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Desperados

2nd time through, 1st time with the updates which made it totally worth it. GREAT GREAT GAME.
Ember

I'll write a review, I hope next week, but it was quite interesting. Some dubious choices, but overall it worked, and the battles get nicely tactical later on, especially boss and elite battles. Control system takes some getting used to, showing it was made for tablets, but that works as well once you do.

44h in game timer at the end (43:48 at the save before the final battle, but that was a long battle, especially with me ending up down to 1 char for quite a while, went at it poorly). Not sure if it counted the time spent with game paused too, and there was plenty reading books for example. Should probably test. And speaking of books, think I didn't find one, had a part 3 left in inventory which I didn't read because as far as I recall I never found part 2, hmm.

If you want my really messy notes to base the review on, edited just to remove spoilers, here you go:

Movement is iffy, ordering companions even worse, using some skills too, needing to click and drag. You need to click and drag to companion to talk to them. Messed up that energy doesn't increase. No numbers on energy use or some restoration items. Map doesn't show which areas you explored. Can only see items or interactive objects if very close outside query mode, which pauses, but sometimes stuff (containers?) not interactive when close and may even only become like that from positions you can't reach them from. A few annoying items or containers you can't reach in any way. Constant HDD use at quite some speed, causing wear. Discrepancy between what you're told and what you read about the War of the Giants re: death of Archimedes and his brother joining the war. Quite nice reading in books, also tackling current issues and matters in them (did spot a handful of typos though), you do actually start to search for parts of books to get the whole thing. Not sure what to think of chars knocked out and recovering at 20% after combat, reloaded when that happened bar once after a longer boss fight when just at the end he killed Lightbringer and I didn't go through all that again, then again at end of a fight in the last bit before the end when again Lightbringer died right at the end and said meh, and in final battle when I ended up with all bar one dead with quite some to go and continued that way. Combat can get nicely tactical later on, and after you get used to it, seeing icons for what skills enemies are about to use adding much to that. 3 companions but just being able to have 2 at once once you meet all seems a limit added just to have a limit. 99 item inventory limit is just artificial annoyance. Some quests are quite silly, including parts of the main one. Actually liked boss fights after a point. They seem to have put some effort into making later boss fights tactical. Companions should have more to say, more chat options. Nasty with just 3 active skills and determined by gear, and 2 more passive ones also by gear, and no improvement of skills. Hell of a fight with an elite at one point, but nevertheless possible even with just found gear and basically no grinding. Not sure what to think about tinted image that makes inventory items change color too when in those areas. Not keen on the sleep mechanic, needing to sleep every so often to get the cap of 25% exp boost from one sleep, but can accumulate more if careful, never cared to, would have wanted reward for more time without sleeping, as much as possible, sleeping maybe be the penalty. Quite a number of crashes when fast traveling between areas, but fortunately autosaves are made before leaving and always worked to restore. Query for enemies is very handy, showing class and minion/standard/strong/elite/boss.
Assassins Creed Brotherhood (XB1X)

The Ezio collection version. The second play through confirmed everything I felt way back when I played it on release. Despite having a better open world than AC 2, it doesn't quite measure up overall. Still one of the better games in the series though.

What holds this one back from the level of AC2 is the beginning of a couple of traits that would last for a few games. The worst offender is the rise of the "Tailing Missions". Everyone hates the finicky and tedious tailing and escort missions, unfortunately the devs didn't know this until much later when they brought in a mission rating system- after which the annoying missions almost totally disappeared.

Brotherhood also saw the devs introducing special mission parameters to achieve 100% sync. The idea is quite sound and similar to what lots of platform games do. Someone that just wants to play and finish can just finish the missions any way they feel like, whilst those that want to 100% the game have to fulfil the extra requirements- just like a platform game that has medals or time parameters on the levels for 100%. Unfortunately the developers never quite got the hang of it in the AC series. The special requirements for 100% sync are often just plain annoying, no fun and (above all) make no sense in the context of the mission. The game is actually more fun if you ignore the 100% sync like I did this time. Having said that...most AC games I've played to 100% sync. But for a second play through, no way.
After almost 20 years since my first playthrough I managed to finish Dungeon Keeper 2.

