Games Completed 2023

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Alex79
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 14th, 2023, 12:34 amJAN - Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur's Story (Xbox)
JAN - The Witcher 2 (Xbox)

I did not really enjoy this game at all. I thought the story was dull, the level design terrible and... well actually that's it. I think the main areas in the game are amongst the worst I've played it a long while with regard to confusing layout and getting lost, and the story didn't get me in the slightest bit excited. Kind of amazed The Witcher 3 followed this!
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 14th, 2023, 12:34 amJAN - Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur's Story (Xbox)
JAN - The Witcher 2 (Xbox)
JAN - Ori And The Blind Forest (Switch)

This is an utterly incredible game, absolutely loved it. I very, very rarely go for a 100% clear on a game but it was so enjoyable traversing this world that I collected every single item and uncovered every single bit of the map. Perfect in so many ways; controls, art, music, length, just a fantastic game. I will definitely look forward to playing the sequel at some point. I'll remember this one for a good while.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Spoiler: show

03/01 - The Last Campfire
05/01 - Splatoon 3
17/01 - Wolfenstein (2009)

This game has long been in the periphery of my thoughts, its existence always seeming rather odd. I remember thinking it seemed strange for a new Wolfenstein game to be released at the time this was. It felt rather out of place. Sometimes I had considered maybe I should give it a go. Finally did. It’s pretty decent, a solid fun shooter, but it’s nothing exceptional.

It has a few interesting quirks though, which were the things that made me want to try it out, since they sounded somewhat reminiscent of The Darkness. This game isn’t really a patch on that one though, but they’re still worth something. The game is structured around a semi-open world that takes place in a besieged German village, so between the main linear missions you can explore around and sometimes come across secondary objectives. I did like that, and it did help the game feel like it had a bit more of a believable world to it than just linear hallways full of enemies. But there isn’t really much to do in the village itself, and there’s hardly any of those optional missions.

The game also has a supernatural twist, giving you a magic amulet that lets you see in to another dimension that gives you special powers. It gives the gameplay an extra layer other than just shooting, but it feels like the absolute minimum possible to achieve that. All the powers are really basic, and are simply buffs to your normal abilities. Nothing particularly creative. Turning on your amulet powers also highlights enemies and lets you run faster, which is far better than the painfully slow standard speed. It also adds a ghoulish looking green filter over the screen, with other effects to give the world a spooky feel as you see in to the other dimension. I don’t dislike how the game looks through that lens, but it’s a bit disappointing that doing so is basically objectively the best choice in all situations, as the normal world visuals actually look pretty nice and clearly have a lot of care put in to them. But you don’t get much reason to take it in.

The actual combat is pretty good, but again feels like it needed much more to it to be genuinely impressive. Guns feel nice, and there are a reasonable range of enemy types to go up against, but the variety of your arsenal is pretty limited, yet still manages to have a lot of overlap. You get two automatic rifles, but no shotgun or pistol. There’s a range of sci-fi power weapons, which are a lot of fun, but there’s a few that feel like lesser versions of ones you get earlier. This also happens to be an ADS shooter, so once again suffers from the problem of gun models blocking most of the screen whenever you’re trying to aim at anything. Hip fire is at least viable at close range though, which you can do in certain situations thanks to the magic powers.

The story is a bit strange, and feels pretty perfunctory. I guess if you were being very generous you would say it’s a retro throwback inspired by the series’ legacy. Basically every beat of the story is the same, and they all boil down to “The Nazis are up to something at [location], go blast them to bits!” It starts with a very hurried intro cutscene of some mission unrelated to the game where BJ stumbles on one of these magic amulets, but it gets destroyed near instantly. Then he immediately gets dropped down in this town to help the local resistance, where he just happens to dig up another amulet. A researcher from one of the factions you’re helping at this points asks to have it, and BJ just says no and they carry on as is. Predictably the Nazis are also investigating the magical realm and these amulets, so everything else is just filler until you blow up their portal to the other dimension where they got them from, and then the game ends. What’s weirder is that the more recent Wolfenstein games seem to treat this as canon, since certain characters return from this game for some reason. It’s not like any of them are compelling in this iteration.

Nothing about the game was especially egregious though, except maybe a few bad boss encounters. Generally I enjoyed it. It’s a competent shooter with a couple of interesting elements that save it from being too bland. But it doesn’t exceed at much, and feels a bit undercooked in certain areas too.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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JAN - Shadow Dancer (Sega Genesis)
JAN - Shantae (GBC)

JAN - Citizen Sleeper (Switch)
I don't play too many text heavy games and definitely have bounced off of a few but this one clicked with me. It helped that I had a five hour flight to give it a good try and I played it for the entire 5 hours and then finished it the next night. It is a great read with characters that I cared about and sci fi ideas that made me think about my existence. The little economy gameplay also hooked me once I figured out the systems at play. And the ways to make money that are available afford you the opportunity to role play, whether it is working at bars and restaurants or using hacking skills to sell data about gangs or corporations. I wrapped up one story thread for my ending but left many unresolved and I do think I will do another playthrough to explore some more areas (I didn't really delve into the Greenway area much or helping the Refugees with the DLC). I enjoyed trying a different type of game and the length being under 10 hours is great.

