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Author Topic: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017  (Read 1027 times)

Offline shirenuファクトリー

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12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:16:30 PM »
Might as well start this a few days early?

Shortly put, the original challenge is to complete 12 games in 12 months. I am a fan of freedom and suggest planning a challenge that fits your lifestyle and life situation :)

Feel free to report your progress in this thread! Last year's thread can be seen here!

Tuffty and Hart suggested adding sort of a book club/genre approach to the challenge, so I thought I'd get creative and come up with some challenge ideas for you all! Those are the following:

1. That game you started once (and liked), but got distracted and never returned to - until now!
2. That indie game you've heard of a billion times, but never got round to playing yourself
3. A game in a genre you usually never play
4. Let's go on a platforming adventure!
5. Time to poke those brains with some puzzles
6. Play a game that features a furry friend (or self-furriness)
7. Bring out that big game studio game you never played yet!
8. Time to go rogue-like - can you survive the randomness?
9. You have a feeling this game might be sad (or someone told you so)
10. You don't really have any idea what this game is about, but you have it for some reason
11. It's time to get simulating! Simulation games ahoy
12. Enter a fantasy~

There we go :lol: Maybe they are good for at least one person 8)2

Let's do this!
Mah H!P chil'ren as of March 6, 2017, due to year of birth

Mei★Riai★Ichigo★Natsume★Rin★LJ★  ~Rest in Peace marimari, Jabronisaur, ChrNo & Fushigidane

Offline shirenuファクトリー

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 01:27:56 PM »
I admit I pretty much based the list above on a tentative list of games I had already picked for next year...

1. Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons - I started this and have played for less than two hours
2. Child of Light - I think everyone has heard of this game, certainly? It's not an INDIE indie game, but it was marketed as a little indie game, so...
3. Dear Esther / LISA - I have a feeling Dear Esther will be a short game, so I'm also putting the quirky LISA here, which I have only played for 3 hours before
4. Guacamelee! - Google said it's a platform hoppin' game
5. Monochroma - Google said it's a puzzle game
6. Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - it looks furry
7. Mass Effect 3 - never played this yet, oops
8. Rogue Legacy - I've played this for 32 minutes and sucked, but if I could get better at Spelunky and Isaac, surely I can get better at this
9. Valiant Hearts - I do have a feeling it might be sad
10. The Talos Principle - I just have no idea what this is about, but it looked fun enough to put on my wishlist
11. Tropico 3 - I think I haven't played a city sim since Settlers 2 and Sim City 2000
12. Papo & Yo - Google said it was a fantasy adventure game

LOL
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 08:56:24 PM by shirenuファクトリー »
Mah H!P chil'ren as of March 6, 2017, due to year of birth

Mei★Riai★Ichigo★Natsume★Rin★LJ★  ~Rest in Peace marimari, Jabronisaur, ChrNo & Fushigidane

Offline mini*wheat

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 05:45:54 PM »
^
Ah, I liked what I played of Child of Light! I have it, but it's one of those many "started and never finished" games for me.

I'd love to try to do this, but I am SO BAD about finishing games and constantly replaying ones I've already played before. Maybe I'll half the challenge and try to do 6 new games  :lol:


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Offline Fenrir

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2017, 08:31:21 AM »
This is an interesting topic... let's see.. 12 games..

1. Tales of Berseria
2. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
3. Mass Effect: Andromeda
4. Vampyr
5. Horizon
6. Red Dead Redemption 2
7. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
8. Watch Dogs 2
9. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
10. The Last of Us Part 2
11. Gwent~
12. Ni no Kuni 2

I have a feeling some of these games will be pushed to 2018 and my wallet is going to hate me. lol

Watch Dogs 2 completed in January
Tales of Berseria completed in March
Mass Effect Andromeda completed in May
Gwent is so awesome. lol
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 10:01:02 AM by Fenrir »

Offline Hart

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 12:51:24 AM »
I have a rough idea of what to play this year for several of these months. For now the first game of 2017 will be....


Offline winner

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2017, 08:38:56 PM »
Got too busy in 2016. Ended up only finishing a few games, and totally stopped since last Feb. So its nearly been a year not holding a controller~  :P
So first game of 2017 is...

1/12 Right of the bat, finishing the one I only got mid-game through last Feb. TTG's Game of Thrones.



