'm seeing. The graphics are so stellar that I feel like I'm really there, the location design has received a lot more love, with things being much more believable - it's just a joy to take a deep breath and let it all sink in. It's exactly what I've been missing in a series about adventurers and explorers and finally they delivered. Thank God. Still no Tomb Ra... wait, no, actually Uncharted 4 may be even a tad better than Tomb Raider here. Sure, the locations are very linear and mechanically exploration isn't very pronounced here but they sure created some of the most interesting and well-designed places I've seen in a game about adventurers exploring ancient ruins.

So, Uncharted 4 still has no chance of becoming one of my favourite games ever but at least it's finally a game that I genuinely liked and enjoyed. What used to be fundamental flaws to me is just minor chinks in the armour now. Had the games always been up to this standard I would certainly feel much more positively about the entire series. I just hope that The Lost Legacy is anywhere this good...
Post edited December 22, 2018 by F4LL0UT
Themken: <googles 'PSP'>
<attaches PSP INCEPTION!>
Pizza Connection a.k.a. Pizza Tycoon
I won it in skimmie's and PaterAlf's Christmas Surprise Party

I've never played this game until now but I did experience newer entries like Pizza Connection 2 and Pizza Syndicate. I was therefore very curious about this game. Is it better than sequels? Is it much different? I was very happy to try it out... and man I did miss a lot back in 90s! The game is incredibly complex and deep but in a very good way. And frankly, both sequels are pale in comparison.

The basic idea is of course the same - you want to start a pizza making company and win against your competitors. You can just be better than them and create greatest pizzas in the world (you can actually make your own recipes!) or... you can resort to less orthodox meanings and deal with mafia. Every aspect of the game is quite fun!

So what makes it better than sequels? The depth. Everything is very complex which may be difficult at the beginning but a bit later it's something you really appreciate. Examples? You can advertise your restaurant in the press but you have to arrange the text of it yourself. Or perhaps you may decide to fire your waiter because you want to hire a better person to take his place. But a bit later you are opening a new restaurant and want to hire a waiter... which is the same person who has been fired by you for no apparent reason so he refuses to work for you. I don't remember anything like that in sequels - correct me if I'm wrong - maybe my memory is failing me. But I'm quite sure none of them were so complex as Pizza Connection.

There are of course a few dated/badly designed features. Managers are complete idiot and I think no matter what you do to make them happy at least one of them is bound to be thief. So if you catch one of them stealing there is no real point in firing him because soon enough another one will take his place.

Despite these minor issues the game is a must have for every managerial games fan. DRM-free pizza for everybody!

Full list
Tomb Raider: Underworld

While not a bad game by any means, I got pretty tired of all the jumping and climbing and switch pulling and was glad when it was finally over.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein

A FPS that see's you battling Nazi's and the undead. It plays similar to other FPS's from the era and was generally quite good. The segments when you battle the undead are my least favourite parts as they absorb bullets and don't drop ammo, so it can be a real struggle. Some missions require stealth and these were my favourite missions. The final boss is actually the easiest of the boss fights for some reason, as its the only one without a ranged attack (If he did have one he never used it against me). 2 minor annoyances were the lack of subtitles and the fact quickload can be a bit finnicky sometimes. Overall a good game though.
kalirion: Tomb Raider: Underworld

While not a bad game by any means, I got pretty tired of all the jumping and climbing and switch pulling and was glad when it was finally over.
For me it was the most beautiful TR game, and THE MOST BORING! :P

I don't know why. Maybe there wasn't enough variety in the levels. I typically can play any TR game over and over and never get bored.
Post edited December 24, 2018 by tinyE
kalirion: Tomb Raider: Underworld

While not a bad game by any means, I got pretty tired of all the jumping and climbing and switch pulling and was glad when it was finally over.
tinyE: For me it was the most beautiful TR game, and THE MOST BORING! :P

I don't know why. Maybe there wasn't enough variety in the levels. I typically can play any TR game over and over and never get bored.
You know, it did seem rather bland to me, but I had assumed that was by comparison with the 2013 Reboot, and, more recently, the Shadow of TR demo. I hadn't played any other Tomb Raiders since Legend 8 years ago.