JAN - Lil Gator Game (Swtich)
This came out for the Switch in December and is another game that can be completed in under 10 hours (woo-hoo!). This is similar to A Short Hike in that it takes place on an island, with animal characters, and utilizes Breath of the Wilds climbing, stamina, and gliding mechanics. But the magic of this game is its focus on the nostalgia of kids play and imagination. You are trying to recruit friends to build a big playground so that your older sister who is back from college will join in. The interactions with these characters usually highlight some imaginative play these "kids" are doing and has humor and heart. Just a great cozy relaxing game.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Mario & Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

The first Mario & Rabbids game was for a long time (until Metroid Dread) which was my favourite game I played on Switch (bear in mind I played BoTW on WiiU) so I was eagerly anticipating this game. However, whilst this is by no means a bad game, I came away disappointed.
Let's start with the positives. The core turn based XCOM style combat is as good as it ever was, I actually preferred it's more simplistic approach where you have 3 states of hitting an opponent, 0%, 50% or 100% depending on whether they're in cover or not. There is far fewer variables to consider compared to other similar games which makes it a less taxing game to play which is sometimes perfect if you've had a long day, but equally it's not so simplistic that it treats you like a baby, I played on normal and there was the odd battle I ended up losing so you still have to think quite carefully. The production values are really good with great animations and the boss battles were quite good for the most part, just like in the first game.
Now for the negatives. I don't feel the characters and sparks were as well balanced as in the first game. There are a few characters and sparks which are so much better than the others that you have no real reason to use them. The game also starts to feel quite repetitive after a while, not helped by the fact that this game feels much longer than the first. There are 5 planets and I was starting to feel things getting a bit stale at the end of planet 3.
I wasn't a fan of the whole overworld aspect, there were a couple of decent puzzles but those were outweighed by really simple ones. The whole overworld just seemed like a way to fill out the games length as they planets were quite big and a bit of a pain to navigate, with nothing particularly interesting to do in them. One last thing I was disappointed by was the environments for the battle arenas. Most of them were just floating space rocks which made no sense as to why they existed in the universe. What were the enemies supposed to be doing on them? There's nothing to protect on them. I don't remember it being like this in the first game where the battle arenas were baked into different biome environments which just made more sense.
I've given this a 7/10 so I don't regret playing it as the core gameplay is so much fun. But it didn't feel as fresh as before and it felt too long. The first game felt so fresh to me at the time as it was my first XCOM style game and there was also the whole peculiar aspect of it being a Mario XCOM game so I suspect if I went back to play it now I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I did back then. I would say if you loved the first game like I did, pick this up. If not then probably avoid it or pick it up super cheap.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Hmm, I did wonder about this game and whether there was enough ideas for a sequel to the excellent first one. Seems like maybe it should have been a one and done, perhaps? Not that Sparks Of Hope sounds like a bad game, but it doesn't sound like it has much new to offer and if anything loses a little of the charm from the first one. I've started the first one three times and each time really enjoyed what I played but ended up getting distracted and abandoning it, getting slightly further each time. I ought to go and finish it at some point.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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seansthomas wrote: January 13th, 2023, 3:49 pm Jan 13th - Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

Story wise I enjoyed it, it was solid. But as I've gotten older, I don't want story games to interrupt the gameplay constantly with cut scenes, showing me a decentish story but an average one by modern TV standards. I like games that either don't bother with much narrative, that leave it for you to delve into if you care (Metroid Prime, Dark Souls) or tell it through aspects of the gameplay (Outer Wilds, Portal, The Last Guardian). It's probably why I'm generally less into the flagship Sony titles, and I don't think the narrative here is as strong as The Last of Us or God of War.

Being good, but not quite as good, as another title, was probably how I'd sum up Horizon. I liked the aesthetic and vibe, but I feel like Enslaved was more original. I like the crafting and combat, but preferred it in Tomb Raider. The exploration and freedom was good, but BOTW changed everything for me. The writing and story was woven into the game well, but Witcher 3 did it better. I liked taking out hideouts and scaling heights to unlock the map, but Far Cry 3 had more tension.

