Julius

Your 2020 Gaming Diary

Recommended Posts

By far the best thing about Force Unleashed 2 was that you could unlock the Guybrush Threepwood skin pretty early on and use it for most of the game. Made it much more entertaining.

 

A bit of catching up

 

Uncharted 3

A solid game, but it doesn't really try anything new. The story is a little bit random, as though they came up with levels and set pieces first and then tied to fit the story into that. The cruise ship, for example, is a really fun level, but it doesn't fit into the story of the rest of the game and it makes no sense in the story either. Pretty much the first two thirds of the game just don't flow together that well at all - although that changes from the mission to get onto the cargo plane, where it all flows nicely (even if the tribe from The Mummy randomly turns up in it).

 

Uncharted 4

I didn't actually realised just how much Uncharted 4 improves the franchise again. The story as a whole feels a lot more solid. It somehow feels grander while being a lot more grounded than previous games. The characters feel more three dimensional, too. So you have a better mystery to follow (both the treasure and personal) and the outcome of the hunt still remains interesting. The pirate theme worked extremely well, and I loved figuring out what was going on with them. 

The gameplay took a step up, too. A lot of the game felt more open, even the linear platforming sections. It seemed there were some slight variations in the path you could take, and it really felt more like you were working out your own path than being forced to use the only one (even though in reality you are, it doesn't feel like it). The vehicle parts with extra bits to explore were a lot of fun and I really liked how much of the game let you relax and explore without constant enemies. It also felt more like you were figuring out the puzzles rather than being shown /told what to do.

Combat also feels more open. The addition of swinging was a lot of fun, and it felt like you could mix stealth and blowing everything up as much as you wanted.

 

Uncharted: Lost Legacy

While it's essentially a side story without Nathan Drake, I think this is  a better sequel to 4 than Uncharted 3 was for 2. The story is much more coherent, and learning about Chloe and Nadine was a lot of fun. The gameplay is largely the same as for, but it experiments with a very large open world section in the middle of the game. You can pick your order of doing things, as well as finding lots of treasure and a side story for an optional major treasure. The rest of the game had some great set pieces, including the return of a train (which managed to feel very different to Uncharted 2's train.

 

Batman Arkham Asylum

A very solid Metroidvania Batman game. I really like how condensed this one is. It' s decent size area, with lots of secrets to find. Combat is pretty fun, too. Conroy and Hamill are great in their roles. My only issue is that the extra collectables just don't particularly seem worth it.

 

Batman Arkham City

They went much bigger here, and as a result the metroidvania feeling diminished. It's still a good game, but I didn't find it particularly fun to get around the city. It just seemed like filler in between the main missions, and any main mission that used the city just felt like padding. Another thing I hated about the city was the sheer amount of riddler stuff. Statues hidden around Arkham is one thing, the amount of Riddler puzzles in City just makes it seem like he built the entire city himself. This time round I got to experience the Catwoman segments (I rented it initially and it was one of those games that used the stupid "online pass" thing to remove content from people who rented the game, so no Catwoman) which were interesting, although just ended oddly (the "final" mission was just killing 16 random goons).  I did like that it had a bigger roster of villains, and the random conversations from thugs were great.

  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I've just officially finished Metal Gear Solid 2. The section after the escort mission was... one of the most bizarre things I've ever played. There were some cool gameplay moments after that but although the story that unfolded during the last portion of the game was really good... it kind of felt like the final boss and ending arrived prematurely even when I've been sitting through a long series of cutscenes full of plot twists and information.

 

But with this game finished I can now finally say that my entire PS2 game collection is finished. Not ruling out ever playing on this console again of course but with a lot of the PS2's best games now available in HD collections if I ever want to play more Metal Gear games I might see about getting the HD trilogy, especially since I hear the third game is even better than this one is.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been a few weeks since I "finished" a game (One Step From Eden, I've won a few runs).

Even though I've started to enjoy Fire Emblem: Three Houses I haven't played it in a while.
Iceborne story is done but I keep playing for the endgame.
Picross S is a slow process. :D 
I'm stuck on Baba Is You :laughing: 

Looking at that list I realized that I needed a much more fast-paced game so yesterday I decided to finally start Doom (2016) on PS4. Bought it months ago...

