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Share your 2019 gaming recap.

synchronicity

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Dec 16, 2011
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I've made this thread the past couple of years. Here and here.

I always keep a file with all the games I play, and I enjoy writing little succinct blurbs/reviews along with ranking what I've played. So I figure, what better place to share than NeoGaf?

I'll be gradually doing my own recap of my year in gaming via a countdown, but this thread isn't just for me. Please tell us about your own year in gaming. I'm not just talking about calendar year releases. This is about what you played, what you loved and hated, both with controller in hand, and perhaps just your sentiments about gaming in general. Feel free to express yourself however you like.

Please do share. I'll post quite a bit of content, but don't think this thread is just my own.

*********************************************************************************************************************

As for myself, I sometimes replay games that I've loved in the past, and I don't count those in my yearly rankings, but I do review them with a set of fresh eyes and like to include them in my yearly summary. So with that, I'll start by posting the three titles that I revisited in 2019.

Replay #1

Tecmo Super Bowl 2020 (NES/PC)



Back when I was younger, I wasn't the fanatical gamer that I eventually grew to become. I had an Atari 2600 and then a Commodore 64, both of which I really loved when I was really young. And then as I got a little older, I had an NES and a Genesis, but this was a period in my life where I could have most certainly been classified as a casual gamer. If I played anything at all it was sporadically, and it was either a sports title or something that was incredibly popular like Super Mario Bros. which was impossible to overlook. I didn't read gaming magazines - did they even exist back then? I would occasionally wander into a store and peruse the game section while knowing nothing about the games I was looking at other than the box art, and I would usually leave without buying or even being really interested in anything I saw. I spent most of my free time playing real basketball and tennis along with social activities and schooling. Gaming was a true side dish, at best for me.

But one day I remember walking into a mall and going to either a dedicated game store or a bigger store with a game department - I don't remember any more. But what I saw in that store is unforgettable, and it is something that had a big part in changing who I was as a person, contributing significantly to how I would choose to spend my free time as an adult and helping to cultivate what has (obviously) become a real passion of mine. I saw - on the shelf - a game called Tecmo Super Bowl. There was a man in a New York Giants uniform on the front and there was the NFL logo! My heart started racing a bit. Up until this point, games were simply generic sports games without any official ties to professional sports leagues. (I was unaware at the time of the Atlus-developed NFL Football which came out a couple of years prior.) What was this?!? A video game that is tied to the real NFL? Could it be. As I flipped over the back of the box my pupils dilated and I started feeling flush. All 28 NFL teams! Team stats and data! You can play a season from the pre-season to the playoffs! Real players and team logos! Oh my. I'm sure my knees buckled as I confirmed my purchase. I remember walking back to my car and opening the box immediately. I could not wait to see what awaited inside. I know that this was an impactful moment because I still remember so vividly being utterly absorbed in the manual. I must have sat in that parking lot for 30 minutes or more just trying to comprehend the awesome before me.

And thankfully, the actual game lived up to the initial impressions and feelings of shock. It's got such an intoxicating blend of fun with just enough of a nod towards realism that it doesn't lose you. I love deeper sports sims as well, but Tecmo really nailed the fun here - something they were never really able to duplicate from what I've experienced. Everything just came together in a moment of perfection, and because of that this game is still played religiously today. I have long known about the community that keeps the rosters and teams up to date, and it's been in the back of my mind forever to go back and play this with a current coat of paint, and that's just what I finally did this year. I was finally able to play this classic with my beloved Panthers and take them to the promised land. And as fun as the single player is, this game shines best in multiplayer with an intoxicating blend of arcade sensibilities and just the right amount of strategy and luck. It really is, for me, an unequivocal all-time classic. A 5/5 to that young guy hyperventilating in the parking lot, and a 5/5 to this middle-aged man still playing.

Replay #2

God of War III (PS4)



The games that I consider classics in my personal hall of fame are there for many different reasons. Most great games have their own unique strengths that appeal in distinct and varied ways. In the case of the God of War franchise, and in this particular instance - God of War III, that strength is spectacle and focus of tone. Most all of us have a graphics whore somewhere within, a AAA snob that revels in simply being entertained, even if it's buried very deep and only surfaces on rare occasion. And despite how much I love nuance and depth of mechanics and systems, sometimes I find it thrilling to simply be blown away with audio-visual intensity and mastery. In this regard God of War III simply incinerates the retinas and bursts the tympanic membranes. The locales, characters, animations, incredible art, brutality, and thumping soundtrack all pulse with an energy that gets me revved up and eager to step into the shoes of a god slayer. I want to embody Kratos, so absorbing is the presentation for me.

And few games manage such a singular tone and vision as the rage and vengeance of the tale and character of Kratos. I know some think the character tedious or offensive, but I find a beautiful simplicity to his nature. Sure you could reduce him to a basic anti-hero, or maybe just a plain villain, depending on your point of view. But for me, that misses the inescapable duality of all things, the yin/yang complexity of all beings and circumstances. Yes, he'll kill anything in his way. He's without conscience, savage and just utterly ruthless. He will get what he wants at all costs. But the sliver of light within that darkness is his strength of purpose. He has an absolutely indomitable will and exists almost as a force of nature. He will not be stopped and I find that singular vision and focus to be somewhat redeeming and most certainly entertaining. He has a direction and he will not be moved off course even if it means circumventing death itself. I know some would deride God of war as a simple power fantasy, and I say, what's wrong with that? We're all pretty helpless in the grand scheme of things, and it can be incredibly cathartic to fantasize about breaking free of our shackles and rising above our challenges. Kratos is an unstoppable rebel who will not allow circumstance to overcome him. He is anti-establishment to the nth degree, toppling gods in his quest for his own sense of justice. Power fantasy - yes, and I have no shame in surrendering to it. Life is better with fantasy in my opinion.

No game is free of room to improve, no matter how much you might love it, and God of War does some things that can be frustrating at times. The platforming in the series has never been very good. It's awkward and feels as if little attention was given to it. And while I love all the dvd/blu-ray style extras with all the videos and things, I have to say that the challenges aren't really well-designed or very well balanced. They're more annoying than fun. And the combat itself is nowhere near top-shelf character action gaming. It's adequate, but if you're looking for depth and lots of flexibility and subtlety, you'll have to look elsewhere. But those things don't really detract from the overall fun here. God of War is a great series, and the third entry is a wonderful climax to the legend of Kratos. 5/5.

Replay #3

The Pinball Arcade (PC)



Whether or not pinball qualifies for the category of "video game" aside, I adore the activity. And in the case of The Pinball Arcade, I'm playing with controller in-hand in front of a monitor, so for me, I'll count it. This collections has (well, had, but I still own them) so many recreations of great classic tables from the arcades. They are all lovingly recreated by Farsight, despite some quality control issues resulting in a few bugs. But the art-work, sounds, and feel of the many tables are all incredibly well done. Virtual pinball won't ever perfectly recreate the feeling of a real table, but this is about as good as it gets. It will always remain in my rotation. 5/5.

Ok, that's all the games I replayed. I'll update as time allows. Next up I'll start my countdown. Feel free to share your thoughts.
 
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Perrott

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Feb 23, 2019
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My 2019 highlights in gaming:
  • Playing through Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for the first time, a mind-blowing experience and one of my all-time favorites from now on.
  • Revisiting Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy. I had a blast earning the 100% in each game.
  • Acquire all of the DLC packs released for DriveClub before they were delisted from the Store and getting to play DriveClub Bikes.
  • Discover some of Housemarque's work (Resogun and Alienation) with PS Now. Those two games are incredibly fun and I can't wait to see what they do next with their first AAA action title.
  • Death Stranding's release. The game finally came out and lived up to my expectations.
  • Persona 5, which is the first JRPG I've ever played and also one of the greatest games on the PS4.
 

rofif

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Sep 13, 2019
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I actually do a list every year in order. Note - it does not say if I played it first time or was it a replay (like Gears trilogy I play every year)

Resident Evil 2 Remake (Leon A, Claire B)
Metro Exodus
Sekiro
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Crackdown 3
Job Simulator
Warhammer 40k: Chaosbane (coop)
Gears of War 1 (coop)
Gears of War 2 (coop)
Gears of War 3 (coop)
Gears of War 4 (coop)
PT
Broforce (coop 100%)
Expendabros (coop)
Crimsonland (coop)
Resident Evil 5 (coop)
Resident Evil 6 (coop)
Control
Earth Defense Force 5 (coop)
Gears 5 (coop)
Earth Defense Force 4.1 (coop)
Earth Defense Force 2017 (coop)
Beginner's Guide
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (coop)
Everybody's Gone to Rapture
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (coop)
Lost Planet 2 (coop)
Death Stranding
 
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xrnzaaas

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Dec 9, 2013
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- A year of mostly PS4 gaming for me. I'm regretting the decision of not buying a PS4 Pro last year, especially after the experience of playing Control on the console.
- I think I've dropped the Xbox One for good this year. Used cheap Game Pass subs only to continue playing Forza Horizon 4 (zero interest in other exclusives), but I'm already bored with the current formula of the series.
- Moving even further away from PC gaming, not necessarily because of having a very weak PC. It's just more comfortable to play on the PS4.
- Not the strongest year in terms of new games. I loved Control and RE2, but there were more great games in previous years.
- My backlog became even bigger lol.
 

Shadowstar39

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Apr 25, 2018
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Started off 2019 with Resident evil 2 with Claire playthrogh. Love that game.

Went back to beat far cry 5 and ac origins didn't beat either.

Staterd days gone and dq11.

Got a switch
And a massed over 60 titles in almost a years ownership.
Fire emblem 3 houses
Botw
DQ builders 2
Doom3
Dq 11
Mario odyssey
Ac 3
Witcher 3
Torchlight 2
Diablo 3
Dragons dogma
Skyrim


Have all been great on switch as some standouts. Just bought all the Ad&d titles released on it except nwn (waiting for price drop for that).

Also my comfort game: pinball fx3. Rebought most tables for switch as I own them on ps3, vita and ps4 but love pinball. Miffed about pinball arcade. I have a slew of tables on ps3 that only 2 would transfer to ps4 yet pinball fx I was able to transfer most. Sucks they lost the Williams/bally license

On ps4 I am working on greedfall.
Have borderlands 3
Modern warfare
Kingdom come
Vampyr
Far cry 5
And a slew of AC games in my back log.

I really need to stick to one game and beat it like I did with Resident evil 2. I tend to shift from game to game. Sales don't help this situation and the backlog is a mile long.
 

synchronicity

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Dec 16, 2011
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My 2019 highlights in gaming:

  • Discover some of Housemarque's work (Resogun and Alienation) with PS Now. Those two games are incredibly fun and I can't wait to see what they do next with their first AAA action title.

I am convinced that Housemarque couldn't make a bad game if they tried.
 
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Nightrunner

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Sep 5, 2019
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I don't make any lists or anything but:

Resident Evil 2
Devil May Cry 5
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Ace Combat 7
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)
Astral Chain (Switch)
Luigi's Mansion 3 (Switch)
Bloodstained: CotM and RotN
Cricket 19 (PS4)
Blaster Master Zero
Katamari Damacy Reroll
Metal Wolf Chaos XD
The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Dreams
Return of the Obra Dinn
Shenmue I&II (PS4)
Yakuza 0 and Kiwami (PS4)

There's a few more but I'm pretty sure these are most of the highlights of my year. I've beaten all of them except Cricket 19.
As you can see these are pretty rookie numbers. Anything that doesn't have a platform next to it was on PC (Steam).
 

Danjin44

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I played:

Astral Chain
Sekiro
Fire Emblem Three Houses
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Kingdom Hearts 3
Luigi's Mansion 3
Catherine Full Body
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night and Curse of the moon
Dragon Quest XI S
Daemon X Machina
Tales of Vasperia Definitive Edition
Persona Q2

I replayed Bloodborne several times and currently playing original Resident Evil Remake and replay Resident Evil 2Remake after that before Resident Evil 3 Remake comes out.

My biggest highlight this year were:

Astral Chain
Sekiro
Fire Emblem Three Houses
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Luigi's Mansion 3


I honestly loved every game I played this year this why I never understand why some people could consider this year terrible for games.
 
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synchronicity

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#42 Who's Your Daddy (PC)



Curiosity got the best of me here. I think this was a toss-in in some humble bundle - I know I didn't willingly pay for it anyway. Here you have a game with a set of challenges in a dad vs baby arena, the family home. As the dad you've got cleaning chores, clean the pool or clean the poop where you have to find and discard all the stray poops in the house. (Doesn't this baby wear a diaper?) As the baby you are tasked with doing harmful things that would hurt you and / or annoy the dad - things like eat the batteries, drink the bleach, etc. You are supposed to try and do all these activities as fast as you can, with a timer and high-score keeping being your carrot-on-a-stick. And if I were to offer the faintest of praise, I suppose the music could be worse, and the game was so bad that it didn't take much time to dismiss it. I guess in premise, it has a bit of potential at least in the way of humor, but the controls, my god the controls. Just wretched. I can only imagine whoever made this has virtually zero experience in game development. If not, they should be ashamed and find a new career. You get stuck on everything, the camera is really bad. Everything is just an absolute chore, no pun intended. It's incredibly rare that I hand out a 1/5, as I can almost always find some redeeming qualities worth pushing it up to a 2/5, but this abomination earns its badge of dishonor. Putrid. 1/5.

