Games completed in 2015
I am surprised that I even managed to finish one game this year
I am surprised that I even managed to finish one game this year
| PlayStation | January 20th | Grade F |
You're okay, Resident Evil 3. I'm continually surprised by how atmospheric and effectively spooky that the old Resident Evil games are over one decade later. Nemesis (the dude) goes a long way at making this game downright stressful at times, and while the Clock Tower fight against him wasn't especially thrilling, he was someone that I kinda loved to hate.
I feel like Nemesis is one of the only few things to justify this game's existence, though. This all may be because I've more or less seen what the aftermath of this game's events are, but it really seemed this game didn't have much to offer to the overall Resident Evil story. Like, seriously, do we ever hear about Carlos again in the series? That Nicholai guy seemed like he only existed to blow up all the time. The characters are pretty lame, and like... not much happens? It just seems kinda pointless.
Regardless, I still think this game's pretty cool. Not that I need any reminders, but it reminded me that pre-rendered backgrounds still look cool as heck, and that these old Resident Evil games are pretty great at making you feel like you're actually fighting for survival. Few games match that amazing feeling where you stumble upon a new safe room for the first time, and that music kicks in... ahh...
I mean, at least it's easy and spooky. The ammo creation system is pretty neat and it's always fun reading through the plethora of files scattered in the game's world. If anything, I'm glad I got through it. It was always that game that I thought looked really scary just from the box art when I was a kid. It was one of the things that sparked my undying interest in trying the series out for years, so it was nice to finally meet Nemesis... and shoot his big, dumb face.
Episode 1: Chrysalis
| PlayStation 4 | January 31st |
I'm a little surprised by how engrossing this first episode was. The story is actually pretty alright so far and the writing is believable when it comes to teenagers in the year 2013. Not to mention, I'm always fascinated by examining every single object when the protagonist has something little to say. It's not without its flaws, notably context-sensitive button quirks and some truly awful lip syncing for the dialogue, but I'm totally interested in seeing what's next.
My main worry is that the rewind mechanics will make the story decisions trivial. I can already feel some of that, given that I can just tidy up a decision that I immediately regret, but I hope that they can do some cool stuff with that.
(Major bonus points for their mention of Tetsuo: The Iron Man)
Episode 2: Out of Time
| PlayStation 4 | October 24th |
I kinda fell off Life Is Strange after the first episode. Not that I lost interest, or anything. I kept buying them on the days that they were released, but I didn't have much in me that wanted to play a heavily story-based thing at that time. I was feeling... off.
In some ways, right now I'm feeling more off than I was then, but Life Is Strange is exactly the sort of thing I need right now.
I liked this episode a whole lot. From the looks of what I wrote about episode one, I was much more into this one. I'm getting very comfortable with the characters, to the point where it actually feels like I've known Chloe this whole time. I also identify with Max in a few ways... which is a new, but great feeling because I never feel like I can't ever identify with any characters in fiction. I feel exactly how she does in a bunch of situations, and that goes a long, long way.
They do a nice job at fleshing out Arcadia Bay even further. To me, it feels like a place full of fond memories and personality. A humble, little town of mysteries. I've warmed up to the time mechanics, and appreciate that you can go back on major decisions and see the other possible outcomes without restarting the whole thing. I especially like how that works in the episode's climax.
Speaking of which... good grief. I'm kind of unsure about what I'm supposed to do with myself now. Several factors hit me hard in the episode's closing moments and... I don't know. Compared to everything else in the game, I found it bold... and it's exciting because now I know the story is willing to go far.
Life Is Strange makes me feel warm. It has a great atmosphere; one that I don't want to spoil. I'm usually very punctual in regards to episodic games, but I have the entire rest of the series waiting for me. I'm going to let this one sink in and give myself a bit of time before I play episode three. I'm seriously looking forward to it.
Episode 3: Chaos Theory
| PlayStation 4 | November 22nd |
Slowly, but steadily making my way through the rest of Life Is Strange. This episode felt a lot more leisurely than the rest. That's not to say that nothing happened, but it certainly felt heavily focused on the relationship between Max and Chloe. I still liked it a lot, and it totally had its moments. The last few bits in particular are... crazy, even if I saw it coming after a certain point. This is where time travel stories get iffy with me, but I really want to see what happens next.
