Games Finished in 2020

1st January - let's go.

I'll change this back to being just games I've finished or deem 'finished' in the case of stuff like MMOs or fighting games or the like.

SPOILERS - PROBABLY - MOST LIKELY - SPOILERS

Consoles:

Xbox series (Not X)

Nintendo series

Sega Series

PlayStation series up to Vita (edit January - got ps4 slim)

Microsoft Surface Book 1st Gen

This year I'm going to try and limit myself to old games - as in pre 2020. There's nothing currently announced beyond NMH3, Bayo 3 and Diablo 4 that I actually care that much about - only exception to this is fighting games. I'll always buy those when I want.

That said, I'm going to try and play stuff from the earlier eras more, like Snes/MD/PSX era. I've found that, beyond indie stuff, I have less and less interest in the big budget games that are released at the moment - which is fantastic for my bank balance and also the breadth of game genres that I'll play.

Let's see if I'll stick to the plan, or bottle out like last time - hey, at least I finished a 3d Zelda game and played most of a Wizardry game. 3d Marios just don't work for me.

List items

  • Vita

    5 hours ish

    'Inspector - Those who..something..ending'

    Haven't really seen the anime, but I like some of Gen Urobuchi's other stuff..no, not Saya. TBH I kinda got Urobuchi mixed up with Chiaki Konaka for a while in my head...which does no favours to anyone. Konaka wrote my favourite anime of all time 'Serial Experiments Lain' as well as 'Big O'. Urobuchi did Madoka and Psycho-Pass.

    Yeah, dumb I know...these things happen.

    Anyway, this is a VN with two different protags - but to be honest by the time I had played through with the male one I just had enough. There's a kernel of an interesting story here - kinda like a more bland GITS series or something..but the artwork and characters (bar the female lead and Shu) did zero for me.

    The 'hue' gimmick is...interesting, as it is supposed to represent your emotional stability (a dark hue means 'latent criminality' and you're either arrested and put in isolation, or just killed) but taking pills counteracts that so, it's not a big thing. Also the core conceit of the world - AI overlord, emotional stability...just doesn't wash. It might do in a highly regulated society such as Japan, but elsewhere..naah fam.

    2.8/5

    Just..not great.

  • Switch

    under 20 hours

    Normal

    Suicide

    I really enjoyed I am Setsuna last year and even liked the demo for this game, so sure...I was excited to play it.

    Now, having just finished the game...I'm conflicted to say the least.

    There's a kernel of a fantastic game here but most of it comes off as halfbaked.

    Let's start with the main focus - the combat system. It wants to be like a more restrained version of Diablo with Stands. 4 'Stands' = 4 weapon types that can be equipped, kinda like Astral Chain. Unlike Astral Chain, however, the fluidity of the actual combat - ie moving from standard attacks to skills to dodges - was not smooth enough. There are cancelling skills you can get, but they don't seem to apply to standard - skill, just cancelling the ending of a skill. It's like FDAC after a DP, not before. It has its uses but the lack of a auto in skill cancel makes it feel like a Global Cooldown System in an MMO and that is not what you want in an ARPG. This becomes most apparent in the final boss - getting stuck in auto attack animations when it can one hit kill you with little warning off screen..not cool.

    The story is fine. It doesn't reach the levels of pathos that Setsuna managed - mostly due to the lack of strong environment direction or soundtrack that really brought Setsuna's themes and story together. Oninaki has fantastic themes - how to deal with death and grief - but doesn't really follow through with them. The ending almost redeems it - though I don't think the choice is much of one if you'd actually paid attention to the game.

    It's fine...just, fine. Which is a let down for me given how much I loved Setsuna and the potential the each of these games exhibit. There's so much potential there, the fact it isn't entirely followed through is more of a frustration than the game itself.

    3/5

  • Vita

    around 20 hours

    True ending

    It's a good VN, in the style of 999 but without the puzzles. It's gimmick is the Sense system - you can influence how the character feels about other characters and that changes the flags - and thus endings. It works well, but is a bit hit or miss sometimes.

    Major issue is the lack of a flowchart - having to scroll through everything after getting an ending is a pain.

    Oh and the character designs are peak anime..which is kinda boring.

