Games of This Year, 2018

Hey gang, I'm back again with my second-ever GB blog post. Howzabout that?

How was your year? Mine was mixed. I graduated from art school, and then moved back into my parents house. Then I got an ulcer! Fun times, and you can read about all of that in my zine series: Not That You Asked...

So games, right? They still happen despite everything. This is probably a less comprehensive list than last year, but I'm pretty burned out in general, so fuck it, here we go with a list of games hastily thrown together in the order that I could think of them (and possibly played in different years) with little to no thought or editing in the actual body text.

Rime (PC)

I really loved this game until I didn't. I really loved exploring the world Rime presented me. Sure, there's a great deal of these games that seem lifted directly from other games, but it's a nice little experience. I would love more games that are about exploring ruins and ancient technologies with no clear backstory. Specifically, I would like more games that remind me of the castle in the sky in Castle in the Sky.

The only real qualm I had about this game was the ending. I liked the story of this shipwrecked kid exploring a desert ilsand and other crazy monuments, led by a ghostly shade who is probably his father. But when it's revealed at the end of the game it's a father dealing with the grief of losing his son, in a role reversal thing, I was let down. Why can't we just let mystical shit be mystical? I like the interpretation that it's more about a child going through the afterlife, but I don't know that it's still not great.

Q.U.B.E. 2 (Xbox One)

I didn't play the first Q.U.B.E. (I had a laptop at the time dropped frames like a motherfucker when the demo came out), but when it came out on Games with Gold, I decided to see what was going on with it. I was hooked pretty quickly. I stated above that I really love any game that lets you wander through ruins of an old civilization and this has that kind of sort of, hard to say.

The puzzles themselves ramped in a very organic way, and it's one of those games that does the Portal thing where I never had to look up any solutions and had more fun working out what to do than trying to look it up. I did look up one thing, but it turns out it was a solution that I already tried that didn't work for a reason I can't pin down. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes a good puzzle game.

The story is interesting enough, it doesn't every get in the way of the experience, and presents one (1) moral choice(s) (that you have to replay through the entire game to get to again (groan)), and despite giving me Portal flashbacks it, mercifully, doesn't try to be funny.

The Room: Old Sins (Android)

I'm not sure I can pin down exactly why, but I found Old Sins to be a breath of fresh air in this series. Unlike The Room Three, I never found myself feeling exhausted by the game itself. There's no weird secrets, and weird subplots, it's a much straightforward entry.

The main new mechanic of going back and forth between doll house rooms is well realized. It's great to get an object and realizing exactly where it goes in another room. It's intuitive interesting, and it doesn't weight itself down with the lore of the other games. High marks for this one.

Yo Noid II: Enter The Void (PC)

If you told me that this 3D platformer was actually produced for the N64 before getting finished and released on PC, I would believe you. Alas, it was produced as part of a game jam, and is much better than any of the phrases I typed before would lead to you to believe. It's weird in all the right ways, the gameplay and physics feel right, and the artwork is a bit too good for a game jam. It's bizzare, and best of all, it's free.

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS3)

I didn't play all that much of this game, but I did stopped around the Jinana fight. Even though I only played a little, I can say that DDS is probably my favorite of the Shin Megami Games. The story is weird as hell and refreshingly much more Sci-Fi-y than previous entries in the series while still having roots in mystical Hindu stuff. It's also a game that has a very negative outlook on the future, which is something I can't help but relate to lately.

I hope that I get to finish this game one day, perhaps when my friend decides me to lend me his PS3 that he bought to play Rock Band while living in a trailer park in Patagonia, AZ, but never got around to actually buying rock band again.

God of War III (PS3)

This game has not aged particularly well, especially since is started dipping into the Devil May Cry franchise. I hate Kratos so fucking much. I found this game excruciating and boring, and I felt in pain the whole time (which may have had something to do with the fact that I was suffering from an undiagnosed ulcer at the time).

Storywise, I was just pissed off at the reveal that what killed Zeus was "hope." I know there's a founding Greek mythology, but that reveal just sucked.

I also tried to play through the other games, but I just wasn't feeling it. I get the feeling that maybe God of War was never really that great to begin with. And no, I will never play the latest entry in the series (did that get released this year or like two years ago?).

Killer Instinct (PC/Xbox One)

I really had a great time with this game despite knowing who Dave Lang is. The tutorial system is pleasantly thorough, and I had a great time playing against my one friend who had it as well (before he got sick of it two weeks later). It's clearly a great fighting game, and like all fighting games, it is one the lore of before completely abandoning trying to gain any amount of skill.

Devil May Cry (PC)

You know, I didn't really get what the big deal was with this game when I first played it on PS2, but coming back to it on PC after getting into 4 and the reboot, I suddenly got it. Despite what I may have said last year, it's clear that the original is still the best, and the reboot is a pale imitation of the greatness that this was.

This was also the the game in the original trilogy that I played the most of (what the fuck was happening in 2??), and I still find it the most interesting and fun to play. I may never beat it, but that's okay.

