Games played - 2018 edition

I'm changing the rules this year

This year I'm going to include games that I've played, but for whatever reason I fell off them. This will probably swell the list considerably, but I've learnt that it's hard to keep track of what I've played during the year and why I didn't enjoy XYZ when considering lists at the end.

Spoilers..obviously

What can I say, I like lists.

Consoles this year (at start) - 3ds (with DS/GBA/SNES capability), ps3 (ps2/psx), Xbone, Vita, Saturn, Dreamcast, Megadrive.

(October): Switch

PC - 750ti card. On it's very last legs, but I could play Nioh at 720p at 60fps. That's good enough for me.

List items

  • PS3

    2 hours before dropping off.

    I know loads of people love this game, and the series. I'm a massive fan of 2, quite like 3 and enjoyed 4 enough to finish it. However, with Persona 5 I hit my limit.

    I recognise this is a personal thing, I'm not saying the game is bad..but it's sure as hell not for me. The 'stylish' presentation is far far far too busy to my eyes. I don't need cut ins every 30 seconds, I don't need the world to look like Sears had a sharpie pen give-away and most of all I don't need the trite story. I'm just not the demographic - the 'all adults are evil' thing is just..urgh. Within the first half an hour I was rolling my eyes at the reasons for why the MC was in Tokyo in the first place - that shit doesn't make sense. None of the starting characters were sympathetic and the constant 'you're scum' approach by the NPCs was just tiring and tired. Combat system seemed fine, though - again - less sharpy and more information. A heart is not a number.

    Again, this is a highly subjective take - I can understand how many people would love this game - but like Nier Automata before it - there were many reasons why it just didn't click with me and there were enough reasons for me to move on.

    no score.

  • Xbone

    First two cases then dropped.

    So close, so very close.

    Ignoring the control issues (pivot style controls, lots of pathing issues) there is a lot of heart in this game. I really respect what they're tried to do here.

    I'm not sure it was necessary to make Holmes so young (though it's understandable for marketing purposes - gotta get all those kids that know Cumberbatch or Miller or Downey Jr, Downey being the main one I feel. Jeremy Brett is my Sherlock Holmes, and the best of them - but few would know those 80s/90s ITV adaptations I hazard) and there seems to be some sort of continuity to earlier games - Katelyn being the main one. I haven't played the earlier games but..it's certainly an interesting tack to take.

    I should also say that I enjoyed the stories/cases. They were very much in the vein of a television episode...and they were generally well written. The dialogue is passable, but the plot is solid.

    My problem comes from the added 'mini - games' that constantly pop up. The first was an extended stealth sequence that has a street urchin tail a suspect through Whitechapel..and that was annoying but passable. Then there was the bowls game, the random QTEs that pop up out of nowhere and give you little warning, and then the worst of them all - Holmes imagines a 'raiders of the lost ark' situation in his head - including traps that can kill you..in his imagination. That was when I went 'nope' - finished the case and gave up.

    To be fair to the developer, they give you the option to skip these segments, probably fully aware that a lot of people are just there for the detective work, not the Tomb Raiding/Assassin's Creeding. However, by the end of the second case..I just didn't look forward to the next one. I was burnt out. Which is a shame, as there's a lot to like her - and a lot of hope for their Cthulhu game..but everyone has a limit, and I hit mine.

    no score

  • 3ds

    5 hours - Copen True End

    I liked the first GV game well enough - could have done without the light novel elements and those bloody pits. Does the sequel improve the game?

    Well..they got rid of those pits and one hit kill bosses but doubled down on that light novel crap. Why a 14/15 year old boy needs a harem is beyond me. Add 10 years to everyone and it becomes less disturbing.

    So yes, Gunvolt. Let's start with what I didn't really like...

    Gunvolt himself. He's bland, his bullet types are terrible, his flash field is cool and there's some cool puzzle elements that use it later in the game. I'm also not a fan of Zonda's male cockpit design..it looks ridiculous.

    So what did I like? Everything else - Copen especially. Copen is awesome. Why GV runs slowly through every level and occasionally hovers slowly to the ground in his flash field, Copen straight up jets about the place like the nephew of Rocket Knight/Sparkster. He's got a jet pack and is not afraid to use it - the more 'bullits' or jet pack energy you have, the more times you can air dash before refilling. By the end I could bounce about the place like a pinball. Copen tags enemies by dashing into them, you can only tag a single enemy at once and then you shoot them. As long as that enemy is tagged, you fire will track. It's a far better (and easier) mechanic than GVs tag and flash system.

    BUT THATS NOT ALL!

    Oh no, Copen copies the abilities of enemy bosses that he kills, Megaman style, and bosses are weak to specific attacks. I was stumped by the true final boss until I realised the elemental weakness and then it was a walk over (which after an hour of getting to the last bit of health each time, for the boss to spam supers at me..felt great) There's far more variety in Copen's arsenal as well - despite keeping the same gun type. He's just more fun to play...and doesn't have a harem. Sure, he's edgy and in the Sasuke/Shadow archetype - but at least he has a character. All the waifu nonsense of GVs storyline is replaced by a kid wanting to save his little sister. That's far more palatable for me.

    4.5 'Akira? Who..wait you mean Copen? What is going on with this translation? 5

  • Xbone

    15 hours

    I'll make this brief - it suffers from the same platforming issues as Dishonored, in that you are not always sure where you're going to land. This is exacerbated by the grappling hook - many times have I died from jumps that didn't lead to a grab, or a grappling hook that didn't work as it should.

    Combat is terrible until the bow becomes available. This is made worse by the fact that zombies spawn in, there aren't a fixed amount like in Dead Rising. I've had zombies spawn in behind me when there's no place for them or just in thin air, dropping down.

    Finally there's the terrible story and possibly the worst final boss I've played in quite some time.

    I liked using the bow, and the environments are fun when the parkour goes your way.

    Oh and the ridiculous things that you need to do to contact the GRE - constantly climbing higher and higher for no good narrative reason. Urgh

    2 'Why don't you shut the fuck up?'/5

  • PC

    56 hours or so

    Trial only

    Is this the best demo ever made? Ehh possibly? I've played for 50 something hours and have yet to actually sign up.

    I've levelled a pugalist up to a monk (you get your 'job' at lvl 30)

    An arcanist up to a scholar (cause screw summoners)

    A rogue up to a ninja.

    And I levelled everything else apart from the lancer and gladiator up to between 15-20. I even spent time with fishing (great), alchemy and weaving.

    I played entirely with a controller on my pc and didn't have too many issues at low level - though raiding, I can imagine, would take vast amounts of dexterity and button combinations for healers.

    I think my favourite class is probably Scholar. I enjoy support roles and I like pets and the quasi tank aspect of healing through almost anything. I also enjoyed the thaumaturge and rogue...but there's not really much in the early game to keep you interested in the story.

    The battle system is typcial MMO stuff with a global cooldown, but the addition of job specific gauges (such as greased lightning for the pugalist that works with your rotation, or astral fire/ice that works for damage/mana regen for thaumaturges) keep things fresh. It's just not enough really without a decent storyline - and at the low end of things, Realm Reborn doesn't have that.

    FF games have always been about telling fairy stories with an added dash of tactical battle systems. XIV suffers from the lack of a party (supposed to be supplied by other people, but I played entirely alone..as is my wont) and the character stories within the job quests were pretty bland. Arcanist being the only exception for me - though they really do overplay the waifuness of the catgirls. Every single female story character who is supposed to evoke sympathy is a catgirl. It's...their market I guess.

    There's much that can be said about FFXIV but...I can't be arsed. That probably says more about how I feel about the game at the moment than any long winded dissection of the gameplay loop. I will admit that I bought a key to all the expansions when it was on sale, but I have yet to use it - seeking to make the most of the trial...and I burned out on the trial. At least it was on sale...

    no score - but an enjoyable time waster.

  • Xbone

    22:30 at the end of part IV

    I finished this game..I say finished, given that the end game is just a slog and the only 'end' is a 2 minute cutscene...over a week ago and really didn't have the desire to write this 'review' of my time with it - which should say a lot about the game really.

    So Shadow of Lootboxes - first up, I couldn't care less about Tolkien canon as I find the books tiresome and the movies more so. I have, however, enjoyed the original 'Shadow of' game and intend to sit down with that GC RPG at some point in the future (The Third Age?).

    In short - I don't really have a problem with the storyline. Shelob being female and attractive made sense from the game perspective due to the fact that she's a spider and that she's enticing him into a trap. Whether that fits with previous Shelob stuff..probably not. Also who wants to see a giant spider all the time? Urgh.

    The ending made sense - followed the main concepts of the plot and revealed the 'true' villain..as set up very early on by a throw away line. It wasn't fantastic, but it kept me entertained.

