Games I've Beaten/Played In 2018

When I say played, I mean put a chunk of time into and bounced off of, for whatever reason. Just recording my thoughts on 'em, basically

List items

  • It's still got it

  • 8/10

    Firewatch is an amazing little experience. It's only around 4 hours long, but its packed full of beauty and character throughout. I especially enjoyed the first hour and a half or so, where all you're doing is establishing your version of Henry's past, enough so that when you step in to his shoes and start talking with Dehlia for the first time, it feels more like you're talking about your own past than a character you just made up.

    The interactions between Dehlia and Henry are fantastic and largely why I enjoyed the game as much as I did. Since you're only communication with her is through a radio, so much is left up to the quality of the voice acting and the actors did not disappoint. The game gives you enough influence over what you say to Dehlia to really make it feel like you're having actual conversations and there's so much dialogue you can just stumble across just running around the game world. It never felt like someone didn't have something to say and it made exploring the park and talking with Dehlia a blast. It was actually when the game started to pick up more of a plot that I got less interested weirdly enough. Not to say the plot is bad by any means, but I was just so enthralled with the kind of mindless exploration and getting to know Dehlia that I really didn't need anything else at that point.

    On top of the great voice acting, every other aspect clicks in to place for Firewatch as well. The music and graphics all lend themselves to this very beautiful, very relaxing, and sometimes spooky bit of wilderness. The game knows when to peel back the sound and leave you with just the sound of your footsteps to really get in your head. It's all very smartly designed.

    I'm really glad I finally bit the bullet and booted this game up cause it was a perfect little experience that didn't overstay its welcome.

  • 7/10

    The shooting is still tight as hell, and man the graphics can be awe inspiring, but the story wasn't particularly compelling and even though the writing has improved, I didn't really care about any of the characters that much. It is a much more funny game though.

  • 7/10

    The game looks great and has some great music. I really liked all the different little outfits and the variety of the worlds, as well as all the little throwbacks to older games Nintendo peppered around the game. The constant drip feed of moons is a really good way of keeping people's attention and it felt I was rewarded for basically everything, which for the most part I was a fan of. it's really easy to just pick up and fuck around in and get a handful of moons.

  • 7/10

    To start, Horizon is a beautiful game. I specifically remember being blown away especially in the first hour, there's just so many good moments in that opening that are really a spectacle in 4k. The rest of the game too is full of incredible detail, whether that be in the terrain, the robot detail, or even in the character models. I did find the motion blur incredibly overbearing though, to the point whether it was almost hard to keep track of things in motion, especially if you're wheeling the camera around, or sprinting.

    The story starts off pretty slow, with a big chunk taking place in a relatively boring and predictable tribal setting, but I guess that's supposed to serve as the contrast for where it ends up going. Needless to say, it gets complicated pretty fast and it came close to a satisfying conclusion, but it leaves a big hole at the end which is very unsatisfying.

    The two things I liked the most were probably the setting and then the combat. That whole "society formed from the ashes of the old society" is a very appealing concept for me, and they had a really fun mix of old, tribal stuff and incredibly crazy technology and throughout the story it just gets crazier, so that was fun. Combat wise, its just a lot of fun sliding around and whipping pieces off of bigass robots.

    Overall it was a fun experiece, but I was hoping for more considering all the praise it has gotten.

  • 8/10

    This ones a little tougher to write. I'm torn between a 9 and and 8. The swinging is topnotch easily, and I didn't really have many complaints with the combat. It's a slightly simpler Arkham-style, and although there were times where it felt like I definitely avoided something, or some things were just unavoidable due to how the combat scenario just stacked up, it worked pretty well most of the time. Visually its pretty sharp too. Woulda been nice to see that 60fps, but the 4k is a decent trade off.

    I'd give it a higher score, but I feel like it kind of pads out the same kind of side stuff too often. There's some real good stuff there for sure, but theres also a ton of collectibles and bases to raid. I just feel like they coulda scaled it back a bit, or mixed it up a bit more.

    The story is also not super compelling. I'd call it pretty standard. It's definitely not bad, but unfortunately, Spider-Man is well-trodden territory and every twist was either telegraphed by the game devs in pre-release footage, or something everyone knows about Spider-Man fiction. It's still a lot of fun to interact with either way, and the boss encounters near the end of the game are a lot of fun. I just wish there was more of that before the end.

    I beat the game in two days and I've given it a week off while I play other stuff, and even now I've got the itch to go back and web sling, so the game has definitely succeeded in sinking its claws in. Even though it's not a 10/10 for me, its one of those games that's just a lot of fun to play and that'll probably keep me coming back for a while after.

  • I don't really know what score to give this game. I'm leaning heavily towards a 6, but that feels wrong. A six for a Yakuza game? I love this series. I love Kiryu and his story. In so many ways, this game is an upgrade from the others. Yet, even so, in so many ways, it falls short.

    First off, the improvements. The game looks a lot better than the previous iterations. Walking through Onomichi and Kamurocho is a feast for the eyes. Similar to Horizon, there is a bit of a motion blur problem, but if you slow down and take in what is around you you'll see so much detail, especially in the lighting. Character faces look fantastic as well as always and I had a particular appreciation for the way sparks flew off Kiryu in heat mode. There are a lot of jagged edges in the distance still, but I hear Kiwami 2 fixes a lot of that so that's good to hear at least.

    Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of other things suffered for this visual upgrade. Kamurocho feels smaller and more sparse and Onomichi even more so. There is still side content of course, but it doesn't feel like as much as the previous games. The combat system feels very bare bones as well, with you kind of just dumping points into whatever you want but with less options than before. There's still fun to be had there, but it feels scaled back.