    4/5

  • Vita

    24:57 hours

    Not as good as the original's remake. They removed (or added in the remake?) the quick devour ability and the air devours - this makes a massive difference to the speed of the combat in the re-prequel. Otherwise it's the same thing again - just with a slightly worse story and far worse characters. Nana and her design are beyond trash tier. Eva style story was better than Astral Chain's version though.

    3.5/5

  • PS4

    32 hours - not DLC

    First ps4 game on any of my 'games completed' lists.

    I think this might be in the running for my favourite game of all time. It's certainly ruined all 'Souls' type games for me going forward. I originally played the game on a pc when it showed up on Steam..so about 2 years ago? Haven't played it since. Picked it up with my new ps4 and blaaaaaaaaaaaaazed through it. Stuff that I found difficult originally is pretty easy now - they must have lowered the difficulty in the game substantially in patches. Through the whole main game I only died 107 times - most of those were on bosses or me not being able to see the pits (my monitor doesn't deal with sunlight well, it can be tough to see things when the game is dark)

    I'll be playing through the DLC.

    6/5

  • Vita

    42 hours

    A1 (10 off A0)

    Easy

    Emma

    So, before talking about this game I should note that I've played through Trails in the Sky 1-3 and a bit of Zero/Ao. FC is among my favourite RPGs of all time and Third isn't too far behind that.

    This game though...not so much.

    Let's start with the good. The transition to 3d isn't awful and manages to keep the style of the Kiseki games pretty much coherent - despite the engine really chugging down to single digits on the vita occasionally.

    The expansion of the combat system to include raid and links is cool.

    Seeing characters from other games or hear of events from other games - ie World building..well, this is the best in gaming as far as I'm concerned. Nothing can touch the Kiseki series in regards to World Building.

    I liked some of the characters - Towa, Marchias (or however it's spelt) Laura, Emma, Gaius, Angelica..most of the secondary characters. These guys had charm, especially Towa. She's great. It was great to see Olli too, but I'm not sure about that VO. I doesn't really do him justice.

    The game turning into G Gundam at the end was pretty cool too.

    And then the bad...which is everything else.

    I think the major culprit for me was Rean - who is a shitty harem shounen MC self insert, which really really hurts after Estelle. He's just terrible. Alisa as the 'main girl' is just a whiny bitch 90% of the time - the forced 'I hate you' scenes between pairs during the game was cringe inducing.

    C and the reveal make no sense, as none of that stuff was even hinted at during the game. It's obvious who he is, but his reasons? ehhh something something blah. Imperialism! I mean, yeah bro, I'm with you - give me the fucking sniper rifle..but there needs to be more there than that. Richard at least had his moment to shine. C..not so much. That goes for all of the villains but I kinda expected that after the let down that was SC. Still, they were far better characters than these chumps.

    The localisation...Why is Fie saying 'Ja?' randomly? Is she German..does Germany exist in this world along side France and Scotland? For a series that take such pains to create a believable world these random accents along with German and French words make no sense. Why are there celtic crosses in Laura's hometown and why doesn't anyone know why they're there?

    The performance at the end...oh god, that clap loop..make it stop. Also, what is rock music? Also why was there only a piano and singer in the encore and everyone else appears to be going ham? Why is there a violinist playing the guitar? That's not how music works...urghhhh.

    To be fair, most of that is just nitpicking. The real problems are Rean, the lack of diverse environments (barring Gaius home and Laura's home..both great locations) shitty school teenage nonsense - Persona has really fucked up a generations worth of RPGs on that front...and the bastardisation of the quartz system. The master quartz thing is cool, but removing the mix and match system to get the right amount to trigger certain spells was half the fun of building the character. Simplifying it to just "here have the spell" sucks.

    Also Sara is a poor, poor budget Schera.

    And it's essentially the same plot as FC...but worse...with worse characters...and slower.

    My final reaction to the game was that this was Trail's "Phantom Menace". If you'd never seen another Star Wars movie, you'd think this was pretty great - despite the shit characters and mediocre writing 'TRADE FEDERATION' but if you'd seen A New Hope - well. Yeah.

    That's what this game is to me - the Phantom Menace. Hopefully we'll get to the Revenge of the Sith next, rather than the Clone Wars...buuuut I'm not holding my breath.