As an almagamation of many of the last generations best games, Horizon is really commendable, super slick and very enjoyable. But it feels like it's the end point of a formula that I'm personally happy to now move on from.
That's a wonderful summary and accurately represented my opinion when I played it as well, particularly the bolded portion. I think the developers achieved the goals they set out for themselves and, as wrestler personality Jim Cornette has said, "for people who like that kind of thing, that's the kind of thing they're going to like." For me though, I'm just not in love with Ubisoft-style open world checklist games or with games that are overly dependent on heavy handed narratives.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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#2 - Tormented Souls (2021, PS5)

Boy howdy, did this game ever come out of friggin nowhere and knock my socks off. It was briefly shouted out my My Life In Gaming's year-end wrap up, and a few folks on their Discord absolutely sang its praises.

Tormented Souls is like a Resident Evil or Silent Hill game, if it were made in a universe where RE4 never happened and survival horror games stayed, well, horror games. Made by a small Chilean developer, Tormented Soul leans hard into the trappings of 90s survival horror - limited ammo and healing items, save ribbons, tank controls (optional, but appreciated), labyrinthine environments and obtuse puzzles. And unlike other games that aim for nostalgia, this one is actually good, and stands toe to toe with the best in the genre.

The problems with this game are few. I found health and ammo to be excessively scarce in some areas, but I still managed to beat the game with these items on hand. Some of the puzzles required walkthroughs to figure out, but the same was true when I played REmake and Silent Hill 2. I know these games like the back of my hand NOW, but I do remember fumbling in the dark when I first played these. The voice acting is also god-awful. Not in a "so bad it's good" way, more in a, "We found a few people who could do an American accent and had them do overly dramatic line reads" bad.

But overall, this game is an incredibly tense, engaging, and surprisingly innovative survival horror game that is absolutely worth your time. It rarely feels cheap, despite the small team and, presumably, small budget. It's got some stunning visuals and sound mechanics. Really, really hope to see more from this developer in future.

&iso2023
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Alex79
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 14th, 2023, 12:34 amJAN - Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur's Story (Xbox)
JAN - The Witcher 2 (Xbox)
JAN - Ori And The Blind Forest (Switch)
JAN - Shinobi III (Megadrive on Switch)

Well I was going to play Shadow Dancer along with the upcoming CaR show, but it wasn't on the Switch Online service, which I was surprised about, so ended up playing this. I had this on cart for the Megadrive back in the day and it was always a favourite. Playing now, almost 30 years later, and it's still a lot of fun, although I'd obviously forgotten about some really cheap deaths and leaps of faith you have to make at times. It stands up fairly well though as a traditional 2D action platformer and it still really does look good in places. Nice animation on the main character, too. I'd say this is still worth a play if anyone is interested.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 14th, 2023, 12:34 amJAN - Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur's Story (Xbox)
JAN - The Witcher 2 (Xbox)
JAN - Ori And The Blind Forest (Switch)
JAN - Shinobi III (Megadrive on Switch)
JAN - Sonic Spinball (Megadrive on Switch)

I remember liking this back on Megadrive, although I don't think I ever got past the second stage. Whilst I had the Megadrive app open on the Switch I thought I'd finish off the game of this I started a while back, turns out I only had the final stage to do. I think this is quite fun, perhaps a little unfairly thought of, and I guess liking pinball anyway helps, but it's got some fun ideas, and the boss battles aren't bad either. The only negative really, as far as I'm concerned is the frame rate which seems quite low, and the length of the game - with only four (I think) stages it can be finished in under half an hour if you know what you're doing - took me about an hour and 45 though. I like this.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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January 5th - Final Fantasy VII
January 22nd - Death's Door

Wrote a review for the episode - overall I enjoyed it, fun world and characters, felt good to play.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 14th, 2023, 12:34 amJAN - Red Dead Redemption 2: Arthur's Story (Xbox)
JAN - The Witcher 2 (Xbox)
JAN - Ori And The Blind Forest (Switch)
JAN - Shinobi III (Megadrive on Switch)
JAN - Sonic Spinball (Megadrive on Switch)
JAN - Super Fantasy Zone - 1cc (Megadrive on Switch)

This is a lot easier than the arcade version of the original game, but still a lot of fun and some fun new bosses. On the whole the bosses are a bit of a cakewalk really, it's the erratic movements of the regular enemies that'll do you in! I don't think I'd actually played this before, and it was cool to see all the new weapons and bombs etc. in the game. Fun time.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Alex79 wrote: January 22nd, 2023, 9:45 amWell I was going to play Shadow Dancer along with the upcoming CaR show, but it wasn't on the Switch Online service, which I was surprised about
That's a shame. I played it on the Mega Drive Collection release from a few years back, I've never looked at the Mega Drive games on the online service but I'd hope that most of the games from that collection are on there.

