GOTY 2018 - Gods, Cowboys and Mutants? An extensive blog featuring 40+ games and Soulja Boy

GOTY 2018 – Gods, Cowboys and Mutants?

It’s this time of the year again, so here comes another GOTY blog. And I have a feeling this is gonna be a long one. Why? Two reasons:

I was between jobs for a few months this year, so I had lots of time to get some good gaming time in and, more importantly, this year was simply a great one for games. A fact that I’m doubly pleased by since I was kinda disappointed with last year’s games, which become apparent when writing my GOTY 2017 list. Sure, there were some really good games, like Nier: Automata and Super Mario Odyssey, but overall nothing really blew me away.

"Wait a second...was I always dressed like this? Something seems wrong here."

This year though, this year it’s a very different thing writing this list, and as of right now (yes, I am actually just writing this whole thing in order) I’m still not 100% sure what will make the list and where. And that’s just a really good feeling isn’t it? Having so many options that you don’t even know what to pick. Makes you feel like a little kid in a toy store’s gaming section again.

“Feel” being the operative word in this year's blog in general as I think I can rank some of the games in this giant blog purely by how they felt to play and how I felt while playing them. Things really are just that close this time around.

"You said it would all be about "the feels", but that's not what I thought it would mean, damn it!"

Okay, that’s it for the introduction, now on to some general information: I don’t currently own a PC good enough to run any current games and I also don’t own an Xbox One (so no exclusives from either those platforms). I did all my gaming on my trusty PS4 Pro (with a recently bought PSVR set), my Switch and my 3DS.

Well enough preamble and let’s get this thing started for real, first with a few games I didn’t get to play this year, but who could/would have made the list.

Games that might have made the list had I played them

Let’s go: Pikachu/Evoli – A Pokemon game? And in first place of the “would have/could have/should have” section? Well, yeah. This would almost certainly have made the list on nostalgia alone, since the original Game Boy Pokemon games are among my favourites of the system (which, let’s be real, says a lot considering the Game Boy’s ginormous software line up) and the graphics in the new one just look oh so very charming.

So why have I not played it? Well, my girlfriend hinted early on, that she would gift me this game for Christmas. Will this happen? Guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

"Just take a loook at those great looking Pokemon. How happy they are. Let's stuff them in some ball or something!"

Soul Calibur VI – This one I currently have mixed feelings on, which mirrors my opinion on the entire series really. I loved Soul Edge, Soul Calibur I, II and IV, while I just hated III and V. Sadly from everything I’ve seen of VI so far, it looks a lot like V, especially pacing wise. A real shame, because I like my Soul Calibur games to feel deliberate rather than button mashy. Having not played the game yet, I of course could be wrong here. Let’s hope so and pick this one up in some kind of sale.

Dragon Ball FighterZ – I loved, no strike that, I still love everything Dragon Ball (except for GT) and this game seems like the perfect adaption: gorgeous graphics, loads of fan service (not of the “Puff Puff” kind you perverts!) and real smooth looking mechanics. I really wasn’t ever in the right mood to get into a fighting game this year, though, so I have not given this one a shot just yet. I’m very much looking forward to it, though.

"Okay, guys, the choreography is all there, but is your power level over 9000? No? Then get bent!"

Tetris Effect – It’s Tetris, what more do you want me to say? Why I haven’t played it yet? Well, the answer is pretty much the same: it’s “just” Tetris. Sure there’s the journey mode and the visuals are neat, but honestly I just can’t see myself spending 40 bucks on Tetris in 2018 (except maybe if I finally find a decently priced cartridge of Battle Tetris Gaiden out there, damn you Ebay).

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy – Back in the day I was never much of a fan of the Spryo games. They just looked way to simple for me to ever consider giving them a real go. 20 years later things have changed and something nice and simple to play without having to really think about it seems like quite a good thing.

"Shut up weird fly thing, I'm definitely cuter than those stupid Pokemon! Also is that Playstation logo supposed to be in this picture?"

Dragon Quest XI – Same deal as with the Soul Calibur series, really. I loved some of the games in the series (IV, VIII) and didn’t care for others (IX, X) at all. XI seems quite neat though, but I just couldn’t get myself to try it just yet. Also I really didn’t want to burn myself out on JRPGs again so shortly before Tales of Vesperia: Definite Edition’s release.

That’s it for games that probably would have made the list, now on to games, I have played only little bits of so far, meaning I don’t have a solid enough opinion yet and decided not to rank them.

Games I didn’t play enough of just yet

Life is Strange 2 – I just adored the first game and the first episode of the second season, while not immediately blowing me away, seems like a fine start to another strong game. I’m just always on the edge with putting episodic games on my list without having experienced the entire thing yet. So Life is Strange 2 is a no go for the Top 10.

"Please let us get in the car, we promise we wont just do Donnie Darko again!"

The Council – Same deal as above, since I’ve only finished the first two episodes just yet. I can already say that I really like the game’s setting and some of it’s interesting ideas, like the stand-off mechanic and the stat points. Finally a game trying to push the “Telltale adventure genre” a step forward once again.

Vampyr – I look a good Vampire story. This seems to be at least a decent one from what I’ve played so far, but oh my god, the combat is anything but decent. In fact it felt so bad, that I stopped playing after just a few hours and have not yet managed to motivate myself enough to go back to this one.

Return of the Obra Dinn – A game with a fresh new mechanic and a very unique visual style, this one certainly had the potential to get into the Top 10, sadly I just didn’t find the time to play it for more than a couple hours just yet. I’m also not quite sure if I like the setting and the supernatural nonsense elements. Guess I’ll have to finish it, before I’ll know.

"Oh, I got it now. It was the butler in the kitchen with the knife. Or maybe the captain with the spear, or that dude from Ireland with some tentacles?"

Okay, that’s that, now on to games I decided to skip, but want to comment on real quick.

Games that I decided to skip, but want to comment on real quick. (Yes, I just repeated the last sentence, I know. It’s for effect, ok?)

Monster Hunter World – I’ve never been a huge fan of the series, but this time I really wanted to give it a fair shot. After playing the demo though, I once again decided that this just wasn’t the right game for me. Just hacking away at a huge dinosaur is fun and all, but that there’s no real feedback for hitting him is a no go for me.

"Am I even hitting you?" "I don't know either, sorry, there's just no real feedback."

The Messenger – Got spoiled on “the twist” very early on and also just think that it looks like an okay game, but not a great one. There’s better “Metroidvania” games out there. Loads of them, so this one’s a skip for me.

…aaaand after this shortie we already move on to the next category, and it's an interesting one: games that turned out really disappointing.

Games that turned out to be rather disappointing

Fallout 76 – Really? Yes, really. I know it won’t be hot take, but oh my god this game looks so bad and just so god damn unnecessary. Why do this? (Money.) Why release an at best half done game? (Money.) Why get rid of NPCs, which are core to the Fallout experience? (Money?) Such a fucked up game, that they didn’t even manage to get the Collector’s edition right. I really don’t know what they were thinking. (Money!)

"We look awesome guys, what do you want to do now?" "Oh I don't know, let's look for an NPC to give as a quest. Oh right..."

Dead Cells – You all wanted a hot take? Well here it is. First let me make clear that I don’t think this game sucks or anything (it's fine), but I also don’t think it’s as great as everyone makes it out to be and it certainly turned out to be a disappointment for me.

Why? Well it’s quite short (yes, I know that’s often the case for this kind of game); I really don’t like the enemy variety (there’s just not enough enemies that are a real threat, except for the occasional elite and some of the enemies in the last stage); the bosses aren’t great or varied either (first of all there’s not enough and there’s no randomness here, something I always enjoyed in other Rogue likes); the balance seems all wrong (picking up too many vials fucks you over? Really? That seemed like a good idea? Note: I’ve not played the game after the recent patch) and, honestly, it’s just too easy?

Yes, I’m serious and no, I’m not bragging about my gaming prowess or some shit. I just really think this game is not hard at all if you are somewhat careful, good on the dodge and spec correctly. Not even repeated runs with boss souls seem all that hard if you just get a loadout that works out fine. And getting that is also just not that hard.

The fighting feels good and the weapon variety is nice, but that’s all the praise this game will get from me. Sadly, just not my thing.

Into the Breach – Another hot take? Well, not really. I like the game alright, but I just don’t think there’s enough to it. Sure, there’s different mechs and a harder difficulty mode, but the replayability is still very weak for me. Once you find a strategy that works you just have to adapt it a bit to thrive in every single scenario presented to you. There’s just no enough variety in this for me.

Octopath Traveler – I like this game’s visuals, I like it’s combat system (even though it gets rather stale towards the game’s end), I like it’s exploration elements, I like it’s music, but I hate it’s “story”. I get what they were going for, but this is just not what I want out of my JRPG. Vignette style story bits, with the characters never really interacting except for some very minor optional dialogue scenes is just a bummer. The different character stories also vary in quality extremely. Tressa and Primrose being the standouts for me, while H’aanit or Ophilia are just plain bad.

"Isn't our world just beautiful?" "It sure is...but, wait, are we interacting?" "Yeah?" "Oh god, I don't like it, stop it right now!"

Mario Tennis Aces – The core gameplay is fun enough, but once again, I just don’t think this game has any long lasting legs. The “story” mode is very disappointing if one knows what could have been (just look at the GBA’s amazing Mario Tennis: Power tour), the Swing mode is completely pointless in its simplicity and the online mode is, well ...it’s a Nintendo game. So it’s very barebones, laggy and there just isn’t enough to it.

Far Cry 5 – It’s just more Far Cry. Once again. And yes, after so many games featuring the exact same formula that is a disappointment. Also, while the setting is unique, the story just never really goes anywhere in it’s very tame tale of a small town cult. A real shame, but hey, the next Far Cry game isn’t far off, so maybe they’ll finally introduce some fresh new ideas again there. Ah...who am I kidding?

"What do you mean you don't like this game? There's a god damn bear companion, named Cheeseburger. That should be enough for GOTY!"

Okay, enough with the disappointing stuff, on to the next category.