    3/5 and that's me being generous.

  • PSP

    15:41

    All of the main scenarios, bit of 00.

    So, this is a kinda action rpg arcade game set in the UC (with added 00 and Seed bits) timeline. You create a character as a merc with two wingmen - err..wing people? and then play through some of the most famous battles in Gundam history - from Jaburo and A Boa Que to whatever the hell was going on in F91. Even V and Hathaway turn up. No Unicorn as this was before the anime releases.

    I'm a big fan of Battle Universe - which was the one before this. This is kinda just a compilation of those previous games with an added 'development' layer to unlock different MS. Using a Sniper GM to take down every Gundam never gets old.

    What does get old, however, are the maps (recycled), sounds (uhuh) and units (pretty much) the only additions are Seed and 00 units - which you can't use in the main campaign unless you finish everything and unlock the secret delimiter that costs $$$$$. Even then, those machine aren't a patch on Hi-Nu or Qubeley. The 00 machines are just trash anyway. Dynames and whatever GN-X Mr Bushido uses are about the only interesting mechs in that series. As for Seed - well the sequel to this game on Vita is all Seed all the time and..well..yeah.

    I dunno - as the final psp 'Battle' game it's fine just very...iterative.

    2.5/5

  • PS4

    20:41 hours

    Single player story content with some additional missions.

    So, there's not much to really add to my last review of the series.

    Sure the move from the vita up to ps4 allows for better enemies and more flashy attacks, but that wasn't ever really the problem - also a random Jho appears! Kinda.

    Additions - I used the crescent blade for most missions - it acts like a cross between a scythe in standard form (without the reach) and like a hammer in axe form. It killed things - quickly. I rarely had mission last more than 5 mins if that. The dual blades/glaive was cool but tying it to the stamina gauge is kinda limiting - axe didn't have that problem.

    Bring back aerial devour is great as is quick devour - plus the additional boost arts are a nice extra bit of dps.

    The removal of bomb bullets is a bit shite and the tweaks to the abandoned god arcs system (I barely got anything useful and rarely got health or stamina) was really shite and boring.

    They tried with the story - but it was nowhere near as effective as the first, but on par with the second.

    There isn't much more to add beyond the standard 'wtf is with the female character designs?'

    3.5/5 let's try to change it up next time

  • Ps4

    Under 20 hours?

    I could say a lot about this game - I'm one of those people who knows who Mac Gargan is and how he used to eat people for a while. I know far too much about Spidey stuff. As such I was rather cautious about this game - the last great Spidey game was Shattered Dimensions which was a proto Spiderverse.

    I'm not the biggest fan of Dan Slott's run on the character and when Feast and Li turned up I was...not exactly thrilled but..well..when Miles turned up things got really good. Like, best understanding of Spider-man as a character (well Parker) since JMS. The changes to MJ - giving her an actual part to play and some agency, and taking away the stupid Supermodel/actress slant, perfect. I even didn't mind the stealth sections. Shit, even the side activities were quick, fun and easy to hive off into during gameplay. Apart from the relative slow opening, weird power levels and okayish combat (saved by the gadgets) there's very little to complain about..

    The writing is so good - give these people the comic. They get it..they really do. The moments with Miles, Ock, May - at Feast..those moments were what made the game special and gave it far greater depth than would have been thought otherwise.

    5/5

    That sequel hook tho….

  • ps4

    30:40hrs

    lvl 87

    All bosses in main game.

    First boss in DLC

    So...

    I can see why a lot of people like this - it takes the strengths of Dark Souls (environments and storytelling, sound) and speeds up the combat from the turtling that dragged on in the Souls games. It still suffers from camera issues and I died more often to getting stuck on the environment than anything else (same with Sekiro).

    Last boss gave me the hardest time - probably the last 5 hours or so was me attempting to beat him and eventually going off to level up etc and trying again. I don't think anything comes close to the Lady Butterfly fight in Sekiro for me (before the ghosts arrive)

    The combat is still not as good as Nioh - it doesn't flow as well, nor are there as many skills to use. Nioh suffers in environment and storyline. Mush these two together and you'd probably have the greatest game of all time.

    As it is - Bloodborne is a very good game, far better than Dark Souls 2 and 3. About the same as Dark Souls, not as good as Demon Souls. Nothing beats Latria.