All the character arc switching maybe weakened the characters. By the end I didn't really care for them anymore, half-expecting them all to die no matter what I did.
The game still has the old TTG style. A heavy talk scene at the start and end of each episode for the story. A boring walk around point-n-click everything area and a basic QTE action scene in the middle.

I found the game a little too dreary. Actually fell asleep playing the palace maid parts.
Kinda weird since I liked Tales from the Borderlands so much. They literally use the same mechanics and both games are from the same year. I guess the crazy Borderlands humor made me like the characters and the game much more.
Still, seeing the GoT tv show cast appearing in video game form is always cool. :)

Spoiler pics!




Offline shirenuファクトリー

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 09:01:42 PM »
WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW

I actually finished Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons today!!


***SPOILERS***
I knew what was going to happen storywise at the end - it's one of those things that people online can't help but refer to even if they don't mean to spoil it. But the moment when I was seriously crying was when I realized what I was doing so that the little brother could succeed in delivering the medicine at the end. What a beautiful harmony of game mechanics and story. You had to use the controls that you previously used for the big brother so that the little brother could swim, and jump higher. FUUUCK that slayed me so bad. You could FEEL the big brother still watching over him because you were literally physically making him present by using those same controls/buttons. Jesus. I can't even think of another instance when game mechanics/controls have been that freaking significant from a storytelling point of view. The other brother came to "own" these specific buttons and then that was masterfully used at the end to convey a point. I can't even. That was so brilliantly done.


As a whole, I am so happy that I got to experience this game. So special. And my hands sweated SO MUCH in all the climbing instances ahh ha ha.
Mah H!P chil'ren as of March 6, 2017, due to year of birth

Mei★Riai★Ichigo★Natsume★Rin★LJ★  ~Rest in Peace marimari, Jabronisaur, ChrNo & Fushigidane

Offline Hart

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 01:54:36 AM »
After 5-6 years of buying the game, I finally finished another Professor Layton game.



Like the first three games, the Last Specter has a variety of different puzzles to solve across varying degrees of difficulty. And a few mini-games to play in between puzzles. Even though it's the fourth game in the series, chronologically it's the first. (Why does this sound familiar? :huhuh) Also it's the last game to be on the DS before switching to the 3DS with the next sequel: The Mask of Miracle.

Story-wise, it was interesting how Layton and Luke first met. As for the newest character to the series, Emmy, I don't see how she fits into the second trilogy other than being Layton's newest assistant, photographer, fellow puzzle enthusiast, and excellent fighter.

Haven't tried London Life yet, an RPG separate from the main game. Sucks that I didn't play it before the old Nintendo wi-fi servers shut down a few years ago. There were some secret characters and items I could have unlocked using a wi-fi connection and friend codes of people with the same game.  :(

Since May's theme is puzzles for this year's challenge, it's obvious what I'll be playing:



But before I start the next Layton game, I have to watch the animated movie that takes place between the Last Specter and the Mask of Miracle, the Eternal Diva.


Offline Tuffty

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2017, 03:05:08 PM »
WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW

I actually finished Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons today!!


***SPOILERS***
I knew what was going to happen storywise at the end - it's one of those things that people online can't help but refer to even if they don't mean to spoil it. But the moment when I was seriously crying was when I realized what I was doing so that the little brother could succeed in delivering the medicine at the end. What a beautiful harmony of game mechanics and story. You had to use the controls that you previously used for the big brother so that the little brother could swim, and jump higher. FUUUCK that slayed me so bad. You could FEEL the big brother still watching over him because you were literally physically making him present by using those same controls/buttons. Jesus. I can't even think of another instance when game mechanics/controls have been that freaking significant from a storytelling point of view. The other brother came to "own" these specific buttons and then that was masterfully used at the end to convey a point. I can't even. That was so brilliantly done.


As a whole, I am so happy that I got to experience this game. So special. And my hands sweated SO MUCH in all the climbing instances ahh ha ha.

It's so well done what that  game manages to achieve with next to no dialogue and used presentation, music and even the use of game mechanics to convey a superb story. Not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears over it too [spoiler]especially once the owl creature comes back and offers a much needed hug to the little brother[/spoiler]. I can't really name many games that do it so well, it really sticks out in the memory.

First game completion of the year goes to...

