Games I Finished in 2015

One of my goals for this year is to finish more of the games I've purchased. To help motivate me I'll be keeping a list of all the games, new and old, I complete in 2015.

List items

  • (1/14) - A fantastic platformer that stands head and shoulders above the previous entry in the series, Risky's Revenge, and was one of my favorite games I played last year. If I had finished it in 2014 it would have ranked very high in my top 10 from that year.

  • (1/20) - Currently working my way through my Wii backlog and finally got around to completing The Last Story. I actually disliked this game when I first played it 2 years ago but when I revisited it a few weeks ago I fell in love with it. The game is lean (clocking in under 30 hours), has a very modern presentation while keeping the feel of an old Final Fantasy title, and has a fast paced real-time battle system. The story is also surprisingly solid doing a great job of making the adventure feel humble and personal despite all of the epic circumstances. Great game.

  • (2/6) - I miss Cing so much. The adventure games created by Rika Suzuki and Taisuke Kanasaki at that company are some of my all time favorites in the genre. While the stories are not always perfect and the puzzles are sometimes annoyingly designed the games more than make up for it in their atmosphere and character. Another Code R is a great example of Cing's best qualities and far surpasses Trace Memory in both writing and presentation. Ashley is much more fleshed out in this sequel, detailing her relationship with her father and showing different layers to her personality through the game's large cast. And thanks to the extra power of the Wii, Another Code R features a really beautiful watercolor graphical style that matches perfectly with the chill pace of the story. Again the game is not without many flaws but the imperfections are a part of what gives Another Code R and all of Cing's games their unique character.

  • (2/18) - Years ago I played the original Devil Survivor on the DS but found the game way too difficult and ended up selling it. I decided to give the game another chance with the 3DS remake and I'm happy I did. The Devil Survivor series is actually developed by the same core team that created the Growlanser and Langrisser franchises. I've played titles from both of these franchise since I last tried Devil Survivor and it helped me to appreciate the game more this time around. Survivor has a similar feel to the team's previous titles with the combination of well designed mechanics and strong writing paired with albeit low production values. I wouldn't say that I loved everything about the game but it was a much better experience than I remembered, although it is still a very hard game even on the lowest difficulty mode. Fuck you Belberith!

  • (5/3) - Oreshika was not what I was expecting. When I was reading about the game I imagined a typical dungeon crawler with a weird story but what I got was much more of a time management sim (though the story was still wonderfully weird). Tainted Bloodlines is not just about raiding caves full of monsters but instead it is more about balancing a number of systems under a time limit while trying to complete long or short term goals. I didn't really get it at first but after taking the time to learn everything I began to love it. The game always feels like you are moving forward. Even when you fail at achieving a long term goal, like defeating a boss, you are always completing smaller goals that make your clan stronger. Oreshika is not perfect, it can feel monotonous at times, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Nothing feels better than finally killing a god after spending two generations trying to take it down.

  • (5/8) - So Broken Age is not perfect. The first act set up a lot of great mysteries but unfortunately the answers to these mysteries were uninteresting or turned out to be unimportant. Environments and characters from the first act are almost all reused for the 2nd and the puzzles in part 2 are unnecessarily convoluted at times. So what I'm saying is that Act 2 is not all it could have been. However, taken as a whole, Broken Age is a fun adventure game with well written dialogue, memorable characters, and charming art design. It may not live up to the three years of hype but taken on its own I believe it turned out rather well.

  • (6/2) - Now this was one of the biggest titles I had in my backlog. Xenoblade was a game that I was so excited to play that I even imported the European copy of the game before it was announced for America. However, once I played it, I was so intimidated by the RPG's large scope and from hearing that it was over 100 hours long that I stopped playing the game. Almost 4 years later and I've finally finished Xenoblade and after returning to the game after such a long break I was surprised at just how welcoming it was. During my second attempt to play Xenoblade I realized that while there is a huge amount of content in the game you only have to do what you feel like doing. The game is only 100 hours long if you want it to be, I was able to finished it in 60. If you only want to play the main story and not rebuild Colony 6 or go on a million different side quests then you don't have to. Xenoblade lets you play the game at your own pace and never punishes you for only engaging with the content you like. Many people praise Bravely Default for similar qualities but honestly I found it was much better done in Xenoblade. The game's accessibility combined with the incredibly epic environments and the enjoyable story/cast made Xenoblade one of my favorite JRPGs of recent years. Can't wait to play X.