#41 Contrast (PS4)




I always like to keep my gaming plate full of side dishes. There are the staples - the games that I know I'll love and really get lost in, but I also like to cleanse my palate and develop appreciation for new tastes with as many exotic experiences as I can. Thankfully with Humble Bundle, Steam Sales, GOG and PS+, I never run out of flavors to taste. With so many options to explore, I sometimes like to just blindly pull random things from the pile and see how they fare. This was how I approached Contrast by developer Compulsion Games - who also later developed We Happy Few, which I have not played. The main gameplay hook revolves around blending into the background as a shadow, using and manipulating (via in-game light sources) environmental shadows so that they can function as platforms for your shadow self in order to move to otherwise unreachable areas. It was a novel concept and props to the developer for doing something a bit different. There was a story tying all the traversal together, but I found it to be cloying, rather poorly acted, and just not very interesting. I also found the platforming itself to be clumsy and tedious with a selection of uninspired puzzles layered atop the problematic mechanics. Actually the thing I liked the most about the game was the jazz tune that played on the title screen. Had I known how I would ultimately have felt about this one, I would have just listened to the tune a few times and uninstalled. I did finish it, despite the progressively annoying feeling that accompanied my time with the game however. It wasn't very long, and it wasn't really worth playing in retrospect. A 2/5.

#40 Crash Bash (PS1)



Having enjoyed Sony's unofficial PS1 mascot, Crash Bandicoot, on that amazing console, I thought I'd give an entry in the franchise I hadn't experienced a chance to impress. I've never been much into the mini-game compilations. I've only played one entry in the Mario Party franchise - MP10 for the WiiU, and I found it mediocre at best. And I didn't really plan on playing Crash Bash in multiplayer, which is asking a game in this genre to excel in ways that aren't its natural strengths. However, there was a single player campaign mode, so I don't think it's unfair to review this on those merits.

Of course the typical Crash vibe is there for the most part, despite being developed by now-defunct Eurocom. I'm sure they had access to whatever they needed to bring the proper presentation to this party game. And the structure and tone are very reminiscent of Naughty Dog's work with this character. There are hub worlds with trophies, gems and crystals to collect along with bosses to fight and an overarching narrative centering on a contest between Aku Aku and Uka Uka over the determining the stronger force between good and evil. Everything seemed very "Crash-ish", and I was excited to dig in.

...However. The mini-games just weren't that fun. Some were better than others, but overall they just felt very uninspired, and too many of them were slight variants of the same few games. I'm sure it's more fun in multiplayer, but honestly having experienced the games on offer, I think it would probably be only marginally so. I won't go into great detail because it's really not worth the extra time. If you're curious, pick it up, but I would keep expectations modest. Bad Bandicoot. 2/5.
 
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AbZeroNow

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Nov 2, 2019
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Got a Switch Switch this year.

Have played:
Blaster Master Zero (finished)
Sega AGES: Phantasy Star (finished)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (finished all main story)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
I am Setsuna (finished)
Wonder Boy The Dragon's Trap (dropped near the end)
Retro City Rampage DX
Dragon Quest I (finished)
Golf Story
Stardew Valley
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Dragon Quest II
Antiquia Lost

Really enjoyed Skyrim. Loving my playthroughs of Stardew Valley and Breath of the Wild. I also have Namco Museum, Link's Awakening and Mega Man 11 in my yet-to-play physical backlog.
 

Eimran

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Apr 5, 2018
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I gave up on my PS3 backlog which i really tried to finish.

This year I finished :

Red Dead redemption 2
God of war
Spiderman
Uncharted 4
Crash team racing
Dragon Quest XI
Metal gear solid V

An amazing year for games
 

synchronicity

Member
Dec 16, 2011
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#39 The Stanley Parable (PC)



I may not be the right target audience for The Stanley Parable. I'm not particularly enamored with somewhat pretentious, meta, non-game experiences for the most part. I mean, it's possible that they can be done well, but I just usually end up wishing for a more traditional gaming experience with more interaction. However, I knew that The Stanley Parable was well-loved, and I thought why not? You arrive inside a soul-crushing office atmosphere where you are a character that simply pushes buttons on his computer according to prompts-given, and you do this all-day, everyday according to the introductory narrative. Knowing this, coupled with the pretty authentic drab office environments presented here, is enough to immediately place anyone who's ever worked in an office setting (me) and did not feel at home in that environment into a place of unease. I think the effect may have been less impactful for someone who enjoys office work or who has never worked in such a place. In this Parable, you are immediately introduced to a narrator that who is now telling you what you should do - strangely enough given the idea from the introduction that you were simply following keyboard prompts continuously. Of course, here's where the gist of the game comes into play. You can now free yourself from your instruction, if you wish, and see different things. The narrator is the quick-talking, sharp-witted, Monty Python British-type, which I have no problem with, but it did add an extra layer of pretentiousness for me. The bigger problem is that, like many experiences of this type, there just isn't really much game here at all. You're supposed to be impressed with the commentary the game is making, but I want to play something interesting, not just be shown how witty a game (thinks it) can be. There was a lukewarm payoff for exiting the stuffy office - were you to make your way to that ending, one of several in this very brief pseudo-game, but it just wasn't enough for me to be able to give this a recommendation. I'm standing outside the crowd on this one. A 2/5.

#38 Knack (PS4)



Having heard a fair bit of apathy towards Knack, I admittedly went into it a bit skeptical, but still hopeful. I don't let the chorus of the crowd sway me in my personal experience. If a game is enjoyable to me, the whole world can hate it for all I care. And I do enjoy mascot platformers very much when they're done well. And even if they aren't spectacular, it's a genre that I can usually enjoy if things are at least competent in their execution. I will say that Knack was technically adequate. Things looked crisp and solid, and everything moved fine. The controls were responsive enough, and I didn't find myself fighting with them.

However, that's about all the praise I am willing to surrender to Knack. In terms of presentation, the graphics sit in a really weird place, walking a line between whimsical and serious, not falling firmly in either category. And while technically competent, oh my did I find things to be artistically rather poor. The main character was composed of lots of little floating bits that looked really messy and unappealing to me, and to make things worse had an uninteresting personality. In terms of the action, everything was just tedious. Despite being responsive, the enemies attacks, along with Knack's cumbersome movement, just left a lot to be desired. They worked fine, but they were most definitely not fun or exciting in any way. If I were to sum up the essence of my time with Knack in a single word it would be "dull". There is just nothing exciting about it. Granted I didn't play the whole game, but I gave it a few chapters to impress - probably a couple of hours in total - and all I wanted to do during that time was play something else. There's just no charm or entertainment here. There are worse games out there, but Knack isn't worth my time. 2/5.

#37 No One Can Stop Mr. Domino (PS1)



Part of what I love about the PS1 generation is the fact that things were awkward and experimental in the transition from 2D to 3D. It was like the Wild West of gaming where everyone just kind of had to figure things out in this lawless land. That led to a great deal of creativity in this environment where the "best" methods weren't established and so heavily relied upon from concept through development. The result is that there were many titles with a very unique, one-of-a-kind feel. So it is with No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, a game where you embody the role of a living domino who is trying to set up domino chains in order to trigger certain tiles on the floor so that you can clear a set of 6 levels in puzzle fashion. There are tiles to slow you down, speed you up, trip you, get in your way and a pretty large variety of other effects. There are also tiles in the environment that, when triggered by your falling dominoes, will effect other elements, causing things to land on your "board" which can continue a chain of already placed dominoes. You can really set up a long complex Rube Goldberg of sorts, which is satisfying to see unfold. Conceptually and in terms of presentation, I thought it was really interesting and unique.

Unfortunately, the isometric perspective made switching to the right lane on the ground pretty awkward at times which really diminished my enjoyment. Time limits/stamina also felt too strict. It felt like you had to spend your time figuring out the perfect run in order to complete levels most of the time, and I didn't find that to be very fun. And if you do know what to do, the game can be beaten in under an hour, although figuring things out on your own in order to set up the perfect chains would likely take a while. To be fair, puzzle games are not my favorite genre, despite really enjoying some entries, and I did very much respect the creativity and personality Artdink brought to the table with Mr. Domino. But I play games to have good time, not to acknowledge creativity that doesn't personally resonate with me. I just didn't really enjoy this game as much as I wish I did. I'm sure for some, it would be fantastic, but for me, it's a 2/5.
 

synchronicity

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Dec 16, 2011
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#36 Rule of Rose (PS2)



I love survival horror in all its various flavors from the super dark and serious to the more campy genre entries. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I suppose there's just something about me that is drawn to the shadows. Despite my love, there are many titles I've yet to experience in this interesting genre, but I continue to go back to earlier offerings as well as sample the latest. I had long been interested in Rule of Rose, a title that is known for its mixed reception but probably more so for its rarity and "collectibility". And it has been sitting in my backlog for years, so I finally decided to give it a chance.

I try to remain as spoiler free as possible, even for games that I'm not particularly drawn to just in case I play them at some point. So I knew little about Rule of Rose other than the fact that it seemed to have creepy little girls as the character vehicles. In fact the narrative revolves around a collection of children of both genders, although the primary players are girls - mean, twisted little girls. That fact alone makes Rule of Rose fairly unique, and I have to give credit for being a bit different in that regard. The exploration of children's tendency to embrace cruelty is fertile ground for a work of horror, and could offer some genuine and disturbing content.

Unfortunately, I say "could offer" because I sadly found Rule of Rose to lack any real sense of fright in the end. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that the jazzy soundtrack, while not poor in isolation, doesn't suit the mood I look for in a scary game. It's off-beat and twisted, but without the darkness attached. It never contributed to any sense of dread or built an ominous atmosphere for me, and sound design is crucial for my enjoyment, and especially so within this genre. With that crucial strike already against it, the burden fell upon the gameplay to pick up the slack, and rather than doing the heavy lifting to compensate, it stumbled as well. Movement was slow and cumbersome, The combat was very awkward and clunky, something that isn't necessarily uncommon within the genre, but it's a notch below the modest expectations I already afford survival horror titles. And the camera work was poor. The regularly shifting perspectives that don't acknowledge continuity of controller stick direction and engagement caused awkward and disorienting movement through the environments at times. Finally, while the narrative may have had some dark themes and events, the presentation of those themes never landed with the intensity that matched the concepts. Everything ended up feeling more hokey than terrifying, despite its darker moments and in contrast to its intent. All things combined, Rule of Rose was lacking the sinister tone or sense of menace you might find in Silent Hill, Fatal Frame and the like, and it was also lacking the fun of classic Resident Evil and its ilk. It just didn't have any strengths that were strong enough for me to give a recommendation. I know there are some who really love it, but despite my affinity for the genre, I struggle to see what they appreciate. Subpar and a regrettable 2/5.

#35 One Piece Mansion (PS1)



One Piece Mansion by Capcom, not to be confused with the anime of similar name, is a quirky puzzle game where you play a landlord who must manage the satisfaction of the tenants so that you collect more rent as well as build more space (and elevators) to house more tenants. The crux of the game is that all the tenants - represented by connected and movable apartment cubes - influence the neighbors around them in positive or negative ways and sometimes both. The type of influence is represented by positive (green) arrows and negative (red) arrows. Tenants can have a multitude of arrows pointing in all four cardinal points as well as at angles. If tenants get too stressed by aggravating (red arrow) neighbors, they will vacate and you will lose income. If you reach zero dollars, it's game over. There are also a variety of "bully" tenants that can move in and cause all sorts of disruption which you must account for by chasing them throughout the building and blowing your whistle to stop their mischief. There are also bosses that appear across the games 7 stages which can be dispatched by raising their stress levels in the same way other occupants see their levels raised. In essence, you are just placing and moving boxes around to prevent negative meters from rising with the backdrop of housing to give flavor. The nuts and bolts were serviceable if not particularly compelling, and the presentation was off-beat and felt very Japanese. The whole thing can be beaten pretty quickly, although there is an endless mode if you wish to further your investment. Overall, I thought it was pretty decent. It's certainly not in the must-play category in the vast PS1 library, but you could do worse. A soft 3/5.

#34 What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4)



What Remains of Edith Finch was a title that had received significant praise, and a part of me can see the appeal. You return to the structurally whimsical house of your family heritage to explore the various rooms that had been suddenly abandoned at some point and relive the histories of the individual members of this long-cursed family. There is a lot of environmental story telling, and the house itself was really unique and fun to explore. Meeting the odd and tragic characters of the history of the Finch family had its moments, but overall I found it to be a rather forgettable experience. Nothing necessarily off-putting, it just didn't do anything remarkable for me. I will say that I am very pleased to have saved $20 thanks to this being offered in PS+ because I had considered getting it on Steam several times. It's brief, and there are worse time-wasters out there, but it doesn't have enough oomph to receive my recommendation. A lukewarm 3/5.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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- played a ton of Dodonpachi Daioujou. I'd guess at least 400 more hours of time invested, especially during the first half of the year when I played every day, 30+m a day. I didn't get the 1-ALL yet.

- played a ton of Diablo 3, starting in October. Fell in love with the game all over again. The modern version of this game feels more like a successor to Gauntlet than to Diablo 1/2 which I think is a good direction for the series.

- finally completed my first playthrough of Breath of the Wild, a game I've been slowly chipping at since I bought my Switch at launch. Over 150 hours and there were many more things that I still wish to explore.

- Detective Pikachu on 3DS ended up being one of my favorites this year. Charming story and excellent exploration of the Pkmn world

- Monster Hunter Stories was better than I expected. Charming RPG for MH fans, but pretty easy/short.