January (1/12): Stories : The Path of Destinies



One of the available games on PS Plus last month, Stories is a top down isometric action RPG similar to the likes of Diablo or Bastion. The unique hook to this is the narrative in what turns out to be a choose your own adventure story. You play as a gallivanting anthropomorphic fox called Reynardo joining in the battle against an evil Emperor. As you clear each stage, two choices are brought forward to you which allows you to dictate what way the story will progress. Do you choose to join up with an engineer friend to find a way to exploit a weakness in the Empire's base or go on the hunt for an all powerful mcguffin that holds the ability to swing the war in your favor? Each choice offers up more avenues for the story to progress and characters or events you may never see in one playthrough. The adventure throughout is narrated by one man, as if reading from a storybook as you play. The catch is that there is really only one true good ending, all others lead to some form of defeat for the hero, either through capture, being killed etc. To reach the good ending you need to play through it multiple times to reveal 'truths' which offers some background knowledge on the overall plot to help reach the good end, kind of like a Groundhog Day situation. Unfortunately I really didn't think the Saturday morning cartoon vibe they were going for really worked for me, having one guy do all the narration and voice acting was a bit much. Even if that didn't exist it is a very basic plot which means the characters need to be super charming, but I personally didn't feel it. It also doesn't help that you can't skip cutscenes, meaning on repeat playthroughs you have to listen to the same 3-5 min scene play out every time. I think there are around 25 unique endings overall, but if you know what you're doing you can play through it 4 times and get the all good ending on the 5th.

The actual gameplay is also pretty basic isometric action RPG combat. The focus is on chaining together different attacks into combo's, rewarding good stylish combat by mixing up melee and ranged combat whilst avoiding getting hit. There are 4 different swords to use, each with different magic abilities to use in combat. Initially it all feels pretty good, you're hitting an enemy with a sword, pulling another towards you with a grappling hook, blocking an enemy just in time...it feels like Arkham Asylum. As you progress, different enemies are introduced which force you to change tactics somewhat and these get added to earlier sections on repeat playthroughs which keeps ramping up the challenge level so you're not bored. Problem is however, it doesn't take long to get bored as the game reveals all the cards it has in it's hands by the 3rd playthrough. You'll have levelled up all the weapons, acquired most of the useful skills and the game eventually stops throwing new enemy types at you. The environments are quite large in scale with some impressive vistas in the background but it all becomes too familiar that I found myself just rushing through the area because I had seen it all before.

Stories was a good game, if nothing too spectacular.  To reach the good ending lasted maybe 5-6 hours but it's not the best endorsement when you can say that you feel like you have played it for long enough, even with the many different endings that the game encourages you to find.

6/10

Offline Tuffty

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 04:01:14 PM »
March (2/12): Final Fantasy XV



After 10 years since it's initial reveal, the once spin off game to the illustrious and dearly loved FFXIII universe (*shudder*) is finally released as a fully fledged numbered sequel to the Final Fantasy series. There has been a lot of excitement for it over the years, billed as an action oriented RPG much like Kingdom Hearts with an interesting world of a modern day setting, there have been trailers that set the stage for a truly epic FF game that people have been waiting a decade for. Unfortunately, there are different aspects that prevented it from being my favourite FF game and as a fan of the series (I'm currently playing FF Tactics on my phone and legitimately cannot wait for FFXII HD remake later this year to play it all over again), I really wish I didn't have to say that as there's still a lot to appreciate.