I did the first mission and...it's incredible :D Gameplay is top-notch. Fast, aggressive, brutal. 
The game runs like a charm, which is definitely needed for what it's trying to be.
Can't wait to play more later today :peace: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I’ve managed to finish a couple of games over the past week or two which I want to briefly talk about. Firstly:

Streets of Rage 4.

What an absolute diamond this game is. By far the best beat ‘em up I have ever played, though for context, the Switch is the first place I’ve really dipped my toes deep into the genre. I do have some experience with SoR I and II thanks to the Wii VC, but don’t have the nostalgia that many here seem to have for the series. That doesn’t matter a jot though, this game is fantastic in its own right!

I absolutely LOVE the combo system in this game. There is nothing quite as satisfying as stringing together a 50 or 60+ hit combo and watching that score rack up as foes haplessly bounce of the wall and back into your attacks. I love the variety of moves on offer, so while it’s simple to play, it is tough to master and as I’ve progressed through the game, I really feel like I’m learning the mechanics and playing much better than I was at the beginning. I also like the fact the game dangles the carrot of extra lives at you for hitting higher scores, it allows both safe and riskier strategies to be implemented. The game of course is much easier if you play it safe and take your time, but you’ll only get a high ranking if you play on the attack. It’s a superb mechanic.

The gameplay is extremely tight, and you always feel like you’re fully in control of your character. Different enemies require different approaches, some flat out can’t be hit with certain moves, so often it’s a case of experimenting on a first run of a level and then remembering and adjusting your attacks on second or third attempts. This is amplified by the excellent bosses at the end of each stage, all of which require you to learn their attack patterns. I had a problem with about 3 or 4 of the stage bosses but managed to persevere in each instance without lowering the difficulty or using the assists offered after you die. The feeling of triumph at the end of stage 12 was immense.

Each new level introduces a new concept, whether it’s exploding barrels, a slippery floor or the classic “fight in this lift which goes up forever” which keeps each level unique and fresh as you progress. There is always something new to deal with. Essentially, that makes the game feel like there is absolutely no filler, and every moment keeps building to the superb final boss. This is of course backed up by a stupendously good soundtrack and visual style which keeps the spirit of the original but brings it right into the modern era. The option to switch to retro visuals and music is just the icing on the cake.

I’ve mostly been playing with Blaze and Adam and have adjusted to their playstyles quite well, the others have taken me a little longer to learn, but I do appreciate the fact they play very differently from each other. That makes multiple playthroughs on various difficulties completely valid and will undoubtedly extend the life of the game. I’ve had one attempt at arcade mode and fell at the end-boss of the 5th stage. Think that’ll take me a while to beat.

I was tempted to get this on PC as it was significantly cheaper on Steam but punted for the Switch version in the end with the help of a few gold coins. Definitely glad I opted for the Switch though as this looks fantastic on the big screen. The game runs almost flawlessly on the Switch, however there is some minor slowdown in the kitchen in the Chinatown level. That doesn’t distract from the overall experience though. This is an excellent feat from Dot Emu, there is almost nothing to distinguish this version from its more powerful brothers.

Easily my game of 2020 so far by quite a considerable margin.

EX1Q3TOUwAEXdFt?format=jpg&name=large

 

Ori and the Blind Forest

I’ve already spoken about this on the forum in the Video Game Club thread and at length on the podcast. I was overly harsh on the game. I found as it went on the frustration levels dropped considerably and it became much more fun to play. I’m glad I invested my time in this game in the end and would consider playing the sequel on PC should I get access to it in the future. The art style is truly wonderful, but that is often at a detriment to the gameplay.

I still don’t really understand the almost universal praise this game has received, and as I mentioned, this is really the first time there has been such a big gulf between overall public sentiment and my personal opinion. Usually it’s the other way round where I like something that is critically panned. In my view, the game shines when you are filling in the map, I enjoyed traversing the world in my final hour getting the final few power-ups on my way to 100%. It was then when I truly realised how much of a diverse game world Moon have created. There is a lot of variety in this game, more so than even Hollow Knight, with each area having a unique style and look.

Overall, it never really sat right with me and I was disappointed due to the extraordinary hype it had received.

EX2RM2pXQAM-iUc?format=jpg&name=large

Xenoblade 2

I was going to do a write up of this game, but I accidently deleted my show notes from the podcast. Instead of spending another hour writing them up again, I’ll advise you to just go and listen to that episode on YT.

