Games Played in 2012
Games I beat in 2012 or played enough of to know I didn't want to finish them.
Games I beat in 2012 or played enough of to know I didn't want to finish them.
First game completed in 2012. I wasn't a big fan of the first Layton game and I'd say I feel the same way about Diabolical Box. I think the characters are great, the art style's neat and the story's pretty interesting, but I really don't want to play a game where Brain Teaser puzzles are the primary mechanic. Unfortunately, I bought this game before I played the first one so I was stuck with it and wanted to finish it. I feel like I know enough about the series so that if the Layton/Ace Attorney cross over ever comes out in North America, I'm familiar enough with all the characters to enjoy it. I'm satisfied with that. All in all, not a great start to the year, but I have high hopes for whatever's next.
I am a total newcomer to the Fate/ series -- I have not played the original visual novel or seen either of the anime series. I picked up Fate/Extra primarily because it looked like an interesting Persona knockoff. I played as a male protagonist with Saber as my servant. I liked the premise and story and the combat system was a nice change from standard turn-based fare, but overall the game is far too repetitive. The dungeon environments are nice to look at, but they're all kind've the same, and the rest of the game's environment is about as big as the schools in Persona 3 and 4. The boss fights are probably the game's greatest strength because they can be quite challenging and require a good amount of strategy to survive. Other than the repetitiveness of the game, I'd say the ending is probably the game's weakest point. Not only are there some pretty significant plot holes in the story, but most of the ending consists of a long-winded explanation of 20 years of recent canon history that feels sort've unnecessary considering how many other aspects of the game were left unexplained. At least the actual conclusion itself was quite good, which redeemed the ending a little in my eyes. Glad I took the time to play this, but I will not be replaying with a different character gender or servant.
Christine Love's visual novel projects have been a bit hit or miss for me. I adored Digital: A Love story, which has become one of my favourite games of all time. Don't Take It Personally Babe, however, just did not connect with me on the same level emotionally as Digital did and I found it to be quite disappointing on a number of levels. Love has thoroughly impressed me again, however, with Analogue: A Hate Story. The story is fascinating, emotionally powerful and keeps you interested even though the gameplay is largely comprised of reading letters and diaries. As an archivist, I found the idea of finding this tremendous fonds that had such an interesting tale to reveal was totally compelling. Loved it. Managed to find two endings and will likely wait awhile before attempting to find the other endings -- the story needs to sit with me for awhile before I go back to it.
Played to about halfway through Act 2 in February. Unfortunately, stalled on this game and have not yet had the motivation to go back to it. I very, very rarely play shooters and I have to admit that the game play was sometimes frustrating for me, but I was so interested in what might be coming next in the story that I stuck with it. I'd love to finish this sometime during the first half of the year, but we'll see. Hopefully this text will be edited at some point.
Dropped after about 13 hours. I had never played one of the Atelier games before, but when I was looking around for things to put on my Christmas Wishlist and saw this was coming out last winter, I figured it'd be a good opportunity to try it out. Critics had generally nice things to say about it, I like turn-based RPG combat, and the art seemed cute. I figured Totori and I would get along fine. To a certain extent, we did. Atelier Totori's combat mechanics are perfectly serviceable as are the crafting mechanics (though I would argue that the sheer volume of items a person can create doesn't necessarily mean a system has depth). The problem is, there's nothing about the game that stood out for me and made me want to keep playing it. The crafting and battle mechanics got pretty boring after awhile when there was so little story to propel the game forward. And while I like cute anime art, this series is a little too moe, even for me.
Completed the main story in about 50 hours in April. My feelings for Tales of Graces are a little mixed. All in all, I'd say the game is super fun to play. The battle system is fast-paced and I liked it much better than Vesperia's, but I also felt like the story and characters fell pretty flat. The art was very nice, but it's also fairly obvious that the game was originally designed for the Wii and that the designers did not really try to push the system very much. While the towns are nice, I found myself walking through a lot of narrow corridors that had very little to interact with aside from enemies a la Final Fantasy XIII and, worst of all, the same locations were visited repeatedly. I think the general sentiment toward this game is pretty spot on. Not fabulous, but not terrible either and if you like JRPGs, it's fun and inoffensive. I hope that its sales were good enough to convince Namco to bring over Xillia -- I really want to see a Tales game built for the PS3. I plan to play the Adulthood arc at some point, but I need a good long break from this game before I go back to it.
Played about 2/3 of this game in April. Unfortunately, got stumped in one of the first quasi-stealth sequences and got a little frustrated. Took a break, then wound up getting totally sidetracked by RL issues. At this point, I have no motivation to go back and finish. I love the Story in Overseer, because I love the story in Mean Streets, but the gameplay in this entry is frustrating at times, largely due to the need for stealth-type stuff. I tend to dislike stealth sequences in adventure games, so they're often a stopping point for me. I own this, so eventually I will go back and finish it, but it's not likely any time soon. I'm hoping to play at least one more classic adventure game this year, but I haven't decided which series I feel like drawing from. I may make an attempt at another Tex Murphy game, but I'm also thinking about replaying Dreamfall or delving in to the Broken Sword series.