First off, the story focuses on Noctis, a Prince to a powerful kingdom who possesses the abilities of a master swordsman, complete with the ability to wield magic and even teleportation. Noctis and his team of 3 friends, Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus embark on a road trip. No seriously, that's how the game starts. You embark on a road trip to travel to another city where Noctis is to wed the love of his life, Luna, who is also an important figurehead in the story. Very early into the game things go south pretty quickly, as the Imperial Empire of Nifleheim invades Noctis kingom and slays the acting king, Noctis' father. In a nutshell, the story is about making sure destiny is fulfilled, the open road at the beginning acting as a visual metaphor of the journey towards it. Noctis, highly hesitant at the start, must travel to make sure he fulfills his regal responsibilities are met and his destiny as a chosen king to rid the world of demons as a result. But the story is let down by some really poor execution and pacing. The most egregious example, is that in order to fully appreciate what is happening in the story, Square Enix expects you to do your homework first. Accompanying FFXV is a full fledged CG movie, Kingsglaive and animated short, Brotherhood, both of which shed some light on the characters, the world and even on events which occur during FFXV. The invasion I mentioned earlier is the focus in Kingsglaive and it's through there that you learn some truly key facts that are crucial to your understanding of the story in FFXV. Let me be perfectly clear, if you want to understand the ending of FFXV, you must watch Kingsglaive first. It completely hurts the experience of playing FFXV by itself, that it adds to the confusion in creating a particularly messy narrative. You're told Noctis and Luna love each other but there is very little time in the game to show that relationship at all. You don't really see the Empire being that evil, hell you don't even see the Emperor. You see a number of commanding officers once that look like they'll have more importance in the story but they're never seen again. One of them hates Noctis for personal reasons but there's no time given to explain why or develop it further, it's just mentioned once and never again. There are also parts in the game where they very clearly cut content to make room for DLC (e.g. Gladio just straight up says at one point that he has to go and take care of something and he returns later in the game with some battle scars that aren't really talked about). It's unforgivable considering that past FF games don't do this and don't make it this convoluted to enjoy the game as it's own entity.

The pacing of the game also doesn't help, as the first half of the game is guilty of being exceptionally slow and plodding. The vast game world is open to you from the get go but the main narrative drive that pushes Noctis forward is...fetch quests. It boils down to "Go find these weapons" that it almost feels like a side activity. Actual side quests feel very by the numbers MMO design, go here, fetch this item or kill these monsters, bring it back, get reward. That's fine if you have a number of sidequests for it but when ever sidequest is just the same then repetition sets in very quickly. About halfway through the main story, the pacing changes entirely as you suddenly become locked in a linear sequence of events as the story ramps up but the overall quality seems quite poor. Again, it seems like sections of the game were cut or redesigned at the last minute as all new entire cities and locations are revealed for the first time that you can walk around in, but there isn't anything to do other than follow the main questline.

Prompto, Ignis and Gladio make for entertaining characters in their own right who you will grow to like over time, but they are one dimensional characters. You don't see anything like FFVI or VII, where party members often have their own quests you can discover which sheds some light on their history or provides some character arc that changes them over the course of the adventure. From beginning to end, the guys here don't really change, they are defined by their loyalty and friendship to Noctis. It's a far cry from The Witcher 3, where side quests that involve key characters often ended up having some of the most emotionally investing and enlightening narrative moments. I could say more about the story overall but I would delve into spoiler territory, but in short, the storytelling used here results in a core plot that is awkwardly told and difficult to care about.

The core combat is absolutely more action focused and faster in comparison to other FF games. Holding down the circle button will unleash a string of attacks, square is to dodge enemy attacks and being efficient at combat requires you to effectively deal damage to an enemies blind spot or weakness with weapons or magic elements the enemy is weak against. Magic is essentially treated as a grenade in this game, one where you can craft magic spells that deals some devastating damage to enemies. You can craft magic with items as well to grant additional bonuses like being able to heal after using it or casting status effects on enemies. It can create some very cool moments as Noctis and his mates scramble around a battlefield, working together. I learnt mid way through the game that you can't really ignore tactics either. While there are enemies that can be defeated just by holding down circle, tougher beasts require careful pre-planning and constant awareness during battle. While you only take direct control of Noctis it is your responsibility, for the most part, to keep your teammates alive and manage it in such a way that makes best use of the combined strength of the four. However, the game doesn't make it easy on you sometimes for no fault of your own. It starts to become a problem with a large group of enemies, making it hard to make out Noctis in the crowd so you end up taking damage as you try to orientate the camera to get a better view. The camera itself also becomes a massive issue in corridors or indoor environments, almost flipping 180 degrees in some cases. Dungeons are pretty tame walks down same looking corridors, with no puzzle solving, it really feels like an afterthought in some areas. One thing I must point out, the final boss encounter was such a let down. It's easy, almost laughably so, at a time when you're fighting something that should be your equal or better.

The game world and character design to typical Square Enix, that is to say, it's gorgeous in design and attention to detail. The world can feel empty but it will never stop being pretty to look at although I wish there was a 60fps option, it feels like the combat would be better for it. The soundtrack too is incredibly epic and varied in typical FF fashion, it just deserves to be attached to a better story.