If Underworld really is more boring than Anniversary and Legend, then maybe it's something in the level design.
Post edited December 24, 2018 by kalirion
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic

Oh boy, started this in Feb 2017 and only finished now, just playing on and off. The bug that makes it get increasingly choppy, then start just exiting (no crash message) when changing between AI opponents' turns (only happens with opponents it seems), then no longer start at all the more time passes since last reboot definitely not helping, with me just rebooting when I absolutely need to, usually for the monthly Windows security updates (and there were a couple of months when I even skipped those). I'll be writing a review, I hope still by the end of the year, but let's see. For now, the usual jumble of notes added over time to base said review on (comparisons are to Wizard's Tower):

Weaker heroes, limited uses of breath and other specials, units in transports use moves too (makes sense, takes time, but then should be percentage instead of fixed 2/move?), units with healing can't use it outside combat anymore (seems to be some automated use, but not sure if the same, and either way can't make up for lack of manual targeting), different races seem to work with more different strategies, nomads bring some interesting mechanics, forges offer interesting options but created items are limited to three attributes. Still random skill choice on level up, and can even get a choice more than once in the options, or even things the hero already has or weaker (like protection when immunity exists). AI still won't win prizes, but there seem to be some improvements and odds are so much against the player that a good AI would make the game impossible. Automatic surrender (even when you attack! or when defending cities) is troubling. Why does it need to fully hog a CPU core? Bug making it choppy, then just quit with no crash message (seems to be when it changes to another AI opponent's turn, not first), and eventually not start at all after long time without reboot. Campaign is interesting, keeps things fresh with changing races each 3 scenarios and scenarios not designed for regular conquering, though that is also possible, even if it does do some odd things with triggers if you do. Fair amount of scripting, though there may be moments when it doesn't quite work out as intended. The hero you get at the end of the first scenario in the Syron campaign has no description. Too much attempt at humor in writing, descriptions, for the grim setting. Still the bug making some quests not complete till you do smth else after, like capture smth. Still don't control your units if aiding ally but ally controls theirs if aiding you. Final Syron scenario, "very hard"? More like very easy if you play it right, just rather tedious due to the surface to cover, and objective not clear enough, forgot what I had to do, defeated enemies and was wondering then what, had to check a guide for a reminder. Final scenario is quite something, and pretty much emphasizes every feature, good and bad. Shouldn't flying units be hampered underground, and be unable to fly over stalactites?
World of goo, pretty nice puzzle builder the challenges weren't always easy, but beatable. Also needed 9 hours to beat it without skipping any stages. Now that i 300 goo balls only thing left is to build a tower as high as i can.
Short games get beaten faster, i just recently bought this one and beaten it already.
Diablo 3

I'd swore I would never buy this game, and really didn't like the demo, but...I was in kinda a dark place and the battle chest (base + expansion, not the dlc) was 50% off a few weeks ago, so I shrugged and went for it.

The cliche you hear is that - if this game were called anything but Diablo 3 (follow-up to the beloved D2), it would have been more widely accepted. I'd say yes and no.

At least in its current state, it's not a bad game, and for $15 (normal price is $30) , it's well polished and with a lot of content.

You do have to be connected, but there are so few people playing that the chat/etc. doesn't pop much. I have no idea if there's still a cash shop or not - I never looked. Occasionally some items do pop for sale in gen chat.

Anyway, (for $15) it's not as bad as many people, including myself, made it out to be. And there are a few decent aspects either conceived or stolen from other games (bonus xp for chain kills, bypassing the underwhelming main quest to level by running short mini-quests).

It's still got quite a few flaws, however, and without the Diablo aesthetic and backstory, it's not entirely clear what the game would have to carry it. Even by ARPG standards, there's really not much RPG at all - you don't even choose which stats to boost as you level, they auto-boost for you by set amounts - and rides very heavy on the A.

In terms of the A, it seems a mixed bag. It's hindered a bit by the fact that each character gets 6 active skills (RMB/LMB, key 1-4) at any time from a small handful of options, and each of those can by modified in about 5 ways. Trouble is, there aren't really great ways to sort through it, or playtest it, so if you're like me, if you aren't inclined to research - a game with a declining player base where most of the builds are out of date, mind you - extensively, you'll probably just haphazardly pick and hope it works, with not much to compare it to.

Another big problem is the balance is really borked. There's regular difficulty, then hard, then expert, then master, then something that's supposed to sound more impressive than master after that. But even hard is...pretty sleepy. And nothing seems to really do any damage except arcane which for some reason seems to do way more damage than anything else. Even as a cloth caster with no shield, having 5-6 melee pounding on me was generally NBD. So I managed to die exactly twice, and one of those because I was literally not even paying attention, just mindlessly LMB clicking across the screen. The irony being that character had a 3 second ability to be completely immune to damage, which I had never, ever used through 60 levels, and the icons for the abilities are pretty bland and forgettable, so forgot I had it available.

And died. Without using a healing potion. Or damage immunity. Either of which would have kept me alive if I had had to care enough at any point prior to bother learning how to play or putting in any effort at all. On "Hard" difficulty.