In short:
- Best RPG I’ve ever played
- Best combat system ever devised.
- Best video game OST on the planet.
- Very good story and pacing.
- Bad framerate and poor visuals which a great art style doesn’t always mask.

EWaD6_FVAAAiD_g?format=jpg&name=large

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Nicktendo said:

I’m glad I invested my time in this game in the end and would consider playing the sequel on PC should I get access to it in the future.

It is in the XBox Game Pass for PC, and that's currently on trial for €1 for one month. So if you have time to finish it in one month you can do so for almost free. And then finish the 99 other games in the Pass in the remaining time.

I haven't subscribed yet but I have the week off next week so maybe I should.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Vileplume2000 said:

It is in the XBox Game Pass for PC, and that's currently on trial for €1 for one month. So if you have time to finish it in one month you can do so for almost free. And then finish the 99 other games in the Pass in the remaining time.

I haven't subscribed yet but I have the week off next week so maybe I should.

I actually was going to subscribe yesterday but it's not officially available in my country so I doubt I'll be able to download anything with ease. There are arbitrary ways to change your region but that'll cause me problems further down the road. Not too fussed. I think it'll come to Switch or PC in the future or Latvia will eventually be included in Game Pass regions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dropped Assassin's Creed Origins after 10 hours or so, I might push on sometime but the gameplay is just so repetitive, generic and dull. I think I'm just over Ubisoft openworld games at this point. I played Syndicate when it came out and that seemed way more fun than this. Can't say I'm a fan of the direction the series has gone since that game.

Anyway I don't normally like to have two games on the go at once but 200+ hours later in Animal Crossing I'm happy to slow down a bit in there and also play a more action-y game...

Control.

Two missions later and I'm pretty blown away by this. I knew it was really well received, even winning GOTY in 2019 at the Game Awards but I hadn't really looked too much into it. I love going into a game without knowing much about it or having much expectation. Love the vibe, love the story-telling, the UI, the way the GIANT TEXT appears on the screen when you enter a new area. Combat seems fun so far, story is really interesting. I rarely read much of the collectible lore/codex but in this game I'm reading everything. Anyway having a great time. Excited to play more each evening, with the lights off for added mood lol. The rocket launcher baddies can f off though.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ronnie said:

Dropped Assassin's Creed Origins after 10 hours or so, I might push on sometime but the gameplay is just so repetitive, generic and dull. I think I'm just over Ubisoft openworld games at this point. I played Syndicate when it came out and that seemed way more fun than this. Can't say I'm a fan of the direction the series has gone since that game. 

I found exactly the same with Origins; I started it just after Odyssey came out, the setting sounded right up my street (for both Origins and Odyssey) but I couldn't get through it I found it so boring and uninspiring. At the time as well game time was very precious so I was filled with regret after every "I'll give it one more go" session!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Ronnie said:

Dropped Assassin's Creed Origins after 10 hours or so, I might push on sometime but the gameplay is just so repetitive, generic and dull. I think I'm just over Ubisoft openworld games at this point. I played Syndicate when it came out and that seemed way more fun than this. Can't say I'm a fan of the direction the series has gone since that game.

Anyway I don't normally like to have two games on the go at once but 200+ hours later in Animal Crossing I'm happy to slow down a bit in there and also play a more action-y game...

Control.

Two missions later and I'm pretty blown away by this. I knew it was really well received, even winning GOTY in 2019 at the Game Awards but I hadn't really looked too much into it. I love going into a game without knowing much about it or having much expectation. Love the vibe, love the story-telling, the UI, the way the GIANT TEXT appears on the screen when you enter a new area. Combat seems fun so far, story is really interesting. I rarely read much of the collectible lore/codex but in this game I'm reading everything. Anyway having a great time. Excited to play more each evening, with the lights off for added mood lol. The rocket launcher baddies can f off though.

Your feelings on AC: Origins pretty much sum up why I'm not touching the franchise anymore. I get that some people want really long games but they seemed to have become slowly paced adventure/RPG's and that's not why I play Assassin's Creed at all.