Games that didn’t come out this year, but that I played in 2018 and I think deserve a mention

Pokemon: Go – I started this again in preparation for getting every Pokemon in Let’s go Pikachu/Evoli. It’s still not much of a game, but it turned out to be a nice diversion at times nevertheless.

Night in the Woods – Last year I stated that I didn’t play much of the game since it didn’t really seem like my cup of tea. This year I’ll state that I was wrong about that. Night in the Woods isn’t perfect, the mini games are pointless and/or suck and the narrative fell apart a bit in the end, but it’s still a very good game. One that would have even deserved a spot in last year’s Top 10. So I’m sorry, Mae. I failed you, for seeing no more than shapes and objects in you the last time.

"You aren't may, it's my fault and I'm sorry. Please stop drinking beer!"

Last category before the actual Top 10:

Games that came close to a Top 10 Spot

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – The Black Ops series was always my favourite when it came to the Call of Duty games. Black Ops 4 is no exception. The multiplayer is very solid (even though, I miss the mobility some of the earlier games in the series provided. Yes, I’m one of those guys.), the Blackout mode is fun and definitely a step up over PUBG and the Zombie mode still isn’t anything I’ll ever really enjoy.

The lack of a campaign doesn’t bother me either, since I hadn’t even touched the last game’s campaign, but oh my god, why did they think the Mercenary scenarios would be a good idea? The dialogue is groan inducing (for the love of all that is holy, let Frank Woods go already) and the “scenarios” are just glorified bot battles. It sucks.

Donut County – A fun little game with a somewhat “Katamari-esque” concept. Swallowing up the entire town and figuring out the very miniscule puzzles is cool, the story is fun enough for what it is and the encyclopaedia is good for a quick laugh or two. Only problem is that the game is over before you know it, so hopefully we’ll get a bigger and better Donut County 2 at some point.

"You know what we'll don next? We'll get a ball and collect things with it to make it bigger." "Been done already on The Simpons. Wait, that's not right."

The Fall 2 – This sequel didn’t quite have the impact its predecessor had on me, but it’s still a pretty damn good game and what’s most important, it has some new ideas of its own. Possessing different robots and having to utilize their very different skill sets for solving some neatly designed puzzles is never not fun. Sadly the story isn’t quite what I’d hoped it’d be and the combat is even worse than it was in the first game. Nevertheless I’m already looking forward to this trilogy’s eventual conclusion.

Detroit: Become Human – I’ve always liked these David Cage games, since they are quit fun to experience with a significant other. Detroit: Become Human isn’t any exception to that and thus I have some very warm memories from playing through this. Is it a perfect game or an amazingly told story? Not quite, but it’s also not as terrible as our dear friend, Alex Navarro, made it out to be.

"Why won't you love me, Alex? I'm totally a human man. Wait, do you see it like that?"

Onrush – Finally a good arcade style racer again. The different modes are fun (even though I just can’t get myself to like Countdown), the driving feels good and the visuals fit the whole thing perfectly. The campaign mode is okay too, even though it’s really just some bot races with added objectives. Sadly there’s just not that many people left playing anymore.

Super Mario Party – This one came as a bit of a surprise to me, since while I liked Mario Party 1-3 fine enough back in the day, I didn’t enjoy any of the newer entries in the series at all. Super Mario Party gets it right again despite the odds. The minigames are simple and there could definitely be more of them, but they are, for the most part, fun to play.

What really made me like this game though, are some of the other modes. The Partner Party mode is a fun twist on the core gameplay and actually calls for a little bit of strategy (not much, but some, and hey, that’s something at least), the River Survival mode is a neat and easy little Co-Op experience and the Sound Stage Mode made me realize just how much I’d love a good rhythm game on the Switch. Overall just a pretty good package.

"Nobody wins. Except me, I'm mother f-ing Mario!"

Moonlighter – A Rogue lite game with an added on shop management mechanic? Colour me intrigued. Moonlighter’s dungeon exploring gameplay isn’t great, since it’s very easy and there’s not quite enough variety there, but the shop management part balances out the core gameplay loot quite neatly. Is this a better game than Dead Cells then? I don’t know, probably not, but I personally enjoyed it a lot more.

Hitman 2 – Hitman 2 is just more Hitman 1, for better or for worse. Personally I ‘m fine with this fact, but it’s also the reason why it didn’t make it into this year’s Top 10. The new stages are fun, some of the new “mechanics” (people seeing you in a mirror is a mechanic? Really?) are well thought out and that you can play through the first game’s maps once again is cool and all, but still, it’s just more of the same.

"What? I'm not even in the Top 10? Then why did you make me dress up for the occasion?"

Kingdom Come: Deliverance – What an ambitious game. What a mess. Two statements that perfectly sum up my experience with Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The game’s “realistic” mechanics are cool and terrible at the same time, depending on the situation but they are always quite frustrating. Doing anything at all in this game just takes oh so very long and the combat is just a worse version of For Honor. The story is quite neat by the way, which came as a surprise, and overall I have to say it’s a game definitely worth experiencing. Maybe don’t try to do everything though, because the “grind” will get to you.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – It’s Smash Bros., but just so very much of it. Oh my god is this game packed with stuff. I’ve never been big on Smash Bros. before and bought this just as a “Hey, let’s play 30 minutes of this nonsense” party game, but ended up playing a ton of it on my own.

The World of Light and Spirit Board modes are just plain fun to mess around with and are a real bane for a collector/completionist like myself. Some of the battles, with the 1000+ different spirit infused enemies are straight up insane because of the modifiers and it’s just cool to see Nintendo try to find a combination that fits whatever random and unknown character they are trying to induce. The classic mode is also well done and the core Smash mode is the same as always. I still don’t think the game plays particularly well, but it’s perfectly serviceable. The online mode, this being a Nintendo game, is what you’ except. Barebones and just not that great.

"Oh god, what''s happening? Please make it stop...also who the hell is Joe?"

Okay, now that’s it with all the random categories, and here we go with the main event, the Top 10 of 2018.

Top 10

10. Astro Bot Rescue Mission

One of the first games I played for my recently acquired PSVR (thank you, Black Friday) and it’s a really good one. Even without VR this would be a good game (but not quite Top 10 material), but with it, it’s a real neat experience.

The platforming is precise; the levels are fun to explore and feature some neatly hidden secrets; there’s just enough new mechanics being introduced all the time to keep things from getting stale; the art style is loveable and the challenge levels actually offer some much needed challenge (the core stages are a tad to easy).

Overall just a very fun game, featuring this year’s most loveable mascot character.

"Okay, I give up. I don't stand a chance at this years "Cutie of the year" price against Spyro and those stupid Pokemon."

9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Honestly this could just be a pallet swap with last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the changes to the gameplay are just that miniscule. If the next game doesn’t change a lot it will suffer Far Cry 5’s fate on my next list, but right now, this is still very much okay.

The setting is interesting once again, since Ancient Greek just has a ton of potential and for the most party the story nails it. I even think the story is stronger than in Origins. The dialogue trees add some nice player interaction too, even though nothing has any real consequence.

"This isn't Sparta, but then again, It kinda is...maybe? Who knows, it's fun anyway."

8. Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

A vast improvement over the first game from a gameplay perspective, the real time fights are never hard, but always feel good. Sadly the story isn’t quite as charming. It’s still enjoyable, but it somehow seems even tamer than the first game’s. The strategic war minigame is a bit of a throwaway, but at least it changes things up a bit.

What really makes this game feel special is the town building aspect. It’s just plain fun to go around, completing sidequests and recruiting more than a 100 people for your town. The gameplay consequences are miniscule (new shops, new equipment, new spells – all of which you don’t need, because the game is so easy) but seeing the town grown and it’s people thrive is reward enough on it’s own.

“This is my town. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My town is my best friend. It is my...oh you get the idea.”
“This is my town. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My town is my best friend. It is my...oh you get the idea.”

7. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

What a great idea for a genre mix-up this game is. X-Com style tactical combat meets stealth gameplay that’s somewhat akin to what you’d find in a game like Commando. It might sound a bit weird, but trust me, it’s a great blend.

If you do everything correctly, stealthing around in areas you don’t yet belong, always stealing weapons and materials and picking of enemy stragglers you’ll never run into any problems even on the highest difficulty mode. And I guess that’s the whole point. It’s definitely a very satisfying gameplay loop anyway.

The post apocalyptic setting featuring anthropomorphic animals is well done, sadly there’s barely any story and the game overall is a tad on the short side.

"I don't give a duck if you don't like my ducking humour you dick."

6. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

Bloodstained is the best “Castlevania” game to come out in years. It’s pretty much just a modern and different version of Castlevania 3, featuring multiple characters and paths (only in the level itself though) and it gets everything that matters just right.

It simply feels great to play: the jumping physics actually work; the subweapons are varied and fun, the character specials are too; the enemies and bosses (a standout is the third stage’s boss, who’s gimmicky, but a thing to see) feel just varied enough and the stages are mostly cool too.

Maybe most importantly the difficulty is pretty much perfect too, especially since depending on if the main character, Zangetsu, saves, kills or ignores the other characters, he get’s powered up a lot, or, well, not. A pure Zangetsu only run is challenging on just the right the level and feels a lot like Castlevania 1.

I’m already really looking forward to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the upcoming Symphony of the Night like game.

"Oh cool, it's Castlevania III. Wait, no that's not Alucard, it's...Gebel? Who the hell is that?"

5. Marvel’s Spider-Man

The swinging feels amazing. Just amazing. And that’s pretty much the most important thing in a Spider-Man game, right? Right. Good thing, though, this game gets everything else right too.

The combat is really just a variant on the tried and true Batman: Arkham series formula, but the Spidey abilities make it feel just unique enough, nothing better than webbing up a bunch of dudes at once with a good old web bomb.

