Games Completed 2020

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dezm0nd
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Games Completed 2020

Post by dezm0nd »

May all your completions be merry and fun may it be one hundred or one.

Have at it!

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ColinAlonso
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by ColinAlonso »

Jan 1 - Wonder Boy in Monster World (Sega Mega Drive Mini)

An engaging 2D action RPG. It has good variation in enemies and decent dungeons to explore with some hidden items and rooms. Combat is limited to two weapons and some magic spells which I didn't use often, usually on bosses.

There are two types of weapons the hero can use, a sword and a spear. The spear is easier to use as its animations are quicker (a quick stab motion rather than a slower vertical slash, the sword can do similar but only when crouching) and has an extra move on up+attack where the hero spins the spear like a bladed fan in front of him. However the strongest weapons are swords, and shields cannot be used with the spear. I had to relearn the annoyingly short range of the swords in the late game.

Graphically, its cute but the Mega Drive could do much better than this. Apart from two nice tracks near the end the soundtrack is pretty forgettable.

Its nothing special but a nice adventure nonetheless.

* I thought I'd get this finished yesterday because I thought I was on the final boss. It was a massive jump in difficulty (harder than the actual final boss), felt unfair, was in a floating castle in the middle of a thunderstorm, had two minibosses and the hardest platforming section right before it and was called 'The Almighty Demon King!'. Turns out there was one more small section and a final boss.

* Every shopkeeper: "You have a discriminating eye". Early video game translations slandering me there.

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Chopper
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Chopper »

Nice one, Colin.

Hidden Folks (PC)

Ehhh, I can see the appeal and thought I might like it, but it didn't do it for me I'm afraid. I used a guide for the final level just to get it over with.

Still, 2.47 on Steam, can't complain.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Alex79uk »

What is it, like Where's Wally or something? Yeah I'm not sure it's something I'd want to sit at a PC playing. Maybe on a phone, at a push.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Chopper wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 4:19 pm
Hidden Folks (PC)

Ehhh, I can see the appeal and thought I might like it, but it didn't do it for me I'm afraid.
Bought this in the same sale and yeah. Huge disappointment. I was expecting something... transcendental given the user reviews and all I got was a bargain bin tabloid clicking sim with insanely annoying sound effects.

We agree on something! Let's celebrate. :P

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Magical_Isopod »

Alex79uk wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 10:20 pm
What is it, like Where's Wally or something? Yeah I'm not sure it's something I'd want to sit at a PC playing. Maybe on a phone, at a push.
You mean Where's Waldo? ;D

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by KSubzero1000 »

I think it's called Wally in the UK.

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Flabyo
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Flabyo »

Hidden folks is something I’d definitely recommend playing on iOS over the PC. It’s a tea break time waster, not a ‘sit at the desk and be serious” game.

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Chopper
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Chopper »

@Alex - yes, something like that, and the scene is slightly animated (characters wave their arms, traffic moves) and lightly interactive (you can click on shutters or blinds to open them and reveal things). There are also lots of little details to watch out for as Clippa mentions - eg see the tent in the bottom left of my pic.

@Alex and Flabyo - it’s on mobile but I imagine it would be a bit tedious as the pic I posted above is only about one ninth of the whole scene on max resolution and I’d think scrolling on a phone would be a pain. But perhaps it would work better.

@KSub - incroyable!

I'm tempted to say only a curmudgeon would hate the sounds, but they are super-annoying as you say; they take the Annoying Sounds title from Dicey Dungeons imo.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Alex79uk »

KSubzero1000 wrote:
January 1st, 2020, 11:49 pm
I think it's called Wally in the UK.
Correct! Never knew why they changed it though.

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Chopper
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Chopper »

It's a strong start to the new year - the first page of Games Completed totally consumed by a Where's Wally conversation.

The Stillness of the Wind (PC Gamepass)

The title gives it away - it's a slightly pretentious walking sim, or repetitive task sim, which looks good and has some contemplative moments. A lot depends on how much you will buy in to this. It's a short game at 3-4 hours, but I found it over long, and the lack of agency is probably going to be problematic for a lot of people (I wish there had been some compromise on this - perhaps an endless/survival mode, though I don't think I'd hugely enjoy that either).

It was just ok if judged through the arty games lens.

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Combine Hunter
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Combine Hunter »

03/01 - Disco Elysium (PC)

Fantastic new take on what an RPG can be.

Closer to The Wire than A Song of Ice and Fire.