Apparently the next game is going to be significantly more streamlined and shorter so I might try it out on PS5. For now, I'm happy to just jump back into Assassin's Creed 2 again and again.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I've finally decided that I'm going to continue playing Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, a game I started back when it came out but never really got very far before putting it down, there was something about the game that made me a bit uncomfortable but considering my media consumption since I thought that I wouldn't have the same problems consuming it now from what I thought the premise is.

 

But after watching an LP of it to remind myself exactly what happened I now remember what I think the issue is. Creating your own character is fine enough... but the opening premise and story introduction really didn't grab me with too much interest. Initially my reservations were one of religious conflict but, yeah, the way the opening is framed really doesn't seem so engaging and probably why this game failed to grab me. I also remember not necessarily being the biggest fan of Stella.

@Ike Please tell me this game's storyline gets a lot more interesting past the opening section because it's been sitting in my backlog for years as a game to eventually get around to but the game for whatever reason has proven difficult for me to get enthusiasm over and I just don't quite know why...

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, GenericAperson said:

So, I've finally decided that I'm going to continue playing Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, a game I started back when it came out but never really got very far before putting it down, there was something about the game that made me a bit uncomfortable but considering my media consumption since I thought that I wouldn't have the same problems consuming it now from what I thought the premise is.

For what it's worth...

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies N-Europe Review

Myself and @D_prOdigy enjoyed reviewing the game back in the day. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

- Turnbased battles may turn away some

But obviously not @Kav

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, GenericAperson said:

@Ike Please tell me this game's storyline gets a lot more interesting past the opening section because it's been sitting in my backlog for years as a game to eventually get around to but the game for whatever reason has proven difficult for me to get enthusiasm over and I just don't quite know why...

 

The game is more about each individual town's vignette rather than the overall story arc, it's pretty similar to DQVII if you've played that. The main story backs a back seat most of the game from what I remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went ahead and booted the game up from where I left off. Watching MageMasher's LP helped ease me back into what this game is like and I think the big problem before is that I came into it with the only RPGs I'd really played being Pokemon, Final Fantasy and one Harry Potter game on GBC. Now I've since played stuff like Golden Sun and xenoblade I think I can appreciate a bit more of the genre as well as it's more tactical elements.

 

I booted up the game and found myself in a vocation hall of something, with a full party of 4 at Level 17 and 18. Oh boy... I wish I could change these guys names, they are showing their age so badly here from when I got the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GenericAperson said:

I booted up the game and found myself in a vocation hall of something, with a full party of 4 at Level 17 and 18. Oh boy... I wish I could change these guys names, they are showing their age so badly here from when I got the game.

You can create new party members but they'll be level 1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's fine now, I'm proceeding through the game with the party I got. Died to Garth Goyle a few times though so grinding a bit for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have unfortunately fallen off the excessive game-buying wagon recently. One of my New Years resolutions a couple of years ago was to stop buying so many games that i was never likely to finish, and to only buy new ones once i'd completed the old.

For a year or two, i've managed to keep this up, but this year i've kind of lost track and it's all fallen apart. The problem started when i bought my Oculus Quest, and instantly bought several games for it. I've played and completed a few of them (Superhot, Vader Part 1, A Fisherman's Tale, I expect you to die),  but others i haven't the time, or the play-space to complete (Robo Recall, Virtual Virtual Reality, Real VR fishing)

Then for Christmas, i got BOTW, God of War and Star Wars JFO. I started BOTW, and played quite a bit, but then got distracted when Animal Crossing came along. I started God of War a few weeks ago, but only got past the first chapter. I haven't even taken Star wars out of the box, and have kind of lost the desire to start it. I might just sell that one to be honest...

Then it only got worse when i managed to convince myself i needed a new laptop, and the devil on my shoulder told me to get a super (duper) fancy one with a good graphics card. Now with a PC powerful enough to play it, my mate bought me Borderlands 3 to play through together, and I also downloaded GTAV (for free at least) to see how it looked with the graphics all fancy. Now I have an urge to play the story on that. 

Additionally, the new laptop has allowed me the possibility to play loads of PCVR games that I didn't have the option of before - so i'm currently resisting the urge to buy several of those that'll i'll try once and never play again...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only took about 10 years, but the game is finally starting to click for me lol. While I still like story driven narrative RPGs more, I think the comparisons to Final Fantasy IV on this system were perhaps a bit unfair and, actually, this kind of game is closer to what Golden Sun, Earthbound and Pokemon have done, an overall objective with a lot of small stories along the way.