Exploring the giant version of New York is always fun (did I mention, that the swinging feels amazing?), especially in all the different neat suits you can collect (with some very cool throwbacks for fans). The side activities sadly get quite tedious quite fast. It’s mostly just a bunch of random crimes, over and over and over again, but there are some well done standouts like the Taskmaster challenges. Room for improvement for a potential sequel. The stealth sequences, featuring Mary Jane Watson and Miles Morales don’t feel great, but are few and far between and at least try to change the gameplay loop up a bit.

Also no doubt very important in a superhero game is the story. And that’s another strong point for Marvel’s Spider-Man. The story is set in some alternate universe (isn’t that always the case?) and features among others The Sinister Six, Miles Morales and Norman Osborn. Everyone you could want in a Spider-Man game’s there. Well mostly everyone, there’s no Venom for example. (Probably because of legal stuff concerning this year’s Venom movie). The “twist” at the end is telegraphed from a 1000 miles away, especially if you know your Spider-Man, but it’s at least handled well.

Finally there’s a new “best” Spider-Man game, after years and years of “Spider-Man 2” for PS2 on the throne. Keep on swinging!

"Could you please stop looking at me? I just had a real messy fight with Sandman and my costume got ripped up, it happens. Just be glad I'm not Deadpool and actually wear undies unter my suit."

4. Celeste

The best game of the year from a pure “it feels good” perspective. Celeste is a platformer that has everything a good plaformer needs: tight and precise controls, interesting and well laid out stages and a great core gimmick.

Celeste’s jumping mechanics are unique, in that it features, double and later on even triple jumps and dashes, that get refreshed every time the titular character hits the ground (or an enemy, or a flying crystal). It sound simple but gets very complicated fast, especially if one wants to go for optional collectibles too.

The game is tough and I died hundreds of times before seeing it through to the end. I even ended up cheating a bit in the optional epilogue stages, because god damn, are those hard. The game always feels fair tough and very fast, Super Meat boy style respawns, make this a great experience all the way.

"Stop chasing me, I already said I won't dye my hair another color. I need it this way for jumping, it's a thing."

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

Read Dead 2 only in third place? Well, yes. Because even though the game is extremely ambitious and features this year’s best story, it can just feel terrible to play at times. But let me get into more detail:

Let’s go with the positives first and start with the world and story. Read Dead 2’s world is ginormous, featuring the entirety of Read Dead 1’s world inside it too. The world feels lived in and realistic and everything looks just gorgeous. There’s tons of secrets to uncover (like catching a serial killer or happening upon a room full of body parts, because a house got struck by a god damn meteor) and things to do and see.

Read Dead 2’s story is amazing, and one of the best video game stories ever. It’s definitely even a step up on the first game’s story, which is also quite well regarded. Arthur Morgan especially is a great protagonist (this year’s best if you ask me) and featuring some amazing voice work. He’s a bit down on his luck, as is the rest of his group, and he’s starting to doubt his life style a bit, but remains loyal to his boss, Dutch, to a fault. He’s interesting, diverse and most importantly very likeable all throughout the game.

The general gameplay itself is also competent enough, but it just never truly feels great. Shooting and riding a horse is fine, but weird animation priorities tend to get in the way. These animations and the game’s generally deliberately low pace is what break an otherwise perfectly competent game for me.

Why do I need to see Arthur skin an animal or pluck a plant hundreds if not thousands of times? Please, just let me skip the animation. It’s fine at first, but after a while it wears you down. Also do animals really need to be of a different quality from the start? It just adds to the tedium of trying to get perfect pelts.

Why is there no real fast travel in a game this ridiculously huge? Riding a horse is cool and all, but come on.

Who thought weapon maintenance would be a good idea? It never is! Seeing Arthur clean a gun every five minutes is not fun and feels a bit like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s stupid ass system.

The camp management sadly seems completely pointless too, since I never found there to be any differenced in your gangs attitude when "morale" was low since I just couldn't be bothered to gift food and other shit to the camp constantly. No one else did either anyway, 2 dollars and a rabbit's pelt every two weeks don't count for shit, John.

Is it really necessary to have what feels like a hundred different systems in this game? There’s health, stamina and Dead Eye metres and cores (which are pointless and monotonous to replenish), then there’s the same for your horse (except for Dead Eye obviously). Also you can end up malnutritioned or overweight. As can your horse, because why wouldn't it?

It’s just too damn much. I get it’s supposed to be realistic, but it’s just not. The whole game is not realistic. It can’t ever truly be, just think about the Dead Eye thing as an example. Or the fact that Arthur alone ends up killing hundreds upon hundreds of enemies. That’s not realistic.

Oh and what about Red Dead Online? As of right now it's such a barren wasteland options wise that it's barely worth mentioning. Still better than Fallout 76 though.

This could very well have been the best game in years, but sadly it turns out not be. For me at least, since I just can’t deal with all those gameplay hurdles. It’s still an amazing achievement and a great game though. Hat’s off to Rockstar for trying to do the impossible.

"You are a gooood girl, you know that, but I explicitly told you not to try and run head's on into a train. It's not the same as with another horse!"

2. God of War

Oh boi, where to begin with this one. Well with the single most uttered word in the entire game (maybe the entire series, considering Kratos was never the wordiest of dudes) of course. And what power that single word has in this newest God of War game. It somehow manages to feel both comical (probably not on purpose) and tragic at the same time. Most importantly though it's one of the reasons why Kratos turned from a maniac that only 13 year olds think is cool into an actually sympathetic being, something that frankly should have been impossible.

When the game first got announced and it became clear that Kratos would run around in a new pantheon of gods (Nordic instead of Greek), I just thought to myself “Okay, that's kinda cool, but it's really just gonna be the same old shit, with him mindlessly killing even more gods.” Thankfully I was wrong about that, and even though it begs believe, there's next to no god killing going on in this game. Instead it features the story of a man (or god, or half god, or whatever the hell Kratos is now), that's not seeking forgiveness or redemption, but just to bond a bit with his son after losing his newfound wife to an undisclosed illness.

It's not what you would expect from a God of War game and that's what makes it so very strong. It also manages to avoid most common genre cliches, which is another huge surprise. So the story of Kratos and what's his name (“Boi!”) is one of God of War's biggest strengths and not a detriment as it somewhat was in some of the other games in the series and the set pieces and world building are still just as strong as they always where, but what of the gameplay? Luckily it's another huge step up.

Now I personally always thought the God of War games played okay, but by no means great. The combat was just too slow and deliberate for me (and the move set to limited), someone who vastly prefers the somewhat comparable madness that usually happens in a Devil May Cry game, and weirdly enough this new game feels even slower and even more deliberate than before but still manages to feel a lot better. It's hard to explain really, maybe it's just that it feels like you have more options in how to handle any given combat situation or maybe it's the addition of second character (I refuse to call him by his name) running interference for you. Might even be the new perspective from which Kratos is controlled, I really don't know, I just now it feels real good to play.

"Dave Lang? Who is that? I told you not to talk to strangers, boi!"

1. Divinity: Original Sin 2: Definite Edition

Now this shouldn't come as a surprise for anyone who might have read my GOTY 2014 list. Divinity: Original Sin blew me away back then and the sequel managed to do the same. Now I know this is basically just another release of a game that came out in 2017, but since it's a new edition and I couldn't play the game last year (don't own a gaming PC currently) so here we are.

Original Sin 2 managed to improve on the original game's already genius formula in pretty much every way. A fact that's truly an amazing achievement, so we'll go into a lot of detail here.

Let's start with the story and characters, since that's arguably Original Sin 2's biggest step up compared to the first game. The core story itself, while vastly better than the first game's, still isn't anything to write home about, but the characters is where OS2 really begins to shine.OS2 gives you the option of either creating a custom character (and his background story) from scrap or choose one of 6 pre-made ones with different and unique origin stories (very much akin to Dragon Age 1's system).

Who you pick at the beginning even has quite a lot of influence on how the entire story unfolds. Even though the selection pretty much just changes some dialogue here and there, it feels truly different with every different character, and it's a joy to play this huge ass game multiple times from varying perspectives. It's fun to hear the ridiculous nonsense the Red Prince spouts, since he's royalty and wants everyone else to know and respect that fact at all times; it's fun to listen to Sybille's plans about just how exactly she is going to murder her slavers (it's not pretty) and it's also fun to get all the added background and lore to the core story if you decide to go with, Fane, the reanimated skeleton (whose featured in some amazingly creative sex scenes. I mean come on, he's a skeleton, doesn't that get you at least a little curious about exact goings on?).

So while the main story is just okay, the characters are amazing and the tons and tons of side quests are too. You can really see how much fun Lariat's writing team must have had while writing some of those quest stories, always trying to one-up the first game's already amazing quest lines (who can forget the talking wishing wells or the were-sheep?) and actually succeeding quite a lot. This time around we get even more talking animals, chief among them a lovestruck turtle(for whom you have to play cupid so it can get with a rat - love is blind, right?) as well as loads of weird, not quite evil but certainly not good either, demons and necromancers. That one guy who's running around collecting body parts and faces (with his face ripper, that your skeleton man wants to use himself) definitely makes an impression.

Now what of the gameplay? Well, it's mostly the same as in the first game, featuring loads of fun exploration and hidden secrets and well thought out and tough combat scenarios (the highest difficulty mode is a real bitch, believe you me). Of course the system was tweaked a little here and there and there's new spells and talents, but the one thing that truly stands out here, is that the devs actually decided to give you even more options to forgo combat (as well as pretty much entire chapters of the game) completely.

The game is actually designed around the player finding exploits and using them (only if he wants to of course). It gives you the god damn teleporter gloves in the first few minutes of the game for gods sake! Suddenly you are teleporting around the entire map, straight up skipping quests and bosses left and right or just teleporting the odd boss into lava or into an area full of flowery traps. It's weird, it's nonesene and it's certainly a thing of beauty. All the variations the devs hat do consider when handing the player a tool like that are frankly insane and that they actually accounted for most of them (with dialogue or at least quest log entries) is an amazing feat.

Since I'm starting to run out of superlatives to throw around, I'll end the game's praises here and I really just want to say one last thing: Even if you are not into this kind of heavy RPG, give this one a shot. It's special and it's definitely not as traditional as it might look at a first glance.