    The gameplay was standard Arkham combat with a mild refinement in movement and environment interaction. Double jumps and slow motion shooting while in the air were great - as was the littered explosive grog, spider eggs etc etc. It's good, dynamic gameplay that became a bit too boring by the end.

    Nemesis system is still a great idea, it just needs room to breathe and move away from..sigh..orcs. I really hate orcs. Credit where credit's due - Monolith did a pretty good job in giving these guys personalities and making them individual..but the illusion wears thin when random dudes pop up saying 'ahh I have returned to seek vengeance...' when you've never met them before or set modifiers on the orcs (only speaks in rhyme being popular in my playthrough..odd given my P.h.D topic) starting to wear thin.

    This is compounded by the 'lootbox' system in order to get more orcs to take over the castles and 'win' the game. To be fair it just requires grinding for either coins (which are in fair abundance) or turning as many orc captains as possible before invading the keeps. It's just artificial grind that was most likely placed there by WB rather than Monolith themselves. It's a shame, as by the end of the IV act the game was wearing out it's welcome. Stopping there would have been perfect.

    Not a bad game by any stretch, just one full of disappointing choices.

    3 'Dark lord, bright lord, what's the difference'/5

  • Xbone

    I....didn't actually check. 15 hours to credits? Maybe more.

    Level 24

    A game that was destined to be hated before anyone even played it - Metal Gear Survive is a game that nobody asked for, and yet some found fun. I'm one of those people who enjoyed it enough to finish..but I got it pretty cheap (£20 on release day)

    First up - I don't hold much weight with the hatred this game gets for being made sans Kojima. It's certainly written as poorly as most of his stuff post MGS3. Most of the hatred towards the game appears to be very much of a 'reactionary' sort - i.e. uninformed people on the internet that read something on the internet - think that it's true and then form biased opinions based upon that information. If that's you, then don't play this game. It's not worth it - but also don't decide that it's shit just because some youtuber says so. Also ffs don't ascribe Western concepts of work to Japanese companies...makes you look stupid.

    Anyway..the game itself, you know, that thing that people hate.

    It's built upon the fox engine, so most of what MGSV does well (open ended stealth) this game does well. Most of the problem with the reviews is that people are trying to play it like Dead Rising but with survival mechanics - and given the zombies around it's kinda understandable. That's not this game - it's a stealth game with the odd base defence mission thrown in. That's it. So going around attacking zombies all the time is both detrimental to your health (which is very fragile) your equipment (you need to craft ammo, spears are generally the best early game weapon) and your gauges (oxygen when in the dust, food and drink all the time).

    I would agree that this is not an easy game to enjoy - in fact the game goes out of it's way to piss you off. Metres dropping in the base or when you're in menus? Check. No auto save on mission completion, meaning if you die before reaching base you lose everything? Check. Water and food not respawning for ages? Check. That game takes place in a hostile environment and the game reflects that.

    As to the enemies - you may have seen Sterling's complaints about how dumb they are and that sitting on the high ground means they can't get you...making the game shit. Last time I checked, zombies were brain dead..so that's not really a surprise is it? Given how fragile you are it's a necessity to use the environment to your advantage. Once you get beyond the first area though...good luck not dying to the other variations using that method.

    Storyline is in line with the stupidity of the recent games, without the technical skill of the translators of 1/2/3 helping ease the game into a different language. Kojima is a great idea and systems guy, but god..he can't write dialogue or narrative to save his life.

    I didn't bother with online, nor did I even look at the microtransactions. Yes, charging for a second character is scummy - but most people won't even consider having a second character as that would mean starting the game from the beginning again..and that's not this type of game's thing really.

    Are there issues? Tons. It's a half baked game - like the original Assassin's Creed. There's a kernal of fantastic game in there - most likely due to the engine rather than anything else - but it's not terrible. I could do with better melee, better crafting, slower gauges, better enemies, more thought put into the loadout system, more base and gadget things to use...it needs more thought put into it.

    As a proof of concept, it has something interesting. As a game by itself, ehh it's not terrible but it's also not worth making any sort of fuss about.

    3 'the worst lipsyncing ever'/5

    Yes I preferred it to Dying Light..which went on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and was just boring.

  • GBA

    Gave up around 10 hours - when you go to the other world for the first time. After the bridge section.

    I really enjoyed what I played of the game - especially the job system and the characters. Though I saw little development, Faris is just a great concept for a character and it's great that Square felt it was safe enough to introduce her the way they did. I guess sprites help in that fashion. Even so, it was cool.

    The problem for me, at least, was the lack of direct path finding - I got lost more often than not and walking into an area with monsters at lvl 60 when you're in your 30s is not a good time. Back when there were less games and more time this would have been a no brainer - but I have less patience now when it comes to redoing the last hour because I went some place that I wasn't supposed to go. I don't have time for that, nor is it enjoyable.

    As such, the problem isn't with the game - it's a product of it's time. The problem is that I just don't have the time or patience any more for this type of game, or at least the system built into it.

    GBA version is awesome by the way.

    No score

  • PC

    3:30 hours

    Firewatch is a game that subverts expectations...or at least attempts to.

    Those expecting Blizzard's newest expansion pack for Overwatch will be sadly let down ('now with even more FIREEEEEE') as this is an adventure game in the style of a 'walking simulator' as the cool kids call them these days. Personally, as one who likes these types of games I think it's more than a bit unfair a name. To me, these games are the equivalent of a short story, or a novella. Yes, you mainly walkaround and interact with the environment, but the focus is mostly on the narrative, rather than the plot (or action if you prefer). This, of course, will put many people off who have been weened on COD and its like. Action has its place, as does narrative.

    So what about the game itself?

    It's a well told, short story. I think Virgina does a far better job of doing a similar sort of story - but what Firewatch does well, it does very well. The main thrust of the game is the relationship built between Henry, the player character, and Dia..sorry Delilah. Delilah's voice is only ever heard over the radio and there are many questions as to what's actually happening in the game. The writers play with tropes drawn from the afore referenced Twin Peaks and Bioshock but manage to subvert expectations in an unusual manner..or perhaps not. I never really bought into the relationship and was expecting the other shoe to drop throughout...so credit where credit is due. The VO and general design is great - even if it is a Unity engine game..at least I think it is..

    My only complaint would be that I was hoping for more given the introduction...the first 5 mins or so are some of the most heartbreaking I've seen/read - mostly due to the fact that it's a problem that effects people in my family. I just wish more had been done there, and with the inevitable question that is raised in the middle to end of the game..I didn't follow that 'path' as it were, though the ending suggested I did? It was odd.

    A good game, but could have been more. Hats off to Jake and Chris, as well as the rest of the team, for crafting a great story though..just let down by the need for it to end.

    3.5 'I got the fire, that boom boom boom' /5

  • WiiU

    11 hours

    Sigh.

    Play the first game - don't play this one.

    The only reason that I ended up playing this is how dire DW9 ended up being, married to the release of Hokuto Ga Gotaku on the ps4.

    Personally, I'd stop any FOTNS game with Raoh's death - once Bat and Rin grow up...it goes very very down hill.

    Just...unless you love the series and can't get hold of the first game - give this a miss.

    1 'You are already bored'/5

  • Xbone

    7:30 on standard

    Finished campaign, played 30 mins of Zombies. One bot match.

    I watch a lot of Chinese tv. I don't speak the language, but after a while certain words and phrases stick out. This game brings to mind a popular one - Duo Kexi. "What a shame".

    COD:IW is a game help back by being a COD game. Stripped of the expectations and mechanics of that series this would have been possibly the best FPS game of this generation. They could have slapped the Battlestar franchise on this and sold millions. It's a shame then, that due to the Call of Duty formula and the expectations of the players (seemingly 90% of which didn't even finish the campaign according to my rare achievements) this game was either panned or just overlooked.

    Ifinity Ward and Raven pushed the boat out on this one. Set in the future it's essentially a retread of Killzone. Mars has decided to go rogue and super militaristic (led by that guy from Game of Thrones who knows nothing...and does nothing in the game as far as I could see) and tries to take out Earth..while constantly saying Mars Aterneum as if Latin was coming back in style. Stop trying to make Latin happen, it'll never happen. What follows is a by the books Tom Clancy novel, with heroes, 1 dimensional Russian style villains and sacrifice because...it's popular these days? Credit where credit is due though - some of the characters are great. Ethan the Robot is especially awesome, and is programmed to be - they say as much.

    What actually sets this game apart however, is the structure and the flight sections. Nominally a navy pilot - your character gets to fly a Jackal. Think Xwing but more like a standard plane. Every so often you'll have mission that begin or end with a sortie to take out some destroyers or other Jackal. Occasionally you'll use them to infil or exfil. Don't expect flight sims, or even Freespace..but as an arcade style addition to the main game, they're great. Add in some zero G gun fights and it's great fun.