The developers have promised free updates which they claim will add more detail to the story but after finishing it, I have no desire to go back and replay it all again to see if they improved it. It may create a more positive experience after the fact but I can't say I'm entirely satisfied with what there is right now for FFXV. No time to give characters their own arcs or make their personal motivations clearer making them seem entirely one dimensional. Signs that a good chunk of content, particularly in the second half, was cut, unfinished or deliberately scripted to create something interesting for the player. Luna, the leading lady of the game, has next to no screen time or seen having any interactions with the party, making her the most forgettable female character in the series. Lightning is a better character ffs.

If it seems like I'm being too overly critical on the story then it's because I was hoping SE would have learnt a lesson from XIII. You can't just expect the player to go digging through text files to fully appreciate the story. But they didn't seem to learn anything, in fact they doubled down by making Kingsglaive and Brotherhood compulsory viewing. You shouldn't have to make that compromise. So for someone like me that appreciates a series that prides itself on it's emphasis of storytelling, can I recommend FFXV despite it's unsatisfying story? I'm willing to say yes, once these new patches come out it could improve the second half of the game. The gameplay itself is engaging enough and gorgeous to look at.  There's even promise of a vision early in the game, one that allowed the developers to reinvent the series in a new direction. It's just a shame that the bigger picture got obscured.

7/10
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 10:11:40 PM by Tuffty »

Offline pikapikapika

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 05:44:45 AM »






Game 3 - March - Dead Rising 3
I've had this game for a long time and I just finally got to play it as my PC was upgraded! The port of this on PC isn't the best so it's almost unplayable on a lot of PCs including my old one, which took almost 10 minutes to load the title screen and struggled heavily even on the lowest settings. But my new PC is running this on ultra!!! This has never happened to me before XD

I'm a super huge fan of Dead Rising 1, it made me buy a 360 and I may even consider it the best game on that system. I really think the way it was structured and the photo taking, and even the way it integrated achievements as part of the game (this was back when they were new as well) that just made me want to keep playing until I had them all.
Dead Rising 2 was a bit less good but fun none the less, if it wasn't for some online achievements I would have 100%'d that game also, it ditched photos :<
3 had a bad reputation as going even further away from the "formula" than 2 did, as it was more of an open world game and was supposed to be more "gritty" and "dark" because Microsoft I guess. I actually don't think it does do that, it's pretty close to what 2 was like, in a bigger world with more vehicles etc. It was a lot less funny than other outings though.

Now, while there was no photo taking, I really enjoyed the face graphics in this game a lot on these high settings. I like to take screenshots a lot in games like Mass Effect and this kind of had me doing it too, I ended up taking almost 500 on my 101 hours playing it to 100%

http://steamcommunity.com/id/pikathree/screenshots/?appid=265550

^ Above link has all the good ones I uploaded \o/

:heart::heart::heart::heart:

---

While I played this one to death I'm not entirely sure about getting 4, it drifts from the formula even more and I'm pretty concerned :/

 

Also I have 2 other games to add for 1 and 2 I just need to get their screenshots out first :D
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 05:51:21 AM by pikapikapika »

Offline Tuffty

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 10:12:45 PM »
March (3/12): DOOM



It doesn't need to be said, but first impressions are important. With a video game those first few moments can let you know how well the game plays or use it for world building or setting the game's tone for the story. DOOM's first 15-20 mins is the best example of both that I can remember in a long time. As the DOOM guy, you awaken from a slumber on a base on Mars which has been overrun with demons. You press forward, killing any demons you find with your shotgun and your fists. As you don the famous Marine armor a disembodied voice starts to chirp through a computer terminal that says 'DEMONIC INVASION IN PROGRESS'. Just as you start to get tired of the guy already, DOOM guy just picks up the monitor and throws it aside. You fight a horde of demons, never seeking cover, constantly moving, shooting and occassionally ramming your fist into a demon's face and turning it into pulp. You take the elevator up, a remixed version of the E1M1 music from DOOM starts to play and just as the doors open to see the red wasteland of Mars in front of you, DOOM guy cocks the shotgun in time to the music.