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Chopper
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Chopper »

Disco Elysium is on my wishlist for later in the year. It looks like the quality of the prose will carry it over the 'reading reams of stuff in a video game' barrier. Sounds really interesting.

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Jon Cheetham »

I'd actually love to have it on Switch. Like having a Kindle on choose your own adventure mode!

From everything I've heard though, including from my brother who says it's his Goty 2019, it sounds like it is absolutely brilliant.

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Flabyo
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Flabyo »

They did say that console ports are likely, but no timeframe given.

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Scrustle
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Scrustle »

03/01 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

This was another fun trip down memory lane with an old racing favourite like I did with Underground 2 a few months ago. This one similarly holds up pretty well, although not quite as well in some aspects. While it’s still a lot of fun and very solid in most areas, time has not been quite as kind to this one as its predecessor. It’s a game that is more ambitious and varied, but upon close inspection, the individual parts don’t hold up quite as well in contrast, but is still good enough to be very good in its own right.

The police chases that were the new big thing in this game are still a major highlight, and I can’t think of any other game that has ever had a similar system that was as good as this one. Except maybe NFS Carbon, but that’s only because it uses literally the same mechanics. It’s a really cool system that works as an interesting game of cat-and-mouse with lots of subsystems that make it feel like much more than just trying to drive fast enough to get out of sight, which gets more intense and challenging as you get further in to the career. Road blocks and later spike strips to dodge; heavy vehicles that come at you head-on that require some very quick reactions and decision making; and the destructible structures that are dotted around the world that you can knock down to make your pursuers crash; and specific hiding spots to get to, so once you do manage to shake the cops, you need to find somewhere to lay low until you’re truly safe. It’s a very dynamic system that keeps you on your toes, constantly moving, and encourages and rewards good knowledge of the open world. The objectives you have to do during chases adds an extra layer to it as well, as you’re not simply trying to evade, but fight back against the police too, toying with them. It’s a lot of fun, and still works really well. The only issue with it is that when you’re at lower wanted levels, the police are real pushovers, to the point where trying to hit those objectives can actually be a pain to do, as the thing making it hard isn’t simply pulling it off, but keeping the police attention on you long enough to do it. But most of the time, it’s still a great system. And it can all happen in the middle of a race too, which certainly shakes things up a bit and makes them a lot more hectic, and that can be fun in a chaotic sort of way, but can also annoyingly disrupt things somewhat. But on balance it’s a great feature that U2 simply doesn’t have anything to compare to.

The car handling however is inferior to U2. It’s still good, but feels like it has lost a layer of subtlety compared to the last game. On the positive side, it’s still tight, responsive, and accurate. It feels very intuitive and has a good sense of speed to it. It’s more than good enough to hold up as an enjoyable and rewarding system today. But on the other hand, it feels like it’s missing a layer of complexity from before. It doesn’t have the same sense of inertia as U2, especially when it comes to when your car loses grip. In the previous game, there was a sense of progressiveness to grip, where you could dance on the threshold of oversteer, and gently adjust yourself if you pushed it just a bit too far. And when you did lose control, your car didn’t lose momentum completely. It truly felt like even if you had lost grip, your car still had a mass to it that kept on going. But in MW, you can’t really tip-toe around the edge of control like that. You’re either fully sticking to the road, or not at all. And when you do slide, you lose all your momentum and your speed drops in a rather dissatisfying way. On top of that, it seems like the game won’t let you correct a slide until you’ve lost a certain amount of speed, as if counter-steering simply doesn’t work until you’ve been punished enough first. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and once you start using more grippy cars as the game goes on, it happens less, but it’s still kind of deflating when it does. I can also see how it’s an intentional design decision made to work with the police chase mechanics. Perhaps they needed that to happen so that when they try to spin you out and pin you down, that works as it should, instead of them just pushing you along the road forever, or some other unexpected outcome. So I suppose it’s a trade-off, like with much of the game’s features. You may lose some things, but gain others in their place. And what is gained is genuinely good in its own right too.

Another related aspect is how it’s not really practical to use manual gears in MW. There’s a lot of noise going on a lot of the time during police chases, which makes it very hard to listen to your engine note. And because of the chaos of the chases, and certain mechanics like the slow-motion ability, it’s possible that you will unpredictably and rapidly lose a lot of speed, making you lose track of what gear you should be in. So you don’t really have the ability to focus on shifting alongside everything else that is going on. But again, it’s another trade-off. The no nonsense racing focus of U2, or the hectic and dramatic police chases of MW.

