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Game Log 3: Feature Creep, Bloat, and Stagnation [April 2015 - July 2017]

Starting this in April 2015. This will be a list of games I play from now on and some thoughts about them. The closer to the top a game is, the more recently I played it.

If a game is on this list it means I'm either finished with it or that I've at least played enough to feel comfortable writing a review.

Currently I'm using a simple rad (▲), bad (▼), and all right (◄►) scale. Deciding on more specific ratings can be pretty agonizing, and I'm tired of it. I'll also be trying a more compact review format that might get me to actually write something about games I play.

Not on the site:

Disturbed ◄► [PC] 12/18/16

CHYRZA ▲ [PC] 7/24/15

UpSquid ▲ [PC] 11/24/15

List items

  • ▲ [NES] 7/11/17

  • ▼ [NES] 7/10/17

  • ▲ [NES] 7/9/17

  • ◄► [PC] 7/5/17

    I am very into the idea of this game. Small vignettes with different gameplay that all feed into one story or the same sort of milieu. And overall I'd say this game's execution is pretty good. I certainly wanted to see it through to the end and overall I enjoyed it. But in each of the four episodes there was one long sticking point, a time when I more or less knew what to do but was struggling to figure out a way to input it in a way the game would accept. It doesn't help that this often occurs in a climactic part, where your sense of rising tension and narrative progression is suddenly completely stalled as you try to figure out, for example, how the game wants you to input a command in a text adventure and your first 30 tries don't parse. These aren't particularly frequent problems, but combined they blunt the impact the game could have.

  • ▲ [PC] 7/2/17

    It's incredibly good. As someone with no basis in actual hacking or anything beyond the most basic DOS commands, I was somewhat nervous about what a PC dev might expect of me and just assume I might know, but everything is rolled out in such a way I don't think it's possible to be overwhelmed. And you'd have to be taught anyway, because these by and large aren't real commands. It's a language only used by the specific tools in the game; you're just learning how to string them together. That's the coolest part, contemplating your various tools and coming up with one command line that solves it all and mashing execute. There's a tactility and personal feel to all your solutions that makes it special.

  • ▲ [PS4] 6/9/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 5/15/17

  • ◄► [PS4] 4/5/17


  • ▲ The Ringed City DLC [PS4] 3/29/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 3/26/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 3/4/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 2/10/17

    Even as a fan of RE4, I think it's pretty clear that game started a path of escalation that would eventually almost destroy the series. Toward the end of that one you start getting the armed zombies that would become staples of 5 and 6. Leon's acrobatic dives out of windows and through laser grids would set the stage for the legendary boulder punch of 5 [which I didn't even really mind at that point, it fit given how out of hand the rest of the game was]. There was this ever-increasing scale of the outbreak, what the zombies could do, and what your protagonists could do that ends up with zombies basically taking over the world in 6 as you try to make it through fullblown warzones. Where can you go from there? It's not that 5 and 6 are bad games, at least 5 isn't, but they're part of a dead end path, leaving no room for restraint, tension, or grounding.

    So here comes 7, which really just seemed like they knew they needed to change something with the series and they also saw the success of P.T. Them revealing the game via a demo download at E3 didn't help the impression it was going to just be Capcom rushing to fill the vacuum left by the cancelled Silent Hills. I didn't see reason to assume they'd pull it off very well either, even though it piqued my interest. The demos ultimately, while showcasing how the UI and whatnot might generally work in first person, weren’t nearly the kind of bizarre, fascinating experiment P.T. was, and there wasn’t much of a mechanical showcase in there to excite you for the game on that basis. Them changing things up was clearly a good sign, however, and there was a kind of tension and freshness to it that hadn’t been felt in the series for a long time.

    The final product is a pretty special thing, in my mind. It has the atmosphere and tension that a lot of first person western horror games excel at these days, while not losing a sense of the classic adventure game roots that permeated japanese survival horror. You are hella combining your limited resources and figuring out what to take with you, as gross dripping sounds and groans pervade the house. There’s a kind of universal combining system, where certain items can become several things and you have to make the choice of what’s more valuable at the time. That’s kind of stuff I love, particularly in games like this where you can’t just farm items so that choice matters more. Even though you’re far from agile, the change from third person tank controls to first person is one of the biggest improvements from the classics. I don’t mind them the way some people do but feeling vulnerability without that clunkiness is nice. There’s also a focus on the Baker family as individual people and nemeses that stands out as something to ground your progress and gives you these points of catharsis as you finally take down one of your tormentors for good. It’s a creepy, memorable campaign that came together better than I would have ever guessed pre-release.

  • ▲ [PS4] 2/6/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 2/4/17

  • ◄► [PS4] 1/29/17

  • ▲ [PC] 1/22/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 1/19/17

  • ◄► [PS4] 1/14/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 1/7/17

  • ◄► [iOS] 1/4/17

  • ▲ [PS4] 1/3/17

    What a mess of a game. There are so many characters or little threads that seem like they had much grander plans for, and even though the story isn't complex, there were times I was questioning the alignments of a person or place. Not in a good political intrigue way either. It's just all very vague. I hear watching the movie helps. And I'm not even going to talk about chapter 13 here, because the goal is to be brief.