It's the start of one of the most exhilarating and satisfying single player FPS campaigns I've played in a while. DOOM is a remarkably easy game to talk about precisely because it is a straightforward, old school approach to a FPS. It's a blend of the old and new, staying true to the past of it's series while integrating some modern ideas to bring some changes to the formula.  Doom is a game that demands near constant movement thanks to its non-regenerative health system, limited ammo and powerful, mobile enemies. Each section of the game is like playing a new Death Metal album cover, playgrounds of running, jumping and shooting things in the head until they explode. The level layout does away with COD esque linear corridors, instead offering large levels of intersecting corridors, key card locked doors and vertical avenues to wander through, with secrets aplenty to find.

Over the course of the game, you acquire more weapons and as stronger demons get introduced, in greater numbers, it becomes a matter of knowing which weapon to switch to in order to survive. Acquiring weapon upgrades and powerups can help turn the tide and while there were some difficulty spikes in spots, it never hurt my enjoyment of the game that much, in fact anytime I died, I wanted to jump straight back into it and do it all over again. Must also give a special mention to the soundtrack, a mix of Heavy Metal and electronic music which kicks in at all the right moments to get the adrenaline pumping during those intense moments.

It's not perfect however, the multiplayer seems like it is again a balance of old and new, but the results are less successful. Going with the COD design to multiplayer progression and loadouts doesn't really seem to fit the game well, I would have preferred a more old school approach where everyone starts off with the same weapon and can find more powerful ones around the map. The Snapmap feature is a nice idea to give players the creativity to make their own levels and being able to play others, but as you would expect, the levels can't compare to the craft and care of the professional level designers.

That's DOOM in a nutshell. An unapologetic love letter to the series origin that helped create the FPS genre, as well as to the genre as a whole. There have been more sophisticated games, more nuanced, and more innovative, but few as fun, challenging and intense.

8/10
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 01:38:53 AM by Tuffty »

Offline Tuffty

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2017, 03:27:25 PM »
April (4/12): Resident Evil 7



The best survival horror games should leave a scar. Those that you think back on and remember that for that brief moment in time, you were completely shocked and even scared at what the game was showing you. The classic survival horror games have plenty of these moments, early Resident Evil games are famous for it, creating an atmosphere of unwavering terror, the kind that makes your skin crawl as you dread walking into an unknown room. Since RE4, the series has become less famous for it's horror, shifting into action game territory with big setpiece moments, convoluted storylines and characters who seem impervious to any physical threat. RE7 is a soft reboot of sorts, shifting basic design pillars into a new experience. Like RE4, the shift is surely set to establish a new standard, taking the relatively limited indie releases of Amnesia or Outlast and given them a AAA budget treatment. Luckily, the experiment was well worth the risk.

It is essentially a clean slate, you don't need any investment in the 20 years of twisting backstory of the RE series to enjoy this. You play as Ethan, a man who's missing wife, Mia, has sent a tape to him saying she is missing in a place known as the Baker estate in Louisiana. On the trail, you make your way into the estate and things start to quickly go wrong as you find yourself at the mercy of the Baker family and the biological terrors within. The story doesn't really escalate beyond this, there are no global conspiracies to unravel or even discover any close connections to the RE series other than a few fan service winks and nods. But I appreciate the small scale nature of the threat. The Baker Estate doesn't feel lived in, but feels alive. You feel helpless, claustrophobic with it's twisting corridors and web of shortcuts. It's reminiscent of the Spencer Mansion from RE1 albeit on a smaller scale. The fear of walking through these corridors is established early on as you are on the run from Jack Baker or 'Daddy'. He walks through the corridors looking for you, calling out your name, toying with you. He can find you when you least suspect it and chase you, even breaking through walls to get to you. As someone who was terrified of Nemesis from RE3 being able to chase me in the same way, Jack is every bit as effective.

The genius of the first person view is how it limits your perspective. The switch to first person evokes the same effect and purpose of the static camera from the original games. Turning speed is deliberately slow, you never quite know what you'll be walking into. In fact the game does such a good job I was always wondering if there wasn't something behind me most of the game as well. While walking through the corridors and crawlspaces of the estate you're never 100% sure there won't be some terror leaping or clawing at you from the shadows or around the corner which, in some cases, comes awfully true. It's what the game does so well, delivering on the promise of survival horror in a way I felt the series has long left behind. Staying true to the series heritage, the game requires you to solve puzzles, explore every inch of the mansion for items, shortcuts and secret lore all in an effort to ensure you're fully equipped and have your backpack stocked to find new items, weapons and upgrade. Resource space is of course, limited, saving it limited to infrequent safe rooms (although checkpoints are frequent and generous) as is healing items and ammunition. Ethan himself is no soldier so proficiency with firearms is reduced. There's a deliberate wobble to the way in which he handles himself wielding a weapon.