Episode 4: Dark Room
| PlayStation 4 | November 23rd |
Episode 4 was arguably, the most emotional one yet. The opening bit was, to my surprise, completely soul crushing. I think that's a testament to how well Life Is Strange has developed its characters up to this point. The changes to the characters are, for the most part apparent but the subtle details are really, really cool and make the investment in them highly rewarding. I'm only a tiny bit disappointed that this change wasn't bold enough to directly affect the rest of the series, but nonetheless I thought it was one of the, if not, the most powerful moment in the series so far.
The rest of the episode is standard fare, with lots of investigating. Admittedly, the gameplay formula is starting to get a little tiresome as I'm really just interested in seeing what happens next in the story. Whether that's a result of me playing 3 and 4 back-to-back (I couldn't wait any longer) or if that was the general feeling is something I have yet to know. I'm also bummed out that Max's powers haven't gotten any significant development since the beginning. It has really just been "time rewind" which is a bummer, especially considering Max's discovery at the end of the second episode.
Even with its faults beginning to get in the way, the beginning and ending of this episode were killer. Especially the end.
Episode 5: Polarized
| PlayStation 4 | November 24th |
Life Is Strange's conclusion reminds me a lot of the last two episodes of Evangelion. A relatively straightforward series getting suddenly introspective and abstract in the end, with lots of reused assets as if they've suddenly ran out of a budget. Of course, it's nowhere as extreme and ineffective as Evangelion, but it felt weird. I don't know if I mean that in a good way or not.
In a way, the worries I expressed when I finished the first episode, about the time rewinding mechanics severely lessening the impact of story events were valid. The crushing end of episode four is something that I feel is ruined in a way by what Max does in episode five... which, I mean, I can't blame her. It makes sense, because that's something that *I* would do in that situation. Thankfully, all of those worries tie into the episode's strongest moments that question the consequences of Max's time travel abilities. To me, the episode started off a little hokey but gradually became stronger for what was a fitting end, if not one that ends far too quickly.
The ending was nowhere as strong as I wanted it to be. In fact, I would perhaps call this episode the weakest of the series. It was downright messy at some points, plus it felt like some things were loosely tied in just for the ending. The storm, for instance feels out of place to me among the far more interesting bits of Max and Chloe finding out what happened to Rachel Amber.
Generally though, I liked Life Is Strange a lot. Despite some really wacky dialogue (especially in the last episode), bad facial animations that straight up drain some moments of their emotional value entirely, and eventual tiresome gameplay, I feel really good about it. It has a heart of gold with endearing characters, strong emotion, great development and... it just feels genuine to me. The relationship between Max and Chloe is one of my favorite things this year, and the issues it properly addresses are important topics that I rarely see done tastefully in video games. It does have its problems, and there are certainly some big unanswered questions... but maybe that's okay. Life wouldn't be so strange if I knew it all.
| PlayStation 2 | April 21st |
What is there left to say about Vice City? It's a game that, in some ways, means the world to me and sucked up a great deal of my weekends as a kid before San Andreas happened. It was one of the first truly "mature" games that I ever played, and it constantly felt like something crazy and groundbreaking every time the game showed me something new, especially as someone who adored GTA2.
Despite all of that, I never actually finished Vice City. No doubt, I spent most of my time with my brother causing city-wide mayhem and destruction, but I always had fun doing the missions that didn't involve painful RC vehicle control. I could never beat a mission for the Malibu Club, and even after years and years, it always bugged me that despite knowing what happened at the end, I never saw Vice City through to its end.
As it turns out, I was only a few missions away from the end. So close, yet so far... but seriously, what a cool game. It's certainly a product of its era, where GTA was quirky and over-the-top in a way that the modern games aren't. The version I played (PS2 Classics on PS3) wasn't without its emulation issues, but that didn't detract from how fun the gunplay and driving are, how memorable the missions and dialogue are and the reassurance that oh yes, Vice City is still worthy of having so many childhood memories.