I wasn't good at strategies (still far from good level) and treat DK2 as some kind of aquarium with evil creatures.
Campain required a lot of micromanagement, some mission were tricky. Ironically - that mission where we get power to summon Horny - is the weakest.
AI attacks non-stop, little mana, gold is scarce and fight for any free space pretty intense.
There were other missions with little gold and space but they turns out to be enjoyable and fun despite first impression.

Oh and GOG have borked version, you can't recruit Black Knights and Dark Angels in the last 3 final missions.
Fortunately there are fixes for that but better be safe than sorry.

Managed to install full Polish version thanks to the archon's (arhn.eu) guide and it worked perfectly with GOG installer.

I'll be back to play Pet Dungeon, someday....
Post edited July 24, 2018 by SpecShadow
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

+ It's one of a kind; you can compare it to QfG, Harry Potter and Princess Maker, but it's still its very own thing; there aren't many games like this.
+ Even though the art design is a bit uneven, mixing different styles and probably different artists, for the most part I really liked the graphics (with the exception of the main character's looks).
+ Nice soundtrack.
+ Some characters may seem a bit stereotypical or one dimensional at first glance (and some remain it even at second glance), and there are turns in the story that are a bit predictable, but all in all, I really enjoyed the writing, it managed to get me invested in the setting and story. I looked forward to the talks among classmates and was disappointed whenever they were not to be found.
+ The game was best when it was neither rigid adventure nor hack and slash RPG but a good combination of what makes RPGs and adventures fun to me: a satisfying choice of different options on how to approach various situations. If it wasn't for the negatives below, this would have had the potential to make even *me* consider replaying the game, although I don't usually do replays.

# Contrary to some complaints, I actually think it was a wise decision to not include voice-acting. Voice-acting is expensive and budget voice-acting that isn't up to par can actually ruin the immersion. I like that the characters are not predefined by fixed voices and you can read at your own speed.

- The game's speed is rather slow (sneaking particularly), and combined with a lot of repetitive running to and fro and unskippable cutscenes/animations the gameplay routine can quickly become a bit tedious.
- Too much combat with the same old trash mobs, especially in the second and third dungeon, when the combat is not that great to begin with (it's made more bearable by some exploits that might or might not be patched out with the next update).
- Considering the first two negative points, it's too long for it's own good. It feels like more than half of the game time is spent on chores, menial tasks, getting from A to B, and especially later in the game there are many days when nothing interesting happens anymore and your classmates make themselves scarce.
- Too much objects to interact with in too many ways, when 90% of them add up to nothing more than bad puns and immersion breaking Kickstarter reward content. After a while, it discourages scrutiny during exploration, with the risk of players overlooking the few important stuff.
- Doesn't always do such a good job in communicating to the players what is expected of them, what is really urgent and when; sometimes it makes it seem like players have to take initiative as soon as possible, when they actually can't solve a conflict on their own, in other ways and at other times than the rigidly specific one the game has scripted for you (and often that's much later than you'd expect given the supposed urgency); other times really urgent matters are just casually mentioned and left vague in comparison but you can seriously mess up if you don't hurry up and set about working on them immediately.

All in all, I'm a bit torn. There was a lot to love about the game, it's quite addictive, and at times I was really enthusiastic about it, but other times I also found it tedious, frustrating, or annoying. It would be much easier to recommend if it wasn't that long (~30 hours or 50 in-game days) and if it wasn't that full of repetitive elements, and escpecially combat.
Post edited July 24, 2018 by Leroux
The Walking Dead 400 Days, Jul 23 (GOG)-Whoa that was short. I liked the concept of multiple interwoven stories but except for 5 minutes at the end they didn't really interact. And each of the stories were far too short to really get invested in any of the characters. In its current state I don't think it adds anything meaningful to the universe. If Telltale were to add an hour or two showing how the group joined up or some scenes after they had joined up, I think it would go a long way. As it is I don't think this is really worthwhile except for the die hardest of fans.