    4.8/5

  • ps4

    Main game

    21:41 - 5 of which was me trying to get past Lorian, going off to level up, attempt again, fail and then give up and go online to get Sunbro help. Probably about 15 tries. That teleport fucks me up.

    Not as good as Bloodborne.

    Annoying bosses - like, really annoying bosses.

    It was nice to go back to certain areas for Ds1 - or get PTSD when you see all those archers on the buttresses.

    I'll get round to the DLC at some point.

    4/5

  • PS4

    under 10 hours?

    I think we've hit the 'huh, this is as good as a decent YA novel' part of video game production.

    Essentially a mixture of a stealth and puzzle game, which takes a lot from Brothers in it's puzzle mechanics. Plague Tale is a good, solid game. Well - it crashed on me once and those boss battles..ehhh..but the setting, plot (which jumps the shark pretty hard) and characters are..pretty good. There's not really enough depth but it's comparable to the first in a movie franchise.

    4/5

  • ps4

    28hrs - Normal till the last phase of the final boss, I was underleved and just wanted to finish the damn thing.

    I'm shocked to find out that this is one of the least liked of the Tales series. The reasons probably have to do with why I like it so much. In a post Persona 4 world, it's incredibly rare to play a JRPG which isn't just an excuse for fanservice and sexualisation of children. I get that most of you (nobody) reading this will be rolling their eyes or screaming about censorship - but I am sick and tired of waifu and husbando bullshit in video games. There doesn't need to be a romance subplot. There doesn't need to be shipping - JUST TELL THE FUCKING STORY.

    ahem.

    Anyway, there's none of that stuff here. Sorey and friends go off on a trip to save the world from darkness with the power of friendship - same old same old...but...ahh...but..sometimes the questions aren't that easy to answer. What is wrong, what is right? What is faith and trust? Can you defeat the darkness if it means sacrificing your friends? These are all interesting questions, and they're dealt with here better than in most places.

    Combat can be a little repetitive if you don't treat it like Smash, but without the Smash attacks - and keep an eye of the different status/affinity suffixes. Crafting is a bit of a mess as well. It's seriously obtuse, and is only explained in optional skits that you get when resting or saving. An odd decision.

    I really enjoyed the game, characters and world - I already have Beseria, which is a prequel, so I'll move on to that at some point later.

    4.7/5

  • Ps4 (and Xbone)

    Hours untold

    Assassin

    Wooo boy.

    So, Martyr is a Diablo style game set in the 40k universe - So, we've already got some pretty big shoes to fill. Diablo style games have become so incredibly static since d2, and that's the way the fans like it - rush to end game, get a build that can wipe screens in seconds, try new builds - rinse and repeat.

    On the other hand you have the Warhammer 40k lore, fandom and - bar DoW1+2, SPAHCE MAHRINE and some more recent games such as Mechanicus, Battlefleet, Armageddon and Gladius - a very questionable level of quality.

    As such, is probably no surprise that Martyr had a rough start - developed by Neocore of Adventures of Van Helsing fame and King Arthur RPG? Martyr was different to Diablo in a way that did not go down well with many. Originally the game was much slower and more 'tactical'. You could use cover mechanics and there was an ammo system. Shit, the assassin can target specific body parts while sniping to cause stun, knockdown or headshots.

    It's a sci-fi Diablo game with cover, ammo systems, guns and psi-powers.

    However, it is not a 'build a screen clearing monster at endgame, rinse and repeat' game - which is what Diablo style games are to the majority of the fans. As such, it was trashed upon release for, well, not being Diablo. There was also the problems of very slow levelling, lack of endgame, weird item/level systems and, oh my gosh, the bugs.

    Never the less, I really enjoyed the initial vision of the game as being a slower and more methodical Diablo style game.

    Then patch 2.0 happened and the devs attempted to realign closer to Diablo - faster combat, rejiggered skill cooldowns, better movement speed, an actual endgame - faster levelling and an item rework and socketing system.

    It is now, certainly, a better game - but I kinda miss the slower, more tactical approach. You still can't screen clear instantly, unless playing as the psyker, but...yeah. It's good now.