That's not to say everything's a success. Where RE7 has an incredibly strong first half, the second half is simply not as interesting. Primarily down to a lack of enemy variation. The family members are boss characters in themselves but there are a number of lesser zombie equivalents introduced early on which don't change. The creatures become less of a threat once you start to know how to avoid damage from it's attacks and increase your arsenal with better weapons and more ammunition. The pacing of the story feels off too, almost grinding to a halt before reaching to the end not long afterwards.

Despite this, RE7 feels like it distills the core tenants of the series into one frightening package. It's full of terror, empowerment and bewilderment all within one brilliantly designed game space. It's a bold move from Capcom, feeling classic and fresh at the same time. It's a welcome return to form and I'm excited to see if they can expand and deliver more on the formula.

8/10

Offline Tuffty

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Re: 12 in 12 Video Game Challenge in 2017
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2017, 03:58:38 PM »
Review catch up go!!

May (5/12): Lumo



Lumo is an isometric puzzle platformer where you must traverse a series of interlocking rooms, collecting keys and solving simple puzzles to gain access to previously inaccessible corridors. Each room appears as a discrete challenge, and is replaced by the next in sequence only when you touch the exit door. It's somewhat demanding the further you get into the game, accurate jumping in isometric space is a forgotten artform at this point, but the challenges are brief enough that, when you finally make the necessary jump to the exit door, your patience is amply restored and you're ready for the next challenge. In one room you might need to duck through the gaps made by swinging lasers. In another you might need to shunt ice-blocks around without shattering them in order to create an impromptu staircase. There are supposedly over 500 rooms to clear but I was able to blast through the game in about 3-4 hours. I think most of the charm was lost on me but specifically more retro gamers would probably really enjoy this as it feels like a modern callback to games of the 80's.

5/10

May (6/12): Alienation



Alienation is a gorgeous and blistering isometric twin stick shooter where you must combat an invading alien force. You select a character class to start the game with, each with a number of abilities and you must then progress through each level to accomplish a certain goal, which typically involves destroying something. The enemies are plentiful and nicely varied to keep any player busy, even those in a 4 player co-op team. The enemies are not just bullet sponges either, some deploy shields, forcing you to move around to their back, some can turn invisible and some are large brutes which can force you to be on the move with giant flamethrowers. But one thing uniting them all is just how much fun they are to kill. The game is gorgeous to look at, bullets and explosions create some magnificent looking particle effects and once a grenade is thrown into a large group, alien corpses can comically go flying everywhere around the screen. There's so much happening on the screen that it's a wonder my PS4 could keep up with it. There's not much to the story outside of the initial premise of a rebellion fighting against an alien invasion, instead the things you take away from each level is entirely loot driven. Like Diablo, defeated enemies and chests will drop color coded weapons and equipment ranging from white (common) to gold (rare). I jumped for joy when I found a rare weapon, a sub machine gun which also has the rare ability to drop grenades on contact. If it sounds overpowered, it's because it was and I managed to find it early enough in the game to make most encounters a walk in the park.

There are some light RPG elements in the way of building up your character, but I felt like it didn't go far enough as most upgrades are nothing but damage increases or extended durations rather than creating any new abilities the game gives you from the beginning. It's also kind of a shame that every weapon looks the same, some variety would have been nice. I felt the maps were a little too large on my first playthrough, but going back to the game  New Game + opens up other challenges and mini-bosses with greater rewards as you explore the map. Ultimately, Alienation is a game that's highly replayable simply because the game itself is chaotic, mindless fun.

8/10

June (7/12): Nier: Automata



When Nier Automata was announced, it was seen to be the realisation of a dream project. The first game, beloved by those who played it, was the creation from Yoko Taro, also behind the Drakengard series. While they loved the story, soundtrack and other strengths the game had, there would be few who would agree that it was a good game to play. Combat was stiff and repetitive which made the game seem like a chore to get to the good parts. So imagine people's surprise when the sequel is announced and it was to be developed by Platinum Games, masters of the third person character action game that the first game tried to be. Along with the composer from the first Nier game and art from Akihiko Yoshida (Final Fantasy Tactics), it almost seemed too good to be true. But is it?