  • (6/22) - I'm sure a lot of people have stuff like this in their backlogs but Solatorobo was one of those games where I was only a few moments away from finishing it but never did. Well this week I got around to beating the final boss. I have mixed feeling about Solatorobo, there was obviously a lot of love put into the creation of this title and I like certain elements in the game but the characters never shut up! Now I actually enjoy talky games, Trails in the Sky is awesome, but Solatorobo is constantly re-explaining how to play the game even tens of hours into the story. Whenever you walk into a room the characters have to get into a whole conversation about how you need to find a box to put on a button to open a door even though you've done this type of puzzle many many many times before. However, despite Solatorobo's handholdy nature ruining a lot of the game for me, I just cannot bring myself to hate this title. Everything about it is so freakin charming and cute that I can't help but admire it in a strange way. And when Solatorobo does let you play it without interruption the game can be very fun. I guess I agree with Baion, Solatorobo is "the greatest, most wonderful failure I've ever seen!"

  • (7/22) - So I was really hoping this game would be great when I purchased it last October. I wanted it to be the real sequel to RE4 that I feel we never quite got from Capcom. It wasn't. There are things I really enjoyed about The Evil Within: there is a great variety of cool enemies, art direction, weird nonsense story, ect, ect. But the game's unfair difficulty and annoying technical problems brought the whole experience down. I wanted to throw my controller every time I died because Sebastian didn't respond properly to my button presses and the long load times before I could respawn. I tried to have patience with these problems but then I would run into poorly designed enemy encounters where I was relying more on random ammo drops rather than my actual skills. Everything about the experience just felt frustrating but when it was working I did have fun. Overcoming an insane situation with limited resources was really rewarding and figuring out how to best take down each enemy was very engaging. In fact those moments were the only things that kept me motivated enough to finish the game at all.

  • (8/20) - Finished playing the first chapter of the new King's Quest not moments ago and I have to say that I was really impressed by it. I've never played any games from the King's Quest series before so I can't judge it as a continuation of the franchise. However as an episodic adventure game I found King's Quest to be a refreshing experience when compared to all the sarcasm and doom-and-gloom found in a lot of recent titles by Telltale. King's Quest was light hearted, funny, and sincere while still giving the appropriate amount of dramatic weight to the events that unfold throughout the episode. In terms of gameplay one could say that King's Quest is a carbon copy of Telltale's modern franchises but in many ways I feel that it improved upon the usual formula seen in those titles. There are certainly a lot more puzzles in King's Quest and even though they can be pretty easy there are often multiple ways of solving each problem. And instead of the usual timed menu choices, like in the Walking Dead games, it's usually the players actions during puzzles and while walking around town that effect the story's outcome. Overall I liked the Rankin/Bass style and tone of King's Quest and I am very much looking forward to future episodes.

  • (8/28) - After enjoying Overclocked as much as I did I decided to give the newly released port of the sequel a try. Similar to the first Devil Survivor I had played the original version of the sequel on my DS back in 2012. I remember enjoying it more than the first game but playing Record Breaker so soon after completing Overclocked it's obvious just how much of an improvement the sequel is. The graphical presentation in general has seen a big upgrade over the first game with tons of unique spirit animations that are often only used for a single scene. The sort of "budget feel" of Devil Survivor 1 is totally gone and it is plan to see that the team at Atlus put a lot more time and money into this sequel. The voice acting is also at a much higher quality when compared to Overclocked. Not only do the actors deliver much more natural sounding performances but the dialogue has all been completely retranslated from the DS original. So you don't get the same problem that Overcloacked had where an actor had to somehow sound dramatic by only reading tiny stall sentences that were designed to fit on the original DS's small screen. While there are still some moments of characters having that standard anime monotone, Io and Hina come to mind, none of them are ever annoying or bad and as a whole the voice acting really adds a lot to the experience. Gameplay is the same great combination of strategy and targeting weakness that was in the first game, only with a more forgiving difficulty level, and the extra Triangulum arc adds a lot to the story. I had an amazing time playing Record Breaker and it may be one of my favorite 3DS games now. Can't wait to see what this team does next in Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei.