- I sunk a good amount of time into Sin & Punishment and RE 4 on the Wii.

Didn't play a single game from 2019 except Ring Fit Adventure which I don't think really counts.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Monster Hunter is one of those series that I'm sure I'll love, but I've never made time to play an entry. Maybe in 2020.
Stories is actually just a traditional turn-based JRPG + monster raising + eggs + saddling your monster + flying over the map on the back of a dragon. It would be a great way to dip your toe into the world's lore, as long as you don't mind a more kid-friendly JRPG storyline.
 
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badboyyy

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Last year was the same problem for me, this year too, I bought so many games, 90% they are new wrapped in paper. In 2020 my resolution are max ten games, but I dont no what will be when I loose my head in sales.

On another note
- my main consoles was ps4 and nsw
- one month we had challenge, so I played only on ps2, so many great games and memories (i hope we can do this in 2020 only with different console)
- my friend repaired my sega saturn plus i can play any game i want on this machine.
- got ossc, its incredible for retro consoles on new tvs
- got gamecube with hdmi port
- participated with one big retro gaming family in Lithuania, we had party, many consoles, street fighter tournament and have great time. Now we have second big meeting in january
- created blog gaming site - gamelement, we have now 4 members
- Love gaming world, but spending much more time in other activities

So yeah it was good year, but I need to comeback in more gaming, and I have special list of 25 games to my 2020 year.
 
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Siri

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Sep 1, 2019
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For me this year was all about the hardware - a sudden impulsive purchase of a brand new liquid cooled Bolt-X from Digital Storm (9900k - RTX 2080 TI) followed by an astonishingly unexpected move to a 55 inch 4K OLED screen from LG.

No way did I see OLED/4K/G-sync coming to the PC. A completely transformative monitor that has renewed my passion for gaming. Those black levels! Those colours! That screen size! Will be even more amazing when Nvidia releases an HDMI 2.1 GPU - 120Hz G-Sync!
 
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Nice idea for a thread! This year felt so grand for me in gaming, that I don't think I'll remember all the things that happened game wise this year with me, so I'll try to make a concise write up of the major highlights of this video game year of 2019:

The games: Many major releases left an impression on me, even if they didn't come out 100% how I wanted them to be like, such as Resident Evil 2 2019, Devil May Cry 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I am glad I gave them all a chance and got to experience them.

Hardware: The major thing in hardware that happened this year for me was getting a VR headset, the HTC Vive, for the PC! I'm proud of myself for being able to pull off getting it. Because of the Steam oriented nature of the Vive, most of the VR games had this indie feel to them. They were still great fun to play, including the likes of Jet Island, Beat Saber, Moss, non game stuff like Google Earth VR. Since this is a PC headset, you can do things like play Gamecube games in VR! That alone was incredible, and certain Gamecube games in VR are more well done than certain actual VR releases.

Misc game writeups:

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:



One of the best impulse buys I've made in a while. This is my first Igavania, and glad I got it on launch day. I recall watching one of the videos on the Kickstarter page, and at some point wishlisted it...then fast forward to the release day, and I had more than enough to get it and I pulled the trigger on it...it really paid off because it felt both new and familiar at the same time. It has new mechanics to it that felt satisfying to use, certain rooms have the scenery rotate which is more immersive in a 2.5d game than initially expected, yet had familiar elements like excellent melodic music, nice characters/story, etc. In 2019 I'd never imagine playing such a game that felt like an old school Japanese developed game!

Shenmue 3:



Shenmue 3...a Dreamcast like game in 2019? It was more up my alley than expected! The recap movie included with it helped set the tone of the universe of the game and as such, was ready to continue where it left off after done watching it. It's an open world game...but guided in a sense because of the importance of the story. Even though there's a serious story at hand, many of the activities available are arcade-like in nature which helps put a silly spin on things. Also, the music. I dig the tone of the music in this game, it really matches the scenery and much of the time it's calming and serene. Small touches like the music that plays when you open your journal for example give this game a certain magic.
 

Birdo

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Jun 12, 2019
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I spent the year finishing games that I never did back in the day.

Test Drive II (SNES)
Rock and Roll Racing (SNES)
Pilotwings (SNES)
Puzzle Bobble (NeoGeo)
Final Fight (Arcade)
Galaxy Force 2 (Arcade)
Actually, there are far too many to list....
 
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Almost as bad as 2018. Nintendo gave up the entire first half of the year. Fire Emblem Three Houses' 4 playthrough concept was super repetitive. Astral Chain was kinda underwhelming. Link's Awakening was nice, but super short (6 hours). Then Pokemon turned out so bad I couldn't bring myself to buy it.

Xbox One was even worse. Gears of War 5 was the only fun game. I actually replayed Mass Effect Andromeda ...

The last game I truly enjoyed was xenoblade 2 in 2017 (+DLC in 2018). I'm not sure 2020 will be any better, uf botw2 ends up being delayed to 2021 and Xenoblade DE is monolith soft's only release next year :(
 
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Hostile_18

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For me this year was all about the hardware - a sudden impulsive purchase of a brand new liquid cooled Bolt-X from Digital Storm (9900k - RTX 2080 TI) followed by an astonishingly unexpected move to a 55 inch 4K OLED screen from LG.

No way did I see OLED/4K/G-sync coming to the PC. A completely transformative monitor that has renewed my passion for gaming. Those black levels! Those colours! That screen size! Will be even more amazing when Nvidia releases an HDMI 2.1 GPU - 120Hz G-Sync!

I've got no issue with OLED gaming (its the best way to play for visual quality) but are you worried about burn in from the task bar etc? :)

My year was mainly made up of replaying classics surprisingly. The Evil Within, Silent Hill, the Last of Us, Uncharted 1,2,3, 4 and Lost Legacy.

A few new games Crash Team Racing, Resident Evil 2, Days Gone, Plague Tale and Civ 6.

Much more excited about next year. Got Cyberpunk, Last of Us 2, Marvel Avengers, Remake 3, Final Fantasy 7 and Doom pre-ordered and paid for while I save for the PS5.
 
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synchronicity

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#33 Incredible Crisis (PS1)



I had an interest in Incredible Crisis for years. I knew it was a quirky game with a crazy story of a family that went through some insane scenarios, but I didn't know anything about the nuts and bolts of the game. I will say that the presentation certainly lived up to what I had imagined. There are some really outlandish circumstances that this family finds themselves going through, and from that standpoint, I really appreciated this title. From riding down the road in a gurney that had fallen out of an ambulance while trying to avoid oncoming traffic to trying to satisfy a sexy girl via massage that had gotten on a Ferris wheel with you (for some reason, lol), there are some humorous and silly events that really give the game a fun and enjoyably ridiculous feel. Unfortunately the execution of things left quite a bit to be desired for me. Some of the mini-games control quite poorly or awkwardly at least, and there is altogether too much button mashing for my tastes. If the actual mechanics were as compelling as the off-beat presentation, it could have been something really great, but as it is, I'm reluctant to wholeheartedly endorse it. The crisis was incredible, the gameplay not as much. Significantly better in concept than execution for this mildly disappointing, soft 3/5.

#32 Wild 9 (PS1)



From the Earthworm Jim developer, Shiny, Wild 9 was a sides-crolling platforming adventure released on the PS1 in September of 1998. You play the role of Wex Major, the California surfer sounding leader of the titular 9, who is on a quest with the other 8 to overthrow the evil Karn. Karn kidnaps every member of the group except for Wex, and he must rescue them on the way to his showdown with the focal point of this heroes journey. The game plays out on a 2.5d field where you move from platform to platform and dispatch enemies with your suit-mounted "rig" - an electrical arc sort of weapon that you can tether to baddies allowing you to torture, fling around and destroy them. You can also use this rig to attach to swing points that grant you to access higher areas than your normal jump would allow. In addition to the platforming stages there are some boss, chase and falling sequences that are interspersed in order to mix up the action. I found it to be graphically average and the game's primary grapple mechanic in the form of the rig was overused and became tedious in rather short order due to its limited utility and expression. I would have also appreciated more in-game narrative beats to push the action, as what we're left with pushes us to the manual for any sort of detail or context for the proceedings. It could also be confusing at times in terms of what platforms were accessible due to there being a bit of foreground/background elements to the navigation. Wild 9 certainly wasn't a bad game and it controlled well enough and did little to really offend. It just failed to make its presence felt. I've never played Earthworm Jim for comparison, but having played this it's not something I regret passing on back when it was fresh, in retrospect. It's in the low-mid tier of PS1 titles from my experience with the console's library. Perhaps worth giving a chance for the sake of curiosity, but I wouldn't recommend it were I restricted to the PS1 alone as a frame of reference, let alone in the larger context of the medium. Too many better options. A soft 3/5.

#31 Grow Home (PS4)



In Grow Home, your take on the persona of some sort of alien robot, and you are tasked with growing various plant shoots from the ground upwards towards your ship to return a seed of some sort. When you reach the plant buds, you can start the process of growing and connecting these stalks to various points needed in order to grow the plant upwards and progress. Each stalk when extended produces more buds, so it becomes possible to have a plant that is winding and twisting all over the place. There are also little crystals and other things to collect that can give you modest powers, like the ability to boost for a bit with your jump, but honestly they're not needed in order to progress and beat the game. The most enjoyable aspect of Grow Home was the sense of space and scale. The geometry is simple, allowing the engine to stretch and you can reach dizzying heights. I really found this aspect to be unique and enjoyable. I also felt a sense of satisfaction upon reaching new portals - terminals for fast travel on your journey upwards - because it's so easy to slip off and fall, which brings me to my biggest gripe. The controls can be really tedious and floaty. I've fallen many times while I'm sure I was gripping a surface. Perhaps my hand wasn't in position to grip, I don't know, but what I do know is that I felt very frustrated at times fighting with the game's interface. Couple that with a sometimes frustrating camera, and you can find yourself annoyed rather than having fun. However, the good here was good enough to see me back to the mothership in this brief adventure. In the end Grow Home was unique and did offer a fair bit of enjoyment, but it's not a must-play by any stretch. If you're curious, it won't take too much time to find out if it's worth it for you to make your way back home. A 3/5.

#30 Burly Men at Sea (PS4)



Have you ever wanted to hit the high seas in search of unknown adventures? Do you wish you were chunky and thickly-bearded? Well, I have good news for you - Burly Men at Sea may scratch those itches for you. BM@S is a short point and click adventure where you can set your sails into the unknown and see what you may find. It has an absolutely wonderful style. The minimalist art was striking. The music was great - whimsical and befitting a lighthearted set of adventures. The animations where well done. Granted you can "beat" the game in about 15-20 minutes, but that's only going out on a single adventure. If you want to see all the possible exploits of these burly men, you'll spend a couple of hours. I thought it was fun discovering the various paths and seeing what was possible for these three bearded and bulbous protagonists. I do have to acknowledge that there isn't really too much to it. It would have been nice to play something in this style with some more substance and meat on its bones (ironically). But, for what it was, I enjoyed it. Nowadays I wouldn't say I recommend any game I rate below a 4/5, and Burly Men is a soft 3/5 to me, but that's not to say it doesn't have merit. Give me something else in this style that I can really sink my teeth into and we'll talk.
 

Collz69

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Sep 19, 2019
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As I get older I seem to have become meaner when it comes buying games it’s a combination of having less time to play and therefore needing to make the most of the gaming time I do have, I can’t afford to waste time on crappy games, Xbox Game pass, steam and humble bundle haven’t helped either. I never buy games at full price anymore or when they are first released, I tend to wait for games to show up on game pass and I do buy a few SNES & Super Famicom carts each year, anyway this year I have spent most of my time on these games:

Hearthstone (PC)
Halo Wars 2 (XBOX)
Super Mario World (SNES)
Super Mario all Stars (SNES)
The Gardens Between (XBOX)
Super Bomberman 2 (SFC)
The Legend of Zelda LTTP (SNES)
Lemmings (SNES)
Sim City (SNES)
Pokemon Fire Red (GBA)
Pokemon Silver (GBA)
Subnautica (XBOX)
Age of Empires 2 DE (PC)
Slay the Spire (PC)
Starcraft Remastered (PC)
Battlefield 5 (XBOX)
 
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synchronicity

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#29 Onrush (PS4)



Finding myself in the mood for a racer, I picked up Onrush for the PS4. I knew little of the title other than it was developed by Codemasters who certainly have a fine pedigree within the genre, so I assumed it was a pretty safe bet that I would have a good time. I did enjoy the handling and fairly nice sense of speed on offer, and the tracks were large and wide, looking nice enough as well. There were also plenty of jumps to get your air on, and I always appreciate that sensation. What I learned after picking up the controller, however, is that this is not a traditional racer. It's more of a squad-based racer (with single player incorporation of AI teammates too) where you compete in non-traditional events to accumulate team points and earn victory in a variety of methods other than trying to make your way to the front of the pack against the field. In the way of example, "Lockdown" mode has you and your team trying to gain control of a moving zone by positioning yourself within its confines. The team that manages to maintain greatest control of the zone eventually wins the "race". It's always nice when a developer attempts innovation, but change doesn't always result in something better, in the end, and here I found myself missing the conventional "be the lead dog" type of racing. In addition to not really clicking with this twist on the genre, I found the presentation to be incredibly try-hard and overly edgy. It had the flavor of having been developed by a teen. It was so over the top that it almost felt tongue-in-cheek. If that was indeed the intention, they didn't make it clear enough to let the player in on the joke, and honestly I don't think it was satire at all - just cringe. Despite my issues with the game, it's certainly not awful. It's mechanically competent and has its good points, but for me there was just nothing to pull me in here, nothing that made me want to invest my time in any significant portion. Not bad, but for me, it's a tepid 3/5. Codemasters has proven that they are certainly capable of better.