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muddysneakers: If Telltale were to add an hour or two showing how the group joined up or some scenes after they had joined up, I think it would go a long way.
So was this a group of people that makes a re-appearance in TWD2 or just some random people you had never seen before?
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Leroux: So was this a group of people that makes a re-appearance in TWD2 or just some random people you had never seen before?
These were mostly random people that I had no connection to. One of the characters eventually joins you in TWD2, two others make cameo appearances, the last three I don't recall at all.
Just finished Darksiders II - Deathinitive Edition on PS4. Got mixed feelings about this one.

The original Darksiders is one of my favourite games of all time and my favourite "metroidvania". Everything there felt just right to me. The world, the setting, the combat system, the exploration, the riddles, the character progression, the game structure. And each one of these aspects was changed a ton in Darksiders II, generally in a bad direction in my opinion. So much that on release I didn't bother finishing the game. But with the release of Darksiders III around the corner I felt like it's time to give this one another shot.

So they tried to turn it into an ARPG. They added experience points and a skill tree, there's randomised loot, there's NPCs to talk to who sometimes provide quests. And yes, there's quests. But just a handful and sadly a whooping four of the optional ones involve collectables scattered around the whole game which are a total bitch to collect because this time they decided not to mark them on your map even once you've finished the game. The other quests weren't really any more interesting either, they were really just a pretext to make you do the stuff you'd be doing anyway, namely slaughtering enemies and exploring dungeons. And one of the longer quests literally involves nothing more than talking to several NPCs in different worlds which means a crapload of fast travelling back and forth - most of that time you spend on loading screens. The weirdest thing is that you have a dialogue UI inspired by Mass Effect and you get to choose what you say but there are literally no decisions to be made here, in every single case you go over each option anyway. It's almost like they just needed an excuse for delivering more dialogue without having to produce tons of expensive cutscenes.

Anyway, in my opinion adding the RPG mechanics was a total waste. They don't contribute almost anything to the game experience in my opinion but hurt the balancing a lot with the game being a tad too easy most of the time. I only died ten times from combat, I think all of these deaths occurred when I accidentally stumbled into a dungeon and two boss fights far above my level. Continuing those with the correct level made them a walk in the park. My other 100 deaths were caused by falling into pits and whatnot (I'll take a guess that falling into a pit and losing just a tiny bit of health also counts as a death, heh). The skilltree is too limited to be meaningful, you unlock a shitload of it in a single regular playthrough anyway. You can only assign four skills at a time, the first one I unlocked turned out to be the most useful one until the very end, dealing a shitload of damage, even to groups, and healing Death in the process. And the loot was mostly an annoyance, introducing the need to manage my inventory and shit. The one thing I actually enjoyed a lot about the loot system are the "possessed" weapons which can be fed other items and inherit their features but I'm pretty sure that they could have achieved this kind pf thing without forcing me to waste so much time on the inventory screen. Oh yeah, and I think you can see that they struggled because on one hand it's this game with tightly designed characters like in a comic book, on the other hand you have to switch armour all the time. As a result there's no real visual progression to Death as he gets better items, it's all kept in a very similar style.

My single biggest complaint is the design and structure of the new world. In the first game pretty much every location felt meaningful and unique, dungeons themselves were connected by interesting sections. And some of the places were stunningly beautiful, it was an interesting contrast to the fact that the game takes place on Earth after mankind has been exterminated in the apocalypse. Darksiders II sends you through four worlds which largely look like maps in an MMORPG or something. There's a lot of empty space outdoors that you will use your horse on just so you don't die of boredom - and thank God there's fast travel (it's one of very few games where I used it without feeling bad about it or
being worried that I miss anything this way). Two of the maps are quite massive and riddled with dungeons. The problem: all dungeons in each of the worlds look the friggin' same. I'm not kidding: show me a screenshot or map of either dungeon and I will only be able to tell you which world it belongs to. So even though the game is bigger than before, has more dungeons than before, it has far less variety than the first game.