"I might be a skeleton, but I can still bone them like the best. Get it? Oh, you get it."

Oh, and last but not least, here we are with a new category for our good friend Soulja Boy (to not make the title a lie and just clickbait). It's a very special one too:

Soulja Boy presents: Joke of the Year Award 2018

Wow. Just wow. I'd never thought we'd see a day when some celebrity just up and makes as well as sells his own console (and handheld). It just seemed impossible considering the price of production for something big like this, not to mention the serious competition in the field.

Turns out it was impossible too, since SouljaBoy seems to just have slapped his name on a cheap knock-off emulator console made (and sold considerably cheaper without his name on the box) by a company named Anbernic.

"Copyright? Trademarks? What the hell is that? Get out of here with your fance words you f***** jealous ass nerds!"

By now Nintendo seems to be checking their options for a potential lawsuit too, which comes as a surprise to no one but SoujaBoy himself. SouljaBoy of course thinks its not gonna be an issue and tweeted this well thought out statement: "I’m not scared of Nintendo or none of u f***ot nerds making YouTube videos eat a dick and thanks for the free promo".

He also claims to have achieved 5 million in sales already, so this must be a Christmas miracle and not the joke of the year then? Well...

Yeah, no, Nintendo will shut this down fast and hard in what might then just turn into the biggest joke of 2019 too.

"Donald Trump's got nothing on my tweets, dawg!"

Okay, now to a very quick outro: As I said in the beginning of this very long blog (my longest one yet), this year has turned out to be a simply great year for gaming again, maybe even one of the best in history, but enough of that and let’s take a very quick look into the future, with the first great game that will be released in 2019:

"Sadly (?) I'm only partially kidding with this. I'm actually kinda looking forward to how the hell ever they plan on wrapping this story up."

Thanks for reading and have a blessed holidays. ;-)

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GOTY 2017 – A good year but not a great one?

It’s this time of the year again, so here comes another GOTY blog.

And what a positive blog full of praises it’s going to be, since this year has been hailed far and wide (from the GB crew to other professional or semi-professional outlets to random guy 1/woman 2 on Twitter) as one of the best years in games. It’s going to be oh so great, right? Right!?

Well, no, because for some reason or other I don’t agree with this year being a particularly spectacular one for games. It was a good year, with some pretty good games, don’t get me wrong, but for me, there just wasn’t anything truly outstanding in it this time around.

The last few years I always had a very clear number 1 game in mind, a game I loved to bits (and bytes) and at least one or two contenders that came quite close to the top spot. This year nothing quite stuck with me like that, at all.

“Tell me: What’s the best game of 2017? Is it Zelda? Mario? Maybe Nier?” “I…I’m sorry…I’ don’t know”
“Tell me: What’s the best game of 2017? Is it Zelda? Mario? Maybe Nier?” “I…I’m sorry…I’ don’t know”

And this is not about me falling out with games or anything, because while I actually did have a lot less time to play games this year (new city, new job, new girlfriend), I still love gaming just as much as ever. I tried to at least touch all major releases that could potentially click for me, but sadly it just never quite happened.

Let’s preface a bit more by saying that currently I don’t own a PC good enough to run any current games (so no PUBG, Divinity 2 or Cuphead) and I also don’t own an Xbox One (again no Cuphead…and…Gears 4, I guess? Not that many good exclusives around this year either), so I did all my gaming on my trusty PS4 Pro (new 4k/HDR television be thanked), my Switch and my 3DS.

Okay, so I couldn’t have played everything I wanted to, which probably could and would have changed my opinion about this year’s games, because I just know I will fall in love with Divinity 2 as much as I did with Divinity 1 (my clear GOTY of 2014), but I played enough to be as happy with 2017 as everyone else, right?

“Shhh…don’t worry baby, I’ll get to you as soon as I find the time to build a decent PC. Until then, no lovestruck turtles for me sadly…”
“Shhh…don’t worry baby, I’ll get to you as soon as I find the time to build a decent PC. Until then, no lovestruck turtles for me sadly…”

I mean there’s “the best” Zelda ever with Breath of the Wild and a Mario that “at least rivals Mario64” with Mario Odyssey. Than there are Nier: Automata, a game about philosophical robots (just up my alley really) a new Assassins’s Creed, that’s also being hailed as “maybe the best one since 2” or great Sequels with Wolfenstein 2, Evil Within 2 or god damn Persona 5 (so stylish, so good, so…unfulfilling), so just what seems to be the damn problem?

Frankly I have no idea. I liked all those games and they (among others) will make up my Top 10, but I still, right up to me writing this very sentence, don’t have any idea about how I’ll end up ranking them. I even thought about doing an unnumbered list this year, but where would be the fun in that? So instead I guess will call this year’s list “kinda in flux” and just get it over with.

Well enough preamble and let’s get this thing started for real, first with a few games I didn’t get to play this year, but who could/would have made the list.

Games that might have made the list had I played them

  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 – I know this would have made the list (based on reviews and some very short Let’s Plays I watched as to not spoil myself to much), it probably even would have changed my whole sentience this year as my clear Number 1. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be just yet.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground – Probably the most discussed game of 2017 and from what I’ve seen rightfully so. I mean, it’s not a new concept whatsoever, but the execution’s the thing to set this apart from other Battle Royale style games.
  • Resident Evil 7 – I’m a big fan of RE1 through 4, not so much of what followed afterwards. RE7 looks like it got enough of the old games’ spirit right while still including some very neat new ideas. I didn’t get this one, since I plan on getting a PS VR sometime next year (my girlfriend constantly bugs me about getting one) and that seems to be the “right” way to play this game.
Will I scream in an equally over the top way as this guy? I certainly hope so.
Will I scream in an equally over the top way as this guy? I certainly hope so.
  • Destiny 2 – From all I’ve seen it’s definitely better than original Destiny (which I didn’t like at all), but since I don’t have any friends, that would give this one a shot (after also being disappointed with Destiny 1) I decided to bench this one indefinitely.
  • Cuphead – I love tough plattformes and games that have a lot of style, this game should be a dream come true for me. And it might, sadly it’s a timed(?) Xbox Exclusive and my PC wouldn’t run it, so I can only guess about all the fun it have constantly dying in this one.
“Who’s going to pollinate whom, suckers?”
“Who’s going to pollinate whom, suckers?”
  • The Surge – A Dark Souls clone in a Sci-Fi setting? That could be great, but for some reason, until creating this list, I had pretty much just forgotten this game even existed. I guess I’ll give this a shot early next year.
  • Hollow Knight – Same thing as with The Surge really. Should be right up my alley, but forgot it even existed until now.

That’s it for games that probably would have made the list, now on to games, I have played only little bits of so far, meaning I don’t have a solid enough opinion yet and decided not to rank them.

Games I didn’t play enough of just yet

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – With a December release date I guess it’s unsurprising that I just didn’t have the time to play enough of this one yet. I’m about 5 or 6 hours in and so far I really like the world design (it’s on par with Zelda, if not better) and some other things, but as every reviewer in existence has stated, this game is a very slow burn and the combat system just doesn’t deliver early on. Would this have made the list? Ask me again in another 20 hours, I guess.
  • Night in the Woods – I came late to the party on this one (only after the dev was a guest on the Beastcast), because the setting didn’t seem that appealing to me. It’s just looked way to much like the typical “rural American town” experience and I just had a feeling this was I game I might not enjoy as much as, well, an American (I’m Austrian by the way). After a few hours I now know, that I was actually right with that assessment, but I still find the game quite enjoyable overall.
“Now you are speaking my language dude. Let’s throw up some shit!”
“Now you are speaking my language dude. Let’s throw up some shit!”
  • Prey – Got it real cheap in some sale, but only found the time to play maybe 3 or 4 hours. Seems decent so far, but like everything else this year, not really anything special.
  • Yakuza 0 – My first Yakuzo game, which I totally didn’t just buy, because of the GBEast series. I’ve played 8 or so hours doing mostly just side quests and requisition missions and have not found to time to get further into it just yet.

Okay, that’s that, now on to games I decided to skip, but want to comment on real quick.

Games that I decided to skip, but want to comment on real quick. (Yes, I just repeated the last sentence, I know. It’s for effect, ok?)

  • Call of Duty: World War 2 – Going back to the basics and a setting that has been done to death? Not the right move if you ask me. COD: Advanced Warfare was the only COD game in years that I truly enjoyed (it even made 2014’s list), so this is just a disappointing move all around.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – I liked the first game, but, well, the progression system just seems broke as fuck, so a clear skip.
  • Pyre – I enjoy visual novels, I enjoy games with lots of talking, what I don’t enjoy is having to play “mini games” and other such stuff in games like that. Pyre’s actual gameplay just seems so, so very boring, that I couldn’t bring myself to this a shot.
There’s a lot going on. Well, not really, I think? Basically we just carry a ball around or something? Who knows.
There’s a lot going on. Well, not really, I think? Basically we just carry a ball around or something? Who knows.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes – I’ve always been a huge fan of the Fire Emblem series, but since they are getting pumped out with such a very high frequency right now, I just need a break this year. Also it’s just a remake of 2, which I played in an emulated fashion years ago.
  • Splatoon 2 – Didn’t really like the first one, gave the beta test a shot, didn’t really like the second one either. So yeah, just not my thing.
  • Fortnite – None of my friends were interested in playing this, so I skipped in entirely. The PUBG knock off mode didn’t change anything.

…aaaand we move on to the next category, an interesting one, games that turned out really disappointing.