No! My Bike!
| PlayStation 3 | April 25th |
I bought this game the day it came out (for 10$ more than usual at that) but I played it for approximately three hours without touching the story mode and only barely getting into the challenge tower. I guess that PSN outage really killed my interest in it.
So, because I bought and currently enjoy Mortal Kombat X, I went ahead and got the Komplete Edition of MK9 cheap so I could have all the characters and power through the story mode in preparation for whatever MKX has.
To somewhat a surprise, the story mode is really well done. The story's told nicely in cool, plentiful cutscenes and the gameplay to cutscene (and vice versa) transitions are really smooth. The overall presentation adds a bunch to the experience and made the few hours I spent thoroughly entertaining. Save for the monotonous 2-on-1 fights and the dreadful Shao Khan battles, I had a great time with MK's story mode... plus, like, the actual story isn't all that bad either.
| PlayStation 4 | April 28th |
Holy crap. I was super surprised by how entertaining Mortal Kombat X's story mode was. While I feel like the cutscenes are much longer (and much more well directed) than in MK9, they're full of good voice acting and fun fight choreography. Seriously, all the fights are a joy to watch, including the QTEs (which I was iffy with at first until there was the fatality QTE). The story was good, too and I thought the whole way the handled the ridiculous events of 9 was both exciting and super silly. I loved the heck out of the squad of the classic fighters' kids. Not that I was one to have any serious affinity with the classic MK cast, but the kids were definitely the stars of the show.
Story stuff aside, I thought playing it was a better time than MK9 was, too. There's a relieving lack of annoying and cheap boss characters, and as in the previous game, the seamless transitions made it hard to put down. It was a good time all around.
| Mac | May 1st |
After finishing Vice City, I had a sudden urge to play Grand Theft Auto III. My nostalgia and overall regard for GTA3 is nowhere even close to that of Vice City and San Andreas, but it's a game that I still like very much.
I powered through most of the game in about a day, and I used cheats since I've already beaten this game without cheats a few years ago. I love this era's rendition of Liberty City and I think this game has a really cool, darker vibe to it than the later games. In particular, the soundtrack is excellent and there's something (that I can't quite put my finger on) about GTA 3 that reminds me a lot of GTA 2.
This game and Vice City have special kind of speed and unpredictable chaos that didn't come through in later games. Everyone is fucking crazy and the police have absolutely no regard for anyone whatsoever. It makes police chases and city-wide killing sprees super fun and hilarious.
I had a lot of fun, though. I wonder how long it's going to be until I inevitably replay San Andreas...
| PlayStation 3 | May 23rd |
Hey, I finished a racing game! I don't think I've ever done that before... or at least, seen a racing game to its credits roll. They don't usually hold my attention for more than a few weeks, so it's a good thing I binged through Burnout Paradise in the last few days!
What a cool game, man. The sense of speed is unreal, especially in the Speed cars and Paradise City is brilliantly designed to be seriously fun to drive in basically all the time with convenient, gigantic ramps and tons of stuff to smash through. The variety of cars, and their different boost types are neat and totally helped keep things fresh.
What was a bummer for me though is that the crashes got old very fast, especially with that crappy slow motion effect they put on. They can be spectacular at times, but for the most part, especially during events, they're pretty annoying because it's like "okay, I get it... I crashed. Please respawn me already."
Also, more games need precisely these two things that Burnout Paradise offers: an atrocious soundtrack, and support for custom soundtracks. Frankly, I doubt I would have seen this game to the credits hadn't there been support for my own music. Everything is great when you're taking cars down at 300 km/h while listening to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
| PlayStation 4 | May 30th |
Hey, this game is really, really fun. Murdering everything in Kyrat with flamethrowers, rocket launchers and overpowered machine guns is the best time. Flying in that dinky little helicopter and blowing up convoy trucks with a one-handed grenade launcher is consistently hilarious and completely ridiculous. Driving at breakneck speed into outposts levelling the entire place with machine guns and grenades, calling jaguars and tigers and fuckin' elephants causing chaos and flipping cars over...