Then there's also the creative design of the worlds: you get some fantasy realm with giant dwarves (seriously, look at [url=https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Ferikkain%2Ffiles%2F2012%2F08%2FDarksiders_II_ForgeLands_MakerElder.jpg&f=1]fuckers), you get some land of the dead, then you get a piece of heaven and a piece of hell. Not one of these places was truly interesting, everything felt very much like stuff I've seen in many other games already. And to make it worse, almost the whole game has this cold and sad atmosphere - which I guess was intended and supposed to reflect Death's theme. But again, it's all kinda samey and generic. It's also reflected by Jesper Kyd's soundtrack which feels a lot more generic and monotonous than most of his soundtracks (and I presume the game is to blame, not he). Anyway, I very much preferred the first game in this regard. It had epic scale, huge visual variety and each location was unique and fleshed out. Ironically there's a section during which you get a glimpse of Earth but also that one was adjusted to this one's visual design: everything is greenishly dark, it's nothing but ruins and it's raining at all times. Good grief.

Then there's the combat which, as I mentioned, suffers from being watered down by the RPG stuff. But it's also kinda weird on its own. Death is more agile than War. There's no blocking in this game, you're literally forced to roll around all the time. And I'm not sure if the moveset is more limited than in the previous game but it absolutely feels like it. And a big problem is that the secondary weapons, which have fewer attacks, are in general far more powerful than Death's signature weapon: his scythes. In a game about an agile version of the Reaper I killed almost everyone with a giant hammer. The only interesting aspect of the combat are the skills from the skill tree but as mentioned, few of the skills felt practical to me. So almost all of the combat was using standard attacks, occasionally the handgun, dodge rolls and far too often that too powerful "teleport slash". The seemingly most powerful powers somehow dealt little damage by comparison and were less practical to use. Also the enemies feel more samey and less original than in the first game.

Then there's the story that kinda lacks direction and scale and has almost no big revelations. There are revelations but pretty much all of them are backstory or foreshadowing. There's pretty much no interesting events happening during the game itself. Death doesn't develop as a character. You do meet some fairly interesting characters but things don't really go anywhere with them. And once the credits rolled I felt like nothing had really happened during the roughly thirty hours I spent with the game. It feels like the game was only meant to serve as a bridge to the sequels that almost didn't happen. It compares really badly to the first game which had far less dialogue but where each encounter with other characters was meaningful and relevant to the plot. And I'm not a big fan of Death himself. Even though it turns out that he does have a tragic backstory he's a lot more normal than War. Pretty cocky, cracking jokes once in a while but rather smart, I guess. He was a decent protagonist but I'm not sure how Death out of all the riders ended up being such a fun and friendly character compared to War - in spite of being plagued by his conscience at that.

But do I actually hate the game? Absolutely not! Almost all my complaints are entirely based on comparisons to the first game. Fact is that I had a very good time with the game regardless. The combat was still very satisfying. Some of the visual designs were still very impressive and the game's lore is still fantastic to me. And exploring dungeons was as fun as ever, with a surprisingly large portion of the gameplay being platforming and environmental puzzles which I enjoyed the heck out of, some of them being pretty tough but also extremely satisfying. Oh yeah, and the platforming was very much extended and is very similar to the Prince of Persia games, which is a good thing in my book. It this had been the first Darksiders game I would have had comparably few complaints. Alas, Darksiders 1 did happen.

At this point I'm not sure I'm gonna play through all the content that still awaits me. There's still one, supposedly very tough, endgame dungeon and some "mini campaigns". I might check those out but I'll probably not have the patience for getting all the collectables which are neither marked nor sensibly tracked in any way. Hint: if you ever consider maxing this game, get pen and paper and keep a note of each collectable the moment you find it. That's gonna save you a lot of trouble.