    Storywise, it's de rigour Inquisitor stuff - though I'm not entirely sure which branch your character is with. I'd assume Malleus given the subject matter but you do spend a lot of time killing Xenos...which many have been added in free patches. I think only Tau are missing at the moment.

    In all honesty, I really like that game. Barring crashes, bugs and the annoying need to be online at all times to even play in single player, it's a fun Diablo game. It could be so much more, given the lack of characters (only 3 classes, with an extra as DLC) but I'm happy with my Assassin headshotting Nids.

    4/5

  • Ps4

    Dunno

    Wood Elf with the worst VO ever.

    No.

    1/5

  • PC

    9 hours? Steam says 10 but it was less than that.

    Wow.

    Clearly this game had issues getting made. Like, wow.

    Essentially Xcom crossed with Mass Effect, but without the tactical depth of Xcom and barely any of the RPG/Third Person Shooter mechanics of Mass Effect.

    You can see they tried - they really did.

    The atmosphere and setting are great.

    The plot is surprisingly well done and has 7 different endings.

    The VO is okay and the characters, while standard, are decent.

    The problem really lies in the AI for your team mates, which is atrocious, and the combat itself. It feels like a half baked version of Mass Effect (which isn't a good thing IMO) and the shooting had zero impact and felt off.

    Then there's the usual list of bugs - one of which refused to play audio during later cutscenes, or straight up crashes if you don't replace the PhysX file in the game directory.

    It's a game of massive potential which means that the failure hits even harder. If they took another shot, who knows..maybe?

    2.5/5

  • Xbone

    For my full run? Under 10 hours?

    Overall? Who knows.

    I still prefer the original Xcom from the 90s. Why take out kneeling?

    Still, it's a good update that spends far too much effort wasting your time.

    4/5

  • Xbone

    All chapters - under 10 hours probably.

    An interesting game that takes the Telltale narrative adventure and mixes it with RPG elements that modify your dialogue choices. It's a great system that should be further developed by sequels or in different games.

    Given that this is a less than AAA level game, there's so many bugs and a ton of general jankiness that it's difficult to fully endorse that game - but I didn't have anything game breaking. Just missing VO, animation glitches, hitches..the usual. Better than my experience with the first Batman TT game actually.

    Storywise..well..It starts strong and kinda goes all over the place. The puzzles were probably far too obtuse for the general game playing public (biblical references?) but the setting, characters and general ideas were very strong. I enjoyed the game immensely but I can imagine that it's a highly acquired taste.

    3.7/5

  • Vita

    Roughly 10 hours?

    Standard End - No traitors.

    Interesting idea. A mix of a simplified Valkyria Chronicles battle system - where you're essentially the X-men, with a Danganronpa style 'find the traitor' VN inbetween...Which sounds good on paper but has a lot to be desired in practice.

    Each layer (level) there's a new, randomised traitor - and you call them out (or not) at the end of each level. You can then take their 'gifts' and hook them up to a remaining character so, eg, a telepath can now burn stuff. Sometimes this unlocks extra abilities depending on who gets what power.

    The battle system is fine, if very counter attack/sync attack based. If all of your people are in range, each attack gets 5 support attacks. Same goes for the enemy, which means you either get the drop on them, or you die.

    The VN segments are really not worth talking about - there's nothing there compared to 999 or Danganronpa or some of the better stuff like Root Double. There's never any reason given for their traitor turn, so it's just...nothing.

    2.5/5 - Neat idea, but not fully fleshed out. Little to no story.

  • PC

    Roughly an hour.

    Beautiful - lovingly done, great lofi graphics and it makes you think.

    5/5

  • Ps4

    15 hours roughly, including a crash and a wipe.

    Minessa

    Picked up on the recommendation of a friend, Varnir is a JRPG that tries to do interesting stuff with it's battle mechanics but never really...goes anywhere with them.

    Storyline is witches, dragons..something something eating. It's not deep but the character interactions keep the game rolling. It's a very Gust game, despite being an Idea Factory offshoot studio, in that it's cute girls doing cute things but with an added sense of DOOM hanging over them. The dialogue and VO is actually okay for once, and the character designs, apart from Karikaro...jesus christ that poor girl...are pretty tame by modern JRPG standards. Also the male lead is not the centre of attention all the time - the girls and their journey are, which is good. Also no fanservice, unless knickers really turn you on - which is just..weird.