...not to mention, Pagan Min rules. While not intentional, I find it kinda cool that this is the last game I finished as a teenager considering the dude's name is Ajay. I've never seen that in a game before and I think it's super cool! I also find it kinda redeeming that people pronounce his name in like thirty different ways, and that I wasn't crazy all along. Even down to the bit where white people call him AJ. I feel you, other Ajay.
| Mac | June 3rd |
Playing HuniePop has taught me two things:
1) I still love dating sims.
2) Maybe I should get over the idea of a "guilty pleasure."
Let's talk about it. HuniePop is, for better or worse, completely shameless. It's a match-three puzzle game where you try and have sex with all of the girls. The writing is, in many aspects, pretty poor and juvenile. It feels like it was written by, and written for 13 year old boys. In that way, it kind of reminds me of those flash / Newgrounds dating sims that I played when I was 12. That might sound harsh, and it kinda should be given that I paid like 10$ for this, but I feel like it's at its most endearing in that way. Dating sims, and those in particular, have a special place in my heart and despite how light this game is on the visual novel stuff, the progression, outfit unlocks and addictive puzzles were enough for me to stay glued to HuniePop for the past day or two.
I kinda felt bad that I enjoyed the several hours that this game stole from me despite how stupid it was at times (the moaning during the puzzles was hilarious and ridiculous.) I don't know, though. Should I? It's certainly a game designed for teenage boys, but it took me back. It took me back to a time that I kinda wanna stay in.
That, or maybe I should stop denying around the fact that I totally enjoyed a non-serious game that is completely covered in a theme that I'm very uncomfortable with discussing.
Psst, HuniePop developers. Hire better writers (*ahem*), voice actors and make a game like this but with dudes. I will definitely play the shit out of that... but until then, I guess I'll install all of those visual novels I bought on steam.
| PlayStation 3 | June 8th |
Wow... Red Dead Redemption. I'm almost overflowing with thoughts right now. I'm gonna let 'em settle and get back to this.
2016 Edit: I never actually did this so uhh I guess I'll say something?? Red Dead Redemption is a very cool game with the best endgame I've ever played through.
| Wii U | June 9th |
This thing drew me in far deeper than I expected. I (somehow) finished playing Bayonetta 2 for the night, and decided to take a look at The Fall for a few minutes considering I had just bought it in eShop humble bundle. A few minutes turned into a couple of hours, and before I knew it, I was staring at the credits.
I'm not sure what else to say. I'm kind of a sucker for stories involving stuff like personality and AI, so this was super cool, not to mention creepy and really gorgeous... though I played the whole thing on the Wii U tablet and the picture quality probably didn't do it justice. I will say though that I didn't dig the combat at all. I thought it was needless and not really any fun, especially in the game's closing moments. Relatively harmless, though.
I took a look at the wiki page before I wrote this and it looks like there's gonna be more? More Arid please. She rules.
| Wii U | June 9th |
OH MY GOD BAYONETTA 2
I can't even begin to put it into words. I don't even know if there are words. If there are, I don't know them, but it's likely that they just don't exist. Bayonetta 2 is unreal.
Where do I start? Everything is paced at the speed of light, from the combat, to the cutscenes, to the presentation to the precision of every single move. The refined combat is natural and exhilarating. The soundtrack is marvelous and a dream come true-- on par with the first game which I didn't even know could be possible. The game's sense of style, especially in regards to enemy design, is stellar and it looks fantastic even on what's basically last-gen hardware. The story is bonkers and exciting, with huge, exciting, memorable and plentiful boss battles that are in the middle of some crazy set pieces. Bayonetta, as a character is kickass with plenty of lovely one-liners and... really, nothing can get better than Bayonetta's new haircut.
Like, really. I don't know if there's anything negative I have to say about Bayonetta 2. Not only does it defy expectations by outclassing the first game, but every aspect comes into play to make it one of the most accessible and satisfying action games that I've ever played.
I couldn't stop smiling while I was playing it. Seriously. I grinned like a dumb idiot every time the music kicked in during a Climax and Bayonetta's hair monsters played volleyball with a boss, or ate his face out, or punched him with like five massive fists.