Anyway, I can't wait for Darksiders III, which will (hopefully) finally be released later this year, and I hope that it will be more similar to the first game than this somewhat misguided sequel.
Finished all episodes of Life is Strange - Before the Storm. It starts very slowly (the first episode) but episodes 2 & 3 are great and I think they nailed it. Also, I cried at the end of the bonus episode.

A great game with some technical issues (sentences not being correctly ended in the audio + long loading times).

Full list here.
Played a lot of Playstation this year, mostly PS1 and PS3 games.

Armored Core (3rd playthrough, best campaign)
Armored Core Project Phatasma (3rd playthrough, Best Arena stuff for the trilogy)
Dark Souls Prepare to Die edition (least favorite of the PS3 Souls franchise)
Shadow Tower (wow this was great! Superb Dungeon Crawler)
Ducktales Remastered (fond childhood memories and now my favorite side scrolling platformer)
Last of Us-grounded difficulty (5th playthrough, challenging but too few supplys leads to too much sneaking)
Kings Field (part II in Japan and my favorite of the series)
Tenchu- Stealth Assassin (2nd playthrough, Man I love this game)
Super Mario World (Fun, easy to play, seemed a little short and/or easy)
Post edited July 25, 2018 by SirHandsome
I have finished Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PS3. This time, I have used more casting focused character, and finished every quest line, joined every covenant and picked up every item possible which could be acquired in NG. I have also played DLC for the first time, and the fight with Kalameet was one of the best bossfights I have ever had in a computer game. Just epic! This time, I have chosen To Link the Fire ending.

Complete list of my finished games in 2018 is >>HERE<<
Shadowrun Dragonfall Director's Cut, Jul 28 (GOG)-This is what Shadowrun Returns should have been: longer, more missions, more intrigue. I really enjoyed the turn based combat. Decking is always fun but I feel like its a little underdeveloped. There are only a couple different types of IC that you fight when decking and it gets a little repetitive. Introducing more enemy deckers would have been interesting (there was only one). The main quest was interesting and the handful of side quests were good too. I liked that each companion had a side quest for a two person party. I do wish there wasn't a party limit, once I found Blitz I left Dietrich behind except for his side quest. I would have preferred a larger party that included him. If you liked Shadowrun Returns I think you'll really like this one.

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Just finished Ys Origin with Hugo.
Having played four Ys games now, Origin is by far the easiest. Hugo played much like Mega Man with his rapid-fire primary weapon and secondary assist weapons (skills). Currency was a lot easier to farm allowing quite a few useful upgrades. I want to begin again with Toal, as I read it's the 'true' story mode and the hardest of the three campaigns, but will likely move on to another game.
Half-Life

Yet another game I have played in the past. Somehow I played a ton of them recently. I still ahd great fun but it already shows its age and thanks to how heavily scripted it is there are cracks visible in many places. It is sometimes noticeable a lot that it wants to trigger script at specific place and some enemies can also be quite cheesed.
Despite that it is still atmospheric game (the thumping in the test chamber stayed with me for many years) with enjoyable weapons and fairly enjoyable enemies that I enjoyed to play.

As for the expansions I am not the biggest fan of Opposing Force. Most of its scenes are just variation on the original ones bringing not much originial into it and I don't know how ot feel about storyline. Also most new weapons are not too fun and not useful often and new enemies are mostly meh. Also rope climbing and barnacle swinging was added and then rarely used.
No wonder Blue Shift ignored all Opposing Force additions. I know many people dislike it for suddenly taking role of some dumb security guard but I find it OK and it would be even better if it was even more low-power and you didn't have to fight through dozens of soldiers and aliens.

It is already too long for a game I played several times and everyone knows so I'll just stop. :-)
I am really looking forward to Black Mesa being completed so I can finally play it.


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