  • (9/8) - Since I won't be able to purchased Phantom Pain anytime soon, I've decided to play through all the Metal Gear games I haven't experienced yet. My progression through the MGS series has been sort of random and I continued this trend by skipping MGS3 to play through Peace Walker. I enjoyed the game for what it was but playing bit-sized missions in tiny sectioned off environments is not what I come to Metal Gear for. The game was obviously designed like this to be more portable friendly but since I was playing the HD version on my TV it just felt like the game was asking me to stop playing every few minutes. The boss fights were also a little underwhelming, while they were very intimidating the method for defeating them was always the same: shoot the crap out of it. And the comic book style cut-scenes looked cool but they were distracting at times since it was pretty evident that multiple artists drew each "panel." Peace Walker is a good game but it feels like a small experience and maybe it shouldn't have been played outside the context of the PSP.

  • (9/23) - I was sort of surprised at how good Ultra Despair Girls was. While the gameplay isn't without its problems the story ready goes places that honestly shocked me, not through plot twists but with its themes and content. Despair Girls is a spin-off that doesn't just settle with giving the player cheap fan service, like many of the non-Takumi Ace Attorney titles. The game feels like an honest-to-god continuation of the franchise that isn't just wasting your time in-between the "real" games. Not only that but it shows that Danganronpa as series is capable of telling more personal stories that focus on a smaller cast and can successfully experiment with other forms of gameplay. Again not everything is executed perfectly but the fact that the series is willing to takes such risks, and have it mostly work out, is really something rare in video games today.

  • (10/2) - I was finally able to play the first chapter of Corpse Party 2 thanks to a recently released fan translation and I really enjoyed my albeit short time with it. The title adds a lot of niceties that make the game easier to play, such as objective pop-ups as well as a revamped inventory system. And while the new hospital setting is similar to Heavenly Host it has a much different sense of horror to it that felt really refreshing after having so many games in the series set in the same location. The new presentation is also very charming with a style that is a mix between pixel art and low-res polygonal models. But what I enjoyed more than anything about Corpse Party 2 was its great sense of foreshadowing, there are plenty of jump scares but a lot of the horror in the game comes from slow build-ups throughout the chapter. That combined with a pretty interesting cliffhanger has me really wanting some more Corpse Party but unfortunately the second chapter has been in development for more than two years at this point and who knows when it will come out. And that is the biggest problem with Corpse Party 2, it is only the very beginning of a game at the moment but so far it seems very promising.

  • (10/16) - I enjoyed the original Corpse Party so much that I purchased Book of Shadows the day it was released. However, after only playing the first chapter and a half, I put the game down. I remember being very disappointing by it. However I decided to finally get through all the chapters because of the recent release of Corpse Party: Blood Drive and hoped that the game wasn't as bad as I thought it was two years ago. For awhile I stopped being a fan of the Corpse Party series because of my displeasure with Book of Shadows, and because of Corpse Party 2U, but now that I've played the whole thing... it still sort of sucks. The visual novel format of the game is really cheap feeling and the way exploration is handled is a tedious slide-show that undermines the unique atmosphere the original title had. All of the game's "what-if" scenarios only do the smallest and uninteresting of changes to the story. The chapters that try to expand more on certain characters add nothing and if anything take away from the mystery of the first game. I sort of liked "Encounter" and "Tooth" but really the only reason anyone would play Book of Shadows is to experience the sequel chapter called "Blood Drive," which is actually an unlockable story that can only be played if you get every ending or have a save from the first Corpse Party. Even then, "Blood Drive" is one of the shorter chapters in the game and only serves as a tiny "pre-sequel" to the actual real-deal sequel that is Corpse Party: Blood Drive on the Vita. I'm not as upset with Book of Shadows as I was when I first played it but it still feels like a cheap and quickly produced title that was made to cash-in on fans. The sequel hooks only seem to be there to make the game a "must play" in order to understand the events of future entries in the series. I really can't recommend this to anyone and if you have to know what happens in the story then I would just watch a Let's Play or read a wiki to get the details.

  • (10/26) - I had a lot more to say about this title than I thought I would so I wrote a blog post about it. The gist of the post is that I thought Blood Drive was disappointing but I still enjoyed hanging out with the characters for one last game.