    Despite all that, this game feels special. The road trip aspect captures something I haven't really felt in an RPG before, not in this way. I guess all RPG's try to be a journey, often going to the ends of the earth by the end, but exploring the winding roads of FF15 from the relatable perspective of a car, seeing the sights, taking pictures, stopping in at the diner for a bite before you head on, it really FEELS like a journey. Maybe it's just the framing, doing things most people do in real life when traveling a great distance vs zipping around the world in an airship, but it's nice. Characters from all over the world coming together to stop a threat is a perfectly fine way for an RPG to go, but the dynamic here of four lifelong buds ribbing each other as they work their across the country is pretty great and fitting for the road theme. The game has scars from it's weird development, but Noctis and his friends will be kicking around in my head for a while, I can tell.

  • ▲ [PC] 12/25/16

  • ◄► [PC] 12/20/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 12/20/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 12/15/16

  • ▼ [PS4] 12/14/16

    I found myself interested in some of the systems, this particular take on equipable buffs via the decals, mushrooms as both potions and weapons, etc., but any time I had to go out into the world and actually make progress it was a chore. I don't think it's very fun.

  • ◄► [PS4] 12/12/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 12/9/16

  • ◄► [iOS] 12/7/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 12/6/16

  • ▲ [PC] 12/5/16

  • ▲ [iOS] 12/5/16

  • ▲ [3DS] 12/2/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 11/18/16

  • ▲ [PC] 11/10/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 11/9/16

  • ▲ [PC] 10/29/16

  • ▲ Ashes of Ariandel DLC [PS4] 10/26/16

  • ◄► [DC] 10/17/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 10/13/16

  • ▲ [WIIU] 9/21/16

  • ▲ [iOS] 8/22/16

    I could not have any less familiarity with Deus Ex as a series, but I've enjoyed the Go format Square-Enix has developed and figured I'd go in on this. It's fun and clever and full of levels, although there's something of a lack of clarity about what mechanics can be used in a level and why. That struck me as kind of odd for a series that aims to distill games down to a different but recognizable essence. I'm enjoying the weekly sets of levels they're doing right now, one level per day Monday to Friday. It's nice to pop in and just see what's up that day. It's good I think the levels are worth doing for their own sake, because completing a whole weekly set just gives you some bullshit kit for Mankind Divided. This game doesn't even have unlockable costumes like Lara Croft Go because Adam Jensen is a personality-less dork.

  • ▲ [PS4] 8/13/16

  • ▲ [iOS] 8/10/16

  • ▲ [PC] 8/4/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 7/6/16

  • ▲ [3DS] 7/4/16

  • ▲ [PC] 6/28/16

  • ▲ [PC] 6/24/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 6/23/16

    Maybe Mirror's Edge is destined to be imperfect, at least with the expectations that come with AAA development. They got rid of the guns, but there are still times you have to fight X number of dudes to progress. It's not a good time, at least once some of the heavier hitters show up. One type bowls you over with a punch which is pretty disorienting in a first person game, and by the time you're standing they can be on you, sending you sprawling again. The icon barf and upgrade system feel like largely unnecessary cruft, as well.

    The main missions and the sidequests you do for characters in the storyline, the ones that aren't just random icons on the map, are consistently pretty fun, though. You can get into a very good running groove and even combat in those scenarios, where you can give a dude a good kick and send them flying and keep going, feels satisfying. Those good stretches make the game worthwhile, even if it is an uneven experience.

  • ◄► [PS4] 6/18/16

    This is definitely a Ratchet & Clank game. There's a selection of popular weapons from across the entire series, and the levels and side activities utilize a lot of the lessons they've learned from past games. It does feel a little patronizing at times, popping up tooltips and prompts about obvious things or mechanics you might have used many times already. It's a perfectly good game, but it doesn't feel fresh to me, as someone who has played several of these before. I guess as a reboot their idea was to condense the past games down into a new manageable starting point, which is a fine route to take so I don't blame them, but it didn't end up close to my heart.

  • ▲ [NES] 6/8/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 6/5/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 5/21/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 5/17/16

  • ▲ [ARC] 5/13/16

  • ▼ [ARC] 3/13/16

  • ▲ [3DS] 5/10/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 5/6/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 4/22/16

  • ▲ [PC] 4/12/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 4/3/16

  • ▲ [PC] 3/21/16

  • ◄► [ARC] 3/20/16

  • ▼ [SNES] 3/18/16

  • ▼ [SNES] 3/17/16

  • ▼ [SNES] 3/14/16

  • ◄► [ARC] 3/13/16

  • ▲ [SNES] 3/11/16

  • ◄► [ARC] 3/10/16

  • ▼ [ARC] 3/9/16

  • ▲ [PC] 2/26/16

  • ▲ [PS4] 2/9/16

  • ▲ [360] 1/17/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 1/3/16

  • ▲ [PSV] 1/3/16

  • ◄► [PS4] 12/22/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 12/11/15

  • ▲ [PC] 11/19/15

  • ◄► [GEN] 11/15/15

  • ▲ [iOS] 11/14/15

  • ▲ [PC] 11/12/15

  • ▲ [PC] 11/11/15

  • ▲ [WIIU] 11/8/15

  • ◄► [WIIU] 11/6/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 10/23/15

  • ▲ [PC] 10/19/15

  • ◄► [PS4] 9/25/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 9/22/15

  • ▲ [iOS] 8/30/15

  • ▲ [3DS] 8/20/15

  • ▲ [iOS] 8/8/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 7/23/15

  • ▲ [PC] 7/6/15

  • ◄► [PSX] 7/3/15

  • ▲ [PC] 6/21/15

  • ▲ [PC] 6/9/15

  • ▲ [PC] 5/14/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 4/22/15

  • ▲ [PS4] 4/17/15