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Finally catching up on a few lists

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2014 -- Finished

Another experimental list (with games I've finished).

List items

  • 03/23/2014

  • 03/25/2014

  • 03/26/2014

  • 04/02/2014 -- Gone Home has simple but (almost surprisingly) effective storytelling. The story was realistic and the set pieces were appropriate.

    (Spoilers)

    The developers expressed sympathy for Sam, but she made all the wrong choices. Really, she's a teenager who fell in with a bad influence.

  • 04/23/2014 -- I expected more out of this game, given its high review marks. ROps wasn't really challenging or engaging. Destroying things wasn't that satisfying and upgrades didn't grant enough extra firepower.

  • 05/05/2014 -- This game holds up well despite its age -- the graphics, controls and combat were still enjoyable. Saga's story wasn't too deep, but had interesting twists, unique environments and likable characters. I didn't play the earlier Panzer Dragoon titles, but story references gave the world a more developed feel.

    The price tag (~$300 now) is questionable, but I see why this is a collector's item. I'd love to see a modern update/revival of this series done well.

  • Ongoing/multiplayer.

  • Ongoing/team building.

  • 05/26/2014

  • Ongoing/multiplayer.

  • 06/17/2014 -- Tomb Raider games have rarely interested me, but the positive reviews and aggressive pricing/marketing made this series reboot hard to ignore.

    The new Tomb Raider game does a lot of things well. It takes a few pages from Uncharted's playbook: it's an polished, accessible third-person shooter with a more "human" protagonist and plenty of platforming. This Lara Croft is not a cliche femme fatale, but a young college graduate with an interesting theory on an expedition.

    The game is all-around a good experience, and creates a few really memorable moments. In one cinematic scene, Lara climbs an old, rickety radio tower atop a tall mountain with the camera dramatically looking down. Another scene has Lara flying through treetops with a parachute. The overall story arc stays believable and engaging (with supernatural elements), and I was genuinely interested in the characters. The stealth and combat also led to a few satisfying moments.

    My biggest "complaint" with the new Tomb Raider is realism. The new Lara is meant to be (at first) a normal girl. At some points, the game portrays her using quick reflexes, sharp instincts and good luck to survive. At other points (like Uncharted), the game is "Hollywood". Lara climbs better than any Ninja Warrior, fights off hordes of armed enemies, and survives multiple falls, semi-natural disasters, explosions and building collapses.

  • 06/27/2014 -- Who knew that checking border documents could be an engaging game?

  • 06/27/2014 (replayable) -- I like how modern indie developers are creating cool and genuinely fun new games in classic gaming genres.

    Banished could use a few small improvements. Challenge missions (like Rollercoaster Tycoon) or a campaign (like the Caesar games) would make it more engaging. Certain mechanics (quarries, trade) also need a little tuning.

  • 07/17/2014 -- Great story, great art, interesting decisions and a decent battle system.

  • 07/22/2014 -- Another solid game by SG. Good visuals, cool atmosphere (American Jazz Age + programming references) and an intricate battle system.

    Transistor isn't quite as good as Bastion. The story isn't as engaging and the game ramped up slowly (both story and combat) despite its length.

  • 07/27/2014 -- I wasn't sure what to expect from The Stanley Parable, but I wasn't disappointed. The broom closet ending was my favorite.

  • 08/17/2014 -- The co-op experience for this game was quite fun. On it's own, the platforming and combat control weren't smooth, the puzzles weren't great and the story was OK. Cooperating with a friend opens up a lot of alternate, interesting possibilities for puzzle-solving and combat. My friend and I were also able to specialize different characters, another cool co-op element.

  • 09/14/2014 -- Similar to Trine 2.

  • 09/23/2014 -- I did it!

  • 10/04/2014 -- Free games are a funny thing. Despite a decent backlog, I happened to play this (free from the Humble Store) first. It's one of the best Civ/4X games I've played in a while.

  • 10/04/2014 -- I first saw a banner ad for Destiny in 2013, possibly over one year before the game launched. The concept art and promise of this Bungie title were impressive, though it was strange to see advertisement so far in advance. I kept my eye on the title with a detached yet hopeful optimism.

    In some ways, Bungie got the "hard parts" of making a game right. The visuals are great and the gameplay is smooth. Destiny doesn't feel like a sub-par shooter (compared to similar RPG shooters like Mass Effect). Character progression is reasonably interesting, and a lot of the other elements like PvP, vehicles, and co-op are fun to play.

    On the other hand, Destiny seems like a game filled with disappointments and missed opportunities. The majority of this surely comes from the hype that Bungie themselves generated. My biggest complaint is the in-game storytelling. This "RPG" has almost no coherent character or world development, just meaningless sci-fi/mystical jargon and overdramatic cinematics. The "MMO" elements also fall flat, with no trade economy or social interaction with other players. ...And Destiny lacks gameplay variety. 97% of the game's mission content involves "scan this object" or "shooting these enemies", co-op strikes don't encourage tactical teamwork... and so on...

    Bottom line: I can enjoy Destiny casually for a what it is. I'm not, however, sold on any expansion content unless Bungie really steps up the experience.

  • 09/27/2014 -- I really should have marked this game finished a while ago, but I was hoping to play a few more scenarios.

    A 99-cent indie Japanese rogue-like, which is an odd mixture. I enjoyed it.

  • ? -- I really didn't "finish" FF14. In fact, I played for about a week on my own and about 1-2 weeks with a friend.

    FFXIV is a well-built, classic-style MMO with some appealing FF lore. The main story actually seemed to be building into something interesting. I wouldn't mind to revisit this with a stretch of free time and a friend to play with.

  • 08/06/2014

  • 11/28/2014 -- Cinders doesn't exactly have a lot of gameplay, as it's basically a choose-your-own-adventure story. That said, the game's choices felt very meaningful to the story and dialog. (I only explored a single path, but the game offers multiple endings and mini-achievements for different selections.)

    The story is (another?) modern retelling of Cinderella. The modernization makes characters more human and relatable, but also feels out-of-place at times. The story also has a few slow points, but I enjoyed it overall.

  • 12/01/2014 -- My first impression of DG2 wasn't great. $25 is a lot to ask for a modern title, especially for a smaller game. The technical issues, like awkward matchmaking UI and framerate slowdowns, further soured my opinion.

    Co-op seemed odd for a classic tower defense game, but it works out. I enjoyed discussing strategies with my friend. The player scoring was also entertaining, though we weren't competitive about it.

    I grew to like DG2 the more I played it. Besides the fun co-op elements, both the towers and enemies become more interesting as the game progresses. I really liked the tower damage statistic, which helped me measure and adjust my tower strategies.

  • 12/11/2014 -- The expansion had better gameplay than the original (except perhaps the abrupt ending).

  • 12/18/2014 -- I really enjoyed Child of Light. The story is certainly fairy-taleish but doesn't gloss over any tragic elements.