    There's also, I believe, for the first time - side missions. You can choose which to take, and each (short) mission gives you an upgrade like faster reload, or quicker regen. They're fun, quick and fill out the backstory. I think there are only 4 main missions that you HAVE to play, so these side missions are kinda necessary.

    IF I have complaints, which I do, then the main one (bar the standard COD format of shooting gallery nonsense) is that the weapons never felt like they had any 'oomph'. Reaction and SFX just didn't really..do anything for me. Eventually with the LMGs and some mods I was beginning to get towards what I wanted, but the other weapons, especially the early ones, just felt hollow.

    The next problem is more of a personal issue. If you are made Captain of a ship, you stay on the fucking ship. You don't fly attack missions in a metal box with a life expectancy of 2 mins. You don't lead ground assaults. You stay on the mother fucking bridge and do your job. Once the casualty list started racking up, well...yeah..not impressed with that one. You have one job, not 17.

    I understand for the purposes of the game it allowed you to both choose and play missions but...ergh, it's stupid.

    It was weird playing through the game. Usually when achievements pop - you can see how many other people % wise have them. IF it's below 10% it's a rare one. Most of my achievements in IW were rare. It was kinda shocking how few people played the campaign, and those who did barely touched the Jackal/Vulture whatever they're called missions. It's a shame, as it shows that the majority really just want to play the same COD as they've always played..variation dropped for iteration. IW greatest change probably comes after you've finished the game - with a new mode that takes away regen health and adds limb damage that effects stuff like running and aiming, cracked helmets and health items. I can understand how this wouldn't be for most players - but after running the first mission on that setting, I actually preferred it.

    It is indeed a shame that the COD brand killed what could have been the best FPS in years. Shorn of those expectations and allowed to build it's own gameplay loop and combat systems - this could have been special. As it is, it's a sad look at what might have been..

    4 'Better AI companion that Titanfall 2..Ethan is bro'/5

  • Xbone

    I'm going to say 20+ but not much more than that, as for some reason the game didn't keep track in the statistics screen.

    We've all had the moment, surely, when we're playing a narrative game and thought to ourselves 'man, I really want to know what happens next but I can't be arsed to play through the next section...this would have been better as a TV show.'

    Madame et Monsieur, let me introduce to you the poster child of 'it should have been a TV show' the game.

    Mafia 3 has a fantastic story premise - you're an ex..err...army ranger? Spec ops? one of the two, who fought in Vietnam and you've now returned home. Kinda the same set up as Mafia 2. The difference however is..err..skin deep? You play Lincoln Clay, an African American stuck in Louisiana in the late 60s (68 to be precise)..and I think everyone can guess how that's going to go.

    Fair play to the game, it does it's best to not shy away from the issue. There's only really so much you can show in game form though - yeah the 'n' word gets thrown around every five seconds, you're barred from certain places, and the police are always, always watching you...but, as I'm sure most will understand, that doesn't even come close to an accurate portrayal of what it's like to be 'other' in a highly racist and xenophobic environment. It can't make the player feel the psychological pressure of living in a place that rejects you for just existing - and how that doesn't match up with the promises that were made by 'society' to treat you the same. It's the deep seated feeling that whatever you do, whatever you say, it won't be enough.

    It cannot portray the injustice of being reduced to a thing, a stereotype, an object rather than a person.

    In all fairness, given the 'power revenge fantasy' narrative, expecting any sort of depth regarding racism is probably asking for too much - but they tried, and that's worth something.

    Another major aspect of the game is, unsurprisingly, shooting...and the shooting in this game is good, really good. Perhaps too good. Yes, weapons all have a heft and feel great to use..I question why it would take 6 shots from a silenced pistol to take down one guy when not a headshot, but that's probably balance issues. My issue with the game is that grunts accuracy, even at looooooong range was ridiculous. Add to that that you die in 1-3 shots, even on easy, I found this game very frustrating at times, given the spawn rates and a tac vest takes damage from anything..even car crashes.

    I think the main problem with the game was the mission structure and the gameplay loop. Main story missions are great - but then you have to hire some underbosses (including a returning Vito from Mafia 2) which requires you to do a series of 2 missions that split into multiple objectives. Once you do those, then you have a mission where you take down the underboss of that area. You do this 6 times. Essentially the same branch of missions 12 times, with the final mission being..basically...a go in and kill everything that moves mission. Fair play, they do mix the environments up with a showboat, boxing ring, and a hotel but, these all eventually amount to a war of attrition between you and the 100+ goons they send in to kill you. Luckily stealth is an option..or perhaps a prerequisite if you want to survive and get through the mission quickly. I tended to use stealth or explosives. Choice and options huh?!

    The meat of the game was always its story - the characters and the interactions. Plowing through repeatitive gameplay sequences to get to the good stuff has always been an issue with narrative heavy video games, but rarely have we had a story that could so easily have been made into something so much better if it had been a TV show.

    3 'where were you when JFK was shot, Mr Senator?'/5

    Donovan needs his own game.

  • Vita

    7 hours or there about.

    Pshhtt, nothing personal...kid.

    I think I suffer from an acute case of 'not being in my teenage or mid twenties any more' syndrome. It effects my only on certain games, and is especially egregious when playing Persona games. In short - I can't fucking stand playing a teenager in highschool any more. I just don't care about the angst, I don't care about the flirting and I really, really don't care about the social aspect. This game suffers from all 3 problems.

    I am, however, a big fan of the combat system - which is an improvement on the other LoH (no galactic in this one, sadly) games..and the story looks like it may be good, sadly there's too much build up (at school) with repeatitve tasks. I get that they're world building but..urgh..

    I may come back to it later but for now, it's tabled.

    no score - also fuck you Kevin for stealing my deviant art.

  • Wii U - with English patch

    10:37 hours

    Rank....D (wah wah waaaaah)

    After playing Maiden of Black Water last year (great) and Crimson Butterfly after it (not so great) I managed to get hold of a copy of 'Mask of the Lunar Eclipse' and the patch so I could play the holy grail of Fatal Frame.

    Was it worth it?

    Hell yes.

    This is probably my favourite of the series that I've played to completion. I still have the original (sitting in my xbox) and 3 to play (sitting in my ps2) but for those that I've played - I rank this higher than 5 and miles above 2.

    I really don't think much of 2. Which is odd, because that's the game people seem to think is the best. Opinions are weird.

    Anyway

    Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (MOTLE..y Crue) is a prequel to the original game, set some 10? years before Mafuyu goes missing. It tells the story of five girls who were kidnapped on an island in the 70s, and they all seem to have lost their memories. Two of the girls have already died, three return to seek out what happened. They're joined by the investigator who found the girls ten years earlier as he is drawn back to the island to find out what actually happened those ten years ago.

    To say any more would..probably be more confusing than anything else. This is a story of twists, turns and..sadly..cop outs. Let me explain what I mean:

    For me, the Fatal Frame games have always- if not intentionally - been about abuse towards women. The main stories have always centred around women and how they have been used by the town/village/island elders (always male) to ward off some evil or other. This may not be the case in the first game - but it certainly is in 2,4,5. 3 Deals with trauma and survivors guilt, but plays upon similar ideas.

    In 2,4,5 there are shrine maidens who are sacrificed to something or other to stop some great evil from..whatever. These women, usually young children or young women, have no say in the matter and are usually treated as a means to an end.

    If that isn't a comment on the patriarchy and the issues women face, i'd be surprised. The problem is..I don't know how much of it is intentional, given some of the other narrative plots (the less said about ghost weddings and Miu's father the better) in other games. This is also compounded by the reported decision to make the girls in V 'sexy' when wet...which I never noticed while playing the game.

    Forgive me, I'm rambling.

    My point is that the Fatal Frame games, certainly past 2, seem to be pulling in two directions at once. Sexualisation of the young female characters, offset by the actual plot and narrative that shows these women to attempt to come to terms with their 'curse', one that only seems to effect women (I don't know how much the male player characters count, given certain narrative aspects.)

    Back to MOTLE - as the first Wii Fatal Frame game, a lot of stuff (like the position gem that shows which direction ghosts appear when battling them) make their first appearance - as do the dreaded ghost hands, though luckily they don't damage you this time. Control is linked to the wii remote, giving a pretty good control system for taking pictures or moving a light around. Where it almost fails is in the puzzles.

    Spoilers

    There are multiple piano puzzles in the game that use the pointer to select which note to play. This is fine, if a little fiddly to begin with - however the final boss is, well it's kinda this puzzle. The ghost battle is probably the easiest in the game (I killed her in 10 seconds with no damage) but then you have to play a 12 note piece on a piano, in time with the notation. You have 3 goes at this, and if you fail you have to beat the boss again, This would be fine if she didn't kill you in two hits, and you barely have enough time to move before she does kill you. It's frustrating to say the least, and I managed it on the second go. That not even talking about the section before the final boss that includes a climb up the tallest light house ever and 2 of the most cheap battles in the game. It's a recipe for mass frustration if there ever was one.