I ran out of words to describe how much I love Bayonetta 2.
| Wii U | June 11th | 3rd Climax|
After I beat Bayonetta 2 initially, I just kinda started playing it on the harder difficulty and I couldn't stop. I finished all the portal challenge thingies that I missed the first time around, and was also unlocking a bunch of the great costumes along the way. I still love this game. A lot.
| Xbox 360 | July 1st |
Quick backstory: I was super excited to play Onechanbara Z2 Chaos on June 30th. That was the release date that Amazon listed and I hadn't known until the day before that June 30th was merely a placeholder date, and that it's actually coming out in July. So... I was really bummed out and wanted to play some sorta weird game this week. What better time than now to finally check out Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad? It couldn't do any harm.
Oh lord, help me. I couldn't have been more wrong. Onechanbara is a nightmare. From beginning to end (especially the end) this game is hellish. The combat is mundane, the boss fights are unbearable, and it looks like poop. It's a poopy video game.
I have to admit that there's a bit more to this game that meets the eye, but that's purely because the game, apparently, refuses to explain anything whatsoever. Nothing of importance is ever explicitly outlined, especially considering how weird and dense some of the game's mechanics are. It's a true master class in user unfriendliness.
Also... the end game. Holy moly, man. There are like, three different boss fights in this entire game and they throw em at you in increasing numbers over, and over. Not only are they really lame, but I feel like these fights demand some sort of technical ability or precision that the game doesn't offer. Not to mention, nonstop waves of bullet sponge (but with swords) enemies in hideous environments and just... ahhh.
I have to say that this game had lots of potential, though. When not in the worst boss battles ever, the game's blood and rampage mechanics are actually kinda interesting, along with the dodge counters and a strange quest system. The costume creation system really sucks, too but like... it could have been really neat! The cutscenes are positively over the top and the credits music is pretty good.
I don't know, man. Maybe I'm just finding excuses to justify why I actually spent ten hours of my life playing this game. Listen, I like pretty ladies, I like samurais and I like swords. I don't like zombies, but those other three things could make it worthwhile. It really wasn't worthwhile here, but I feel like with some strong improvement, the stuff in Onechanbara could be really cool.
Let's hope that Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is exactly that.
| PlayStation 4 | July 21st |
Hey, the new Onechanbara game came out today so I played it. Let's recap the last time I played an Onechanbara game:
"Onechanbara is a nightmare. From beginning to end (especially the end) this game is hellish. The combat is mundane, the boss fights are unbearable, and it looks like poop. It's a poopy video game."
...OK. That's not the greatest reception for poor Aya and Saki, but now we've got this new Onechanbara game localized by my friends and yours at XSEED. I've certainly been looking forward to checking out Onechanbara since it ditched the PS2 look and got itself a makeover...
..and to my surprise, I kinda like it! It's still not very good, but I like it. The combat is far more fast paced, and flashy... which isn't saying much considering it's still very mashy and mindless but for the most part, it feels a lot less like a chore. The visuals, while still full of really crummy looking (and playing) environments, are far more appealing with some great looking bikini ladies and special attacks. They actually explain (!!!) things and while there are definitely some spots that are left to be desired in that regard, it's infinitely more accessible than before. The boss fights are much, much more bearable and the game overall feels much more fluid, fair and satisfying, especially with the instant switch between the four girls.
Although, as in Bikini Samurai Squad, the endgame is grueling and tedious. There are no instances of exploration whatsoever in this game, for better or worse, leaving nothing but seemingly endless enemy waves. There are still plenty of enemies that you just have to wail on over and over with zero reaction, and these enemies plague the endgame making it inarguably the worst part of the game. This is bundled with a miniscule of enemy variety. At the very least, it's within a much better playing game, but nonetheless it's a major downside. I would like to reiterate that the environments are really, really bad. Most of them are void of any life whatsoever, with stretches of nothingness between enemy encounters.
I wanted to note that XSEED's localization really helped give Onechanbara Z2 Chaos a much needed personality-- something that was apparently lost entirely in D3's localization of Bikini Samurai Squad. The overall tone is much more playful and the english dub is, while not particularly good, is appropriately light and silly.