    Those are the only real gameplay issues I had, the rest were story related. This is marketed as the end of Kiryu's story, his final game. The fact then that so many people crucial to his story are straight up not around for it is unbelievable to me. Daigo, Majima, Taiga, and Haruka have almost no presence in this game, and Akiyama and Date have roles, but they aren't really that important. There's other examples I won't get into as to avoid spoiling anything, but the game departs from a couple other things you'd expect from a story in a Yakuza game as well for reasons I can't figure out. Don't get me wrong, I think the cast of characters it introduces is a very interesting, well made set of characters, but to see these other people reduced to basically a nonexistent role was not satisfying.

    Midway through the game, you definitely get a sense of what Kiryu's fate is going to be and essentially what the games theme is, that being the relationship of parents to their children and vice versa. I definitely thought the ending was going a certain way and it didn't turn out quite as I expected.

    SPOILERS AHEAD.

    I had assumed they'd just kill off Kiryu and that'd be the conclusion: Kiryu dies to protect his family. It wasn't what I wanted for his character, but I could understand it. What we get is Kiryu pretending to be dead, also for his family. It's weird situation because I get the logic; Kiryu knows people will always come after him so the only way to really keep them safe is to "die", thus he fakes his death. The problem I have with it is that if this is the conclusion to his story, does he not deserve some peace finally? Fake his death in the mainland but let him live out his life in peace in Okinawa at least. Right now he has no life, he's committed to pretending to be dead forever and nobody can ever know, so he's lost all contact with his friends and family forever seemingly. It's incredibly bittersweet and not really a happy ending at all I'd say. If this weren't the last game I'd say do whatever, but this seems purposefully leaving it open in a really unsatisfying way.

    NO MORE SPOILERS

    Anyway, overall it's not a bad game at all and it hits some really great Yakuza beats, but I was left ultimately unsatisfied by the conclusion and what we seemed to lose by the engine upgrade. In contrast, Yakuza 0 seems like a more complete experience.

  • I watched a playthrough of KH1 online after trying unsuccessfully to get into it a couple times. The gameplay has never clicked with me, but I've always heard good things about the series so I wanted to give it a shot. The dialogue in this game is weirdly slow, with half second pauses and camera angles that hold a bit too long kind of all over the game, but when it actually does hunker down and throw some story at you, its pretty great. I like all of what it's going for thematically and the ending was really good. Definitely glad I gave it a shot, even if it wasn't me playing it myself.

  • I put about 10ish hours into this game and then bounced off. At the end of the day, I just dont really enjoy exploring these Disney worlds as much as I want to. I'm still intending on finishing the story via a youtube playthrough, but I'm not that interested in personally going around and seeing it through. There's a lot of cool setup at the beginning, and although the half second pauses in dialogue are still present, it's not as bad as it was before. Gameplay wise it's a lot better than its predecessor as well. They've definitely improved on a lot of things in the sequel and I can totally see how people fall in love with these games, but I guess its just not for me sadly.

  • 8/10

    I played a few hours of Uncharted 4 and ended up finishing the game via youtube movie. The shooting has never been my favorite part of Uncharted, often feeling out of place with Nathan Drake's calavier attitude, and I've played so many climbing games that it's hard to get excited for that mechanic anymore. The setpiece moments, the cinematography, that's what I want from Uncharted and in that way, a movie was a great way to experience it.

    First off, the game looks great. Besides Horizon, it's hard to draw a comparison in terms of detail and scope of what you're seeing. It's a shame it's not 60fps, but it's a very smooth 30 at least.

    The story is definitely the main draw. At first it feels weird this brother you've never heard of comes out of the blue and is very important all of a sudden, but I got over that pretty fast. Some things I could see coming, but the game caught me surprised a few times and by the end of the game, I honestly didn't know who was gonna live and who was gonna die. It's rare that a game can get me in that mindset, with most companies trying to milk successful characters and IP's into the ground so that's a testament to the storytelling for sure.

    The game very much feels like the end of Nathan Drake's journey. With the subtitle obviously, plus the way he's moved away from treasure hunting at the beginning of this game, it tells the story of a man who's trying to find the balance of a normal life. Nathan Drake as a character feels more relatable than ever before, and in part it helps from the really spectacularly done voice acting and conversations you get between Nathan and Elena. Great chemistry.

    I can't really fault it in any way. It's definitely the best Uncharted game, so kudos to Naughty Dog. I hope Last of Us 2 lives up to the hype.

  • First off, the game looks and sounds great. The 2.5D visuals are punctuated with an orchestal soundtrack that not only sets the mood incredibly well, but is just wonderfully composed in general and it's probably the best part of the game.

    I didn't play much more than half an hour of the game myself, I'm not really a huge platformer guy and most of what the game offered seemed like I could get it through a movie on youtube. I guess I'll never really know until I talk to someone else who played it in depth, but I definitely came away with a mostly positive experience.

    SPOILERS

    I do like the motivation the game gives for Kuro, but giving her such a strong motivation makes it almost hard to sympathize with what the Spirit Tree did. Maybe thats the point? What a mother does to protect her child? If so, well done, but if that pulse from the Spirit Tree killed Kuro's kids then I can't blame her for being angry, that's fucked up, even if the Spirit Tree is looking for her kid. Maybe it's a statement on not knowing the consequences of your actions? I dunno.

    NO SPOILERS

    Either way, the emotion is still there and its a sad story, I just came away being a little confused.