I feel like Journey is less a game than it is an experience. I haven't been on an emotional roller-coaster like this in a very, very long time. Feelings of curiosity, accomplishment, wonder, awe, fear, misery, and utter joy all in just about two hours. I'd say more about it, but I'd never want to spoil any of it for anyone. Beautiful game, well worth the money spent. I was thinking I might want to go back and get some trophies at some point, but I don't think I ever want to play it again, or at least not for a good long while.
Fun and charming turn-based RPG from Double Fine. Played through this in one day and loved it. Battle system was fun, premise was interesting and an all-around enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. Considering picking up the DLC, but I've spent my game budget for the month so it'll have to wait until next month if I bother getting it at all. One major drawback to the game is the lack of voice acting. I know it would have increased the game's budget by quite a bit, but it would have added even more charm had there been competent voice acting to go along with the cutscenes. Overall, pretty happy with how this one turned out and glad I finally picked it up and played it.
This game took me forever to finish. I think I started it at some point in May and didn't finish until August 1st. At first, I had trouble playing it for more than an hour or two at a time because I found the encounter rate to be frustratingly high. Once I finally got in to the game, I wound up getting a job in a different province and had to move on short notice, so I didn't have time to play games for awhile. The third thing that got in my way was the final dungeon. Died multiple times during long gaps between save points at the hands of multiple enemies that can kill your party before the battle even really starts. I like the battle system, the characters are interesting, music's fabulous, character designs are great and I want to see the story through to its conclusion in DDS 2, but this game got on my last fucking nerve quite a few times. Glad I played it and super happy it's over all at the same time. Will probably play a couple downloadable titles and maybe Persona 4: Arena before I move on to DDS 2.
I didn't have very high hopes for Hakuoki. I had seen both seasons of the anime and wasn't really interested in more story details. In fact, I bought this game more as an encouragement to Aksys to license and translate more Otome games than I did because I actually wanted to play it, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Hakuoki, in many ways, highlights how utterly shitty most Otome game anime adaptations are. Chizuru, totally vilified by fans of the anime for being a total damsel in distress, is still a damsel in distress, but to a far less insulting extent. Where in the anime, she is present for just about every incident that happens throughout the story, the game naturally directs her away from many of them depending on choices made by the player. Chizuru, then, appears to me a lot less stupid and ridiculous in the game simply because she doesn't need to be rescued all the time, making her far more likeable. It's a real shame that companies who make the anime adaptations of these games don't follow the in-game stories a little closer, but from a cross-marketing perspective, I suppose I can understand that they want to tease as many of the possible romantic interactions as possible in order to sell more games. This is one area where it sucks to not be fluent in Japanese, since if I was, I could enjoy both the anime series and the games for what they are, rather than feeling like I'm missing something or getting more than what I'm asking for. All in all, I liked the routes I chose to play through and I'm hopeful that we'll see more releases similar to this in the future.
Sound shapes is both visually and aurally beautiful. The aesthetic is wonderfully minimalist and the platforming is engaging and while the difficulty ramps up pretty nicely by the end of the campaign, the frequent checkpoints make it so you never get totally frustrated, even if you're not thrilled with the song that's playing. The music is fantastic. If I could buy the soundtrack somewhere, I would. I'd probably pay a lot of money for it, too. All in all, this was a great break from some of the heavier JRPGs I've been playing recently, and overall one of my favourite games of 2012 so far. Now if I can just get someone to produce a soundtrack...
Probably my favourite game of all time, which I play at least a few hours of every year. I generally try for a complete playthrough, but I play a lot of turn-based JRPGs and am always catching up on MegaTen games, so sometimes I need a bit of a break from this style of game. Logged about 20 hours this year in late September/Early October when I was having a bad couple weeks and it did its job of being my most reliable distraction. I may play more of it before the year is out, but for now I'm moving on to other things.
On hold until some time in 2013. Played about 7 hours of this just after finishing DDS1. I got horribly stuck during the jail chase sequence with Kumbhanda in a way that was very frustrating and that I won't get in to detail on here. In general, I think I jumped the gun on this one. I was initially worried that I wouldn't ever get to this if I didn't play it immediately after DDS 1, but that's just not the case -- this is definitely close to the top of my priority list for 2013. Right now, I just really need a break from this style of traditional turn-based combat, and I'd like to turn my focus a little more towards some 2012 releases that I'm interested in. Returning this to the backlog for now.