    Battle system is turn based but on three layers - top, middle and bottom. The conceit is that you and your enemies (dragons mostly) are flying. This allows for spells to target certain areas or mobs in different ways - there's also a trap system which I never used and was never really utilised by the game. Why is it there? Dunno, it's a cool idea but wasted entirely. Different enemies have different physical or magical resistances which different spells can target.

    How do you get new spells? By eating the enemies and then spending points to open up the spell tree associated with the enemy. It's not a very elegant solution but it works...though it's super tiresome to do this over and over again for each character.

    The saving grace of the game is that it's short, even the dungeons are short. There are lots of save points and you can teleport to and from them at will. Dungeon navigation is the same as the Neptune games afaik and it looks like it uses the same engine.

    I didn't hate my time with the game, but it was hardly ground breaking. I enjoyed the character interactions but found the combat boring. It's also pretty easy...not that that's a bad thing.

    3/5

    edit: Actually there's tons of fanservice if you count the transformation sequences a la Sailor Moon, but I skipped them constantly so forgot they even existed..but yeah, not great. Same problem as Mary Skelter - less clothes means more power for JRPG girls.

  • Vita

    Under 20 hours - probably about 12 or so.

    URGH

    Look, I get that you have this cool idea to spice up Ace Attorney style cross examinations - but leave the fucking mini game out of it. Whoever thought Hangman was a good idea should be fired. Straight up fired...and who asked for a cross between Tempest and Tony Hawks?

    This game is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is - MGS2 essentially pulled the same idea 10 years before this was made and did it far better. The twists sucked and were obvious and the gameplay was just frustrating most of the time.

    The only thing that saved it was the characters - Fuyuhiko, Peko especially. I have no idea what was going on with Sonia and her boytoy - why were they there?

    2.5/5

  • Xbox One

    GDI Campaign

    Normal

    Wooooo

    Playing on a pad isn't perfect, but it's good fun all the same.

    The campy cutscenes are what make this series truly great - pushed to the nth degree in Red Alert.

    It's just fun.

    4/5

  • Ps4

    43 hours

    Sigh.

    As mentioned above, Nioh is one of my favourite games - it manages to hit that sweet spot of fluid combat, cool atmosphere and neat story. I know a lot of people shit on the story, but most of them haven't got a clue of the context or characters. True, that's a fault of the game for not explaining that stuff - but considering it's a Japanese game made for Japanese people, primarily, who all know this shit - well you can see why they didn't bother.

    Nioh 2 though...yes. Nioh 2 is an inversion of the original Nioh for me. People love this game - I think it's a poor sequel. The story is trash, the new systems - especially the burst counter - are SUPER trash, and it just feels..off. Some of the boss fights are cool, but then you get ones like the bull guy later in the game that have ZERO chill and well...it's a slog. I think one of the main problems was that the bosses have been balanced around having two players now - given you can summon an AI bot from graves. Problem is that the AI is as dumb as you'd expect and only really acts as a distraction for the AI. They balance this by upping the elemental effects and have them spew them all over the place.

    Then there's the dark realm - the Yokai world - where your stamina regen is nerfed into the ground and all Yokai have their power amped up...a game based on movement nerfs your movement while powering up the mobs. Great. You can offset this after upgrading some skills but..why?

    Enemy attack patterns were boring - we even revisit some of the old levels because, why not? Remember that burning city where you had to use water to get through? Yeah we've got that - but a poor copy. Same with the stink run.

    For every improvement Nioh 2 makes - character creator, weapon selection, uuhh...there's two steps back. Nioh was focused as hell on quick, fluid combat. Nioh 2 is like a poor photocopy that somebody doodled on to add what they thought would be cool to the game.

    Still, it's better than most games of it's type.

    3.5/5

  • Game Pass

    2 hours

    It's a movie - with tank controls!

    Ehhhh

    2/5

  • PSP (Vita)

    23 hours

    All secret characters bar the one in the dungeon.

    This was a long time coming, but finally finished the game.

    I can see why it was so beloved at the time - the writing is far above what you would have gotten from most games and it has that air of 'epic fantasy' about it that most game just can't match.