The actual races themselves are fun enough, although again there’s a bit of give and take with the modes available. The bread and butter modes are there, but there’s no drift mode in MW at all. Not a huge deal, since it wasn’t great in U2, but it did at least provide something a bit different in terms of driving style that you don’t really get here. Instead there are speed trap events, which play mostly like normal sprint races, except you are scored on how fast you are at certain points on the course, with the best sum total speed winning. But in reality it doesn’t end up playing that differently, as the further an opponent crosses the finish line before you, the more of your total score gets reduced. So you pretty much have to cross the line first anyway. The rubber-banding of the AI is a pretty significant issue in all modes too. It’s glaringly obvious in a lot of races, especially the Blacklist boss races, as they are programmed to just rocket ahead of you at certain points, no matter what. While I generally don’t mind rubber-banding as a concept if used appropriately, here it is so extreme at times that it’s impossible to ignore and feels a bit artificial. Aside from that, races are still relatively good though, and track design isn’t bad either. It’s mostly on par with U2 in that regard, with all the tracks being cornered off sections of the open world. But the roads themselves feel well thought out and are all entertaining to drive on, and the world itself feels well designed, with every bit feeling like it was made to feel unique.

The car customisation features are arguably a step down from U2, since there’s less to it than before, but in practice feels more like a side step that is going for a different style. While there’s still wild body kits and spoilers, lots of wheels and liveries to choose from, some of the granularity has been lost. There are no individual bumpers or skirts to pick from. Each car has a set of about five full kits, with no ability to mix and match. But the kits themselves are mostly pretty good, so there’s still some decent options there. There’s also no neons, spinners, scissor doors, ICE options, etc. Those I don’t miss however. Most of them were kind of tacky, and I didn’t really like them in the first place. Or merely tolerated them. MW is going for a different tone anyway, where that stuff doesn’t make as much sense. One thing MW did add however was a few new spoilers, some of which are on the smaller side, so there’s more options in that area that don’t involve having to go with a crazy ironing board on the back of your car. I think that stuff can look good on the right car, but more variety that leans more on the subtle side an improvement in my book.

The visuals and general overall aesthetic of the game though is something I’m in two minds about. It definitely doesn’t look bad at all, and it has an identity that it is confidently going for. It’s got a gritty, urban feel to it, with heavy use of graffiti stylings, and a sepia toned look to everything. The presentation of that stuff, especially in the menus, works well. Parts of the world look fairly attractive on a composition level, although it’s still very clearly PS2-based assets. But there are also times when the lighting is rather attractive, with the low sun hanging over the horizon, creating an orange glow reflecting off the road surface. But there are other times where it does suffer from that grey/brown dullness that plagued a lot of games of the time. While I think that aesthetic gets too much hate, suffering too much from overuse, here there are definitely areas where it does not do the game many favours.

This is with me playing the game using mods to make it look more like the 360 version, which leaned heavily in to that look and colour grading. Alternatively there are mods out there that take the look of the game in an opposite direction, ripping out all the filters and such. And those look hideous. I think that sort of thing goes to show that this kind of aesthetic does get unfairly maligned, that there is so much desire to rip it out of a game. And the result is horrible. It doesn’t “fix” the game or make it look better, it just ruins the art design.

I don’t know what to think about it compared to U2 though. While MW has more detail in certain areas, like car models, reflections, lighting, etc., the U2 aesthetic still stands up pretty well on its own. The look of a city at night punctuated by colourful neon works pretty well no matter the level of detail. The dark helps hide the rougher edges, and the neons naturally invoke the “ooh, pretty lights” reaction easily. I suppose I like that more on a visceral level, but I also appreciate what MW was going for too.

Speaking of visuals and technical aspects, I did find this version of the game to perform pretty poorly. While it’s been too long to properly remember how well it compares against the others, my last impression of the 360 version wasn’t great either. But regardless, I had loads of issues with poor frame rates, stuttering, and even a few crashes near the end. In-engine cutscenes were often comically broken, and I got some shadow glitches too. I’m not sure how much of these issues were from simply the game itself, and how much are due to the mods (except for the shadows, that was probably from forcing the game to run in 16:9), but it did drag down the experience somewhat. I tried tackling these problems through my whole time playing the game, but nothing really seemed to make a big impact. Sometimes things seemed to improve, but that might have just been the game deciding to not be as temperamental on that day, rather than because of anything I tried. Perhaps I would have had a better time with the game if I wasn’t so frequently getting distracted by jarring lapses in smoothness. U2 had some similar stuttering issues, but nothing else. And they were also limited to very isolated areas, and thus more predictable.