The Fall Part 2: Unbound (PC)

I liked this game the same reason I liked the last game in the series, and I dislike for the same reasons I dislike the first game. I enjoyed the characters a lot more, and I actually felt very conflicted about forcing that nice Companion bot to do horrible things to all those people.

Still, I think the controls are kind of unintuitive and the action sequences are abysmal. The system they've implemented is just not set up for shooting and fighting, I'm sorry, but it's not. Some of the puzzles also require some leaps that only a seasoned adventure gamer would really reach for, and I found myself following a guide more often than not. I'm still interested in what's going to happen in Part 3, but I'm just not hyped on how I'm going to have to play through it.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One)

I briefly tried to play GTAIV, but I found myself hating how the car handled and the characters seemed boring. But this, this was something completely different. This was the first GTA game that I actually found myself playing for the story missions mostly. It's a lot of fun to drive, shoot, and it's really fun to heist. I had to remove this game from my Xbox because I was playing it too much.

That all being said, I did suffer from the GTA fatigue, where after a while you find yourself goofing off and entering cheat codes to try and squeeze some more interesting stuff into the game (personally, I found myself memorizing the Skyfall cheat because I'm that kind of person). And the story is just kind of OK. The acting is really great, but there are things that really just didn't land. Rockstar's satire is as subtle as ever, and it's hard not to roll your eyes anytime they try and make something "funny." Also, it seems like Franklin is almost incidental to the plot despite being the first major player character introduced. It feels kind of off and weird, and a little too focused on Michael. That's kind of the problem with a huge game like this, the subplots just kind of go ignored fro far too long.

Still though, i had fun, and I like any game that has cheat codes built into it. BRING BACK CHEAT CODES, COWARDS!

LOVE (PC) and kuso (PC)

In my mind this was old pre-NES games were like in their heyday. I know they weren't, but I would hope they were like that. These games are nice platformers with minimal graphics and great soundtracks, and they're more rewarding than they are punishing. Honestly, it was fun to kind of zone out to.

N++ (PC)

I remember playing the original N as a flash game about 12 years ago (I know, it was released 14 years ago, don't @ me), and this is more of that. In a good way, I mean. It's been so long, that I can't honestly tell you what's changed about N other than the color schemes and maybe some of the physics or something? Whatever. It's still good.

Owlboy (PC)

I love this game that I think I bought this year. There's something to be said about having a likeable protagonist that you root for, and Otus is definitely that. It's a nice little adventure in a setting that feels more original than a lot of games. Okay, it probably isn't that original but it definitely nails that Castle in the Sky feel that I mentioned earlier when talking about Rime.

I don't really know what else to say because I played it so long ago (and possibly in a different year), but this is definitely a keeper.

Sonic Mania Plus (PC)

It's Sonic Mania. Again! Flying as Ray is fun and Mighty has that spike resistant thing going for him. Also the encore mode is a nice new addition, allowing you to play as every character in a single playthrough. It's good. And I can say with almost certain authority that it'll better than the upcoming live-action movie.

Sundered (PC)

I was immediately drawn into this game through the lovely hand-drawn artwork. Playing it, I found that I was really absorbed in this game and that I hate it.

It's initially kind of fun to fight off hordes of demonic entities but it quickly gets tiring after a few hours of gameplay. I'm also not a fan of roguelike elements in any game, but I appreciate the somewhat static map elements. That being said, i played for a long amount fo times, sinking my teeth into the upgrades tree and grinding like crazy. I had a lot of fun with it and I never want to play it again.

4/5 Stars; Thumbs down

Gaydorado (Android)

I was interested in the prospect of dating hunky anime bara guys (who isn't), but I found myself pushed away from this game (app?). I didn't understand the combat system, and I was annoyed by the fact that there are really only two character models that are reskinned over and over for each of the guys. It was confusing, and it had the worst parts of all the freemium games. I appreciate the effort, but I don't think it was worth it.

Also, the text is formatted wrong so that line breaks will happen in the middle of words with no hyphens. It's very irritating. I got rid of it pretty

Tokyo Afterschool Summoners(Android)

This is the other mobile game app featuring a litany of hunky anime bara guys to date that I tried out. I have a much more positive impression of this game, as I understood the card battling system a lot more, but I also found the translation a little half-there and confusing. I understand that it's a small team working on the english localization, but it still feels kind of half-finished and I still couldn't quite work out all the systems. Still, the text was at least formatted correctly. Also, there's a whole lot more diversity in the cast of characters, with the developers reaching out to multiple different artists to contribute to each character.

Still, I found myself after a few hours stretched over a few days, so I got rid of it.

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2(Android)

This is actually a really good representation of SMT games in mobile form, but again I found myself falling off. I just didn't feel much of a connection to this game.

Also, I think I just hate persistent mobile games.

Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox 360)

This is my favorite game. Still. Now and forever. The emulation on 360 is all fucked up and laggy, and drops frames all the time, but it was a still a lot of fun replaying a game that I know like the back of my hand. Plus, I got the graffiti soul for the stage challenge in Shibuya Terminal on my first try, and that shit never happens.

SO YEAH.

Those were games this year. Maybe I'll play some good ones next year too.

Maybe not.

Whatever.

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