Games that turned out to be rather disappointing

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda – What a waste of a game’s potential. It saddens me just to think about this one. The Mass Effect trilogy had some of my favourite gaming moments of the last decade in it, so I was really stoked for a new trilogy, in a new universe, with exiting new characters, exciting new alien species and an exciting new story. Except none of it was truly new or exciting at all. Why? That’s the only question I want to pose at EA for this one, just, why?
Oh, is that one of the new species? No, it’s just a broken mess.”
Oh, is that one of the new species? No, it’s just a broken mess.”
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – Oh my god that ending. That fucking ending. What were they even thinking? I thought nothing would ever top the shittiness of Mass Effect 3 or Assassin’s Creed 3’s endings, but then this game came along. Holy hell. (I’m running out of swear words already.) I mean, I get where the devs are coming from, it’s really not as “complex” or “meta” as the want it to be. What it is though, is a slap in the face of long time series fans. “This is how we want to end it, suck it, if you don’t like it.” Is not something you should say to your fans. Something went truly wrong here, but hey, that’s what happens when you look at Star Ocean 3: Till The End of Time’s ending and go “that’s great, we should do something along those lines”.
You know what also would have been a good ending? The first game’s protagonist's dog falling asleep in a movie theatre and dreaming of other people watching a movie, about people playing a death game. Also the dog's really a turtle. And the turtle ain't real! If you want to use this one, Chunsoft, go right ahead.
You know what also would have been a good ending? The first game’s protagonist's dog falling asleep in a movie theatre and dreaming of other people watching a movie, about people playing a death game. Also the dog's really a turtle. And the turtle ain't real! If you want to use this one, Chunsoft, go right ahead.
  • Dream Daddy – Or as I’d like to call it “Everybody loves each other – The game”. As I’ve already stated I like visual novels, I’m also not over the (very) occasional dating sim. But this just didn’t click with me at all. I get the appeal that some people find in this, namely the whole “everybody loves and respects each other and there’s just no prejudice around”, but that’s not something I want in a game (in real life that would be amazing), since it kinda just makes everything really boring, for me.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War - What an uninspired sequel to a truly good original game. The nemesis system has been enhanced, true, but most of the additions don't seem all that meaningful (even with me playing on the hardest difficulty), and the novelity has simply worn off considerably. If it was wrapped around a game that was interesting to play, a world that didn't just look like garbage or a story that wasn't complete nonsense, the nemesis system would still be awesome. Sadly this just isn't the case here, and while I didn't quite agree with everyone on the first game, I do so now: The should have gone with an original setting.
"You've cheated a god damn axe that went in your skull? That's some pretty good resliency. Still, sadly you are not a threat whatsoever."

Okay, enough with the disappointing stuff, on to the next category.

Games that didn’t come out this year, but that I played in 2017 and I think deserve a mention

  • Hearthstone – Yes, I’m still playing this game. It’s just so good on the go, if you have 10 to 15 minutes time to lose horribly to someone whose spent hundreds of dollars, to get every single good card and totally crush you while constantly taunting (thank god for the mute option). Why am I still playing this?
If I decided to spend money on this game, I’d get this card for sure. Doesn’t matter if it exists.
If I decided to spend money on this game, I’d get this card for sure. Doesn’t matter if it exists.
  • Overwatch – My GOTY from last year is still getting played on a let’s call it monthly or so basis. They keep introducing enough new stuff (maps, characters) and enough really interesting gameplay changes (Mercy, just what became of you?), to somehow still keep me interested after over 400 hours of gameplay time.

Last category before the actual Top 10:

Games that came close to a Top 10 Spot (I Guess…?)

  • Horizon: Zero Dawn – For me this game fell apart, not because of Zelda releasing at pretty much the same time (such bad release timing), but because the gameplay loop just wasn’t all that great. The setting and the world are great, the story is quite interesting, but everything else is just your typical Open World affair, paired with a combat system that did nothing for me. Shooting an enemies weak points for a minute or so just isn’t fun after the 100th time, the melee is passable at best and the traps take to long to set up. A shame, but not really my thing.
  • Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – This game is pretty good and even the story/setting turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought (it’s certainly not as stupid, as I’d feared), but the gameplay gets very monotonous, very fast. After reaching the 3rd world I just kinda didn’t want to deal with another block moving puzzle, followed by a combat scenario of me just running for the finish or employing the same tactics over and over again. Also give me the god damn right to switch out Mario, he’s just not as good as some other characters are.
"I'm sorry, Mario, but you are useless in this game. Even your rabbid version is better than you, just look at him playing that banjo."
  • Wolfenstein 2 – A good game, with some outstanding moments, but really just more of the same. Not much more to say here sadly.
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Another game with a good story and at best passable game play. Why have fights at all, if they are so damn barebones? (It’s the same issue I have with Hand of Fate 2.) This still would have made the list, if the story was just a bit stronger, but at the end, the whole thing fell apart a bit, leaving me very unsatisfied with the entire experience.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us 2 - Honestly I don’t have much to say about this one. The combat system is even better than it was in the first game, the story is still the weakest point of the whole thing (it’s fun while it lasts, though) and the loot box/costume system is ridiculous and pointless. Also the final boss in the story is Sheng-Tsung level bad with attacks that you can’t counter/block that come out of nowhere. No matter, it’s not that great a year for me and I love fighters, so here we are.
“Remind me again why I’m as strong as Superman. Kryptonite? Ah whatever, let’s just beat his face in.”
“Remind me again why I’m as strong as Superman. Kryptonite? Ah whatever, let’s just beat his face in.”

Okay, now that’s it with all the random categories, and here we go with the main event, the Top 10 of 2017.

Oh, and I’d like to state again, that I’m just making the rankings up right now, since I still don’t really know what my actual game of the year should be. Now this should be…fun.

Top 10

10. South Park: The Fractured but Whole

More of the same game like last time, but I just still like South Park and I vastly prefer the superhero setting over the Lord of the Rings one. Also it’s still simply amazing to look at, since it’s really just an overlong episode of the show. Presentation wise they truly nailed this one.

A mini game about a child giving some old dude a lap dance? It’s South Park alright.
A mini game about a child giving some old dude a lap dance? It’s South Park alright.

9. Observer

A very stylish game that nails the aesthetic it’s going for. The aesthetic being Blade Runner. Just to run that fact home they even cast Rutger Hauer as the main protagonist. Sadly he doesn’t seem all that into it. The gameplay is okay at the beginning, but rather bad later on (this really could have done without the chase sequences). Still the setting and story alone are enough for this to land on the list.

“Blade Runner? Never heard of it, we just made this whole thing up from the ground.”
“Blade Runner? Never heard of it, we just made this whole thing up from the ground.”

8. Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Truly a surprise to me is how much I enjoyed the newest Assassin’s Creed game. I used to be a huge fan of the series until AC 3 (which I don’t think was as bad as most people say, except for the ending), but fell of the horse real fast, since nothing ever seemed to change in this series anymore. That’s not the case for Origins. I mean, at it’s core it’s still very much an Assassin’s Creed game, but the combat system improved a lot, the loot system is fun (if limited), the world is well realized with a setting that hasn’t been done to death and the RPG-style progression makes for a fun romp. The side quests are also mostly passable and the main story, while nothing special, still delivers (except for everything concerning the modern times, that part still sucks).

“Don’t be angry, man. I meant no disrespect calling you a giant dog-thing.”
“Don’t be angry, man. I meant no disrespect calling you a giant dog-thing.”

7. Persona 5

A game I’ve waited a very long time for and it mostly delivered on what I’d hoped it would be. Mostly. First of, the game of course just has a ton of styyyyyle. The characters are cool and relatable, the setting for the story makes you angry in just the right ways (damn rich politicians, and teachers, and random art thieves!), the gameplay is as fun as always in the Persona series, but I still felt something was missing. It didn’t quite have the chemistry between the characters that PE4 or PE3 had and the story started to drag sometime after the fourth dungeon. Also why do we have to retread every plot-point dozens of times like complete idiots?

“Anime? We aren’t anime? We are…a boy band…with girls (and some cat creature) or something. Well, not anime at least.”
“Anime? We aren’t anime? We are…a boy band…with girls (and some cat creature) or something. Well, not anime at least.”

6. Super Mario Odyssey

I actually agree with everyone, that this might just be the best 3D Mario game since Super Mario 64 , even though Galaxy continues to be a contender. It’s imaginative (even if it’s not the first game with a body snatch mechanic), it’s beautiful, it’s just a fun time all around. At the other hand, it’s just another Mario game, which is also why things like the retro throwback in New Donk City didn’t blow me away. It was fun, but just that. Also some of the moons are ridiculous to get. I’m at 750+ now, including the one for the finale challenge, but I’ll never get the others, not because they are too hard, but because they are just plain annoying. Repeat levels with the only difference being that you don’t have Cappy? No thank you.

In a slightly racist Italian dialect: “What are you looking at, man? Just a normal human walking by.”
In a slightly racist Italian dialect: “What are you looking at, man? Just a normal human walking by.”

5. The Sexy Brutale

One of the very few games this year, that truly managed to surprise me, The Sexy Brutale, is a neat and short, little puzzle game involving an infinite time loop. Ever since Groundhog Day that’s a premise I’m wholly on board with. The setting is cool, the story isn’t bad either (except maybe some of the finale) and the gameplay loops interesting. Thing is, it’s just way to easy. An adventure game were I’m never stuck for more than 20 minutes or so? Too easy. (Even though I realize that sounds kinda crazy, it’s still true.)

“Remember that great scene from Final Fantasy IV? This is not it, it’s still okay, though.”
“Remember that great scene from Final Fantasy IV? This is not it, it’s still okay, though.”

4. The Evil Within 2

I never finished the first game, because the gameplay was so monotonous, but this sequel pretty much fixes all the problems I had with the original. The story is also amazing by the way. It’s Inception meets Silent Hill meets Resident Evil meets True Detective. Do I need to say more? A very atmospheric game, with an open world that’s not just for show (an exceptional achievement in a survival horror game) and a, let’s call it passable combat system? Good times.

“I told you to tell me the god damn GOTY of 2017!”
“I told you to tell me the god damn GOTY of 2017!”

3. Nioh

Luckily Nioh turned out to not be just another Dark Souls clone, without any real ideas of there own. The mission structure is interesting, the setting is cool and the story is pretty much just a supernatural version of Richard Chamberlain's Shogun, which is fine too.