    The second issue with the game - and apparently the reason why it was never released in the West, is the bugs. Hearsay and rumours suggest that Nintendo did want to release MOTLE in the West, but had asked Koei Tecmo to fix the bugs for free. KT refused, and thus we never got it. I think Nintendo had a point - I had at least one hard crash every time after one battle. Looking it up online, this was a well known crash and there was a way around it. There were other problems as well, such as not being able to finish the ghost list (and thus not unlock all items)..it's clear that the game was rushed and suffered for it.

    Which is a shame - this is probably my favourite of the series so far, in terms of plot and certainly in terms of leading lady. Ruka is great - she's not overly sexualised, she's tough, has an interesting hook that plays into the story, and I really like her default costume. She's a great heroine.

    Spoilers

    My only complaint is the ending. It is not she who saves the day but someone else. She falls over and someone else takes charge. It's a shame and diminishes her character - given that it's a man who ends up saving the day (even if he's just a ghost) still left a bitter taste after everything Ruka had been through.

    Still, there's no phantom pregnancies with brothers, no annoying little sisters and you can dress up as Luigi after you beat the game.

    4.7 'busting makes me feel good'/5

    Would be 5 if there were no bugs and that ending was different.

  • Xbone

    Roughly 7 hours? Maybe more.

    I don't think I can do modern open world game any more. I don't have the time or the inclination to walk, skip or jump from side activity A to side activity B before doing main mission C.

    I love that games akin to Fatal Frame work in an episodic format. I can finish an episode a day and feel that I've done enough - it's an elegant way of parcelling out content that always ends with closure as well as a hook for next time. Games that just shove you into a world and go on and on and on are just exhausting and boring, at least for me.

    A beautiful game, and interesting setting and fascinating characters only go so far - sometimes a little goes a long way.

    No score.

  • Wii(u)

    10:34 hours - not finished.

    Subaru

    First things first - if you're playing the Wii version (as opposed to the Ps2 version that comes with Japanese VO) turn off the voices. Life is so much better when you're a ninja blo...I mean when you turn off the dub. The dub is awful.

    So - Sakura Taisen is one of my favourite series. I love the first two games and I'm fond of the third. Never played the fourth but it's more like an expansion pack anyway. This game is the only one that was translated - lord knows why, and it was released 5 years after its release in Japan. So this game is actually from 2005. Oddly Idea Factory did the work on the Wii port.

    Set in 1920s New York (with a Sinatra song subtitle) - SWV stars the nephew of original protagonist Ogami, known as Shinjiro Taiga (Shin, Shiny, Tiger, Shinster, Kid...etc) who is sent to lead (join) the New York branch of the Revue corps. The TLDR of the world is that it's a steampunk 1920 universe with demons, the Meiji restoration never happened, Japan is the good guy, and its all very very anime.

    As the precursor to Valkyria Chronicles (as Shenmue was to Yakuza) the game is split into 3 sections. Visual Novel style elements, action scenes and VC style tactical gameplay. Oddly, these three elements work very well together - your relationships with the 5 girls determine how powerful their stats are during the combat phase. Whether they like you or not actually means something beyond romance...as you (eventually) become their captain it makes sense that a belief and trust in their captain would improve their abilities as pilots. It's a great system and the combat is great too.

    Like VC you have a limited amount of pips that act as both movement and attack. These amounts can change dependant on the above mentioned relationships between Taiga and the ladies. Movement, healing and supers cost one pip (with supers and healing dependant on a mana gauge that fills via gameplay) while attacks can take from 1-5 pips. More pips = more damage. There are also combo attacks that power up dependant on the friendship levels between characters. Unless you're a complete idiot/bastard to everyone you should have a pretty good crew by the end of the game.

    Speaking of which - lets talk about the characters.

    Taiga is your typical MC who's job it is to reach everyone, break through their difficulties and raise their trust in him. He's not the most interesting character but I should think that's intentional. Even though he's 19 he does act like a 16 year old at times.

    Gemini is the main girl (a la Sakura) and is from Texas. She's a samurai cowboy because of course she is. Her VO is the second worst in the game but she's a good character. She's the first girl you meet but the last that joins. I should note that each of the chapters focuses on one of the girls until they've all joined. Gemini's story is straight up anime bullshit, but fun.

    Chae..Ch..Saggi...Karen is the next of the girls. She's a lawyer from Harlem and her chapter plays out like a bad Phoenix Wright case. She's a cool character though once she stops spouting nonsense every 30 seconds. Her mech is kinda cool too, with dual whip like things.

    Next up is Rosita. Gem is 16 (I think), Karen is in her 20s, Rosita is..er...11. Now, before you get on your Lolihorse it's made pretty clear that it's nothing like that (though that's the US version) and that the relationship is sibling like. Even so..it's a bit weird (just like the French girl in the original games...) Anyway Rrrrosita is I guess Mexican? Has the worst, most annoying VO in the game and is just a super hungry, gun wielding cartoon character with a sad past. Nothing to see here.

    I think Diana came next - Diana is in her 20s, Blonde and begins in a wheelchair due to a terminal illness (she's got too much power and it's killing her..spoilers). Her story leans on Hamlet and the 'to be or not to be' nonsense. She's a doctor but far too straight laced. Even so, she's a nice girl and ranked second in my list. Her wide attacks as a mech and healing are pretty great.

    Next is Subaru. Subaru is Subaru and is also best Subaru.

    I adore Subaru....and I'm mildly shocked by the characters inclusion in a game from 2005. Even today it would be interesting...and also problematic.

    Why is Subaru problematic? Well..Subaru themselves aren't problematic. The thing with Subs is that they're gender fluid. When you originally meet Subs its not entirely clear whether they are male or female. In fact it's one of the characters favourite wind ups to be vague about their gender. This is rather undone by the fact that everyone refers to Subaru as 'Miss' or by the pronoun 'She'. 2005 remember? Also, given the nature of the game it's pretty obvious that Subaru is biologically female, but as she says to Taiga (and everyone) Subaru is Subaru and it doesn't matter.

    If that was all to their character, well, Subs would be a interesting and great inclusion - but oh, there's so much more. They begin as the 'Spock' of the group - being hyper logical and stand offish. Viewed as a genius, they tend to be the character that works out whats going on first and it's nice to be able to share this knowledge with someone else. At times they're literally eye rolling at how dumb the storyline is. Once you hit their (do you know how difficult it is to write about someone without using standard pronouns?) story episode - they move from being interesting to being GREAT. The pulling down of the walls around their heart is fantastic - the date is fantastic and the ending (pick whatever you think I look best in, it doesn't matter to me) is just...the best.

    The problem is...Subaru may say that Subaru is Subaru but the game doesn't leave it vague and kinda overwrites their proclamation with a 'hey, don't worry about it kids shes a she' just in case anyone was getting worried there. Just remember this is 2005/2010 and respect it for what it is.

    #

    Subaru is literally one of my favourite characters of all time now.

    So. I should state that I didn't finish the game - I got to the last chapter and realised that the ending was just 8 or so battle sequences after another, and here's the rub. While the mechanics are fine, the actually mission structure and battles are ridiculously boring - especially given that they have time limits, spawning enemies, and multiple zones. Yup, you have to go from map to map like in VC and that just annoys me. So I gave up at the end and watched the endings on YT. I finished the game as far as I'm concerned. Like Shadow of War it just overdid it

    So TLDR - okay story, good to FANTASTIC characters, good battle system, boring missions. Still not as good as the first two games.

    4 'I swear I've killed Nobunaga more than any other historical person ever, even Hitler has nothing on total Nobunaga deaths' /5

    Subaru best Subaru

  • Xbone

    B

    45 mins for a straight run through

    In prep for playing through Phantom Pain again.

    It's a fantastic engine, but there are serious questions that need to be answered. Why did Chico have a headphone jack in his chest? Why did they put 2 bombs in Paz? How much does Kojima seem to hate female characters?

    Most expensive demo ever/5

  • Xbone

    2:20

    You know, sometimes I feel that more games need musical numbers and absurd humour. It's a breath of fresh (sulphur laced) air. I think flying around hell is the best movement system since Spider-man 2's web swinging.

    It's just an expansion, which is odd that it was released as a stand alone. Still, as it was part of Gamepass, and I only payed £1 for it for a month - personally I cannot complain.

    4 'Not Enough Jane Austen'/5

    America's version of Red Dwarf....just funnier than the actual American version of Red Dwarf..erghh.

  • Vita

    30ish hours? No time recording available.

    True End - Alice.

    Japanese games have a problem. Well, some do. Most in fact actually...They've had this problem since the the late 2000s and it has only grown with time.

