Games Finished in 2020

New decade, new year, new list. I changed the list slightly this year to also include games that I didn't necessarily beat but have moved on from.

Most of these write ups are quick drafts that I type up immediately after finishing a game. So please keep that in mind.

May contain spoilers.

Just Wasn't Feeling It

  • Hypnospace Outlaw
  • Afterparty
  • Paper Mario The Origami King - Good sense of humor but very repetitive.
  • Destroy all Humans - I remember liking this game when it came out but found it hard to go back to.

List items

  • PS4 - 2nd of January

    I moved over to PS4 after trying and failing to get this game to run on my PC. Small glitches and frame rate drops aside I enjoyed my time with this game.

    The characters were done a disservice by not allowing you more opportunities to talk with them. Most of what you got were a few lines outside the ship when you landed on a planet. But what I was shown about them I liked.

    I found the story to be engaging, especially how it handled order 66. You saw it's affect on people making it more than just a plot device in a movie.

    The combat was fun, but I did bump the difficulty up a bit to Jedi Master to make it more of a challenge. I understand the comment about how underpowered the lightsabers are but I'm not sure you can have a one hit kill or maim and still have much of a challenge.

    Overall I'd recommend it to a Star Wars fan looking for something that is in the Souls ballpark.

  • PC - 8th of January

    I wasn't sure how I would feel about an open world puzzle game but I'm glad I gave this game a shot because I ended up having a good time with it. If I'm being honest, I did have to pull up a guide from time to time for some of the puzzles but it didn't ruin the narrative for me.

    The music in this game is really something special. It carried so much emotion for the player character in a game where they don't do a lot of communicating outward.

    While I appreciate what they were doing with the twenty two minute time limit per cycle, it did affect my gameplay negatively. I found myself rushing to try to finish a goal which lead to many missed jumps into black holes for example. I was also reading faster than normal and as a result not retaining as much. I turned the option on that would pause the world while you're transcribing but I found that the cycle would end while I was trying to read entries. If you hold still it pauses, which makes sense, but it made reading in space difficult at times.

    That said, I still couldn't stop playing this game. It's one of the few games that keeps me thinking about its ending.

  • Switch - 16th of January

    This game is fine. There I said it. I think the music is great and I'm a big fan of the visual style they went with but the fact that it's a remake of an old Game Boy game holds it back for me a bit. I never played this game when it was new so I don't get the nostalgia hit either.

    Performance of the game was lackluster. While the frame rate drops didn't affect my game play that much, I thought it was a bummer that such a key franchise for Nintendo ran so poorly.

    I had stopped playing this game after putting a few hours into it to play other things (deliver packages in a wasteland) but I'm glad I went back to it. While I think Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game, the best on the Switch for sure, I prefer a Link to the Past style Zelda game so I was glad to have this one to play through.

  • PC - 17th of January

    Beautiful visuals. Excellent music. Queen Latifah. I loved it.

  • PC - 26th of January

    This was one of the few experiences I've had with a video game where upon finishing it I feel some regret not doing all the side quests. I'm currently listening to Waypoint's spoiler cast and wow some story lines I skipped over to focus on solving the mystery sound great. That's not to say I didn't have great moments during my own play through.

    The systems and the writing are the real strengths here. I loved that the different aspects of your character are personified and have conversations with you throughout the game. It both adds a layer of complexity to the game play and also makes the character more realistic. This game is overt with it's dark themes, which I think will cause a lot of people to bounce off of it. But it's balanced with a levity from some these intrapersonal conversations which are some of the funniest moments I've had in a video game.

    As an example, I spec'd my character leaning more towards intelligence and empathy than strength and observation. To that end I was left with a large encyclopedia of knowledge that would pipe up every now and then with random facts about the world. At one point I'm in a heated conversation and the encyclopedia pipes up with a useless fact to which my character internally says "what are you good for?" and the encyclopedia responds "I'm not sure." I lost it, I had to pause for a second to collect myself because I've had that conversation internally many times. I can hold on to so many facts about so many things but I can't remember people's names.

    This isn't to say the writing (or pacing) is perfect though. There's a side story line conclusion near the end of the game that I didn't like very much. It comes between a very tense moment and the conclusion of the game and it fell flat for me and really existed to be a speed bump on the main story coming to an end.

    The mechanics of the game are based on a series of dice rolls (it's an rpg), some in the background and some are character decisions. A decision was made which, unlike games like Fallout, don't show you an action if you don't have the base level to take it. That always bugged me in the Fallout series, if a specific skill wasn't high enough how would I (the character) know it's even an option?

    The politics in this game are out in the open and it feels of this moment. If you are going to play this game I would recommend you do it now because what it could feel stale in several years.

  • PS4 - 3rd of February

    Kentucky Route Zero had an excellent story, which touched on guilt, debt, and the lingering effects of capitalism. Act V, while not being what I expected, paid off for me in a big way. The journey of bring those antiques to Dogwood Drive says a lot about life in our time to me personally. People struggling to make ends meet in the wake of a giant corporation pulling out of town. Growing up in the rust belt, I've seen this. I know these people. In an effort to free myself from it I went to college and took on a load of debt like our initial protagonist finds himself with eventually. Just like our man Conway, I'll most likely be paying off this debt from my grave.

    Your task is to deliver antiques to Dogwood Drive, which by the time you get there you find it devastated by a flood caused by negligence from said giant corporation. But it's not all negative, I enjoyed Conway's journey and getting to know the friends he made along the way. I found it touching that they were willing to take on his charge when he was "taken" to work for the distillery. I also enjoyed seeing the community at the end come together and try to rebuild after being devastated.

    The gameplay is narrative driven, with most of the interactions being dialog choices. What little input you do have changes over time which keeps it interesting. I really enjoyed the "Un Pueblo De Nada" interlude for this aspect.