    Playing it in 2020 though it feels....loose. The random battles, which are necessary for levelling jobs, completely drag the narrative down. It's like reading a book but you can only get to the next chapter after you've gone through a couple of ads. It doesn't really work. By the end of it I was just putting everyone on auto and letting the AI do the work.

    The job system is great, in theory, but there are a bunch of redundant jobs - like everything that isn't Black Mage, White Mage, Monk or Thief...really. Sure the Orator is cool in concept, as is the err..Maths person, but how useful are they? Ninjas and Samurai have great skills but pale in comparison to the efficiency of Knight and Thief - and why would you use anyone who isn't a Divine/Holy knight anyway who can one shot almost everything with the right gear?

    Plotwise it was...fine. Ramza and Delita are complete non-entities. The motivations of everyone (beyond SISTERS) is kinda..not there. We want to do this. Why? Because...errr....it says so in the script and we're EVILLLLLLLLLL? What made it really work was the very, very last scene after the credits. That was...yes. The pastel anime segments were nice but not really necessary.

    It was really, really nice to see Balthier again.

    I dunno. There's a lot to like about the game - the writing, the job system...but the rest is hardly there.

    3.5/5

  • PC

    3.6 hours first time through

    Huh. It's a Masquerade VN...and it's not terrible.

    In all fairness, there's not much here - I'm rather glad that I got it from Humble.

    Characters are on point for VtM, at least from the novels I've read.

    There aren't enough clans - can't play as a Nozzie, can't play as a Tzimchie, can't play as a Tremere or Malk.

    ooo there's a standalone expansion with Lasombra....

    Look, I love the universe - it opens up some many interesting narrative possibilities.

    As an initial attempt - it's pretty good. It just needs more.

    3.5/5

  • Android

    Couple of hours.

    'Horror' VN which is a mixture of Hannibal and Urban Legend.

    Sadly it looks like we'll only ever get the first case translated.

    It has a good premise, investigation of murders connected to urban legends - but it felt a bit forced. The quasi 'questioning' scenes that used 'courage' to select certain answers with a time limit was more annoying and random rather than logical. Kinda like press X to doubt.

    For what it was - a cheap VN on android - it was pretty good. Could have been so much more though...

    3/5

  • PC

    12 hours

    Experience

    6 turtles/50,000 yen.

  • /Shadows of New York - can't find the separate listing.

    PC

    3 hours or so.

    A return to the previous game's setting. An expansion if you will - that does little to clear up the questions from the last game.

    Still suffers from being 28hrs too short for a visual novel, but the switch to a named character provides for a much stronger narrative that tries to deal with current issues but ends up being..ehh..instantly dated? It's Murder on the Orient Express for leeches and that..kinda sucks. Pun intended. Everything else is fantastic though...especially Julia. It's a shame we probably won't see her again.

    3/5

  • PS4

    Between 10-12hrs. Essentially two days of gameplay straight.

    A Visual Novel that uses the conceit of the boardgame 'Werewolves' with a bit of Japanese flair. It's a solid VN with a flow chart and added extras. Well worth the price of admission and just good fun.

    4/5

  • Soulslayer - there isn't actually an entry I could find for this game. First time for everything?

    Switch.

    2 hours?

    A Chinese VN with the protagonist stuck in a ground hog day style loop - but only 3 times. If she dies more than 3 times without discovering who is trying to kill her - and why, then it's all over.

    VO totally in Mandarin - lovely art style that could have used a bit more care. Good story and very very short.

    Enjoyable, would like more.

    3.5/5

  • Switch

    Not a clue - around 10 hours?

    Animal Crossing mixed with Dawsons Creek in a quasi-point and click with tedious platforming and some rhythm action.

    Many praised this game as the second coming, and if you lived in small town America I can see how it could really affect you. Personally I enjoyed the animation/character designs, Bea, Bea, Bea and probably Bea. Everything else was just....ehhhhh. The twist is completely unnecessary and trying too hard tbh.

    Music is fantastic though - and the dream sequences were god awful.

    3.5/5

  • Xbone

    6:41

    Casual setting - there for the story not to hide.

    4 hard crashes? Wtf.

    My Halloween game, one I had intended to get around to for ages.

    Ummm. How...why do people call this the 'best sci-fi' story? It's...there's nothing here?