I knew from the start that I was not going to like VLR as much as I loved 999. This is just in keeping with my feelings toward sequels of my favourite games. Persona 3 > Persona 4; Fable > Fable 2; 999 > VLR. Sure, the sequels improved a lot of issues their originals had, but when I really love a game, I tend to love it warts and all, and its sequels never quite live up to that initial experience for me. They made some very smart improvements in VLR. Repetition being 999's biggest flaw, the flow chart nodes (a la Radiant Historia) in VLR totally eradicated that problem. In my opinion, however, the designers added a few new problems. The sheer number of endings (one for each character + a lot of dead ends) meant that you were doled out information so slowly that many of them didn't seem worth playing, as they really didn't add much to the true ending or give you much additional information about their corresponding characters. The use of colours over numbers detracted from things in a way that I don't think I'll ever be able to explain. And I also felt that VLR was much less tense than 999. There were many times where I had to put 999 down due to being significantly creeped out or tense and I only felt this way once while playing all of VLR (during Luna's ending one of the last that you are able to unlock). While I loved that particular ending and the True ending, many of the others just felt a bit lackluster and the tension in Luna's ending made me wonder why they hadn't bothered to create that in more situations. Right now this is definitely my game of the year, though I'm not sure it's the best game I've played this year. I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel, which was horribly (in the best way) teased during the extra End/Beginning sequence.
Picked up for free via Playstation +. Played a few levels of this when I was bored with turn-based RPGs and visual novels and trying to do something a little different. Reminded me that platforming is probably never going to be one of my favourite forms of gameplay, though the charm of the LBP series is almost enough to make me want to overcome that opinion. As always, love hearing those tutorials voiced by Stephen Fry.
I have pretty mixed feelings about Asura's Wrath. I thought the story was pretty amazing, and was enjoying the gameplay until I hit the wall of chapter 18. I've had a couple weeks of not sleeping very well and am a little exhausted. When I found out that in order to get the "true" version of chapter 18 of the game you had to S-rank 5 chapters (which is not the end of the game, but a plot twist leading to DLC chapters 19-22), I figured I could just skip it, watch it on youtube, and move on to chapter 19. When I selected chapter 19, however, I got a warning saying "You should play the true version of chapter 18 first." My exhausted brain, primarily due to the way the menus in the game are set up, interpreted this as a requirement rather than a suggestion and I kind've lost my shit. I already had to pay for the real ending, and now the game was setting up a barrier for me to view that content? Fuck that. Of course, I realized later that I could access the DLC without any problems, but by then I'd already kind've soured on the game. The DLC ending wound up being a little too long, (do we really need to fight Yasha again?) and the final boss had a few too many forms. At least the ending was a nice conclusion to the story. Story good, art style great, graphics great, Japanese voice acting fantastic (English voice acting crap), but the ending is slow and you have to pay extra for it, and the requirement to see the plot twist (S-rank 5 levels) is silly given the chilled out nature of the gameplay. Overall, glad I played it, but I wish I'd waited for a price drop to buy it.
Got 5 of the 9 available endings (the true ending for each of the 4 romance options and the alone ending). It's honestly quite interesting to see the progression in some of Winter Wolves' games. Their latest Otome offering, Always Remember Me shows a great deal of improvement from this title and Love and Order. Hopefully they'll continue to improve and offer better experiences. Definitely not the worst game I've ever played, but probably not quite worth the $20 I paid for it.
I've never been in to fighting games, but I figured that P4A was a game I should both play and have in my collection, considering I'm such a fan of the Persona series in general. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get in to this. I played about half the story mode and while I've heard that some of the story implications are pretty cool and I am interested in finding out about all of them eventually, but I'm just not in any rush to play this right now. I stalled out on it and have been trying to pick it back up ever since without any luck at all. I will probably finish this after I play P4: Golden or perhaps once we start hearing more about Persona 5.
Played somewhere around 90 hours of Skyrim in 2012. I'm still not finished with my bucket list, but I'm also not in a huge hurry to finish Skyrim. I like being able to go back to it whenever I need some action-oriented combat. My current goal is to finish my bucket list some time in the first half of 2013, but we'll see how that actually goes. Lots of big RPGs to play on that ugly backlog list of mine.
While I have been known to state that I generally dislike games made specifically for a female audience, this is primarily due to what games aimed at girls wind up being, rather than the idea that girls might be interested in different types of games than guys. Games for girls are often either insulting or based on licensed properties that a woman my age has absolutely no use for (or even more likely hasn't even heard of). Style Savvy: Trendsetters has neither of these qualities. It is not the most complex game you'll ever play, but it is a high quality product aimed primarily at girls. Holy bloody hell. You play as an avatar of your choosing, who gets a job in a clothing boutique. As a boutique employee, your job is to help customers find articles of clothing, or whole outfits in particular styles that they request. The process of doing this is quite simple, as you have a search engine than will allow you to search based on particular tastes (ie feminine, bold, pop, girly). The game does add layers of complexity, however, by having you progress to the role of boutique manager, where you decide what types of clothing to stock from the buyers centre and what theme/decor/sales help your shop will have. The addition of men's clothing is also pretty fun. Along with the buying/selling/outfitting, there are a number of locations in town you can visit and talk with the game's recurring characters, and there are also fashion contests you can participate in. All in all, I found the game to be a terribly positive experience -- it's nice to see a game that pairs a lot of really great messages about women working and being professional and having style with a game that's pretty damned fun to play. If you like clothes and life sims like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, this game might just be up your alley. Definitely at least worth checking out the demos.
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