    Let me give you some context - Mary Skelter is a DRPG. A Wizardry like? You with me? No? Okay - Mary Skelter is a dungeon, tile based, turn based RPG where a group of adventures explores dungeons. Yes, like Etrian Odyssey but without the cartography aspect. MS (as I shall refer to it from now on) is also a bloody good DRPG in more ways than one. It's the easiest I've played, given the fact that one of your (pre assigned) characters has an ability to save anywhere on the dungeon maps at any time, as well as leave the dungeon. You're showered with items and health regen at all times and the main 'blood' mechanic of the game allows for OP healing nearly constantly.

    So, the weird mechanic in the game has to do with blood. The main, annoyingly whiney male, character's blood has the ability to stop his harem from going into berserk rages. As you kill stuff, blood covers the characters and can either send them into a SSJ style mode, where you do more damage and have access to other skills, or if the blood is corrupted they go berserk and can either kill you or the enemy. You can monitor this by looking at the blood splats below a character's portrait. There are two ways to deal with this - either use Whiney Mcblah blah's blood gun (yes) to neutralise the corruption (thus allowing for the SSJ mode) or have one of the other girls lick the blood off.

    Yup, I said lick the blood off.

    To be fair, this is given a contextual reason within the game and it comes with very powerful benefits (full party heal, SP regain, regen..depends on the girl being..err licked) but it ties in to the problem with the game, and genre as a whole.

    Lemme explain. There's a rubbing mini game in which you rub blood off the swimsuit wearing girl of your choice, while she makes dumb noises and poses in the most ridiculous fashion. It's pretty clear what blood really represents here. You do get the option to skip these sequences after the first time - and they do give the girls buffs to health or SP and corruption resistance but...they have no place in this game...or genre. The girl range from appearing fully grown (in typical over the top ways) to looking like..well..the children they are. It's clear these guys are still kids - below 16. There's even a bit where one character says that it's clear that one of the others has 'gone through puberty'. Given her appearance, I would bloody well hope so...my point is that, like Senran Kagura's first game..it's all completely unnecessary to treat and portray the characters like this.

    Yeah, Senran Kagura..I played that original 3ds game too and, while this game is nowhere near that level of..blergh..they both suffer from have mechanics that overwhelm nearly everything else. In Senran the 'eroticism' (there's nothing erotic about it, but that's modern consumerist sexuality for you) overwhelms the half way decent combat and the pretty great character based stories. Senran may be popular because of 'town' and 'home life' but it also had some great writing. I actually cared about those girls by the end of the game, and would happily have played a non-eroge VN staring them.

    MS doesn't suffer to the same extent, but the quasi-eroge content does overpower the okayish story and some fantastic character work. Each character draws upon a fairy tale in some way - Jack and Alice. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Odd one out Kagura (Japanese Fairy tale) and Thumbelina. The designs are great too in most cases - just be careful with which job you use..some are..errr...no. (Snow White mimic I'm 'not' looking at you) From all the girls Thumby was by far my favourite. She's a typical tsundere but, unlike may examples, that wasn't all she was. I think drawing upon the fairytales actually helped in this regard, as they allowed for a more fleshed out character. The story and ending was..ehh..it did the job. The reveal at the end was dumb as fuck though. Oh and the romance crap was crap too - I don't need CG scenes of women in bath towels falling on me, or the old 'chest to face' trick.

    Ahh the perils of being too old and not being the demographic any more....

    With all that said - blood mechanics and exploitation aside - MS is a really good beginner DRPG. The mechanics work well, the enemy designs are pretty good, the dungeons aren't over the top like some I can think of (late game Deep Journey) and the way that each character has an ability mechanic that interacts with the environment in different ways is cool. Arrows pressing buttons, scissors cutting wire, and of course mobile save points. I don't know if DRPG vets will get much out of the game but for newbies, it's one of the better ones on the system.

    3'needs a Slayer OST'/5

  • IPhone

    Too much time.

    I'm a fan of Metal Slug, I love the pixel art, I like tower defence games..what could go wrong?

    Not much actually...apart from the obligatory F2P systems that pervade gatcha type games. Energy, power creep and being stingy with decent units. That's it really.

    The idea of the game is to destory the other base - game take place on a 2d background with one base on one side and another on the other side. You spawn your units from your side and they slowly make their way over - via land and air depending on the unit. Each unit has a close attack, far attack (some only have one of these) and a special attack. Depending on the unit these can have modifiers like stun/push back or something more crazy. The range of units is massive but there's a definite 'best deck' as with most of these games. If you don't have the deck you'll be steamrolled.

    You can also upgrade your base, units and stuff like that. This unlocks extra modifiers from HP to stun on hit etc etc.

    Oddly, SNK have decided to make this into a waifu game - as 90% of the Rares upwards are anime girls in various states of undress..an odd choice but I'm the sure the game makes bank.

    In all honesty, I'd have put down $10 just to get the game without any of the shitty F2P mechanics, with just unlocks. It's a fun, simple game that's let down by roadblocks in progress due to the system it's built around.

    2.5 'why do they only send little girls to war?'/5

  • PC

    6 hours

    Arcade run through (Sol,Venom,Eddie/Zato-1)

    Story.

    10/10 would watch the remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion again.

    4.5 'Daaa unnn goo guu naa tenchiii no thesissss'/5

  • Xbone

    8:34 hours

    Wyatt

    Medium - Easy

    One of the first games I ever played on a PC was the original Wolfenstein, back when Doom original came out. It was basic, but fun. Flash forward however many years and it's kinda the opposite. Wolfenstein has become very complex, and I'm not entirely convinced that it's fun.

    Before continuing I should note that I'm not the best FPS pad player in the world, I've completed Halo on Legendary many times and I've made it through Doom on hard. I'm not terrible but I'm not great. I recently tried to replay Gears 1 and found it impossible due to the aiming. It was always in the wrong place.

    I had a similar problem in Wolf, but not to the unplayable degree that I have in Gears. My reticle was rarely where I wanted it to be. This may be a gamepad sensitivity thing or me just being crap. Probably a bit of both. Either way, it hampered my enjoyment of the game.

    What made it worse was the bullet sponge enemies, poor level design and spawn waves that make no sense. Why have a system where you can kill commanders in stealth to stop spawn waves if you don't use it all the time? There's a bit near the end of the game, after you return from the moon, which is just ridiculous. It goes on, and on, and on, and on...and the combat in the game isn't varied or interesting enough to keep it going. Bullets or lasers..and grenades that only damage machines apparently. There's nothing the lets you experiment or adapt. Faced by a shotgun soldier in a narrow alley? Better hope you have laser ammo otherwise you'll be dumping clips into him..because..err..reasons? I shot guys in the head and they kept going. The Combat's not terrible...just serviceable. Also the hub stuff sucked, outside of the characters.

    Which is why, perhaps, it's a great shame that the narrative is so...damn...good. Seriously, I didn't think that I'd come to like that blond crew cut guy from Wolfenstein so much. B.J. is a cool guy, and the quiet, understated delivery of his inner monologue is probably the best thing about the game. The characters and the writing were superb.

    I hesitate to say it again, but I think this would have been better as a TV show. The story is what drives it, not the meh combat. If they'd done something more with the melee, or had some interesting environmental interactions with the weapons then it might have been far better. As it is..it's a flawed, but mostly enjoyable game that became frustrating with the waves of random bullet sponge spawns.

    2.5 'Guess I liked it enough to buy the sequel'/5

  • Xbone

    Under 10 I think..no way to know.

    Easy - very easy.

    Wyatt

    One repeatable hard crash.

    For 60% of the game is was impressed. I thought they had taken most of my complaints about the first game and improved upon the systems. Better weapons, more environmental interactions, better level design...and then we get to the Courthouse.

    Why is it that devs think that wave based combat within a level, as opposed to being its own thing like horde mode, is fun? It's not..it's a slog. Keep in mind I was playing on easy - I made it through all but the last boss on easy, and I had to knock it down to very easy for that shit show of a final boss.

    What I like? The contraptions - though my choice made stealth very difficult. I liked the weapons and the upgrade system, I liked the enigma stuff and I like the melee system. I also liked the basic premise of the story and some of the concepts levied therein. Also I think the combat is faster, or at least movement is.

    What I didn't like, beyond the waves and waves and waves of super Nazis were..the same problems for the first game and some that are endemic in Bethesda published games. What do they have against mantling? The game is so specific about where you can climb and what you can climb it can get very frustrating. These aren't platform games but traversal needs to be worked on. Shooting at times felt stiff and ADS didn't really help with targeting, in fact sometimes I found that it made it worse.