    The twist isn't a twist. It's basic common sense. There's no surprise.

    I dunno man...I just..dunno.

    2.5/5

  • 3ds

    21:47

    My first full playthrough (not post-game) of a Pokemon game.

    I'm not the biggest Pokemon fan, it turned up a bit late for me and I live in the countryside, so actual animals are around me constantly. I have pets.

    From what I understand this is supposed to be the best storyline of the series - and..well..it tries? The stuff with Team Plasma and the integration of the Gym leaders at the end was cool - but that's a different section. I know it's a kids game but....the lack of travelling companions really hurts any sort of narrative. It's just plot - and the plot doesn't have enough room to grow beyond 'but what if???'

    On the flipside, the exploration and characters are great. Loved the Gym Leaders and the amount of effort that went in to designing some of the gyms. The changing seasons and the environments were great.

    I didn't really like many of the designs of the Pokemon - though I only saw 118 in my playthrough. I think the Judo guy was great - called him Baki. I picked the Water starter and that was enough to get me through most of the game. I had a hard time in the bug gym but strategy won out. That was cool.

    I think my main problem with the game is that there is so much potential to expand and refine the series into something really interesting - yet they continually play safe. Understandable due to the nature of the game being designed for children - and heaven forbid that anybody change anything in the 'sacred' pokemon gameplay - which is slow and tedious.

    I've picked up Sword, so we'll see how that goes.

    I'm giving this a 4/5 despite being relatively negative. It's a good, maybe great, game but I need more...but I'm not the demographic.

  • PSX

    30mins for a playthrough with Hwang.

    Can confirm - Soul Edge is still a legit game.

    Couldn't remember how to throw though - and got my arse handed to me many times.

    4.5/5

  • PSX

    14min with Nina

    I was never into 3d fighters growing up - I remember playing the demo of this before release which had Eddy. If you ever want to put someone off playing Tekken, have them fight Eddy. FUCK that guy. Trash.

    Years later, over 20 even...arghh...can't really argue that this isn't one of the best fighting games ever made. I was all gangsta with my Nina till Xiaoyu showed up and wrecked me. She was harder than True Ogre. The shit she pulled was...magical. The flipping and the dipping..

    5/5

  • PC

    Brutal Doom v21

    4hrs?

    Ultra-Violence

    You know, despite having completed Knee Deep hundreds of times, I've never bothered with the rest of the game. Well, now I've actually completed the original game, using the Brutal Doom mod.

    Inferno was....an experience. Just....hell. Pure hell.

    5/5 would save scum again

  • Xbone

    9 hrs 5mins

    Ultra-Violence

    I kinda think this is the way the game should be played. It's not exactly a difficult game to begin with and the only things that gave me trouble were those damn shield grunts, lost souls and the hitboxes on the pinkies. Bosses were hilariously easy - just use a chain gun.

    That all said - when the game hits it's groove there's nearly nothing better. Fantastic game.

    5/5

  • Xbone - Redux

    10:42

    Standard ending?

    Survival/Ranger mode

    Whew.

    Wheeeeew.

    Playing this game without a HUD and in Russian is an experience.

    There's some really cool stuff in this game, and the atmosphere is incredible - but there are a couple of issues. Pathfinding for one - a couple of times I got lost and that's a nono when you're running out of filters on the surface. I nearly had to give up twice due to autosaving screwing me over with almost no oxygen left - then no bullets.

    It gets to a point when you're counting bullets and constantly keeping an eye on your filter levels. Could really have done without the horde attacks though - that's just boring.

    4.5/5

  • Xbone

    13:48hrs

    Hard.

    Legit fun game with a surprisingly good story. It doesn't start well, but Hoji....dude's a legend.

    There are a ton of things wrong with the game tho - Berserkers to begin with. Way too many enemy spawns in tight confines. Iffy hit detection, weak guns, easy to die by falling half an inch when dashing, humour is hit or miss but certainly better than Borderlands.

    Despite all this, I enjoyed my time with the game immensely. The melee combat was perfect, or would have been with a parry mechanic. Doom 2016 and Eternal look like they too quite a bit from the movement mechanics and general speed in this game.

    Final game of 2020 on New Years Eve - 4/5