Jan 22 - Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Switch)
A fun game with nice short snappy levels. The enemy variety is quite low but that helps as I had to learn how to approach and deal with each type. Some I'd have to look for openings for the shinobi or the dog others I had to learn how to move around them or their range. Bosses are fine, except the first which has random falling building debris which is a problem when the shinobi dies when hit once.

So yeah, this was pretty fun and I was looking forward to completing it legitimately. However, in the second last room in the game it introduces black ninjas. These can have the movesets of any of the other ninja types (which could be identified by colour) and have three hit points instead of two. This is an even bigger problem since most of what the final boss does is summon this type of enemy. It was so annoying I decided to use a savestate before the boss. The ninjas patterns re not randomised (i.e. the first will always act the same way, the second will always roll) and can be learned but this was too annoying to do on limited lives.

A good game but the end is a disappointment.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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That Genesis Collection on Switch goes on sale often, too. I seem to recall getting it for $8. Why bother paying extra for that ludicrous "expansion" bundle when you can just get that instead, and keep it forever? Nintendo confounds me.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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The emulation on that collection is markedly inferior, with substandard visual and audio emulation, plus input and audio lag. Some different games too.

I have that collection on Xbox but it's always a last resort. If I can play a game another way I will, including the Switch online service.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Yeah, the input lag is the reason I never picked up the Switch version of that collection. I have it for PS4 and an older version on the PS3 and PSP, but there are so many mixed reports on the quality of the Switch version in particular I gave it a swerve.
Magical_Isopod wrote: January 22nd, 2023, 2:00 pm That Genesis Collection on Switch goes on sale often, too. I seem to recall getting it for $8. Why bother paying extra for that ludicrous "expansion" bundle when you can just get that instead, and keep it forever? Nintendo confounds me.
Well, I guess you have to count the N64 games and the free DLC for Mario Kart and Animal Crossing along with whatever else is released for it too, but I suppose your mileage may vary. I think £35 for a year is worth what you get for it.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

Post by ColinAlonso »

Yeah, the emulation on the big Mega Drive collections is usually worse than the more focussed releases. I had the earliest big Mega Drive collection on the PSP and the emulation was spectacularly bad on some things there. For example, Ristar had seriously bad sound issues with some sounds just not playing properly at all and the sound and image distortion on the 4th planet's boss just not happening.

A pity that some games aren't on the online service with better emulation as its clearly not a rights issue.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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ratsoalbion wrote: January 22nd, 2023, 2:55 pm The emulation on that collection is markedly inferior, with substandard visual and audio emulation, plus input and audio lag. Some different games too.

I have that collection on Xbox but it's always a last resort. If I can play a game another way I will, including the Switch online service.
No kidding! I had no idea. I had noticed the input lag, but I'd assumed that was an issue with the Switch's notoriously bad input lag, not the software. Good to know. I have Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection on PS3, and quite a few of these games physical on Genesis. And if I reeeeeally need handheld, well... I have a modded 2DS. And I still posit that that thing has an amazing screen for pixel-based games.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

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Spoiler: show

03/01 - The Last Campfire
05/01 - Splatoon 3
17/01 - Wolfenstein (2009)
22/01 - Fragments of Euclid

This is just a little free puzzle game I stumbled on, turned out to be pretty nice. It's a first-person puzzler inspired by the art of M.C. Escher, so it deals with impossible spaces and has a sketchy, monochrome aesthetic that features a lot of staircases. It looks nice, but by default it does have this pretty aggressive animated filter on the screen. Thankfully you can turn it off though, or change it to something a bit less visually abrasive. The mechanics are pretty cool, but if you've ever played a puzzle game that deals with these sorts of concepts before, it'll be pretty familiar. Walking through doorways bring you out in to the same room but with gravity flipped, or from a different direction, etc. Add to that the old "put cube on button" design trope, and the rest is pretty self-explanatory. It was fun though, and less than an hour long, so it made for a short but sweet experience.
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Re: Games Completed 2023

Post by markfm007 »

Spoiler: show
January 5th - Final Fantasy VII
January 22nd - Death's Door
January 25th - Citizen Sleeper

I loved this. It plays like a board game, and is quite addictive moving from day to day managing your activities. It’s quite short and there’s plenty to discover on another run, places you didn’t find and stories you didn’t follow up on. Only criticism I have is that I found an easy rhythm with it quite quickly, so that initial challenge to survive dropped off.

The setting and the characters are what really drew me in. A forgotten space station in a sci fi capitalist future. Each character and story is so well written and grounded. Everyone has to deal with their own struggles, help each other out in a place that sees you as a statistic. I felt really invested in helping them, wanting to make a better life for them, improve things on the station. Knowing that my choices drove things forward made each disappointment and success matter. At times I was absolutely glued to it, praying things would work out. Beautiful soundtrack too. I’d like to come back to it and explore other stories, but for now I’m going to leave it and let my story be my story.
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