Back on the more aesthetic/presentation side of things, I think it’s worth mentioning the FMV sequences of MW. Despite being pretty awful, I can’t help but find them charmingly dumb and amusing. There thankfully isn’t many of them, so they don’t overstay their welcome, and provide some fun campy scenes that set up the antagonists of the very thin story as being people you want to take down a peg because of what a bunch of a smug nobheads they are. It’s sort of strange that this is an aspect that grew to be a staple of the series though, and is consistently played straight. It’s like they thought people enjoyed this stuff unironically, and so decided to double down on it in future games, and that’s just not what the appeal is here at all.

Speaking of antagonists, the way the career structure is done here is still pretty satisfying. Still very simple compared to games these days, but with a rewarding sense of progression to it, although it can be a little repetitive. You make your way up through the Blacklist of the 15 most wanted street racers in the city, with each of them acting as bosses with unique cars. But to be eligible to challenge them you need to meet requirements of winning a certain number of races and pulling off feats of criminal mayhem. It’s a good way of spacing out the career with significant milestones, and gives you a good target to aim for in the medium term. And it gives a sense you’re proving yourself in some reputational way, rather than just winning everything and being the fastest. So while it can feel a bit rote going through the same cycle over and over, it still has a structure that works well to keep you moving forward. It definitely beats U2’s career structure, which basically just felt like a long checklist of races. There was some very minor attempt at a narrative framing too, but it was a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ affair that barely registers. But even so, the racing was always fun enough on its own to keep you on the hook to play more, albeit not as interesting as MW.

So, as has been a common theme with this comparison, it ends up being six of one, half a dozen of the other. I like both games a lot, and to this day they’re quality games that stand on their own merits. But it’s definitely a case of the focused, well-honed simplicity of U2, versus the more ambitious and dynamic, but less precise MW. Over time the high quality of U2’s mechanics has only become clearer as examining them closer reveals more than I appreciated before. But when you put MW under the microscope in the same way, cracks start to show, despite it still having a lot going for it.

I am planning to carry on to Carbon at some point too, maybe soon. As of yet I haven’t decided how much I want to mod it, but I’m looking forward to it. I remember liking it at the time, but that was the first sign of the quality of the series taking a downward turn. It tried to build on what came before, but I remember it feeling rather half-baked, where a lot of what it tried didn’t end up working, despite the core still being fun enough. But as I’ve been looking at it recently, I’ve been reminded of just how much it tried to evolve things, and it’s actually rather impressive in retrospect. Hopefully when I get around to it I can appreciate some of that a bit better this time around. I also found out that there’s actually a huge amount of cut, unfinished content in the game, which would explain why the game felt so short and incomplete at the time. Some of the mods try to restore that stuff, but I don’t know if I want to mess around with that. A lot of it looks broken, and at this point a shorter experience is actually kind of appealing.

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dezm0nd
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by dezm0nd »

3rd Jan - Shovel Knight in preparation for the DLC play through for the upcoming Volume.

It's still really good.

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duskvstweak
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by duskvstweak »

First game finished in 2020 is Red Dead Redemption. I think I started the game back in November. Took my a while to finally find a rhythm. It's just as good as everyone says. I think I would be more gobsmacked if I had played the game around the time of release, but the nice thing about behind so behind in my backlog is that something like Red Dead Redemption is still rather new to me!

Also, having only played Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, I am SHOCKED at how enjoyable the combat was in Red Dead. Like, I looked forward to it?

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Magical_Isopod »

Game #1:
I just finished an obscure 90's Souls-like called Putt-Putt Goes To The Moon. Despite the high difficulty and dark themes, I managed to finish it in just over an hour. Highly recommended for fans of ultra-violence and body horror.

&Iso2020

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Michiel K
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Re: Games Completed 2020

Post by Michiel K »

4 - 1 The Touryst (Nintendo Switch)

My daughter wanted to see me play through this game, but asked me to take care of the final third of the game (which contains of a fair bit of busywork) by myself and then get her involved again when I was ready to go to the final area. That's what I did today and to my surprise that was pretty much the end of the whole game, with an 86% completion rate.

A very pleasant experience overall, be it slightly anticlimactic in how it played out for me. The further you progress, the more the dungeons start feeling like an isometric puzzle adventure in the vein of Knight Lore, Head over Heels and Solstice, but there is a lot more to this one. Really enjoyed the mini arcade as well.

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