#28 We Are Doomed (PS4)



I really love good twin-stick shooters. Dating back to Robotron, they can really be a great time when at their best, so I'm always willing to spin the wheel on one. We Are Doomed is a 2015 release that was sitting in my PS+ list, so I decided to try it out. The graphics are simple but colorful and effective, if a little too busy. The music is nicely done - maybe the best part of the experience. You can build up a super shot by collecting random drops that will give you a short-lived but powerful and screen extending are of attack. With some of the highs of this genre in the aforementioned Robotron (still great after all these years), Super Stardust, Dead Nation, and many others, however, you have to be quite special to stand out. In this case unfortunately we are doomed to mediocrity. It's not bad, but no reason to play it over better genre options. 3/5.

#27 Entwined (PS4)



Rummaging through the endless list of accumulated PS+ titles that rest in my maybe-I'll-play-it-one-day-but-no-big-deal-if-I-don't backlog, I stumbled upon Entwined. I knew very little about it, but for whatever reason, I found myself installing it. After having played the brief campaign I found it to be a combination of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, REZ and Tempest - the old arcade game. Let me clarify. You are tasked with manipulating both stick independently - an orange being, a fish I think, and a blue being which I believe was a bird of some kind. You have to line up these creatures with their respective colors - areas of color that are constantly changing in front of you. Sometimes the colors unite and you have to unite the two being in a shade of green. Other times the patches of color are moving which requires you to change your position relative to their ongoing movements, and sometimes both color areas are moving in different ways which becomes a sort of rub your belly while patting your head type of sensation. Some areas were more challenging that others, but it was pretty forgiving because the ultimate goal is to build up enough color through correct syncing with the onscreen color patches that the two disparate beings connect to open up an end level sort of majesty where you fly around united as one. You are only penalized a bit for missing, and you have unlimited (I assume) time to build up that connection again so that the two beings can unite. So it was like Brothers in that you were independently controlling actions with each stick. In terms of audiovisual presentation, I found it to be quite well done, and I thought it established an excellent mood. The visuals were bright, vivid and otherworldly and evoked the sensation I had while playing REZ or Child of Eden minus the "shooting". I really enjoyed the whole vibe established in Entwined. Thematically the idea of uniting to become one is a beautiful theme and I thought it handled the concept well. In terms of Tempest, I was reminded of that old arcade game because despite traveling forward and not shooting anything, you are really just moving around the circumference of a circle in the foreground. Despite enjoying it for what it was, it never reached the heights of REZ or Child of Eden for me. It was on the right track, but lacked some of the style that made those games a cut above. Also the conclusion of the last level had you searching for other flying beings to connect with your united being and they were very hard to locate and pace-ruining, even though the area was very small. I don't know who designed it, but it was very frustrating and soured me a bit on the overall experience. In the end, I did enjoy it, but it wasn't something that I would consider a must-play by any means. If you're in the mood for a brief mood piece, you could certainly do worse though. 3/5.
 
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Curiously enough, 2019 started and ended with SRPGs for me: Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem Awakening.

This year, just like the last, has been an exploration of the 3DS library. I played (chronologically):

- Bravely Default: very well crafted game but I noped the f out at chapter 5

- Pokémon Alpha Sapphire: solid remake although I wasnt' as thrilled as I expected knowing that Emerald is my favorite Pokémon game

- Virtue's Last Reward: for me to enjoy and finish a visual novel, it has to be really good. VLR blew my mind more than once and I loved the presentation of the game as well as the characters and most of the puzzles (thank God I can YouTube my way through the most confusing ones)

- Xenoblade Chronicles: lived up to the internet hype and then some. I mean this game has like two prologues and they're both super epic. The story is very well paced and never runs out of steam. Great game on all fronts. It's fascinating to see how Xenoblade is different from Xenogears and Xenosaga. Oh and I fucking love British dubs (ALLEY OOP!)

- Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies: I found the second case too longwinded and not very engaging, but the rest of the game is great. The final case has so many twists and turns and solving it was incredibly satisfying. Simon Blackquill is the highlight of the cast for me (SILENCE!).

- Fire Emblem: Awakening: the gameplay is very enjoyable and Lon'qu is an untouchable one-man army. However, I was disappointed by the bare-bones story, worldbuilding and characterization.

Aside from the 3DS, I was surprised to see Sonic Adventure 2 available on Humble Bundle and bought it for like $2.9. I forgot how annoying Pumpkin Hill was, but the rest of the game is a nostalgia rush for me. I also got to play to King of Fighters XIII which is incredibly fun. Lastly, I bought a few PS4 games on a discount in anticipation of me getting a PS4 next year.
 

Fbh

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Dec 6, 2013
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If I remember correctly:

-Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Was surprisingly fun with enjoyable missions, fun gameplay and a nice pacing. Played the DK expansion too which was also great
-Fire Emblem Path of Radiance: Dear Nintendo can we go back to this type of FE?
-Sekiro: GOTY
-Cadence of Hyrule: Never played their previous game but I loved the rhythm based gameplay and how despite the unique concept it sill managed to feel like a classic Zelda adventure. Liked it better than Link's Awakening to be honest
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Torna The Golden Country: I liked the improved combat and nice music but the story was disappointing.
- Spiderman Ps4: Great game that nailed the spiderman feeling with great swinging, fun combat and a city that feels alive. I like their take on Spidey more than any of the recent movies and the visuals are fantastic
-Vakyria Chronicles 4: A bit too similar to the first one for my taste, but great nonetheless.
- Astral Chain: Great new IP by Platinum. I really liked the detective angle and the unique twist to the combat system. This is also easily one of the best looking switch games.
- Detroit Become Human: Their best game to date.... which sadly isn't saying much as it's still mostly a bad movie that makes you play the boring bits that movies usually skip
- Overcooked 1 and 2: Some of the most fun local coop I've played in years.
- Links Awakening: Was ok, I can definitely see why so many people loved it back in the day though. The performance issues were annoying though.
- Digimon Story cyber Sleuth: Almost the pokemon game I've always wanted if the pacing was faster, it had less filler stuff and the story was a bit better
- DMC5: Great game that didn't quite live up to the hype for me.

Replayed:
- Tales of Vesperia: Had never actually finished it. Still think it's one of the better entries in the franchise with one of the best casts. It's always refreshing to play an JRPG where the main character isn't the blandest and most boring character in the game
- Dragons Dogma on PC: Combat is still great and the 60fps make a big difference. I had also never played the expansion which was fantastic and, IMO, better than the core game.

Playing right now:
- Jedi Fallen Order: Bought it yesterday and only got to play like an hour.... 30 minutes of which was playing around with the settings to get the right balance between visuals and performance on my low end setup. But it seems fun so far


Might be missing some. Will update if I remember them
 
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synchronicity

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Dec 16, 2011
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#26 Among The Sleep (PC)



In Among the Sleep, you inhabit the world of a toddler - a 2-year old who has just celebrated his birthday and received a teddy bear as a present. The first thing that deserves mention is the use of perspective and environmental cues to really place you in the role of a small child. I don't think I've ever played a game that has done this - not that I can remember anyway - and it's done very well here. As this little child, you find yourself in a sort of nightmare situation, for reasons that will eventually become apparent. You find yourself solving some soft puzzles related to your mother in some dark environments with an occasional appearance of a monster who you need to hide from. You can hug your teddy bear in order to provide light in darker places, and you can crawl in order to move faster. The whole experience is over rather quickly - 2 hours or so - and the biggest impact for me was in relation to the narrative itself. Without going into spoiler territory, I find it easy to empathize with a small, helpless child. I think it's a perspective that most can sympathize with, and here I really felt for this fictional being. It's not a great game, but it is unique and deserves props for that. I love things that push the borders of this medium, and despite my issues with length and the voice of the teddy bear - which I did not like - I thought this was pretty interesting. I can't give it more than a 3/5, but I don't regret playing it.

#25 Roll Away (PS1)



Have you ever wanted to be a beach ball in a world of puzzles? Well, Roll Away for the PS1 has you covered. I will freely admit as a sort of disclaimer that puzzle games are certainly not my favorite genre. It's not that I don't like puzzles within, or outside of, video games for that matter. It's just that when the entire focus of a game is on puzzles, I usually end up finding things tedious sooner or later. It takes a really special sort of puzzle game to maintain the sense of fun for me when that's the whole experience. I will immediately acknowledge that Roll Away is a good puzzle game...quite good. The presentation is slick with nice music, menus, sounds and has a very clean, minimalist look. The controls are snappy and responsive. And the puzzles themselves are often engaging, and grow to be pretty tough as they are thrown at you via a nice and gradual learning curve across the large number of challenges on offer. The nature of the puzzles requires you to collect keys and scoring tokens while avoiding traps and hazards as you hop and roll around various platforms floating in space. You need very good (virtual) spatial awareness oftentimes as things can quickly become disorienting as the difficulty ramps up. Overall, not knowing too much about this game before going in, I found it to be better, more involving and deeper than I was expecting. Having said that, it also fell prey to my personal gaming idiosyncrasies. I'm just very finicky are hard to please with regards to this genre. For me, it was a 3/5, but I could easily see someone who just loves puzzle games rating this much higher. I did enjoy myself, but not enough for a strong personal recommendation.

#24 Mad Max (PS4)



I've never been the biggest fan of the Mad Max universe. I don't feel strongly one way or another, but I love Just Cause 2 by the developer, and when their take on the franchise was added to PS+ I thought I'd give it a try. I think the thing that made the strongest positive impression was the world itself. Avalanche did a great job conveying the hot, dry, corroded and rusty, parched and dusty, desperate struggle for water, fuel and survival in their depiction of the dystopian wasteland. Everything was suitably hopeless and chaotic, and really reflected my memories of the feel of the films. There was also a great deal of attention given to building the world outside of the visual presentation. There were plenty of character and environment bios you could read through to further flesh things out, if you were so inclined. All in all, the stage was nicely-set for a trip into this beloved world.

If the nuts and bolts matched the love given to the actual aesthetics, I would have been thrilled. Unfortunately I can't be so generous here as I am with my praise for the presentation. I know some will scoff at what I'm about to say here, but Mad Max was lacking any real heart or soul. Some say that this is an indefinable quality, but for me this sensation is quite palpable, and here I found the structure of things to be very cynical and coldly-mathematical. There is obviously a clear formula that is followed to the letter that takes precedence over any authentic creativity. I realize that making large open world games can be very time consuming, but the cost of that scale comes when we peek behind the curtain and see the calculated efficiency driving things. This felt very much like any of the myriad Ubisoft factory-produced, assembly-line products practically speaking. And when a game feels like that to me, I lose the ability to be moved. I play games or choose to engage in any other art form because of the potential to be touched deeply emotionally or on some other level. I want to be engaged because something is unique or just exceptionally well crafted. I can be affected via mechanics or narrative or sound, or other factors or a combination of all elements. But when things are so obviously a product more than they are something that the creators really felt and needed to express, I tend to lose interest. I'm not trying to be overly critical of Avalanche. Mad Max was clearly made by people who are very talented at their job, with "job" unfortunately being the operative word here. Despite the merits of their work, I can't really give it a recommendation. I gave it a sold 5-8 hours, but it just didn't deliver enough to warrant further investment. 3/5.
 

Tahj

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Jun 5, 2015
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Although I did finally get a new PC this year - which, as an aside, thank you to those who've done so much in the 'build PC' threads - I didn't fully complete many (2019) games, regardless of platform...ended up replaying (& again finishing) several older titles, but here's my list of finished!

Older Replays:

Dead Cells
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt + expansions
Dishonored + DLC
Dishonored 2
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided + DLC
Forza Horizon 4 + DLC
Assassin's Creed: Origins + DLC
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey + DLC
Diablo III + expansion
Titanfall 2
Journey
Metro 2033
Metro: Last Light + DLC
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel + expansion
Horizon: Zero Dawn + DLC
Titan Quest + expansion
Borderlands + DLC
Borderlands 2 + DLC
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel + DLC
Doom (2016)
Tetris Effect
What Remains of Edith Finch
God of War (2018)
Cat Quest



2019:

The Division 2 + DLC
Cat Quest II
Rage 2 + DLC
Metro: Exodus + DLC
Last but not least, my personal GotY: Borderlands 3 + DLC
 

synchronicity

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#23 The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS4)



Sometimes it's nice to play something that's a little less intense than Dark Souls, and I found myself reaching for season two of The Walking Dead by Telltale games as a sort of breather. Of course, I won't say that this genre is my favorite, but it's nice that there are so many flavors to sample from within this hobby so that you can keep things fresh. I started off with the option to import my choices from season one, but I played that on my PS3, and I didn't feel like playing this there - I don't even know if I had this available to me on that platform, so I just bit the bullet and accepted whatever randomized choices it wanted for me going in. Honestly, I probably don't remember many - if any - of those decisions, and after playing season two, I don't think it negatively impacted my experience.