    Then there are the characters and story. I didn't need to know about BJ's past and to be honest, I found it either unnecessary (father) or down right offensive (dog). I understand what they were going for, but...I think it came off too heavy handed. Speaking of which, Grace. She just waltzes in, takes over and screams at everyone but does...fucking..nothing. In fact, as far as I can tell only 5 members of their crew of what...60? Actually do anything. Shit they send a 7 month pregnant woman out to fight a war. It's pushing any sense of credibility - and that's considering everything else that happens in the game.

    I think I'm done with the series now - I'm glad I played and finished them but, to be honest, as much as I like the story - I just don't really care for the gameplay. I like my FPS games like Doom, by that I mean the original ones. More of an arcade experience than anything else. Machinegames have some great storytelling chops (though I found the ending of New Colossus about as tone deaf as you can get) but I'm not sure this is the way to show them off.

    3 'decap attack's gritty reboot'/5

  • Xbone

    5:52 hours

    Easy

    Ending 1.

    After playing Wolf on easy I'm pretty sure going forward that I'll probably be playing all narrative focus games (without a decent combat system) on easy - I don't have time for bullet sponge enemies and shitty placements. I just..don't care. More power to you if you do.

    So Resi 7...or 'Let's make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre game and then shove a Resi name on it cause it'll sell.' I cannot believe this game started out as a Resi game...it's just so foreign to the series. Where's the cackling villains? Where's the over the top storyline? Where's Wesker? Where's anything remotely interesting and fun?

    In the game's defence, the lighting is phenomenal and something that really..shines. Working with the first person perspective the sense of claustrophobia and fear works really well. The sound design is also fantastic and is far more effective at creating tension and fear than anything else in the game. Shooting was fine..I guess.

    Now for everything else. The Baker House was...well I found it boring and uninspired. I understand that they were trying to create a Louisiana home and a more...down to earth experience but that's rather undermined by the monsters and regenerating hosts. Oh god..the 'molded' designs. The Leeches in Zero were bad, the ooze creatures in Revelations were..words cannot describe how terrible a design they are. These guys? The Molded...straight up a rip off of the ooze designs in Revelations, down to the two different types and the large bomb types. Seriously, what the fuck is the problem with zombies? I'm bored to death of them in other games too but if it's an RE game without zombies (and yes, that includes 4) YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. Stop it...and go remake 2.

    Oh...okay then.

    In fact, the only reason I bought and played this was due to seeing Remake 2 at e3. THAT is how I would like Resi games to appear these days - even down to those annoying puzzles.

    Gawd those shadow puzzles were a waste of space...and don't get me started on the Birthday stuff. I didn't play the tape before doing the puzzle so I just died the first time - and then skipped the whole damn thing the second time.

    As to the story - I've played FEAR, Prototype and seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I'd rather play the original FEAR or Prototype (and I'm one of the very few people who think the story in Prototype is pretty cool) rather than this. This was a mess...and continued until the end (gotta have that mine section in every, damn, game of the series past 4 it seems) with a boss battle that I'm pretty sure I played in Evil Within 2, but managed to do it twice here.

    I'll give it this - the engine and sound design are fantastic..despite some awkward lipsync issues. Acting was okay too. The rest was just meh...and no I didn't find it scary, nor would I have found it scary on madhouse difficulty. Games that give you a gun and show you your enemy (that you can kill) are not scary. The sound design in the game gives it a good go though, almost as good as Maiden of Black Water.

    3.5 'You want to open your doors with shadows? Did you used to work for STARS? I had a similar project with them back in the day, you're lucky as I'm the only guy in the world how can build you this..yup, I'm a specialist'/5

  • Xbone

    5 hours

    *opens mouth*

    *closes mouth*

    ....

    No.

    Adding an open world fucked up a perfectly serviceable game series. I'll credit them for trying something new and evolving the series but this was a massive misfire and will probably be remembered as the worst in the series.

    No score

  • Xbone

    Dunno how long

    Story mode end

    Tons of time in Abyss mode.

    I like Arcsys games. I love GG and I used to love Blazblue quite a bit. However, when the original version of Chrono Phantasma came out I had a pretty strong reaction against it (I think it was on my 'most disappointing' list the year of release on here). They changed up the inputs, added an 'overdrive' mechanic that was not really explained very well, and I just couldn't get on with the new characters at all.

    4? Years later I came back to the game after playing tons of Xrd and a bit of Central Fiction. The tutorial of Central Fiction actually explained (in a coherent manner) what the new systems were and how to use them. It also helped that my style of character has shifted quite a bit since my last attempt to play the game.

    To give some sort of idea of the change - Waaaay back in Calamity Trigger I mained Noel, subbed Jin. This changed to Hazama and Mokoto in the next game - I could play Ragna as well but..yeaaaah. I should also note that this is all single player stuff - I don't really play online with people I don't know as it kinda misses the point for me. It local Co-Op or with friends online for me..that's it. Anyway, after coming back from playing a ton of Eddie/Zato and a ton of Ralf in KoF my playing style had changed from essentially shotos, to charge characters, quasi zoners and grapplers. So I made the concious decision to try and play characters that I generally didn't understand at first glance. I ended up choosing Bullet, Amane and Kagura.

    Long story short....yooooooo Kagura my main man. Where have you been all my life? You ain't Ralf..but nobody is Ralf apart from Clark but even Clark isn't Ralf...Kagura's poke range is ridiculous. His drive cancels (lets wave this big sword around) are fun, he hits like a truck, has a great charge projectile, and goes from being cool to obnoxious in no time flat. I like Bullet as well, though her grappling stuff is a bit hard to follow, like a weirder version of Blue Mary. Amane is just...if you thought Hazama was the king of trolls, Amane takes it to another level.

    The story...well, it's became more convoluted and nonsensical, which is impressive, and to be honest I skipped through most of it. I didn't touch that Gaiden sub story beyond the 'I'm a guy in the body of a girl' reveal...and had to stop my eyes rolling up into the back of my head. They didn't even throw cold water at the guy..

    Anyway it's fine. Nowhere near Xrd but Abyss mode (a survival RPG type mode) should be in every fighting game from now on. BBTAG suffers greatly by its abscence.

    3.5 'Would be higher if they removed Platinum'/5

  • Vita

    It felt like an eternity

    Didn't even finish.

    I like a good VN - this has one of, if not the highest ratings for a VN (Visual Novel) and so I was looking forward to some interesting story telling.

    Muv Luv Alternative is the sequel to Muv Luv (Extra) - a standard harem comedy VN that pulls a Nier with one of it's endings a dumps the male protagonist, Takeru, into a parallel universe that's having it's own Blue Gender/Starship Troopers apocalypse. The end of Extra appears to be the world being abandoned leaving Takeru and his friends to fight for their lives inside mechs because of course they do.

    Alternative starts with Takeru pulling a groundhog day and going all the way back to the start of his time in the apocalypse reality. This time though, he knows what to do to fix everything and so humanity will be saved!

    or not.

    Probably not.

    But along the way - he has to screw every one of his team mates, despite being in love with his childhood friend - Sumika. But she's nowhere to be found...or is she?

    The vita version (thankfully) gets rid of the eroge scenes, but the tone and writing is still there. Which...is a problem.

    I enjoyed the first..I dunno...5 hours of playing/reading this VN. The concept is close enough to a grown up SRW that it was fun...until Takeru starts whining, and then people start screaming at a guy that obviously has PTSD, and then we have the same damn conversation, I shit you not, 15 times...and then we get the laboriously drawn out info dumps...and then we get the 'action' scenes of still pictures/figures moving about the screen to imitate movement...and then we get 3 hours of info dumps...AND THEN we get the twist, with mind reading...

    AND THEN the main female character gets tentacle raped by aliens.

    That's bad enough as it is - but there's no reason for it beyond titilation...and that's just gross. Even the way she talks about it afterward is gross..it's so fucking disturbing, even though they censored it, it...

    It was at that point that I said..yeah, no thanks and turned off my Vita and uninstalled the game. I was beginning to get annoyed with the writing before then and the fact it was soooooooo long but that was just...urgh. Rape should never be used as a character motivator in games like this...especially given that it literally comes out of nowhere. To say this is 'fridging' doesn't really give the full meaning to how disgusting the situation is.

    No score but I'd probably only give it a 1 due to the themes and the way they're treated. Just...could writers please not do this any more.

  • Xbone

    54 hours

    So...this is..hmm..yeah, this is an odd one for me.

    If you've been following my little mini reviews in this format you'll have noticed that I'm a big monster hunter fan. Loved the series since Freedom Unite even though it took me a couple of years to really get into it. I'm a big fan of 3 and I think 4U is probably the pinnacle of the series, at least for me. Generations as a 'best of' was fine, but lacking in..spirit? XX/Generations Ultimate is the same..just more.

    So how does World stack up? I...err..it's fine? I guess.