We kick off Nier Automata with the introduction of it's two principal characters, 2B and 9S, both androids engaged in a war with machines that has raged on for literally thousands of years over Earth. When you are allowed to roam Earth freely, you find Earth a ruined shell of what it once was. Buildings have fallen, wildlife has reclaimed most of it and the places are populate with robots, some friendly, some hostile. Combat is a standard Platinum Games affair, slick, smooth combo based melee combat giving the player the ability to dodge and counter attacks seemlessly with animation that is beautiful to look at. It's not the deepest combat they've ever made, but it feels good, better than anyone else can deliver right now and that's good enough. But where this game differentiates, much like the original Nier, is how often it switches genres altogether. As you explore, the camera can shift into a side scrolling platformer, other times it becomes a bullet hell shooter. These transitions are slick, never frustration and all exectuted pretty effortlessly.

In addition, Nier Automata is also an RPG, where you can upgrade character abilities through buying and acquiring plug in chips, which upgrades your character. Some are passive abilities such as increased health or weapon damage, while some can change combat altogether, creating projective shockwaves with each melee weapon strike or slowing down time on dodging an enemy attack, Bayonetta style. You can also undertake side quests which usually take the form of moving to X location and destroying Y enemies or picking up Z items. Nothing too drastic, however the silver lining in all this, is that they allow you to gain more of an insight into Nier Automata's world.

Make no mistake, the star of this game it's narrative and world design. With the combat as the backbone, the full scope of the game comes into it's own by subverting the usual use of gameplay systems as part of the game's narrative and it all makes sense within this world. Playing through the game once doesn't give you the full picture. There are 26 endings in all, 5 of which I would say are absolutely crucial, but even when you're 40 hrs in the game completely plays with your expectations making it consistently fresh and exciting. Each ending leads to a new game of sorts, sharing elements from your previous playthrough, but introducing new storylines and concepts that allow you to piece the full story together and quite honestly, the game addresses some of the densest themes tackled in a mainstream videogame.

Nier Automata reaches to the depths of existential philosophy to ask questions of the player. What is free will? What is the meaning of life? What makes us human? Other games have done this before but Nier's feels unique in that the biggest triumph is to sympathise and connect with characters that aren't even human and indeed, even have sympathy for the villians. With each side quest lies some personal, tragic and sometimes chilling tragic stories. These melancholic themes are accompanied by an exceptional English dub and an absolutely beautiful soundtrack, giving each area a distinct tone aided by it's ever changing styles. As with other Platinum games, they dynamically change over time, amplifying in intense moments to something calmer during quiet introspective moments as you navigate the world. Some songs are even used to stunning effect during and on the conclusion of side quests which carry that little more emotional weight.

There are a few criticisms. The performance is sadly not the usual 60fps quality we've come to expect. Indeed the game does drop frames in certain areas which can be a pain. There is a corpse run mechanic where if you die, you lost all equipped plug in chips behind as a corpse which you then have to run back to and acquire, much like Dark Souls. This always felt pretty unnecessary and even a bit unfair at times as sometimes you die in an area with especially tough enemies making it all the more difficult to gain the plug in chips again without dying, risking losing all those rare plug in chips permanently. I also played it on Hard difficulty but it seemed far too difficult. You could die in a few hits, maybe even one, to some grunt enemies, only getting more manageable when you obtain some powerful chips. Thankfully there's no penalty to switching difficulty mid game. There are even a few sections of the game which I would say went on for longer than necessary and may even have had to repeat a few times but luckily these are few and far between.

I have to mention it here but the fifth canonical ending to the game is and will probably be, one of those moments that will be talked about in video games forever. It's a wonderful conclusion to the existence of Nier Automata. A testament to experimentation within the conventions of gaming to tell a narrative that simply cannot be portrayed in a book or in a film. It's a creative achievement from everyone at Platinum Games and Yoko Taro. On launch, Yoko Taro downplayed the game as "nothing special" and that he wanted people to remember Nier Automata in the same way people remember their first crush. Where at the time you were completely enthralled by him/her if only briefly and even though they may not have been perfect but when you look back and think of them later in life, you look back on it fondly. I know that I will look back on Nier Automata and be thankful that I was lucky to experience it.

10/10

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