Here in the second season we're again faced with the young protagonist Clementine in her quest to endure the zombie apocalypse. I will say that I did always find her to be a likeable character. The voice work brought her to life as both strong and gentle, and she was clearly the star of the show in terms of performances. There were some other actors that, in my opinion, didn't really bring much to the table, but overall there was enough drama on the screen from the interactions of the various characters to keep things interesting. There was plenty of tension created in this world of limited resources, a world that naturally brings out the best in some and the worst in others. There were a number of exciting and intense scenes to enjoy, and the journey was pretty enjoyable.

On the other hand, I've never felt like my choices were that significant in any of the games I've played by this developer. I'm always told a character will remember this or that, and I'm sure there are slight variables, but most of my choices given via dialogue are just button-pressing busy work to move the game forward without any real consequence. And since I haven't played so many titles in this cinematic-first genre, I'm always comparing them, and this falls significantly below the genre-best Until Dawn, in my experience. It's also not as good as Batman which I also played earlier this year. But comparisons aside, this adventure into the world of the living dead was not bad. It offered some decent drama and characters, and was - more than anything else - a nice palate cleanser for the more substantial meals on my gaming-plate. 3/5.

#22 Way of the Samurai (PS2)



There are so many games on the venerable PS2, and as many as I have played, there are, and will probably always be, titles that I still want to experience. I had long been curious about Way of the Samurai from Japanese developer Acquire. The promise of getting to live out the life of a Samurai where your decisions are impactful is, in theory, a wonderful premise. And you do get to make choices that result in a variety of potential outcomes. You live your virtual ronin life in an area called Rokkotsu Pass where you start off in the same place every time. You can choose to engage repeat plays in similar ways, only altering some dialogue choices, or you can wildly deviate in order to see what might happen. I played through the very brief campaign four times, achieving four different ranks, and judging by the screen that gave me that information, there are apparently nine more possible ranks to achieve. I was everything from "Punk" to "Samurai Master", but there were still levels that were listed below and above those ranks to discover. Upon completing the campaign once, you also unlock a battle mode which is essentially a fighting game that can be enjoyed solo or competitively with any of the characters you've unlocked, of which there are many. Based on the character selection screen, I had unlocked ten of a possible twenty-four. And the combat within the fighting game is the same as it is within the main campaign. Speaking of said combat, there is a fair bit of subtlety and theoretical depth to things. You can force your opponent off-balance (or have the same happen to you) to open up for stronger attacks. You can find new weapons and unlock myriad moves which give you flexibility in your approach. Overall, for something so apparently shallow and brief upon first inspection, there is a significant amount of depth. And I really appreciate that conceptually. The type of design which is superficially very small but offers a very compact and dense amount of layered content and experience is something I really respect and enjoy.

I wish that I could end my review at this point, but unfortunately there are some issues I had with WotS that prevented me from a purely positive takeaway. Firstly, the narrative delivery was not engaging for me. In a game that wants your attention through multiple, mostly-similar play-throughs, engagement matters, and I just wasn't really drawn in or affected with these characters or their outcomes. The production values are on the low end of the scale, but that could easily be overlooked if the characters and narrative were interesting and enthralling. But I found myself unaffected for the most part, and that limited my desire to see all the permutations of life in Rokkotsu Pass. And as interesting as the combat was potentially, I found the nuance to be mostly theoretical as I relied upon the same set of moves and positioning to dispatch most foes. Maybe I didn't unlock enough weapons or move sets to feel the full breadth of possibility, but I wasn't wowed by the combat in practice. Overall, this Samurai legend isn't a bad game, and I have others in my backlog which I'm still interested in playing to see how the series progresses, but this first entry was only mildly interesting from my perspective. 3 blades out of 5, but with a little refinement, this could be something special.

#21 Asteroids (PS1)



Sometimes there are games that catch your attention, and you decide that you would like to play them, but for whatever reason time passes - and passes, and you never get to it. Such was the case with the Asteroids reimagining for the PS1 in my case. I spent tons of time with the Atari 2600 version as a kid, and I enjoyed the arcade as well, and when it released on PS1 I told myself that I would definitely get to it. It seemed like a nice remake and it was always somewhere filed away in the back of my mind. Well, time marches on, and I never did bring that to-do onto the front page...until this year. I finally decided to rectify this long-expired oversight and I picked it up to find out if it was as good as my younger self imagined it could be.

Of course, the graphics have seen an upgrade. The rocks, backgrounds, and enemy ships along with the particle special effects are significantly more detailed than the vector graphics of the arcade original. I thought the original always stood out in its simplicity, and I liked it for that, but this reboot has its own charms with all the added detail. The controls are nice and responsive and there are numerous weapon pick-ups that add to the strategy. The sound effects are pretty intense with their impact, imparting a nice feeling of blowing up massive space debris and enemy ships. Overall I thought it was a nice expansion on the core concept from the seminal shooter. The same rotation, acceleration and hyper-space concepts are in effect here, and the core of the game is as timeless as ever. And the original is included if you want to make any direct comparisons or just enjoy that old-school version.

This entry did attempt to incorporate an overarching narrative to things, and it gave us some classic lines like, "Oh, and if the Aliens are monitoring this message, kiss my thrusters." Oh boy. Let's just say that the minimal voice work and handful of cutscenes can be enjoyed from a cheese-appreciation perspective and leave it at that. It didn't take too long to play through the single player campaign, but things did get pretty intense as you approached the last few levels with asteroids pummeling Earth, something that you had to minimize or it was curtains for your home planet as well as your game. There were also additions of multiple ships, each with their own attributes and three difficulties that could extend your time with this if you were really enamored. There was also a final boss that was pretty uninspiring. It targeted you immediately and shot quickly, but you could spam hyper-space in order to keep your distance and disorient the enemy. Overall, I had fun here. It's not something that you can't miss, but it was a good time and a worthy "new" vision for the classic game. It's not a must play like Super Stardust - the most similar game that I consider to be an all-time classic, but it's nevertheless a solid 3/5.
 

Shakka43

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My PS4 playtime was drastically reduced this year in favor of PC gaming.

PS4:
*Resident Evil 2 Remake
*Days Gone
*Blood & Truth
*Concrete Genie
*MediEvil
*Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man & Championship Edition


PS3:
Bought a sharpshooter and a gun attachment for my Move controllers.
*Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles
*Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles
*The House of the Dead 3, 4 & Overkill
*Time Crisis Razing Storm
*inFamous
*Super Rub A Dub

PC:
Build a new PC this year (i7 9700k, RTX 2070) still, most of my gaming has been spent on emulators and replaying older games.
*Cemu, Dolphin, PCSX2, Citra and MAME.
*GTA5, 3 & Vice City
*Inside
*Journey
*Blair Witch
*Gears of War 5 ( currently playing)
*Castlevania Lords of Shadow 1, 2 & Mirror of Fate
*F.E.A.R
*Ori and the Blind Forest
*Outlast 2
*Typoman
*Dark Sector
*Dead or Alive 6
*Pac-Man Museum
*Silent Hill 2 Director's Cut (Enhanced Edition patch)
*Silent Hill 3 & Homecoming with widescreen patches (ultrawide monitor)
*Silent Hill 4 The Room(started playing the PC version but switched to PCSX2 which performs better).
 
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synchronicity

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#20 Atari Vault (PC)



Growing up as a child of the late 70's and 80's, Atari and the arcade scene was a formative part of my gaming experience. I had a VCS (2600) and enjoyed some of the company's arcade output, and I still enjoy retro gaming today. Sure, gaming has advanced in many areas, but there is a simplicity and innocence to the early stages of this medium that is lost with the march of time. Playing Atari Vault on PC took me back in time and certainly provided a warm-fuzzies overload. Revisiting many of the hundred or so selections from early Atari - with mostly their first home console showcased - was a pleasant and nostalgic trip. The presentation was nice, with manuals and art included, although it would have been nice to have some interviews and video clips to really tickle that nostalgia bone. And some of the titles hold up pretty well and offer a good, if brief, experience. Titles like Missile Command and Asteroids, among others, are still enjoyable today. Although if you don't enjoy chasing your own high scores or those of others, there honestly isn't too much to recommend because that was the essence of the gaming scene back then for the most part. But if you find any affinity in simple mechanics and/or enjoy pushing your limits for a higher number, there's still some fun here. And the developers included global leader boards to make things more enticing, which was a very nice touch. To be fair, however, nostalgia only goes so far in this case. The creators of these works had an utterly spartan canvas to work with, and if you didn't experience this era when it was current, you probably wouldn't find too much to get excited about if you're not into the history of the medium. And in terms of the bulk of this collection, Atari - unlike Nintendo - didn't provide the consistently high quality software or hardware of their eventual rival. So what they had to pull from was very much hit or miss. Much of what is available here isn't even the best representation of what the 2600 (or arcades) had to offer. It would have been nice to see some non Atari content from this era. As much hate as they get today Activision, for one, provided some great content for this old system. And I really loved the presentation that they imparted to their Activision Anthology release which placed you in the bedroom of an 80's kid with lots of nice touches, including music from the era. It's certainly not all roses with this collection, even for a person that has a natural draw to this period. Yet, for me, sitting with some of the titles for a bit brought back the feeling of childhood and the power of imagination. It reminded me that the fun and joy I experience in life is because of my own engagement and sense of wonder more than anything external really. That was a really pleasant flavor and nice reminder in contrast to an often, and largely, cynical world today. Granted, it's appeal is a pretty narrow one, but for those who still reminisce about their childhood of the 70's / 80's, this is a pleasant, if not overly exciting reunion. A 3/5.

#19 Dead End Road (PC)



In the indie horror-driving game, Dead End Road, you immediately meet an old woman in a cabin sitting by a fire who tasks with acquiring a book, a bell, and a candle in order to complete a ritual for a personal wish that you enter in the beginning of the game. (I wished simply for peace.) These three items can be found on a road trip in which you are pursued by some sort of evil entity that presumably wants to derail your plans and/or end you altogether. In the process of accomplishing your goal, you have to consider your stress level, your car's condition and gas, and manage your money so that you have enough to tend to those various problems as well as purchase the three items needed at pawn shops and antique stores located in towns along the way on your road trip from hell. The items needed can vary in quality and type (various books, bells, lights), and affect the type of ending you receive. Managing all these elements is no easy task because you are only given a measly 100 pounds (apparently this trip happens in the UK) which is quickly consumed by purchasing drugs from pharmacies to lower your stress so you don't go insane, gas and vehicle repairs along with car upgrades from town mechanics - all that in addition to the aforementioned items required to complete the ritual. Your money vanishes quickly. There is a way to help offset those losses, but it comes with it's own risk. You can purchase scratch off lottery tickets from local supermarkets at 5 pounds a pop. But as with real life lottery tickets, you often just find yourself throwing your money away, and you can quickly make your situation worse than it was. The RNG gods giveth and taketh away. But it's almost necessary to engage in the risk because you really need more than 100 pounds to complete your journey comfortably, so there's a nice tension present here. I also thought the atmosphere presented in the late night driving was well done. The graphics are admittedly rather simple, but it did a great job of conveying the feeling of a creepy, rural midnight drive. And there are lots of various on-road problems you encounter as well, some practical and some supernatural. Suffice it to say that making this trip is no easy task, and making it back to the ritual, let alone arriving there with all the good items for a good ending, is a nice challenge. During my numerous attempts, I made it to the ritual, but apparently didn't have the right items, so it was curtains for me.

I do have some gripes. As mentioned, buying lottery tickets is almost necessary, and you end up doing it quite a bit as money vanishes and returns back to your ledger in the hopes of making your situation better. But, the menus for doing this are SO SLOW. It did wear on me because of how slow it was. Also, there are only 8 "good" endings, tied to 8 specific wishes. Because they are only text endings, it would have been nice if the developer considered more possible player wishes in order to facilitate more personal experiences at the conclusion. But neither of those problems were enough for me to not enjoy my time with this overall. At the end of the road, it was an enjoyable, low-budget, unique horror experience. A solid 3/5.

#18 Trackmania Turbo (PS4)



Sometimes you're just in the mood for speed, and when that's the case, it's a good time to pick up a racing game. And that's what I did when I reached for Trackmania Turbo this year. I had been interested in this series, but never went out of my way to pick up an entry. But finding it as a freebie on PS+ always makes it an easy decision to give a game a chance. I really like the set-up of TMT. There are 200 tracks - most of which are pretty short runs - think 20 to 45 seconds - and you are tasked with trying to achieve medals, whether gold, silver or bronze. The better the medal the shorter the time requirement, of course, and the small duration of most courses makes it easy to restart a run (which you can thankfully do instantaneously by pressing circle mid-run if things aren't going your way) in the quest to earn medals and best your own personal records as well as those of other players in the online leaderboards.

There's plenty of game here. In addition to the 200 tracks included, there is a track editor as well as other modes. Really tons to get into if you are feeling it. There are some really wild tracks as well. Often you are dropped onto the track from a helicopter, there are some absolutely insane jumps as well as a variety of surfaces to race on. Drifting is also really thrilling - and necessary to master if you really want to pursue better times. I thought the whole experience was pretty well thought-out. It could be quite addictive trying to shave (milli) seconds off your times. Learning a track and improving was very enjoyable. Also, the physics were very dynamic. No two runs felt at all the same, and I really appreciate that sort of thing.