    I really like the tweaks they've made to weapons. I ended up just maining bow the whole way through to the elder dragons and hyper/tempered/whatevertheycall them hunts. Bow being more mobile, having access to both shots and dodging is great. I haven't touched any other weapons...so..I don't know what to think of those, nor have I played online with anyone as I didn't need or want to. I think it was only Nergigante that gave me any trouble during my hunting and that's because I was using low rank everything bar my bow.

    If you can't tell from that...yeah this is an easy game...as easy as Generations I think...mostly because of the fact that monsters don't really seem to harrass you as much. They also telegraph far more than they used to. Item mixing as you go also helps..basically never running out of potions or space.

    These Quality of life things are great..but the actual structure, world and characters just felt bland to me. Of all the new monsters I probably liked the Lightbulb guy, he was cool...and great Jagras..he was a cool dude too. But not Jin/Zinogre? No Zamtaros or whatever he's called. NO JAGGI? Then we had no cool owl thing from Generations, or the bubble guy...just this cluster bombing loser.

    It's a totally subjective thing, but MHW felt empty of the charm and challenge of the previous games. Which is a shame, but maybe, like Dark Souls before it..I'm just over the gameplay loop.

    4 'No Jin, No Sale'/5

  • Vita (patched)

    10 hours ish

    No finish, corrupted save.

    Yeah, there was a vita version of this game but only released in Japan. With the recent hacking of the vita I finally was able to patch my copy with an Eng translation..my Japanese is mehhh...and well...

    It runs like crap. I'm surprised it was ever released in this state. The unity engine just could not run at a stable rate with tons of hitching and other errors. Just as I was about to cross a frozen lake the game corrupted my save. Such is the life of those who attempt to play buggy games with translation patches.

    From what I managed to play - whew, I can tell you that the frozen tundra was a welcome sight during this never ending heatwave..especially given that my hayfever stops me from opening windows and I have no aircon. Anyway, I found the environments to be beautifully made treats of icey perfection, evoking the frozen plains of the Nordic shores..as it was supposed to do. However, the standout by far was the beautifully restrained soundtrack - just a single piano on all that I heard. It tinged each scene with either melancholy or joy in such a beautiful way.

    The combat system was a nice riff on Chrono Trigger with added interactions due to an extra system that allowed you to add damage or special effects to spells/attacks depending on button pressing and bar management. Due to the way the vita version ran this wasn't exactly easy for me to manage but it added extra depth to a typical turn based system.

    The story was fine...from what I saw it's FFX but without summoning stupidity, blitzball and forced laughter...which is fine.

    It's a shame my time ended the way it did...I'll probably pick up the steam version in a sale to finish it, as I liked it enough to do so.

    No Score

  • Wii/U

    17:02 hours

    Holy shit this came out of nowhere.

    I have a backlog and a half, and during some downtime..alone in the house...I thought I'd boot up my long forsaken copy of The Last Story just to see if it was any good. The only thing I could remember about this game was that it was one of those three games - Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower and this, that people went crazy for but very few people actually bought. I also have Xenoblade (which I feel very meh about) and Pandora's Tower (which I should go back to at some point) but here we have Mistwalker's The Last Story.

    So...how do I even start this?

    Let's start with the story..the final story, or fantastical adven...yeah you get the idea. TLS tells the tale of a band of mercenaries led by Dagran and Zael - war orphans who want to become knights so that they can have a better life. Both suffered at the mercy or the Imperial power that they now seem to be working for - the rest of their band consists of Syrenne, a no nonsense, hard drinking loveable lady bruiser. Lowell a lecherous rogue of a mage with a heart of gold. Yurick, the emo boy mage with an eye patch and Mirania, the air headed hippie mage. Unlike most RPGs you do actually get to occasionally fight with all of them at once, or even more. It can get so hectic that my WiiU chugged quite a bit when you have fireballs, ice shards and all sorts going off at once. Anyway, naturally the mercs eventually get embroiled into all sorts of mischief and THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE..yeah the storyline isn't great but that doesn't really matter. For me it was all about the characters and the gameplay.

    Let's talk about the gameplay first - it's unique as far as I know, especially for an RPG. Battle occur in real time on the map..in fact the game is closer to a third person action game than a typical JRPG. You move around the map as you would normally, and to attack you just push towards an enemy for auto attacks. It sounds odd, and it is at first. Zael also has access to a crossbow that can take out mages from a distance as well as interact with the environment in certain ways..like telling a mage to knock down a pillar to crush enemies.

    A little into the game Zael is given the ability to piss everyone off at the touch of a button - by which I mean he can trigger all the enemies to aggro him and only him. This is absolutely imperative in the game as it keeps them away from mages who need time to cast, and other characters who can dish out pain, but not tank. So yeah - Zael is the tank in a real time MMO game. Later you get other abilities that work in tandem along with magic spells or just running up walls to back flip off them and smack someone in the head. Each boss and fight uses these different mechanics in such a way that they never get boring.

    Then there's the VO. Oh boy...I didn't like Xeno's VO but TLS has some of the best VO ever. Apart from Zael who's a bit meh...Syrenne, Lowell, Yurick, Dagran, Mirania..all great. Lowell, with his soft Scottish brouge is just..perfect. Every line is perfect. They add so much to the character's performance and likeability. Lowell is obviously the stand out - but Mirania and Syrenne really did a great job as well.

    Look, the game is great. If you keep an open mind and go in not expecting anything you'll be pleasantly surprised, at least I was.

    4.5 'SASUKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'/5

  • Xbone

    I played this twice (once when it came out) and stopped half way through the first time - so total play time is about 17 hours, 9 of which was probably this playthrough.

    Easy - pacifist run, emphasis on -fist.

    Doesn't Cyberpunk look great? I'm not a fan of the Witcher series like most people (that janky combat and endless walking around) but I respect their craft. I bet Squeenix Montreal are sighing in relief that they don't have to go up against that monster..especially if this game is anything to go by.

    I loved the original Deus Ex (and bu original I mean original, not HR...like those people that think Fallout started at 3..wtf), enjoyed Invisible War for what it was, thought HR had some good ideas but was lacking in coherence and depth and now this...ehh..his is just meh.

    To be clear, for me in these 'immersive sim' type games the plot has to be good. Bioshock has a great plot, fantastic environmental storytelling, great music, characters and an okay combat system. Bioshock 2 is even better. Infinite is...well, what it is. Deus Ex has all the pieces in place to be an interesting game - who doesn't like technoir? but it just flubs it all around. The storyline hints at interesting concepts (where did those augs come from? Who are you? Who is Janus? Why does Bob Page look the same as he does in the original game? That VR conference software) but seems to think that a terrorist plot that is simpler than Die Hard..wait it is actually Die Hard..you spend all your life in vents as well...is interesting. It alludes to stuff but never commits. Take the tone deaf 'apartheid' setting - having constant police checkpoints and being questioned about just walking around gave a flavour of what it could be like to be treated differently but it just came off as being annoying rather than oppressive. You were still a robot white guy who can kill with his barehands - not somebody who was constantly oppressed and threatened. They just don't stick the landing.

    Combat has it's issues too. I gave up on my first run way back when the game was initially release because the shooting just felt terrible. Picking the game up again in a recent sale I reasoned shoving it on normal and trying not to kill anyone might actually be fun - at it was to an extent. I will never, never understand the reasoning behind tying melee to the energy meter. How does that makes sense? I can't punch a guy unless I have energy? How do I walk then? It takes less energy to stealth camo walk past a room full of guards than it does to punch two of them. It's dumb. The extra augs don't add much either. I used the remote hacking skill uhh once? and didn't turn any of the others on as they seemed to just draw attention more than anything else.

    So what about the setting? Neonoir Prague. Apart from all the yellow and black neon crap that the game is known for (Syndicate may have had colouring issues, but that blue tone was far more techy) it was...ehh...kinda dull. Props for setting the majority of the game somewhere outside of the usual US/UK landmarks and it was nice to have Czech around the place but...it just felt lifeless. Especially with all the police around the place.

    Maybe the DLC was better and added to the storyline but I just didn't care enough to try - also the VR puzzle room stuff was so stupid. It was dumb in Assassin's Creed but it was even worse here. First person platforming has to be built from the ground up - like Mirror's Edge or some of the more recent indie games. Shoving it in randomly just doesn't work.

    I may seem to be hard on the game, but that's because I hoped for it to be something more. Deus Ex has so much potential to be a sounding board for what we were, are and might become - as it is, it's less god out of the machine and more dog out of the machine.

    3 'Deus Meh'/5

  • Xbone

    3:17 hours

    I want a story

    Dropped.

    One hard crash.

    Ahh the summer sales, where you look at the games you have, the games you want, the games you don't want...and tend to just buy something cheap. I happened to have a £5 voucher so I took a punt on Prey as it ended up being £5 all told. Now, I played a bit of this last year and came away completely unimpressed. For a game touted by many as GOTY...I think we either played different games (possibly Prey 2's original concept) or we just want very different things from games. I'm gonna go with the latter.