Where Nioh actually shines though, is it's systems. The loot system could stand to be a bit more robust, especially the honestly very useless crafting component, but at least it all looks very stylish. What's really outstanding ist the combat system itself, featuring very different feeling weapons, with 3 also quite different stances for each one, and the player being able to switch it all up on the fly. Then there's Ki (Stamina) management, and things like Ninjutsu (magic) to think about. It's really just Dark Soul's combat at it's core, but refined in a very neat way and faster than even Bloodborne was.

Also, like Dark Souls, it can be quite challenging, especially some of the optional boss fights, and that's a big plus in my book.

"I'm telling you, I just want to cuddle. Honest. Ribbit."

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Why is this a Zelda game? No, seriously, why? This has nothing to do with previous games in the series from a pure gameplay perspective, which is not a bad thing (even though I love the core Zelda gameplay loop), but still, why? Did Nintendo just think it wouldn’t sell as well if it didn’t have the Zelda name attached to it? I don’t get it.

Anyway the world is beautiful, huge, well realized and full of little secrets, the Zelda connections are cool (I like the picture hunts for example), the puzzles are really fun and the fighting…well…sucks. Why the hell did the think breakable weapons would be a good idea in this, Zelda, game? Or any game for that matter? I feel hard-pressed to name any other game where weapons break that fast and feel that useless. Even the damn Master Sword turns useless every five seconds. Most of the time I just run by enemies and try to avoid combat altogether. That’s not how this should be. So the question is, why?

The collectibles are also a joke. No really, they are, with your reward being a literal piece of…well…shit. Again, why?

Why, why, why is the theme with this game and so it’s just good game, but a an amazing one for me.

Again? Link would have been better of learning some Martial Arts.
Again? Link would have been better of learning some Martial Arts.

1. Nier: Automata

So what do we have here? Gameplay that’s somewhat akin to Devil May Cry (but not quite as good sadly), a story featuring melancholic robots discussing things like love, god and the meaning of existence itself and ending (or twenty) that’s actually worthwhile? Nice, so, I guess this is our game of the year 2017 then, right? Right.

In all seriousness Nier is a pretty good game. The gameplay is just different enough in the 3 main sections to keep interesting (if it was just the DMC stuff the entire way through, this really wouldn’t have cut it), the characters are likable, if not relatable, the setting is pretty interesting (even with it’s history being as convoluted as it is) and the overall story is enjoyable and hits a good mix of funny, serious and philosophical scenes. Even the ending just nails it, which is something lot’s of games struggle with, and I felt satisfied and like I had no reason to go back to the game at all (which is a good thing here since the game deletes your save) after I was done with it.

Anime aesthetics mixed with Dark Souls boss look alikes, mixed with bullet hell and DMC? I’m in.”
Anime aesthetics mixed with Dark Souls boss look alikes, mixed with bullet hell and DMC? I’m in.”

Okay, now to a short outro. Like I said, it was a good year in gaming, but not as spectacular for me as it seemed to be for mostly everyone else. Still, a good year with some fun games around, so let’s end this on a positive note: Happy holidays to everyone around and on to a new year full of (hopefully) amazing games. There are a few I’m really looking forward to.

“Hey guys is this not the Dragon convention? Dragon Ball? Oh shit, it’s Monster Hunter isn’t it?”
“Hey guys is this not the Dragon convention? Dragon Ball? Oh shit, it’s Monster Hunter isn’t it?”

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My initial thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (lots of spoilers!)

Just came home from watching the midnight premiere here and I do like it quite a bit (it's definitely a lot better than the damn prequels), but it also has a lot of issues and I'm seriously depressed because of the ending. (I know I shouldn't be, since it's just a movie, but I can't help it and kinda want to cry now. So fuck!)

I'll try to summarize some of my thoughts. There'll obviously be a ton of spoilers.

Things I liked:

  • Rey is a cool character and Daisy Ridley fits the role perfectly.
  • The same goes for Finn and John Boyega.
  • BB-8 is fun and over the top, but somehow manages to not be obnoxious. He's a pleasant surprise. (He's not R2-D2, though.)
  • Some of the scenes are visually just amazing and the sets look great. The new costumes (e.g. the Stormtrooper uniforms)/the new look for the ships are also well done.
  • I thought the lightsaber duels were also done pretty well, especially considering that most of the people involved in them never held a lightsaber before.
  • I liked the family dynamic between Leia/Han/Luke and the reason why it all fell apart. (Hopefully we'll get to see more of how Kylo Ren turned and how he slaughtered the other Jedi that Luke was teaching.)
  • It's charming and has some genuinely funny moments.
  • There's lots of fan service (e.g. Finn looking confused and throwing away the mini-training-bot that Obi-Wan used to teach Luke.), but it's not too on the nose and so I actually like it.
  • Kylo Ren seems like an interesting character too and his fits of rage/immaturity are a character trait that could go far.
  • The overall story is enjoyable and the story set-up for the other two movies is solid and could turn out really good, if they finally aren't afraid of diverging from the old movies any more.

Things I didn't like:

  • Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. He doesn't fit the role at all in my opinion and that just SUCKS. I guess they wanted to go with someone who looks a bit like Hayden Christensen, but come on, even that dude looked more menacing than Driver.
  • Snoke also looks dumb.
  • It treads way too much on familiar ground. There's a Death Star equivalent, there's a shield-base to blow up, there are X-Wing trying to blow up some small part of a giant ship (also there are only so very few X-Wing and not a single other ship, why is that exactly?), etc.
  • There are oh so many convenient coincidences. (Rey and Finn finding the Millenium Falcon, people running into each other again and again in huge facilities, Chewie just taking of right next to Rey who would otherwise have been fucked etc.)
  • They only send 4 fucking people on the mission to blow the shields up, 2 of which really shouldn't be trusted, because no one fucking knows them. One of them is a very, very, very recent defector even. Great choice.
  • The way Kylo and Ren's fight ends is just fucking ridiculous. The ground opens up exactly between them? Are you kidding me? Also, yes, he is conflicted and he was wounded, but he still shouldn't have lost so badly.
  • Ren is supposed to be completely in tune with the force in that fight, but that's unlikely since she is ANGRY at Kylo, possibly feeling HATRED toward him, so what the hell?
  • They fucking kill of Han Solo. And in a really predictable way too. Honestly who thought he would make it out of there after "Hey Chewie, let's split up."? No one!
  • Then comes the actual death scene. "Boohoo, I'm so conflicted and it hurts so bad. I know what I should do, but I don't know if I can, will you help me?" "Yes" (It's so obvious what will happen!) *sizzle* *fallstohisdeathlikeeverydamnothercharacterthateverdiedinstarwars* No. Just no.
  • Leia doesn't even know Rey, but of course they immediately bond, because The Force or whatever.
  • R2-D2 is in a self-induced inactive state. Okay, sure. But you are telling me that no one could take that star chart out of his memory banks? Bullshit. Also why the heck does he just wake up at the end? What?
  • Why would they send only Rey and Chewie to find Luke? Because she is force sensitive? What the hell? Why not send Leia for fuck's sake? Also why does she just get the Millenium Falcon? What's happening?

#JJkilledmychildhood #HanSoloneverdies

I'm gonna cry now, so excuse me.

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GOTY 2015 – A (somewhat early) list in blog form!

GOTY 2015 – Here I go again on my own (well, not really), going down the only road I’ve ever known (towards GOTY blogging? Now I’m confused.)

An Introduction (eerily similar to the one from last years list/blog)

Rejoice! It’s this time of the year again.

Time to spend time with our families and loved ones, eat an unhealthy amount of cookies and hope that this time around we’ll actually get presents that we won’t have to later sell on Ebay (stealthily of course, we don’t want to hurt anyone‘s feelings and all that).

So you guessed what time I meant by now? That’s right: It’s Christmas season again and so let’s talk a bit about…wait what do you mean we are a bit early for that and I can’t just assume that you are even celebrating Christmas in the first place? I mean come on, who wouldn’t celebrate Christmas? Oh I see, different religions and such - makes sense.

Well, okay then. I guess let’s not talk about Christmas, religion or why we hate that not everyone believes in the same things we do and instead let’s all despise and fight each other over things that really matter and make a difference:

Let’s all compile lists with our favourite games of the year and hate each other for including/excluding that one game that we really love/hate, since that’s just how we roll. (Yeah, I just used that phrase.)

Anyone wanna go first? No? Okay, then I’ll start.

Another Introduction (Can’t have too many of those)

With the intro out of the way (did anyone even read it and is still around?), once again I felt this was a really good year for games and so a simple Top 10 list just won’t do it justice.

*drumsticks*

It’s a GOTY list in blog form, because why not? One which includes not only my top 10 games of 2015, but also the games that didn’t quite make it and some random stuff.

Everything‘s even blocked up in some handy categories, so highlights are quick to find and no one has to read anything they don’t want to. (This took a long time to write, so read it anyway, damn it!)

Games that might have made the list had I played them

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – I kinda want to play this since the setting is cool and the reviews made it sound fun, but just didn’t get around to it yet. Also not sure if I should play Black Flag first or not. (I know it’s not really all that connected any more, but I care too much (for whatever reason) about the stupid AC backstory to want to skip it.)
  • Undertale – Sadly I got spoiled a lot of the plot points of this game and so I want to wait a bit before I actually play this (and let my bad memory do it’s unholy work).
  • Cradle – Loved the Quick Look, since I’m a real sucker for sci-fi themed games with an intelligent story, but didn’t manage to fit it in yet. Not much else to say.
  • Soma – See above. Plus as with Undertale I got some story stuff spoiled. Damn you, internet!
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Loved the first entry in the reboot series (it’s a series now) and so I’m confident I’ll also love this one, especially considering that there are now actual tombs to explore. Gonna have to wait a year for the PS4 version, though, I guess.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest – I really like the look of this game and seems to be a pretty good platformer in it’s own right too, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. No Xbox One, though.
  • Yoshi’s Wooly World – This looks so much like Yoshi’s Island that it makes me really happy and that I definitely want to play this, but I don’t own a Wii U (yet), so yeah.
  • Mario Maker – See above. (I’m not sure how much I’d like it though, without having a following like the GB guys).
  • Dragon Quest: Heroes – Technically I own this and played a few hours, but didn’t have enough time to really sink my teeth into it. Never been huge on Musou-style games, but this is fun, so if I’d played more it might have had a shot at the Top 10.