It's also a bit frustrating that this game is built around "end-game" and yet, the end-game feels pretty repetitive. You can either keep doing the thing you spent hours doing to level to 70, or you can switch to trying to top leaderboards in a different set of instances ("Greater Rifts"). But you have to alternate the Greater Rifts with running the baseline ("Nephalem") instance to get another key to run the hard instance, and after tier 12, you can only raise 1 hard level per run. So even if you never die, to clear from GR13 to GR20 you're not just running 8 rifts, you're running 16, for some inane reason. It's not even subscription based, it's just a way to drag out the content that exists, seemingly.

Talk about a stupid time suck. The game also sets a pretty low gate for bank tabs and character slots (not that you would need to play 12 characters anyway, but the limit on bank tabs is def. annoying. And as mentioned, the main story line is forgettable and really doesn't need to be played through more than once.

On the plus side a few of the builds are at least moderately fun to play, just don't expect the game to help you figure out what works and what doesn't - you'll either need to experiment or research online. So I feel like I got my $15 worth.

Anyway, despite all that, if you can get it cheap, and you don't mind being online, this is an often-uninspiring, but certainly well-polished and smooth ARPG (certainly contrasts with Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, which feels more daring and creative in most aspects, but was very unpolished). If you can tinker and find a build you enjoy, some classes are worth the time. Others still feel pretty meh.

I give it a C for effort, B- for fun, and at this point it's at least very well polished. But yeah, I'm glad I didn't spend $50 (or even the current $30) on it.
Just finished Call of Duty: Roads to Victory on PSP. I got mixed feelings about this one. On one hand I'm utterly impressed that they managed to squeeze the classic WW2 Call of Duty experience onto the PSP. On the other hand... it's fucking Call of Duty.

So first off: I really am impressed by how they managed to make a handheld CoD that feels so much like the real thing. I had played Medal of Honor: Heroes 1 and 2 on PSP before but those really felt quite "small" compared to this. Here, even though I'm well aware that things are of much smaller scale than in the "big" CoDs, if still feels quite spectacular and massive. There's all these spectacular custom scripted events, big body counts, lots of yelling and explosions, the list goes on. It was quite an enjoyable experience.

However, even though the PSP's Medal of Honor games were always regarded unfavorably compared to this, there's a few things those did much better. Most importantly: there's some SERIOUS fuck ups in the controls here. The first thing I did in the MoH games was set up a control scheme where you walk with the face buttons and aim with the analogue stick which may seem unintuitive at first, since the stick is on the left side of the PSP, but it worked great - I got used to it almost instantly and the games controlled as well as almost any console shooter. In this CoD there's four control schemes and NOT ONE of them allows to use the analogue stick for aiming, I was stuck with using the face buttons for aiming which is a nightmare. They tried to even this out with some auto aiming, that often has too small range to be useful or downright fails to target enemies in range, as well as target snapping when using the left trigger to aim. That snapping has issues of its own and is useless in case of moving enemies because it will only snap to an enemy's current position but not follow him. On top of that the stick is on the same side as the D-Pad which is, among others, used for reloading, so reloading on the move requires some insane acrobatics. On top of that there's another massive fuckup: the same "button" is used for switching weapons and "using" objects, which includes replacing the held weapon with one lying around. There's been plenty situations where I was unable to switch to an adequate gun because I was surrounded by useless guns lying on the ground, so switching guns literally forced me out of cover. Oh, and don't get me started on using grenades... So the controls in this one are pretty much shit.

Besides that it's your typical CoD game that shows you a teenager's idea of World War II and doesn't remotely represent real warfare - and I'm not even talking about bullshit like singlehandedly blowing up four tanks with a panzerschreck. There's an onslaught of absurd scenarios, dumb orders that make no sense whatsoever ("frontally flank this machinegunner / tank!" was one of the most common things in this game) etc. - if the Allies had fought this stupidly, the entire world would be speaking German today. And as always with the series: this game, that is supposedly about authenticity and the collective efforts of many soldiers just takes place in a bubble around the player who changes the course of the entire war on his own (although admittedly you change names each mission - not that it matters). If you don't mind this shit in the main series, then you certainly won't mind it here.

And finally I feel like the game lacks truly memorable moments, a sense of progression or a true climax in the end. The scale doesn't grow, you don't get interesting scenarios - there's nothing like the original CoD's Stalingrad or even Allied Assault's Omaha Beach here. It's mostly generic stuff like blowing up flaks and clearing houses Operation Overlord and Market Garden. Dramatically the game stays on the same level throughout and especially the finale felt like just another mission.

That said: it was an enjoyable experience and, as I said, I was utterly impressed to get such a "big" experience on PSP. It's, besides the controls, the best shooter I've played on PSP yet.