    I can't remember if I reviewed what I played last year and can't be arsed to look - but I remember my time with Prey being what sent me back to try Bioshock again. The original Bioshock is everything that Prey is not - it has character, depth and..god, so much character. Rapture feels like a real place, a decaying crazy place - but a real place. The enemies are so full of life and madness - even if the combat is kinda lacking there is so much life in the whole package it's hard not to enjoy at least some aspects of the game.

    Prey lack nearly all of these aspects. Talos 1 is the most dead and boring place I've visited in games since...uhh..I dunno. I've never really felt so completely bored by a triple A game before. I played for 3 hours this time - got to the GUTS section and just gave up caring. The plot is predictable, the writing is pedestrian, the characters are non-existent or have motivations without any depth and the enemies are completely lacking any interesting feature. Yay they can change into any object or stomp about like a modern Resi enemy. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. The mimicry thing is fun for the first 15 mins of post opening gameplay, and then its just the same thing over and over and over again. Maybe this changes on a higher difficulty, probably does in fact...but for me to want to play on a higher difficulty there has to be something to drive me to play the game - something I find interesting. Plot? Nope. Narrative? Nope. Environment? HAHAH nope. Gameplay? Hell no. There's nothing here for me. Which is a shame.

    As such, it's a fine game - and if you're into what it's selling then I might kinda see (if I squint) what people are talking about - the DLC sounds like a great idea..but it's not for me and this is an opinion based summary of my time with the game (which is what all reviews are but that's hard for many to understand).

    No score

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Makes me want to play Bioshock 2 now....

  • Vita

    Probably about 20ish hours.

    Saber/Caster/Saber/most of the way through final.

    I had little else to play and was moving house - musous are a good genre if you're tired and just want to mindlessly kill some goons. This series really reminded me how much I dislike the direction Japanese games have gone in recent years - yeah we've always had ridiculous female designs in anime (Mazinger wasn't just popular for the giant robots you know)..and it's not just relegated to anime (people really love Psylocke for the totality of her psychic power..honest) but when it becomes the main selling point to such a degree..well, it's too much for me. Note that this is coming from a guy who loves Gust games and enjoys DOA - but in both cases it's the underlying systems at play that make those games enjoyable (and Virtua Fighter characters) - I honestly couldn't pick out a DOA character from a line up if I tried, unless they were in a Ninja Gaiden game.

    Anyway I reviewed this last year saying that it's fine but the zone mechanic and traversal system can be annoying. Same applies here. I played through the other arcs and as much as I like Nero (Red Sabre) I think some of her design elements could be scaled back...if you get my drift. Her personality fits with being an exhibitionist though..so that's cool.

    Comparing the original Fate designs with the later ones, you can see (perhaps bar Medusa/Rider) the way that Japanese tastes have shifted faaaaar to the oversexualised. It's sad, as...like Senran Kagura, there are interesting stories to be told with powerful female characters that are lost underneath the imagery, and waifu bullshit.

  • Xbone

    I can't say how long - probably around 20 hours?

    Main campaign, first DLC

    Well...some of the environments are really nice. Props to Bungie on letting their Enviro artists actually stretch their legs - it's not something we see that much of any more in FPS games.

    What can I say about the rest? I played through the game as a Hunter and it was...eh..fine? I solo'd everything apart from 2 strikes and it was just more of the same really. I think the problem for me is that there is just not enough variation in weaponry or skills. You're stuck within very narrow parameters and that's just not fun. Especially if you're used to Diablo/POE style skill mixing and matching or Borderlands weapons. Shit, as much as I dislike Borderlands it does everything that this game attempts to do with skills and weapons faaaaaaaaar better.

    The reason for this is probably PvP - the bane of every person's existence when it's attached to a PvE game. Balance has to work among these two in such a way that neither drastically effects the other - which makes for kinda a dull PvE system. It is what it is - people have a bizarre need to shoot others in the face, I don't understand it myself but there you go.

    meh/5 - glad I picked it up deeply discounted.

  • Xbox 360

    8 hours

    Another attempt to play through this game.

    It's fine, actually I think the battle system is pretty good and it still looks nice for a game that's nearly 10...years...old.

    O_O

    My main problem is the characters and the writing in general. It's just a bit shit really. Lightning is fine, she just doesn't really have anyone to bounce off of, especially when they keep splitting up all the time for some bizarre reason (probably tutorials for the various combat systems) but...it just doesn't work. Then there's Hope...oh boy. I actively wished that someone would beat the ever living crap out of him every time he opened his mouth. I get that he's supposed to grow as the game goes on (and becomes fine in the later games) but that initial meeting is really rough.

    I'll come back to it later, but I'd rather play other stuff for now.

    no score

  • Vita (TV)

    Roughly 20 hours

    I really enjoyed Rorona, but Totori just didn't work for me.

    The amount of time you lose just travelling between the two quest hubs (about a week) is just too harsh - especially given the ending is dependent upon having enough time to collect and build a boat - which you only get in the last two years. I never had any problems with time limits in Rorona but here it was excessive.

    Beyond that, the characters were...lacking in comparison. Totori was fine, and Mimi was great but the others...Rorona, Cory and Sterk are always great but they get little development from where they were before. Totori's elder sister is fantastic...but it's just...

    I think the main problem is that the story structure (for what it is) and the format of the game get in the way of the gameplay and associated systems. I wanted to just collect items and do alchemy, which, given the concept of the game, you'd think would be the point. Experimentation, exploration and timelimits don't work well together. Thankfully they learn to dump the time limit in later games - I just feel that Rorona balanced the issues better.

    3 'do a barrel roll'/5

  • 3ds

    7hrs 49mins

    Rarely is there a series so obviously a match for musou combat as Fire Emblem. Musou generally works best with weapon based combat - though I do like the odd fist weapon as long as it's not IEYASSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Add to that the weapon triangle of the FE games (swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords...but don't quote me on that) you'd think that it would work perfectly...and it almost does. The problem is that with such a small amount of weapons you get stuck with clone movesets, and that's just..boring. The thing with Musou games is that you need each character to have a distinct identity in their moveset and there are enough clones among the roster that...it just feels too samey...and this is from someone who pretty much just played the female lead the whole time (and Corrin, who is great).

    If you want to play the game for the story..don't bother. It's short and pointless and full of terrible dialogue.

    If you want to play as some of the better characters from Fire Emblem's history...ehhhh probably pass on this one too. Unless you started with Awakening or Fates you won't get much more than Marth.

    IF you really really love your Awakening/Fates Waifus then they have you sorted...though Tharja is DLC and a clone. So...you win some you lose some.

    I have yet to tackle the history battles, but there don't seem to be anywhere near as many as available in Hyrule Warriors but hopefully they'll add to a rather lackluster first showing.

    I admit that this overview of my time with the game comes off as being negative - but I'm still thinking of picking this up on the Switch, which probably says more about me than the game.

    As a first attempt at a FE Musou it's...pretty standard. Lacking in many ways and too many clones. It's more of a proof of concept than anything else. The sequel, like Gundam Musou 2, or Pirate Warriors 2, will be a massive improvement if they actually create one. I don't know how well this sold...but we shall see.

    3 'too many waifus 7/10' 5

    It's clear that Japanese writers use female characters as a crutch these days when they can't be arsed to write a decent plot...but more on that in a later game..

  • Switch

    48 hours

    I'll be quick about this:

    Good combat hampered by weird decisions during the mid game.

    Great and varied VO hampered by direction and trying to match lip sync - seriously, the only thing that endeared me to most of the characters was the voice actors - Nia's Welsh accent and Morag's Scottish accent helped balance out the questionable Lanc accent of Rex.

    World design was pretty great...but that goes into

    Negatives:

    The map is terrible...among the worst I have ever seen. SMTIV was bad, with the lack of clear labelling but this is far worse. It'll tell you to go to an area, missing that you need to go around a mountain to get there. When you have a big a map as you do in this game that just comes across as idiotic.

    Systems: I hate...hate...the field skills system. It's bad enough that it's tied to the gatcha element so its random, and that you have to keep changing you blades in order to get the right combination...but the fact they gate off the next story beat behind certain blocks (the beginning of 10?) is unacceptable. You can't just randomly drop this system into the main storyline at these points in order to block progress. It's shitty game design.

    The story - I've seen Eva, I've read Neitzsche, I've played more than one JRPG game in the last 10 years. For my money Xenosaga did this far better than the 'Blade trilogy. I have a lot, lot more to say on this but I'll do it during my end of year recap. Just..the Japanese obsession with killing gods is wearing more than a little thin, especially with teenage protagonists and shounen writing.

    3 'Pandy best girl'/5