Games that probably wouldn’t have made the list, even had I played them, but that I still want to at least comment on

  • Mad Max – I like the Mad Max universe, always have, so I kinda want(ed) to play this, but from everything I’ve seen I doubt it would end up anywhere near my Top 10.
  • Halo 5 – I don’t own a Xbox One (yet), so I couldn’t try this if I wanted to. As always with Halo I’m torn. On the one hand it’s really well made and looks great, but at the same time I just don’t feel this game and the only thing I might actually really care about, the multiplayer, probably still wouldn’t be enough for this to make the Top 10.

Games I chose to ignore/skip (this year)

  • F1 2015 I played a bit of this at a friend’s and while I like the way it plays, the fact that there is no real career mode really bummed me out. Hopefully the next release will be more feature-rich, I’ll certainly pick that on up then.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – I loved Advanced Warfare and played a ton of that game, but burned out on COD in the process again. So this was a clear no go for me this year.
  • Battlefield: Hardline – See above. Well, pretty much. I also think the idea behind this game is just dumb and it doesn’t look all that well executed either.
  • Need for Speed – I like all the dumb FMV scenes, but just didn’t feel in the mood to play a NFS type game this year, also it seems like it’s not actually that great, so whatever.

Game that didn’t make the list because of what most people might call „technicalities“ (and probably justifiably so)

  • King’s Quest – I still don’t like the idea of granting a place on the list to an episodic game, before all episodes are out, so King’s Quest is out of luck. It’s a really cool game, though. I like all the throwbacks to the previous King’s quest games and it’s terrible pun-y charm. It’s also not quite as simple as most other modern adventure games (looking at you Telltalle Games).

Game that I bought to support the developer and loved watching GBeast play through, but haven’t touched myself (and probably never will), so it can’t go on the list

  • Contradiction: Spot the Liar – Man the titles for these categories are getting ever more ridiculous aren’t they? Anyway I loved every minute of the Beast playing through this, but since I haven’t played it myself this is a no go.

Games that turned out to be rather disappointing

  • Hotline Miami 2 – The first game was amazing. I liked the story and all the really gory but fun gameplay and the soundtrack was definitely in a class of it’s own (that year and beyond), so I was really excited for the sequel. Sadly I don’t think it delivered at all. Sure it’s still fun and gory, and the soundtrack is good (but not great, damn it!), but there are lots of little things that annoyed me way too much in this (the controls, some of the characters, the story, the general feel).
  • Galak-Z – I love the setting and the visuals (that pause screen is so fucking great) and it controls and feels really good, but it gets so damn repetitive so damn fast. I really like the difficulty curve, and don’t mind dying over and over in these kinds of games in general, but when you feel like „Oh, it’s this same shit again. Great.“ all the time after dying, something is wrong.
  • Magicka 2 – It’s too damn short. Really not much else to say here, since it’s pretty much just Magicka 1 all over again otherwise.
  • Citizens of Earth – As a big fan of Earthbound I was all over this game (Note: I have not played Lisa yet) when it came out. It’s a repetitive and grindy mess though and the humour falls short an astounding 95% of the time.
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD – Oh boy, this game is bad. The story is even more confusing and convoluted than most other FF games (aside from the somewhat interesting set-up), which is a real feat, and the gameplay (from the combat system to the weird side stuff and the pointless town/base invasions) just isn’t fun. Tried my best, but could not finish this and really don’t want to ever touch it again.

Games that didn’t come out this year, but that I played in 2014 and I think deserve a mention

  • Tales of the Abyss Finally found the time to finish this entry of the Tales series (bringing me ever so close to having played and finished all Tales games, that had a western release. Damn you, Tales of Symphonia: New Dawn. Why do you suck so much?) Against all odds (people aren’t kind to this game online) I did end up liking it a lot. I even think the story isn’t half bad and while Luke might be an asshole, I still found him to at least be written well and even funny at times.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of the Patriots – Had to get this over with before Drew and Dan did, so I played through this earlier in the year. My memories are bit hazy, but I didn’t quite enjoy the game as much as I did previous MGS games. The more shooter-y approach here just fell short in my opinion and I also really don’t like how the series ends.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order – The best game to kill Nazis in that came out in years and years. (And oh boy, you kill Nazis in a lot of games.) The shooting feels great and the story is actually good too. I’m not surprised this made a lot of lists last year.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – After only having played through the very first dungeon years and years ago on the N64, I went and got the 3DS release and ended up really loving this game. All the little improvements are great and the game was pretty damn good to begin with. A „hidden gem“ in the Zelda series.

Games that came oh so close (only the first 3 games are ranked)

  • Axiom Verge – I really love Metroid, Castlevania and Metroidvania style games (even though I hate the term Metroidvania, ugh), so this game was just up my alley. It even spins some nice twists on the player’s expectations with some of it’s mechanics and guns. I didn’t much care for most of the boss fights, though, which is pretty much why this didn’t make the Top 10. (I’d place this game at 11, by the way.)
  • Pillars of Eternity – I love this game. I really do. But at the same time I also hate it. It’s really cool to see this kind of game getting made in 2015, since I’ve always been a huge fan of Baldur’s Gate and Co., but I’m really torn on how I feel about the „modern“ tweaks the made to some gameplay aspects in this, which is why it didn’t make the list. Also Divinity: Original Sin did almost everything better. (This is my number 12.)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront – Star Wars was a freakin‘ huge part of my childhood and I still really love the old movies to this day (the new ones not so much), so it’s great that the game got the old Star Wars feeling just right. Blasters/Tie-Fighters etc. sound just amazing and the game also looks fantastic (even without that PC mod). I even think it plays just fine and don’t mind the often criticised „lack of content“ (aside from not enough maps, there’s a lot there), but there’s too many other great games this year, for this to make the list. (Lucky number 13 goes to this one.)
  • Batman: Arkham Knight – Never thought I’d enjoy this game quite as much as I actually did, but hey, it’s nice to get pleasantly surprised. After having skipped Batman: Arkham Origins, I was in the mood for more Batman action and this game delivered. The Batmobile stuff mostly sucks though and as a long time Batman fan the story was way to predictable. Arkham Knight is who? Well, you certainly went with the obvious choice, didn’t you?
  • Mortal Kombat X – It plays just as well as it’s excellent predecessor, who made my Top 10 four years ago, but it just didn’t feel distinctive enough from it (a general problem in the fighting game genre, really) to make the list again. I also think the story is a lot weaker, which is a real shame.
  • Armello – I like card-games. Fact. Armello is kind of a card-game. Fact. It’s really good, but runs out of steam rather fast. Sadly another fact.
  • Hand of Fate – Another quasi card-game, so I like it, even though the combat isn’t fun and it’s stupidly unfair at times.
  • Ronin – Bought this one immediately after watching Vinny play it. I just love these kinds of games and trying to do all three objectives in each level gets appropriately tough. It’s better than it’s most obvious inspiration, Gunpoint, but sadly it’s not as good as Mark of the Ninja.
  • Her Story – Love the way the story is told and that it’s actually telling a compelling (albeit fairly unrealistic) story. Something out of it’s time, really, but still a really fun experience. Not really much of a game, though.
  • Just Cause 3- It’s really fun and the wingsuit controls great, but it’s very repetitive and the challenges mostly suck. Also there are all the technical shortcomings on PS4. (Holy shit, those load times are the worst I’ve ever seen in any game. Even games on my old ass PC in 1995 loaded faster than this, what the hell happened? Framerate also sucks.) Plus why are half of the story missions about you escorting/protecting someone. Those missions suck in every game, but doubly so in one were everything fucking explodes all the time. Ever have a mission fail because a helicopter randomly exploded and landed on top of the NPC you had to protect (and who was at full health)? No. Than you haven't played Just Cause 3 yet.
  • Cities: Skylines – The game the latest Sim City wanted to be. It’s great, but it runs like shit on PC, when my cities get to a certain size, so I stopped playing it after only about 30 hours or so.
  • N++ - One of the best platformers in recent years, but I still prefer Super Meat Boy over it.
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 – I liked the first one better, but this is still a solid enough adventure game and since those are rare to come by this days, I enjoyed it a lot.

*sickmetalguitarsolo* And now finally for the main event:

Top 10

It’s been a strong year for RPG’s once again, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me that 4 of those would end up on this list. But wait, one of them is a JRPG, what happened there? Did we travel back in time about 15 years to when that genre still really mattered? (Note: I love JRPGs.) No? Well, if you say so.

I have 100+ hours on in a single game file on 5 of these games again too, so it’s also been another year of quite long games, and that’s fine by me. Anyway, enough random chatter and let’s just see what the Top 10 actually are, why don’t we?

  • 10. Dying Light – I didn’t think I’d ever care about an open world Zombie game ever again after Dead Rising 2, but then came this game. The story is laughable, the characters are terrible and the voice acting comes straight out of hell, but who cares? It’s just plain fun to fuck up Zombies with a multitude of different melee weapons (never use guns!) and weird wrestling moves. The parkour mechanics really make the traversal enjoyable too, which is essential for an open world game. Also running around outside at night can lead to some really nice tense moments, something you’d really never expect out of this kind of game.

  • 9. Tales of Zestiria – I’ve been a huge fan of the Tales series for years now, it’s also kind of the only JRPG series still going strong (with regular releases and actually mostly good games), so I was rather disappointed with how Tales of Xillia 2 (and 1 to a degree) turned out after the outstanding Tales of Vesperia. Zestiria isn’t quite as good as Vesperia but it at least comes close at times. The combat is excellent (it’s mostly taken from Tales of Graces, so that’s a good thing), the story is okay, the characters are mostly fine (love Rose and Edna) and the equipment fusion mechanic is interesting, albeit really damn confusing. One of the best JRPGs to come out in the last few years.