All is not perfect in Turbo however. It is way too easy to get your car off angle as you approach jumps. You have to be very precise - and sometimes lucky - or you will find yourself careening wildly and violently (and sometimes hilariously) off the track, which for some reason doesn't end your run. (You can keep driving well off the designated course if you so choose.) The precision required would be acceptable, and even enjoyable, if not for the fact that those aforementioned physics can be really unpredictable. Just the slightest slip, or hitting a bump at the wrong moment can destroy your run in an instant. As stated, I admire and even enjoy really dynamic physics in games, but here it could often feel overly punitive. The flip side of that, though, is that it feels very satisfying - or sometimes just a relief - to complete a good run. I also did not like the sections (and some entire tracks) where you were forced into a hover-over-the-track view. Your perspective is forcibly changed and your vehicle disappears from view entirely mid-race. You're not even given a cockpit perspective. I don't understand why they would force this jarring change on the player, and I did not enjoy it at all. Control also felt different in these sections. Also, once you get past a certain point, you will have to start earning silver or gold medals on a large number of tracks just to unlock new tracks. This really gates a large portion of the game away from you until you can really master things. But the biggest offense in this game was the fact that things would stutter or freeze for just a split second. It didn't happen on every run, but it did happen frequently. It was just enough to mess up your timing, and in a game that demands so much precision, those kind of lock-ups are really unforgivable. I have had no other similar issues with any other title, so I'm certain that it's not my machine.

There really is a lot to like in Trackmania Turbo, but unfortunately there are also a good number of issues. I did enjoy my time with it, and were it not for some of the issues, I could have easily dedicated myself to this one long-term, getting lost in mastery of the game. But the problems it does have dissuaded me from losing myself completely in it. I did spend a good chunk of time here, but it could have been so much more. In the end, I give it a a solid, but regrettable, 3/5.

#17 Here They Lie (PS4)




I don't own a VR device of any kind, although I've been tempted. (I think I'll probably pick one up sooner rather than later, although I'm undecided as to which.) Here They Lie is an experience that was originally exclusive to the Playstation VR platform, but was eventually made available to standard consoles. Right off the bat, I will say that I may have missed the boat by playing this outside virtual reality. The atmosphere is really amazing. The visuals are impressive in scale, surreal, dark and often disturbing. There are moments where they can be pretty awe-inspiring. The lighting is also a highlight of this trip into the bizarre. The sound is also very well done and can at times be unnerving, especially in the rare moments you can hear something chasing you from behind, despite there being little real danger most of the time. The story is pieced together via in-game pickups that flesh things out as well as through the game-proper, but it can be easy to miss some of the bread crumbs that are strewn about. I did find a few interesting philosophical nuggets that jived with me particularly well. As well as I'm able to gather, it's a tale about destruction and creation - of the human race, and perhaps we've been already been (mostly?) destroyed here but there is yet a glimmer of hope that we can create whatever reality we want depending on what we believe in, what we choose to focus upon. It's a call to change (for the better) at heart, I suppose. I'm sure that there are multiple ways of interpreting things since the narrative could be quite inscrutable and esoteric, but I always enjoy things that require a bit of thought on my part, especially those that may not be so readily interpreted. In terms of the actual mechanics, things are a bit less impressive. The game is mostly about meandering your way through various surreal environments and, aside from finding bits of story and batteries for your flashlight, working your way forward. Things don't always appear to be on a straight line, and it's possible to take branching paths, but the game seems to always steer you back on the road sooner or later. Of particular note in terms of navigation, you often find yourself moving down - in a physical sense. I always love horror games in which you are not only descending psychologically, but where that sensation is reinforced physically. It very much reminds me of one of my all-time favorites in Silent Hill 2, and more recently, SOMA. I did very much enjoy my time with this, and knowing it was a VR experience, I feel like I may have missed out - that's how impressive I imagine it would have been on that format. It's more virtual tourism and atmosphere than a game in the traditional sense that offers real player agency, but I knew absolutely nothing about Here They Lie prior to picking it up, and was very pleasantly surprised. It's a very strong 3/5, if there is such a thing as impressive mediocrity. It's right on the cusp of being something more, and had I played in VR, I may have pushed it up a point. If you have any affinity for the surreal or enjoy the not-so-obvious, I would still recommend picking it up and giving it a chance. If there had been a little more traditional gaming here, it could have been something pretty special for me.
 
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dorkimoe

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Aug 19, 2007
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I wish I kept better notes of what I played throughout the year

Highlights to me were:

Rage 2 was a ton of fun, it was quick and repetitive but I really enjoye dit.
Borderlands 3 did not do it for me, I beat it and liked it, but it was not enough new to be worth $60
Outer worlds was a disappointment to me, the loot was a joke, the combat and actual player rpg stuff was not good.
Gears 5 Was fantastic


Still played Dota 2 a little, Apex Legends and PUBG on PC.

2020 will be a new GPU after having to rebuild my pc this summer
 
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synchronicity

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#16 Tail Concerto (PS1)



Star-crossed love, a theme perhaps as old as story-telling itself. In Tail Concerto for the PS1, you play a character named Waffle who is an anthropomorphic police-dog whose life takes place smack in the middle of an ongoing dispute between the cat-people and dog-people of the Kingdom of Prarie - a set of islands floating in the sky. There are suggestions of a meaningful connection made early on, an impossible connection for obvious reasons, between Waffle and Alicia, the leader of the Black Cat gang, a gang that Waffle is placed in direct opposition to by virtue of his role as both a dog-person and a member of the police force tasked with putting an end to that groups dastardly deeds. In the course of the drama, you - as Waffle - are tasked with collecting cats running around, something you do by shooting bubbles at them which encloses them, and picking them up with the arms of your robo-police suit - to be taken in for processing, I suppose. You venture from island to island in your airship to resolve the conflict and learn more about the history of this animosity, all the while catching more cats, locating important crystals (of course), collecting fragments of pictures (optional), talking to others for information, and battling a few bosses.

Overall, I have to say that I found the whole thing pretty charming and whimsical. It was very lighthearted and easy to digest in its silliness. The controls were adequate, although sometimes the camera wasn't as good as I would have liked. There were a nice variety of locales. Flying around Air Leaf (one of the islands) in your jet pack was particularly fun. I thought they could have included more of that. Catching the cats in bubbles in your nicely animated robo suit was satisfying, if simple. And the whole game, while not overly challenging, despite some of the bosses requiring a bit of focus and pattern observation, was a pretty pleasant ride. It was quirky in the right way, and any of the issues I may have had - like the poor voice acting - actually only ended up adding to the charm in most instances. I won't spoil the resolution of this tale, but there was plenty melodrama and animal shenanigans to go around in this relatively brief adventure. Furries rejoice - this might not be a PS1 classic, but it's still a hidden-gem. 4/5.

#15 Batman : The Telltale Series (PS4)



I popped in Batman from Telltale curious to see if their particular brand of story-telling could do the Dark Knight justice. I've enjoyed the Rocksteady treatments on the hero, and despite the lack of conventional gameplay from Telltale, I was itching for some more adventures in Gotham. What I discovered was a nicely imagined tale that depicted Batman, Bruce Wayne, Gotham and a nice sampling of its various cast of characters in a compelling fashion. There was a nice blend of time given to both the adventures of Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, and I thought they did a good job showing how the two personas co-existed in a dynamic fashion - Batman dealing with Gotham and its troubles alongside Bruce's personal life and struggles away from the cape and cowl. Their was a bit more dedication to Batman's history, relative to how he became the caped crusader in the first place, than I thought was necessary, timeline of the game notwithstanding. Most everyone playing this game was likely familiar with essence of his back story. It wasn't poorly done - just redundant. The overall narrative itself, however, was very engaging, doing a nice job of introducing some common characters to the series mythos, and it was enjoyable witnessing their roots and transformations. Another aspect I've enjoyed of the Telltale formula in the past is the opportunity to make choices. Even if they don't always have a great influence on the overall narrative, I have always enjoyed seeing how my decisions compared with others who played the game. I would like to have seen Telltale have a chance to stick around and improve their engine. It has always needed optimization or a complete reboot, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment, for the most part. Another minor annoyance was the voice-change that Bruce Wayne experienced when he donned the Batsuit. I realize that Batman is an alter-ego, but I don't think he's suffering from dissociative identity disorder. (Although, maybe he is. Mind blown. ) And, as much as I did enjoy this Telltale adventure, it's still not the pinnacle of the genre in my view. Until Dawn holds that crown for me. But having played this adventure in the bowels of Gotham, I'm very satisfied. It was a suitable treatment of the complexity of the character(s) and setting, and I'm glad to have taken the journey. 4/5.

#14 Superflight (PC)



My style of gaming is to sample from across genres, platforms, and eras. I love to give lesser known or forgotten titles a chance. I always figure that if something doesn't click with me, I can put it down in short order and move on - no big loss. But the reason I do this is because hidden in the nooks and crannies of this medium there are - and always will be - experiences that will be personally resonant, experiences that could easily be overlooked in the sea of what's popular and current, hidden gems, if you will. With this curiosity in my pocket, I picked up Superflight for PC and gave it a whirl.

The initial impression in this game of gliding is that everything is blocky and simple within the confines of the procedurally generated levels. You are a simple character donning what appears to be a wing-suit perhaps, and you glide through the levels using the momentum of descending prior to leveling out or rising for a burst of speed, all-the-while inevitably progressing towards the bottom of the map as you are pulled along via the inexorable force of gravity. As you do this, you are awarded points for combos as well as an overall score that accumulates until you crash. (Reaching the bottom of a level will cause you to respawn atop a new procedural map.) In order to maintain a combo, you must maintain proximity to surfaces. Get too far away from any hard surface and your counter will cease increasing, ending your combo. But there is an added element that really raises the intensity. The point counter accelerates based on two factors - speed and proximity. So you are really rewarded for flying as dangerously as possible as you weave your way throughout tunnels and rise and fall in a thrilling dance with the topography. Some of the procedurally generated maps are better than others, of course, and yield better opportunity for excellent combos and thrilling navigation. Thankfully there is a way to save maps and you are even given a seed number that you can share to allow others to experience maps that you find personally satisfying. The most enjoyable way for me to play was to focus on a map that seemed to allow for flexibility in approach and really explore various paths for maximum combo goodness. I have one map in particular that I spent most of my time with and generated a combo in the top 1500 - and that includes the cheaters that the developers acknowledged were too big a task for their small 3-person team to deal with. The rush of flying through these maps is thrilling, and seeking higher scores - especially combos - is a wonderful throwback to the simpler days of gaming. In this way, and in terms of appearances, Superflight made me feel like this is what gaming would have become if it always remained a very small niche hobby, if Nintendo never arrived on the scene, if Atari remained "gaming", this is what it would have become. I'm not suggesting this is a better alternate history, but that is the flavor this experience imparted to me.

In the end, Superflight was exhilarating, offering a sensation of flight that betrayed its simple blocky graphical presentation. It possesses that just-one-more-time quality that all arcade titles strive for. I found it to be brilliant fun, and I certainly would recommend it to anyone who finds the premise intriguing. 4/5.

#13 God of War (PS4)



Since the arrival of the original God of War on the PS2 in 2005, I've been a huge fan of the franchise. I've loved them all, from the mainline entries, to the PSP side stories, and yes, even Ascension. There are so many things I enjoy about the tale and universe of Kratos. The backdrop of Greek mythology, the thumping soundtracks, the brutal and fun - if not particularly deep - combat, the incredible production values and more all combine to make a pretty irresistible package for me. So when I learned that Santa Monica Studio was developing a reboot of the franchise, I was obviously excited and also a bit concerned about what direction the new vision may take this iconic character. From what little I had seen prior to playing, I wasn't certain this was going to be the path I wanted for the series, so with anticipation and a bit of trepidation, I picked up the controller.

As expected with this developer and franchise, the visuals are a real treat. I'm a PC gamer as well, but I'm always surprised how much the excellent talent within the better console developers can squeeze out of (relatively) under-powered hardware. Most everything from a technical standpoint is really stunning on the base PS4. Everything is sharp, wonderfully detailed and animated, and really one of the highlights for Sony's 4th home console. Artistically things weren't always quite as impressive for me. While there are some really nice environments and creatures, the game suffers from an inconsistent look at times, and I felt the world didn't always feel like a fully realized, believable locale. And the recurrence of some enemies diminished their impact. It would have been nice to see a little less cut/paste, in particular in regards to the trolls.

In terms of the actual nuts and bolts of the game, the changed camera offered a more intimate perspective as it dropped down over the shoulder, which was enjoyable, but it also really changed the fundamentals of combat as a result of your smaller field of view. Gone is the ability to see all threats on screen which could often result in blind-side attacks. SMS attempted to remedy this by offering visual indicators of approaching danger, but things still felt a bit clumsy to manage when encountering rooms full of enemies at times. Kratos' new weapon, the Leviathan axe, was a true joy to use. There was a real heft and solidity to it (and Kratos himself) , whether throwing it or in up-close combat. It was really satisfying to wield. They most certainly got the feel right in terms of the weapon - beautifully realized.

I did also have some significant issues with this reboot that diminished my opinion of the game unfortunately. In the first place, I really disliked the whole concept of redeeming Kratos as a character. Listening to him give morality lessons about not walking a path of vengeance to Baldur was so out of character and off-putting. While I get that they wanted to take things in a new direction, it felt almost like they were apologizing for Kratos of old, and that really rubbed me the wrong way. God of War has always been unapologetically violence, sex, and rock and roll, and not about reflection and growth as a person (god). Kratos doesn't need to grow, he needs to kill and bring unholy vengeance. That's what made him fun and a perfect avatar for the most common element of gaming since the very beginning - killing foes. I'm not saying that there is no room for other experiences in gaming, far from it. I love all types of experiences on this canvas of interactive media, but I have no interest in seeing a Kratos that has any focus on self-improvement. It's just not what I want out of this character or franchise.