  • PC - 15th of February

    I didn't like this game quite as much as I liked Her Story. Though I did find the act of discovering the clips to be compelling and the acting was pretty good for the most part, except for some of the group scenes.

  • SNES - 14th of April

    I've been working my way through the Final Fantasy series for the past several years and maybe it's because of the distance I've put between each entry - I'm not playing them back to back - but I've found most of the stories to be pretty forgettable and this one is no different. Combine that with all the issues that arise from a story written in the early 90's.

    The strength of this game is the combat and job systems, both of which I enjoyed.

    I was playing a Japanese ROM with an English fan translation. The translation seemed pretty good but there were a few irregularities here and there. One in particular having to do with Blue magic having different names in different menus.

    Now on to FFVI!

  • PC - 16th of April

    While fun, this game didn't live up to it's predecessor. I got the feeling playing through this one that the developers weren't quite sure what made Doom 2016 so good. The combat is still engaging and fun but they shoehorned in a lot of story elements into this entry that I felt were unnecessary. I stopped reading the codec entries about half way through. That being said, I always stop reading codec entries part-way into an experience.

    Additionally, I felt this game lacked a levity that I enjoyed in 2016. There were a couple moments but I have since forgotten them. It was leaning too far into it's plot line to serve up too many doom slayer goofs.

    While some of the levels were very long I did want to shout-out the fast travel system. It was great for picking up secrets that I missed while working through a level. However, I wasn't a fan of having to play through the level again if I reloaded the level for whatever reason. I get that maybe you want to reload enemies so I can complete challenges but at least give me the option of loading into a completed level with fast travel enabled.

  • PS4 - 30th of May

    This is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated remakes in the past several years and it largely lived up to my expectations. The story remains similar for the most part but they do flesh out backstories for the main characters a bit more than they do in the original game at the same point in the timeline. The inclusion of Sephiroth so early is new, and became tiring for me as I played through the game, but he is the big bad that people know so I can see why they included him in the first installment. They don't do a good job explaining for new players why he haunts Cloud however.

    The visuals were fantastic, save for some low res textures that like to show up on surfaces like doors which is unfortunate because it snapped me out of the world early on. The score is top tier and I enjoyed collecting new songs to play throughout the world (Hip Hop de Chocobo or bust). The voice acting was well done and I laughed every time Barret sang the victory music from the original game.

    The battle system was close, but not exactly there for me. Once I got into a rhythm of hopping between the players to make sure they were doing what I wanted them to the battles became fun. But, I think the blocking system needs work. I found it to be unresponsive and I didn't use it most of the time. Why couldn't you burn AP to interrupt a combo for instance? It feels weird to say but I miss grinding. I know there's a few areas where enemies respawn but it's not a common occurrence.

    Let's talk about the transition to the next chapter. I put 50 hours of playtime into this chapter and was pretty powerful by the end. Will they reset levels for chapter 2 or will they scale the difficulty to match? I bet it's the latter but it is strange being level 36 when you compare where we are on the original timeline.

  • PS4 - 10th of June

    This was my first experience with either version of Resident Evil 3. I found the remake to look pretty good thanks to the RE engine (similar to RE2) however the gameplay was rather dull. I know that RE2's length is aided by the fact there are two story lines to play through but I was surprised to see that it only took me 7 hours to get through this one.

    But I'm glad I played through it and I hope that Capcom continues to remake the older games. Code Veronica please?

  • PS4 - 10th of July

    I beat this game around the same time I was preparing to move to Denver so I never got around to writing up my thoughts on it. But I concur with most of the points made in Waypoint's spoilercast. Technically impressive, overall disappointing.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xg8vdq/the-grim-ideologies-of-the-last-of-us-part-ii-waypoint-radio

  • PS4 - 25th of September

    Fun game to play but the story wasn't very interesting, sort of a Japanese culture / Samurai grab bag. This ended up being a good podcast game, which is just what I need right now. I enjoyed my time with it and ended up getting the platinum trophy as well. Solid.

  • PS4 - 3rd of October

    This is an excellent remake of two games from my childhood. I had a blast playing it but I was surprised by some of the things they chose to keep in. I don't want to ollie homeless people, thanks.

    I hope they add 3 and 4 as DLC later on down the line.

  • PC - 25th of October

    I've never played much of the Castlevania series before but I decided to give this game a go after watching Vinny play through it. It was a lot of fun! The combat was engaging and there were a ton of weapons and armor to experiment with. I thought the permanent stat boosts for eating a certain type of food for the first time was a neat idea and lead me to cook more than I probably would have otherwise. Overall a great game, if you haven't played it yet I would recommend it.

  • PS5 - 17th of November

    This was a fantastic little game and a great demonstration of the Dual Sense's potential. It was packed with nostalgia that I found very charming.

  • PS5 - 26th of November

    A gorgeous open-world game with just the right length. I found the story to be moving, especially the ending. I hope they do more with Miles in the future.

  • Xbox Series X - 5th of December

    The halo you're used to but told from a different perspective. It didn't overstay its welcome and wrapped up with a slight surprise at the end. Overall a fun game with so-so voice acting.

    This is my first play through of Reach. I'm continuing my play through of the Master Chief Collection from 2016.

  • PS5 - 20th of December

    Excellent launch title. This game was a delight to revisit and not nearly as difficult as I remember it being but that could be because I've had more experience with From soft games since this game came out in 2009. I tried for the platinum but that ring trophy is not worth the trouble.

  • Xbox Series X - 27th of December

    My playthrough of the Halo series started years ago and I have a good time playing them but playing two halo titles back to back might be a mistake as the gameplay has been pretty similar game to game. On a positive note, I enjoyed the sound design on the guns in this one, specifically the human weapons.