...and, like, I finished it in one sitting. Five hours, roughly but I think that speaks for itself. Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad was a game I finished up in around ten hours, with multiple sittings required to properly stomach how bad it was... but I had a nice time playing this game. It's not precisely the game I wanted it to be, with some major lingering problems, but like... I didn't hate it. I'd probably like it more if I bought it at its budget price of 40$ instead of 70$ for the special edition...
...maybe I'll play it again.
| PlayStation 3 | August 26th |
Peace Walker is good, man! Strange, but good. I felt a certain kind of way when shooting vocaloid singing robots and listening to ballads while fighting enemy choppers, but despite those instances, it's surprisingly low-key. No insane plot twists, or over-the-top supernatural boss fights for worse, but the story is engaging and exciting for what it is. I like the characters regardless of their background roles, too. Paz and Chico in particular are my highlights, with Paz's admirable desire for world peace and Chico's infectious love for UFOs, Bigfoot and all sorts of oddities. Plus, Big Boss is as great as ever, especially in the game's closing moments.
I feel mixed towards the game's structure, though. While I do really like the game's mix of elements of 3, 4 and PO, I'm not sure if the game's backtracking and quick mission design works so well on console. In particular, the way the game breaks itself up in between crucial and exciting story moments with menus and results screens instead of seamless transition hurts the momentum (the final mission is a prime example of this). Nonetheless, it plays pretty dang well.
I feel like I would like Peace Walker a thousand times more if a) I hadn't wrecked my PSP before this game came out and b) played this on a handheld where it was originally designed. That's not to take away a single thing I said about Peace Walker, considering I think it was well worth the time I spent. It only means I'll probably buy it for my Vita so I can spend even more time with it.
Hey, I'm officially ready for Metal Gear Solid V now. Bring it on!
| PlayStation 4 | August 26th |
I revisited this after finishing Peace Walker, hoping that I could understand what was actually going on.
Good: I actually understood what happened this time.
Bad: Man, did I ever have a bad time playing this! I was so bad. I don't know if it's just me, but I really don't like the tranq gun in this game. It never ever hits when I want it to, and it always ends in me getting caught... and I got caught a lot.
Like, it looks really good and it plays well but I just didn't have a single bit of fun. I hope I'm not this bad when TPP launches next week. Maybe it's just too much Metal Gear in one day, but... I'm bummed.
| PlayStation 4 | September 23rd |
I have a lot of things to say about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Too much, perhaps. It's enough that I know I'll never reliably finish this list entry if I try to write all of it, so I'll just say this:
I think Metal Gear Solid V is a very, very good game. I think the story is neat, but has problems and is nowhere as satisfying as I wanted it to be. D-Dog is great.
| PlayStation 2 | November 5th |
Instead of playing games that I recently bought like Undertale or finishing up Life is Strange, I, for some reason, decided to revisit The Warriors. After all, this game did turn 10 last month... which is a little weird considering how I vividly remember playing this game upon its release.
I like this game a whole lot. It still holds up one decade later. For better or worse, it feels more or less the same as I remember with the brutal, sometimes unsettling violence and massive, chaotic battles with like, twenty dudes on screen just tearing each other to bits. It's still so much fun to toss enemies (and yourself) into crowd of enemies and flinging garbage cans at other heads. Although, it's somewhat barren in terms of moves. While different people have their own movesets, they're not dramatically different from one another and beating dudes up can get a little tiresome without any sort of move set progression or serious depth.
When I first played The Warriors in 2005, I had little to no knowledge of the movie itself. In retrospect, however after seeing the movie a few times since, this has to be the most faithful movie game I've ever played. It's respectful and dedicated to the source material, with Rockstar adding their own layer of story and charm that feel right at home. In many ways, it's better than the movie itself because the acting is far superior and with more context to work with, things like Cleon's fate actually have weight.
OK, maybe I actually love this game. Stylistically, it always hits the right notes and it remains shockingly intact (good and bad) ten years after its initial release. I have a lot of memories with this game, and it's comforting to know that it's still good enough for me to make more.
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