Bringing in a child felt out of place with the identity established in the series thus far as well. By incorporating a father and son dynamic and placing it at the center of things, they took Kratos - and me - too close to the real world which removed me from the brilliant fantasy of the previous games. Domesticated Kratos - stay-at-home-dad Kratos - isn't Kratos at all, as far as I'm concerned. Dragging a kid around in a franchise entitled God of WAR is utterly ridiculous and hilarious to me. Aside from the fact that I thought Artreus was out of place with the DNA of the series, his performance on-stage was also thoroughly annoying. He vacillated between comically respectful, as he over-emphasized "sir" when responding "yes sir" to his father, and an absolute smug, snotty brat. I just felt that he was too inconsistent, whether or not I wanted him there in the first place. And the voice acting in general was not what it should have been. Kratos himself was so gruff and aloof that it came across as parody or caricature rather than genuine. In a game that was striving to ground Kratos, I thought they missed the mark. Despite my problems with the acting and much of the dialogue, there was one line that I did really love when Kratos told Artreus, "Do not concern yourself with what might be and focus on what is." But that is a blip in an otherwise disappointing narrative, both in content and delivery.

I also thought that the emphasis on collectibles, crafting and upgrades was excessive and ultimately pretty meaningless, which reminds me of how I felt in general about the game design here. It felt like AAA by-the-book, like a bloated hodgepodge of what a modern game "ought" to have. It deferred too strongly to conventions of the moment which I felt stifled any real hopes of standing out with any sense of individuality. Things never coalesced into a cohesive whole for me. It had some of the flavors of Ubisofts lesser (and most common) work, which for me, is a big turn off. It just felt too enamored with qualities that a modern gaming blockbuster should possess that it failed to distinguish itself amid an ever more homogenous AAA landscape. The sum feeling is a paint-by-numbers "masterpiece". For all its flash and spectacle, it was ultimately easily digestible and forgettable.

To be clear, I'm not saying the game has nothing of merit. It was obviously made by some talented people and it is fun to play as well as easy on the eyes most of the time. But talent without the refining fire of passion yields a facsimile of greatness only. It possesses many of the hallmarks of greatness, but it is frustratingly, obviously and devastatingly missing the crucial element. I may be harder on this because of my affinity for the previous adventures I've taken with this character, but this new incarnation does not reach the heights of Olympus. In fact, I replayed God of War 3 right after finishing this out of curiosity - I could have played any of the older entries though - and it only cemented my view. It fails relative to its own heritage, and that is really disappointing to a long-time fan. It feels like all the spirit and edge has been lost. The real Kratos is an anti-establishment rebel who Santa Monica Studio has sadly neutered in favor of a guy living meekly as an aged conformist. I mean, THIS is their vision for Kratos, the God of War?!?



Come on! A muted 4/5.
 

synchronicity

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#12 Speed Punks (PS1)



The PS1 had so many releases, and despite owning the console since launch, there are tons of interesting games that I want to get to still. With that in mind, I fired up Speed Punks (Speed Freaks in PAL territories), a kart-racer from Funcom, a developer that's been around since 1994 and the studio behind Conan Exiles, among others. The immediate comparison is, of course, to Crash Team Racing - the big kart-racer from the PS1. How does it compare? Well, I wouldn't put it on that level since CTR is one of my all-time favorites, but it's certainly a good game. There is a really nice sense of speed which is accentuated with some loose-feeling controls. Normally I don't like controls that feel loose or slippery, but in this case it actually works in its favor to a degree, making things feel more frenetic, unpredictable and exciting. There was also minimal, if any, rubber-banding which is something I really appreciate. If it's there it's subtle. You can get spam-wrecked by oncoming opponents weaponry and thrown from the front of the pack to the distant rear making it feel like there is little hope of catching up sometimes. It can be frustrating at times, but I liked the way races played out with all of them feeling really unique. Races are fairly long at 5 laps each, and some of the tracks are pretty lengthy as well. There are the usual suspects in terms of weapons - bombs, rockets and whatnot. You can also pick up tokens on the track that accumulate into a speed boost meter that allows for some extra speed when needed. There are 12 tracks in total, and in the campaign they are divided into three difficulty tiers in the way of tournaments. You must finish in the top 3 in every race in order to progress. Even if you've won the first 3 of 4 races and have a dominant lead in points, you still have to finish top 3. If you don't, you are afforded a couple of extra tries throughout a tournament without having to restart the whole thing. There are a variety of shortcuts to get an edge if you're struggling to do well, although some of them aren't as well designed as I would have liked. The introductory cinematic was backed by a Jamiroquai tune which certainly took me back in time. And I thought the game had a nice personality. The choice to have racers floating over wheels in lieu of actual karts may have been a technical consideration, but it didn't detract from things and was actually kind of cool. Outside the opening cinema there aren't really any individual cutscenes or character development, but somehow they all have a fair bit of flavor through the aforementioned intro, character select screen and occasional in-game outbursts. If I hear that little girl go "na na na-na na" one more time as she wrecks my sh*t, I'm going to lose it. There's not a ton of single player content, but it feels a satisfying length because of its challenge. And there are the customary time-attack and multiplayer modes for those who want to squeeze some more juice out of the game. Overall, I just had a really good time with Speed Punks. It's not an all-time classic for me, but it certainly holds up, even this many years after release. A satisfying 4/5.

#11 Horizon Chase Turbo (PS4)



Drawing inspiration from classical arcade-style racers of old like Enduro (2600), Top Gear, Pole Position, OutRun and the like, Horizon Chase Turbo seeks to fill that popular gaming niche with a flavor of its own. How did it do? Well, in a word, wonderfully. The first impression is a strong one, coming from its simple, but colorful, vibrant and clean aesthetics. I thought the environments and overall look were beautifully suited as a call-back to similar games, while still maintaining a personality of its own. The various cities around the world provided material for fresh and interesting scenery, and in some cases weather conditions, as you raced your way to the top. The meat of the experience is in "World Tour", a campaign mode that has you racing for points that grant you access to new regions of the globe - 12 in total, all with their own set of races - new rides, and upgrades for said rides, upgrades that apply to all the vehicles in your fleet. When winning an upgrade race, you are given a selection of options that can increase your top speed, handling, acceleration, fuel and nitro - the last of which allows for boosting your vehicle beyond its base top-end speed for a short duration. As you race you are measured on your performance which decides how many points you earn towards opening new regions and races. Depending on your placement in the race, how much fuel you have left - yes you can run out of fuel if you have a gas guzzler or don't pick up fuel icons, and the number of tokens you pick up - little "coins" scattered across the various tracks, you earn points for your performance. The total takeaway from the structure of the game was that it always felt like there was something to work for, little carrots within the overall picture of the campaign that imparted a lovely sense of progression. There was a decent sense of speed as well, especially on tracks that offered hair-pin turns. Handling rating and driver anticipation - or knowing the track thoroughly - could really make a difference in taking curves without crashing and losing precious speed. As for the races themselves, they can feel quite frantic at times. You always start in the back of a 20-car field, and must make your way to the front. Bumping into other cars can slow you down if you run into someone from behind or collide side-to-side, or it can sometimes speed you up a bit if hit from behind or at just the right angle. On some of the courses, space is tight and positioning is crucial early on if you want to avoid losing sight of the front. And while the AI is mostly forgiving, there were a couple of tracks that offered a decent challenge to finish first, and when you factor in the hopes of getting a "Super Trophy" for a perfect race where you collect all on-road tokens (fuel and nitro don't matter here), there can be quite a bit of drama for sure. The soundtrack was also a well-crafted homage to the games from which Horizon drew inspiration, apparently using the same composer from Top Gear on the SNES, and it had a suitably retro-flavored and peppy tone which blended beautifully with the rest of the package. If I am to make note of any elements I might have changed, I will say that after a while the races did feel a bit too similar, despite the various tracks, locales and upgrades. The formula was a bit too consistent for my preference, and gave off a bit of a formulaic, cut & paste feel. And just finishing the game (World Tour) isn't too much of a challenge , although getting 100% on the main mode - which I did do - was more acceptable in terms of offering some resistance. But the essence of what I felt while playing was simply "fun". Given that this has its roots in mobile gaming, and how little regard I have for that scene in general, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I had a great time with Horizon Chase Turbo, and it's an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys racers, arcade or otherwise. I give it a solid 4/5.

#10 Wolfenstein The New Order (PS4)




I can't say that I'm really an FPS guy, to be honest. That's not to say that I don't have fun with them from time to time, and there are a few that I think are really special, but when thinking of what I want to play next, it's not that common that I reach for a game in this incredibly popular genre. It's not that they're not fun to me. It's just that usually I find the category to be lacking the depth to really draw me in, despite how fun the pew-pew action can be in the moment. Nevertheless, I do enjoy them for what they are, and I will pick one up every now and then to just get that adrenaline jolt from shooting people in the face.

I had Wolfenstein : The New Order in my backlog for quite a while, and I knew that it had gotten a lot of positive criticism when released. I found myself in the mood to kill some Nazis and so I fired it up. The first things that made an impression on me were the narrative and characters, which I thought were better than the average first-person shooter, in my experience. An early-game twist revealed an exciting premise for the Nazi-killing action and had me invested in the story. And the characters, while not especially interesting in comparison to some other areas of gaming, were quite well-done, given my modest expectations for this predominantly action-first genre. In short, there was suitable impetus and flavor given to the player enabling you to lose yourself in the endless shooting that would inevitably follow.

I was also very pleased with the wide variety of locales and situations presented here. Without going into spoiler territory, I can say that you'll probably find yourself in places and circumstances that you may not have been expecting, and things were kept very fresh by mixing up the backdrops for the otherwise largely repetitive action. And in terms of the aforementioned action, the nuts and bolts of the experience were really satisfying with a wide range of weapons and tech to keep you thoroughly entertained on your murderous travels against the Third Reich, and the overall feel was really enjoyable with most weapons giving a nice sense of impact and power, both from an audio and visual standpoint, appropriate for this power-fantasy genre. I also thought that it looked excellent. I was surprised to find it so satisfying graphically as I had heard complaints regarding its appearance, but I should know by now to ignore such noise from the community because I must be a very forgiving gamer in terms of visuals. Maybe it's my earliest roots with this hobby playing Atari 2600 games, but pretty much everything looks good to me, at least technically. Perhaps I still carry that child with me into all my journeys in gaming today. Finally I thought TNO did an excellent job of portraying the Nazis as psychotic, emotionless villains that you took pleasure in eradicating from the planet.

On the less-than-positive side of the equation, I didn't really care for some of the bullet sponge enemies that often make appearances in shooters. Those sort of encounters can often makes things tedious, and I sometimes felt that way here. I also thought that the balancing was a bit uneven in places which makes you consider how much attention was given to the difficulty in testing. Overall though, I found this return to the classic shooter series to be a thrilling, high-octane romp, full of cool enemies, encounters and situations. It had a nice default difficulty - balancing quirks aside - offering a satisfying challenge while remaining fun throughout. This may not be my personal gaming staple, but I had a wonderful time here - a comfortable 4/5 for me.
 

IKSTUGA

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2019 was a great gaming year for me, finally quit those stupid card games while enjoying a nice mix of old and new games. Some clear highlights for the year:
- Awesome new games like DMC5, RE2 and Fire Emblem
- Replaying old classics such as Castlevania: SotN, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Spyro, Crash, Mega Man etc.
- Getting into my first MMO in the form of FF14, some of the best social experiences I've had playing a game (I know like 10 people IRL, who play this game)
 
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deriks

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Dec 21, 2013
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Early in the year I bought God of War 3 remastered because was cheap as hell
Then was REmake 2, which I played a lot and it is my game of the year
and Devil May Cry 5, which I also played a lot
Got Sekiro, NieR Automata and GamePass for PC
Got Bayonetta 2 and Mario Kart for Switch
With GamePass I played Hellblade, BroForce, Sunset Overdrive, Gears 4 and 5
Then I remember that I have a Switch, sign the Nintendo Online, played a whole lot of SNES games and A TON of Mario Kart
Got Death Stranding, just to prove to myself that this is not that bad... It's not, but it's not good either.
And got Resident Evil 6 for PS4 to finish the year Michael Bay style
 
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synchronicity

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- Replaying old classics such as Castlevania: SotN, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Spyro, Crash, Mega Man etc.

Always fun to go back and revisit old favorites. I try to make time for a few replays every year too.

And got Resident Evil 6 for PS4 to finish the year Michael Bay style

I've never played it and I know lots of people hate it, but I'm convinced I'll really enjoy it - whenever I get to it.
 

synchronicity

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#9 Ape Escape 2 (PS2)



When the original Ape Escape came out on the PS1, it felt kind of revolutionary in terms of the way that it used (and required) the Dual Shock controller to full advantage. And on top of that, it presented some lighthearted simian antics. Capturing intelligence-enhanced, helmet-wearing monkeys guided by the super-intelligent Specter was wonderfully ridiculous and just a lot of fun. Thankfully, the franchise continued on with the PS2, and I finally played that 2003 (North American) release, Ape Escape 2, in 2019. Better late than never, I suppose.