  • 8. Rocket League – What a great little surprise of a game this turned out to be. Going into this after having seen some gameplay videos I was very sceptical to say the least, but after playing a few games I found myself coming back to it again and again, to the point of it being the only game I played regularly for about 2 months or so. It’s just plain fun to drive around on the wall, explode other people and scream at the TV because your team mates are idiots/that damn ball shouldn’t have flown into the goal like that. I got pretty good at the game, but never quite grasped the boosted flying and eventually fell off as I felt you needed to really nail that stuff for playing at a higher level.

  • 7. Until Dawn – I love cheesy, bad horror movies/slasher flicks, so it’s no surprise I also ended up loving Until Dawn. It’s written appropriately dumb and has characters you just want to see getting murdered in horrible ways, so you can laugh to yourself thinking „You deserved it, you idiot.“ The game looks great and the acting, from more or less known actors, is also really spot on so the presentation as a whole is just top notch. Also some of the decisions are either very tough or completely ridiculous, which just fits the games tone perfectly. Hopefully we’ll get a sequel that isn’t just on-rails VR bullshit.

  • 6. Tales From The Borderlands – Catch a riiiiiide! This game turned out to be a hell of a ride, even though I was very sceptical about it before actually playing it. (I burned out on Borderlands and it‘s humour early on in Borderlands 2). Tales From The Borderlands luckily is a whole different beast when it comes to humour and great writing in general. I’d go as far as to say it tells the second best story (after Witcher 3) this year and several of it’s characters (Rhys, Loader Bot, Vasquez) deserve at the very least a mention in the „Best new character of the year“ category. The dual protagonists and hence dual perspectives were a genius idea and I just hope there’ll be a worthy sequel (sporting a new engine).

  • 5. Bloodborne – There are aspects about Bloodborne that I just love and others I fucking hate. The combat moves and feels great and just is a lot of fun, as are the transformable weapons, but why the hell is their suddenly only one viable build possible? Also why are there so little different weapons and items? Why does every piece of armour basically have the exact same stats? The chalice dungeons are a great idea, especially since they are randomly generated, but they all look the same because of it and are way to grindy. (I really don’t want to spend hours and hours farming items in this game. It’s worse than in an other Souls game.) I like the story, the world, the bosses, it’s general look, but now the invasion mechanics are just broken. Why will I never ever encounter just one single dude and instead always 2 or 3 people? That’s not fun. Overall I still vastly prefer Dark Souls‘ approach.

  • 4. Life Is Strange– This game wins the award for having the title that fits it the most, because this is a really strange game. Something you really wouldn’t think after just playing the first two episodes, but if you keep going, it really goes places. I especially loved what they did in the second half of the last episode, it's the perfect kind of weird. I’ll obviously not spoil anything here (I’ll say this: I chose the ending that most people didn’t), but I really liked all the directions they took the story in and felt it was rather well written overall. (There are of course flaws and some inconsistencies, but who cares?) As a big fan of time travel fiction, Twin Peaks and Donnie Darko I ended up truly loving this game.

  • 3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – What a mixed bag this game turned out to be for me. It plays amazingly well and is certainly one of the best, if not the best, action game to come out in years (it’s just plain fun to sneak around a base, slowly clearing it of enemies by strapping them to god damn balloons, all the while accompanied by your trusty wolf/dog), but at the same time the story is thin and just not that great, especially for a MGS game (the big twist is also really obvious) and the online component, already weak when the game came out, got patched to be the worst train wreck I’ve seen in a game in forever. (Fuck Konami!) I’d stopped playing for a while after finishing the main story, but before going for the real ending (the grind annoyed me and I had some personal things to deal with at the time) an when I came back to it I suddenly found myself in the red money-wise and 90% of my resources were gone. Fucking fun! I tried to amass it all again, but got robbed over and over and eventually gave up and just watched the true ending on YouTube. This is not how you handle microtransactions/online gaming. Real shame.

  • 2. Fallout 4 – Still not as great as the old isometric Fallout games, but definitely the best 3D Fallout to date, Fallout 4 is a truly good game. It features the strongest story (except for the fact that there is no „middle ground“ ending) in any Fallout game to date, something I didn’t expect at all, and also some really memorable characters. (Nick Valentine, Curie, and Hancock are great.) The world is huge and it’s just fun to once again pick a direction and just wander off, never advancing the main story for 30+ hours, because of getting caught up in exploration and sidequests (of which there are many, and quite a few good ones at that). The combat is pretty much the same from previous games, but the shooting does actually feel better, so that’s a step in the right direction at least. The weapon/armour crafting is also fun and at least somewhat meaningful and the settlement mechanics swallowed up way more of my time than I’d liked, even though they are ultimately meaningless. It’s a bit of a shame that it’s once again plagued by loads of technical problems, especially considering that it really doesn’t look much better/different than Fallout 3 or New Vegas, but that’s just a minor hiccup to an otherwise amazing game.

  • 1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Where do I even start with this game? I was going into this with pretty high expectations, having liked the first game and loved the second and having read the books just before it came out, and not only was I not disappointed, I was completely blown away by it. The Witcher 3 is an amazing accomplishment, in pretty much every aspect and it’s the best game to come out in years and years. The world is huge, packed full of things to do and people to see (or the other way around), well realized and looks just great (even on consoles). All the side activities are fun and worth doing, especially the Witcher contracts. The combat is fun (I’m glad I started out on the highest difficulty though, since the game gets really easy after you reach higher levels).and you are given a lot of options to handle every different situation. The changes they made to the combat system between this and The Witcher 2 are meaningful too, especially the different approach to Witcher potions. The story is well written, expertly crafted and even well acted. Though the main story has it’s up and downs, the side quests and little random things are just so great that it forms an amazing whole. The decisions you make matter and alter things in interesting and often unpredictable ways, which isn’t a given in this kinds of games, because they are often to ambitious for their own goods. Then there is Gwent, the best in game card game next to Final Fantasy VIII’s Triple Triad, and fun enough to maybe even make it big in the real world. Add to all this dozens of free DLC items/quests and a fantastic first DLC addon and you get a game that is simply a masterpiece. My favourite game since the first Dark Souls. The Witcher 3.

That’s it, folks!

PS: If anyone actually reads this, or at least parts of it, I'd love some feedback.

29 Comments

First impressions on Lightning Returns

I got the game today and am about 5 hours in, and so far it's a bit of a confusing mess for me.

And I don't mean the story, even though it just kinda drops you in a part, that seems more like the middle than the begging really, but the fantastic decision to make the first quest in a game, that is on a constant time limit much like Major's Mask's, a quest where you need to find four hidden numbers in a rather big, confusing and time gated city.

Sense of orientation is a huge problem for me in real life, and in just about any game, and by now I spent the first in-game day and most of the second, and still somehow haven't found all four numbers. And since there are gates, that are only open at certain times, it's virtually impossible for me to know, if that damn missing number is somewhere in there, or if I just stumbled by it without seeing it dozens of times. To say I'm annoyed would put it mildly.

What I've seen of the side quests, seems to be okay so far, but some things could certainly be better. Why are there NPCs running around with ??? above there heads, who you just can't talk to (no prompt shows up). Why are quest NPCs the same color on the map than everyone else? (Wouldn't be a problem without the time constraints.) Why are they running in circles, into walls or in front of the camera during cutscenes? Just what is even going on?

Oh, and there are platforming sections? Why? Who knows. The don't work at all, guys.

The battle system I'm still unsure about, so I'm not gonna elaborate much. It's fun, but battling more than one foe is a mess, and the customization options seem fairly limited, with only three active garbs and no way to gain levels/abilities easily and only through battles. It just kinda makes battles redundant.

Anyways, the story seems competent enough so far, except maybe for the inclusion of Hope as such a major character once again (I just hate that dude), and the weird decision to let god take away most of Lightning's feelings, considering how stoic and awkward she was even before that.

What are you guy's thoughts on the game so far?

2 Comments

Some thoughts on the Walking Dead's second season and on why I have issues playing as Clementine

So, I just finished The Walking Dead's first Season 2 episode, and while I really enjoyed it, just as i had thought before it came out, I have some issues with playing as Clementine.

In the first season Clem was pretty much your main reason to keep going, keep trying to stay alive and most of all to keep your humanity (because you just didn't want to hurt or disappoint her). All of this drive is now obviously gone. And while it's still easy to sympathize with her, and try and keep her out of harm's way, it just doesn't evoke the same protective feelings.

My main gripe with being in control of Clem is something else though.

In this bleak and hopeless world you are constantly feeling lost and powerless, which of course, is intended. But throughout all the hardships you had one very important thing going for you: the weight and power your opinions and decisions held.

Now don't get me wrong, of course you can still make important decisions as Clem and play her as kind of a bad-ass in the conversations, but it's still very different to how you could handle yourself as Lee, for one reason only: Clem is still a child. Or should I go ahead and say just a child.

Adults will always treat a child differently and never take her opinion as equal to everyone elses. A fact that won't change no matter what you do, or how bad-ass you play her.

So now we are in a hopeless situation, playing as someone who is inherently powerless. Which, in my opinion, just isnt the best way to experience this kind of story.

Of course its gonna be really interesting to see how Telltale will handle this situation, and I have every confidence in them making the whole thing an enjoyable experience, but there still remains this little shadow of a doubt, that simply wasnt there in the previous season.

7 Comments

Chuck returning for Season 4


Chuck season 4 started yesterday and it's just as good as ever.  
 
The ratings are still way to low for a great show like this, so everyone go and watch it. It runs every monday 8/7c on NBC and of course you can watch full eps on the NBC website. 
  
If you haven't heard of it: it's a spy comedy, with a really good sense of humour and loveable characters, about a normal guy (he starts out as a computer clerk) who kinda has a supercomputer in his head full with CIA secrets, that makes him able to do karate and tons of other stuff. Most ot the time anyways, because his performance hugely depends on his feelings. 
 
One of the best shows on television right now.
7 Comments