In this sequel Specter is back at it again, thanks to the new protagonist Jimmy - Spike's cousin from the first game - making the brilliant move of delivering the monkey helmets to Monkey Park rather than just the monkey pants as the professor instructed. How can you mess up so badly! Shouldn't the helmets be under lock-down if not destroyed outright. Oh well, thankfully Jimmy's brain fart happened or we wouldn't have found ourselves in a monkey crisis yet again. This time Specter has some new tricks up his sleeve in the form of bosses known as the Freaky Five. These special monkeys are spaced out between the regular monkey catching action, and provide a nice bit of variety and drama.

Overall the game plays very much the same as the original, with the addition of a few new gadgets in addition to the carryovers from the first game. But those additions aside, it's a very familiar return of formula and just as enjoyable as the first. There are the ridiculous monkey descriptions that you find when using the radar - or after having caught a monkey by referring to the the in-game index in your base. The same lighthearted, happy vibe permeates this experience as well. It's really refreshing in comparison to much of the gaming landscape that is so focused on the realistic or the moody and dark. It's really hard to play it without discovering that it has also put you in a good mood yourself. There are a lot of great musical pieces which add nicely to the overall feeling and do a good job reflecting the various environments to which they are attached. There are plenty of unlockables/collectibles which add a bit of incentive. The game also did a good job of requiring you to use all of your various tools, especially in the final sections.

There are some minor issues which I did have with the game. I don't really like the button to center the camera, but to be fair, I suppose it's about the best that could be done due to the right stick being used for gadgets. But the camera could be problematic sometimes, this issue aside. I also have to acknowledge that it didn't quite carry the same charm or novelty as the first because it was really so similar. It's still great fun, but just lacking a bit of the impact of the original for me. Also, If you want the real ending/final boss-fight, you have to catch all 300 monkeys, which could feel tedious after having caught so many already, but it was still worth it considering some of those final monkeys were a bit unique in their challenge. On a funny note, there is a literal reward mechanism called a "gotcha box" which I thought was a bit funny. I can't remember if the gaming community was having this conversation in 2003 or not, but it was either a reflection of the medium or the instigator of much trouble, lol. All things considered though, I had a wonderful time with Ape Escape 2. I'm sorry I waited so long. A solid 4/5.

#8 SOMA (PC)



Humanity has long had a fascination with the possibility of immortality, and as technology has evolved we've looked in that direction in the hopes of drinking from that holy grail. Of course with all things being balanced, there are costs to every purchase, and SOMA explores the dark side of the pursuit of seeking to circumvent death - the folly of attempting to circumvent inevitable change - via the tools technology has afforded. Without spoiling the details, we are taken upon a journey into the idea of what it means to be alive, what it means to be a being in possession of a degree of continuity. This journey takes us on a literal and metaphysical descent into the deepest depths of the ocean while also plumbing the depths of what it means to be a distinct, separate "self".

On this adventure into the abyss, SOMA does an incredible job of making you feel lost, insecure, fragile and uncertain how to proceed. Uncertainty and fragility were the central feelings imparted while playing in my view, and the atmosphere simply hummed. I found myself utterly absorbed with this world and felt lost both literally and metaphorically. Some games just captivate with their sense of place and with the tone they attempt to generate, and SOMA is a rare breed of special in this regard. I was thoroughly engaged throughout, if not always comfortable. There were also some absolutely wonderful moments of tension in dealing with and hiding from some of the "monsters" in this world. It was at times genuinely unsettling, and I really loved what it brought to the table in terms of the sense of dread.

As much as I loved most of SOMA, there were some unfortunate missteps. The main character's voice was quite amateurish and hokey. This was also true for much of the other voice work in the game - delivered in large part by data logs. It's really disappointing because it sat so at odds with the brilliance of the rest of the presentation. I was really frustrated at the contrast between the outstanding atmosphere and the dreadful acting. It just seemed like the voice work belonged in a different game. If they had simply decided to forego voice altogether, the game would have benefited tremendously, as the rest of the atmosphere would have easily carried things, and having things silent would have been very appropriate to the overall tone. Also, as much as I enjoyed the dread and anxiety from encountering the infrequent "monster" sections, they were sometimes frustrating because they slowed everything down to a snail's pace because you felt frozen, unable to move for fear of alerting the enemy. When you couple that sensation with some very dark areas at times and occasionally having no idea where to go, you can end up replacing the terror with frustration, and that is not what you want to experience as a player. Finally, if you are prone to existential dread of any kind, you may not get as much enjoyment as those who are willing to disassemble themselves in the quest to satisfy an unquenchable curiosity.

Overall though, the strengths of SOMA's atmosphere were more than enough to counterbalance some obvious flaws. I found myself enthralled in my journey into this hypothetical future of humanity's quest for survival. Had a couple of issues been addressed with a little more craft, SOMA could have been an all-time classic. As it stands, it is still a gripping experience that will please anyone who is interested in existential horror or is drawn to dark science fiction. A really enjoyable 4/5.

#7 Paper Mario (N64)



Conceptually, I have always been drawn to things that subvert expectations and things that challenge convention. I suppose the rebel within always loves breaking the "rules". In terms of gaming, the Mario franchise became a staple of the industry early on. As a platformer it became one of the most beloved series within this medium, and then all of a sudden Mario was the central character of an RPG? What? Brilliant on premise alone. Now to be entirely transparent, I have only played three entries that could be classified as Mario RPGs up to this point. The first one I played was Superstar Saga which I absolutely adored. Then I played the original N64 Super Mario RPG which I found to be good, but I played it so long after release and I didn't view it as fondly as I may have had I played it at launch - still a good game though. Finally I played Partners in Time on the DS, and while I also really enjoyed that one, it failed to reach the heights of Superstar Saga for me, which remains the only entry in these Mario spinoffs that I would consider an all-time classic. But I certainly have enjoyed each of my experiences with these non-traditional Mario outings. And because of that, I want to play them all. But there's only so much time for any hobby, so you pick and choose.

This year, though, I did make time for the original "Paper" entry in Paper Mario for the N64. I was immediately reminded of why I find these titles so engaging. There's just so much intoxicating charm and whimsy. The characters are almost invariably funny - even those baddies with a (playful) sense of menace - both in animations and dialogue, which is often very well-written for the type of lighthearted experience presented. Granted, Mario is mute here, but as an avatar for the player and given his heritage, that's understandable and doesn't detract from the scene established by the myriad other characters all engaged with their lives and troubles in the Mushroom Kingdom. The battle system was reminiscent of my time with other Mario rpgs, and timing your attack impacts for maximum effect and utilizing all the tools at your disposal kept things engaging in the numerous battles that had to be fought on your way to the inevitable showdown with King Koopa. The various members of your party acquired through the journey all brought unique elements to the table, both in and out of battle, and it was always enjoyable to acquire and experiment with a new ally. Visually things held up quite well. The N64, generally speaking, is probably my least favorite retro console to revisit from technical standpoint, despite exceptions of which Paper Mario certainly qualifies. The simple and colorful, mostly 2D, approach allowed for the N64 limitations to be a relative non-factor. Overall, everything just had that signature Nintendo joy for me, and I really had a great time with things.

If I were to make mention of potential irritants, I will acknowledge that the game doesn't provide much in the way of challenge. It's consistently engaging, but it won't satisfy any itch to feel like you've overcome any real obstacle on your way to glory. And, as much as I love the presentation, it can sometimes feel like too much candy on Halloween, and I feel a bit overdosed on the sweetness with that "too much of a good thing" sensation. But those are relatively minor considerations in comparison to the whole, and what I felt in the end is that I had enjoyed a satisfying, lengthy, consistently humorous, and thoroughly engaging adventure with Mario and his pals. It was so much fun that it was a shame to see things end. Thankfully, however, we know that sooner or later the Princess will always be found in another castle. 5/5.
 
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MiguelItUp

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Feb 24, 2015
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Hmm, let's see... In no particular order!
  • Death Stranding ✓
  • Bloodstained ✓
  • Blasphemous ✓
  • Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
  • ION Fury
  • Boneworks
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Mordhau
  • Modern Warfare
  • Last Year
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Beat Saber
  • Resident Evil 2 ✓
  • Apex Legends
  • ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove
  • Outer Worlds
  • Untitled Goose Game ✓
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
So the checks represent which games I completed. All in all, a pretty damn good year! But it's weird looking at how many games I played, and how many I actually completed, haha.

This was definitely a "waiting for the next gen" year, but it was still of awesome games and cool experiences. But ohhhhh boy, I cannot wait for this year! <3
 
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Tsukumo

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Played Dishonored, again.
Then Dishonored 2, again.
Played A Plague tale, two times for the cheevos.
Played Ryse, again.
Played Anthem night and day for four months, then once it was clear they were fucking with the rng I dropped it for good.
Dedicated myself to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, my 2019 GOTY, until my co-op itch couldn't take it anymore.
Started playing Destiny 2, again, since September. It's the only game I've played in the last five months.
 

Evil Calvin

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Aug 23, 2017
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Too many games to mention but my highlights:

Getting a Switch Lite

Highlights playing:

Detroit - PS4
Astrobot-PSVR
Crackdown 3 (single player was fun)- XBO
Dragon's Dogma- NS
Witcher 3 - XBO and NS (put 250 hours in the XBO version....still not done)
Skyrim - NS
Fire Emblem: Three Houses - NS (my GOTY)
Slay the Spire - NS (runner up GOTY)
Bloodstained - NS
Outer Worlds - XBO
Death Stranding -PS4
Jedi : Fallen Order - XBO
Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 (collectors edition) - NS
Neverwinter Nights - NS
Planescape and Icewind Dale - NS
Divinity: Original Sin 2 - NS
Dead Cells - NS
Moonlighter - NS
NHL 2- - XBO
A Plague Tale - PS4

Those were the highlights I think....but bought tons other that were fun but I dropped off pretty quick:

Rage 2 - PS4
Division 2 - XBO
Ace Combat 7 - PS4
Sekiro - PS4
Outward - XBO
MK11 - XBO
Shakedown Hawaii - NS
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 - NS
Borderlands 3 - XBO
Man of Medan - PS4
Wreckfest - PS4
 
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Hotty Botty

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Dec 12, 2019
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This year I finally got around to finishing The Witcher 3, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Super Mario Odyssey. However, I decided to end the year by finally getting around to Breath of the Wild. And man, I’m completely blown away.

The care they put into creating Hyrule. The level of detail. The polished control. Side quests that make you explore every nook and cranny. I play games to escape and explore new worlds and stories and this game delivers in a way I’ve never experienced before.
 
Nov 13, 2016
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I started the year off playing some 3DS games from my backlog: Ocarina of Time 3D and Pocket Card Jockey. I finished both. I'm done with the 3DS now.

In February, Civilization VI: Gathering Storm released. I played Civ 6 throughout the year until I'd achieved victory with every civilization in the game.
Tetris 99 released this month too. I don't play it a whole lot, but I'm making sure I hop on again to unlock those skins.

Sekiro came out in March. Initially I wasn't interested in the game at all, but seeing others play the game sparked some excitement in me, so I caved and bought it. It's one of the best games of the year, and I went on to complete it 100%.

I didn't have much to do the next few months, so I started playing Splatoon 2 again. This year saw the last Splatfest, which I participated in. This also marked the end for content updates for Splatoon 2. I haven't played much since then.

Crash Team Racing released in June. It's a pretty hard kart racer, but fun too. I've been playing throughout the year to unlock all the exclusive items from the grand prix.

For July I had Fire Emblem Three Houses lined up. This'd be my first FE game, and it didn't disappoint. I played through two full campaigns. Not sure I'll return to it anytime soon.

In August my friend gifted me Remnant: From the Ashes, and we played it co-operatively. I played through the campaign three times I think. Pretty fun, but kind of frustrating in some ways. You have to keep re-rolling campaigns by resetting the game world to unlock random dungeons that contain unique bosses and weapons. I gave up at some point because I just couldn't get to the content I hadn't experienced yet. I think they fixed it with an update later, but I'm not interested in returning.

In September I traded in my OG Switch for the Lite model. Personally I prefer it. I used it to finally finish Valkyria Chronicles 4 by unlocking the "true" ending.
I also bought the expansion for a digital card game called Through the Ages. I love this game, it's like a card version of Civilization.

Humble Bundle came out with that crazy Activision bundle in October. From that bundle I've only played CoD WWII however. I finished the campaign, but that's about it.
I also bought Overwatch on Switch. It's a simple shooter that works well on the system.

In november I started playing Skyrim again on the Switch. I was kind of done with it after a week. I also purchased Dark Souls Remastered for Switch with my golden coins that were about to expire. I'm not too impressed by this port, so I haven't played it much.

My friend wanted to try Star Wars Battlefront II after having seen the new movie, so I played along with him. The game still kinda sucks. It requires a lot of grinding to get good weapons, attachments, and abilities, and the hero characters are mostly just annoying as they just kill you in one hit. It's been pretty laggy for me too. Still, there's some fun to be had here for the 10 to 15 bucks you'd normally pay for this nowadays.

Just a week or so ago, DJ Max Respect V released on steam. DJ Max is one of my favorite games from the PSP. I've been listening to its (original) music since 2006, so it's all a bit nostalgic to me. This new version contains more than 150 songs that can be played at multiple difficulties. It's a ton of content, but people are somehow still complaining about the price on the steam forums. I don't get it. Highly recommended.
 
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