 

Doesn't mean I don't prefer the former though, but looking at the actual options here... why don't more RPGs have a "Heal All" option? That is so useful and such a convenience.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

25th completed game of 2020: RIVE: Ultimate Edition (played on Switch).

One word: inconsistent.

It's a side scrolling shooter that pretty much plays out like this:

  1. follow the path
  2. fight waves of enemies in a room that gets smaller and smaller by various means (lasers, walls closing in, jigsaws, ...)
  3. follow the path
  4. fight waves of enemies...
  5. occasional boss fight
  6. mission end

Rinse and repeat.

The core gameplay is awesome. Great movement, shooting is precise.
The game suffers from a huge problem, though: Ridiculous difficulty spikes. Sometimes it's basically like getting spawn-camped in an FPS: you finish a wave and 10 enemies spawn right next to you without warning and explode in your face. If you haven't died from the explosions be sure to get knocked back into one of the aforementioned hazards and meet your end.
This happens way too often on the "how it's meant to be played"-difficulty setting (i.e. hard mode). Normal mode is piss-easy, however. So I decided to stick with hard mode because aside from those unfair moments it was very well balanced and a nice challenge.

Well...in the end it's a solid 7/10 which could've easily been a 9/10. Never perfect, though, because the writing was horrible.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

DQ9 is a game that I probably couldn't stomach normally, simply because the gameplay isn't interesting or novel enough to keep my interest...

... EXCEPT in multiplayer! I played the entire thing in multiplayer with @Glen-i back in the day and it was fantastic! It absolutely elevated the experience 10-fold! The way that you could freely explore the world and carry on with the main quest independently of each other and jump into each others' fights when you felt like it was just amazing!

Especially when it came to the grottos, then it's multiplayer Mystery Dungeon! It's great! Lots of fond memories of screaming out "GLEN!/DEAN! LMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!" whenever one of us found a Liquid Metal Slime :D 

As a single player game though? It's really just kinda boring though... I know that DQ prides itself on being really THE vanilla JRPG series, but DQ9 really is just too vanilla for my tastes without the multiplayer component.

Edited by Dcubed
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today I finished Halo 2 on Legendary (PC/Steam). It would say it is the most difficult single player game I have ever played, but Ecco the Dolphin exists, so it's in second place. xD But it sure was difficult. I died a lot and really appreciated each checkpoint. :D

It was also really excellent fun. I've never played through Halo 2 before. I really enjoyed the story, the music and the gameplay. I also liked the Arbiter's gameplay a lot with the temporary camo mechanic. You can tell the developers really cared about the game. Amongst the story there's also lots of humour. Several times I actually really lol'd just hearing the daft things the enemies (and sometimes ally AI players) would say.

I'm looking forward to Halo 3, and after that looking forward to seeing how Halo 4 compares to the first 3. As I understand it, at that point it was taken over by 343 and Bungie broke of from MS, sacrificing ownership of Halo and began work on Destiny (which I've never played).

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragon Quest IX is truly the Four Swords Adventures of Dragon Quest. Kinda average on it's own, amazing in multiplayer, a bit of a hassle to set up.

Also weird in that it's the most unique Dragon Quest I've played because of the multiplayer, despite it not doing anything that stands out in anything else.

It was my fave entry for quite a while, until DQ XI S: EoaEA: DE.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I totally share your sentiments and this is probably why I put the game down for so many years, especially considering other RPGs I was playing around the time or had played were stuff like FFVII and Pokemon Black and White and I think my interest in the latter effectively made me stop playing DQIX because a lot of the characters weren't appealing and the plot was kind of bland. It's interesting your comment about the multiplayer thing though because I also played through the entire of Metroid Prime Federation Force in single player.

 

I do remember getting the game because it was being marketed a lot and was getting good reviews in ONM and being an RPG it was in a genre I knew I'd be interested in, so my apathy towards this game was a huge surprise back in the day.

 

I made a Backloggery a few years after getting the game though and now during lockdown in order to save money I want to make the most of the games I already have and finish what I missed in my collections for previous consoles while I wait for the next big game I might be interested in.

 

I'm currently in the school in the snow area having opened up the grave dungeon and currently grinding for that. My main character is currently Level 27 and the rest are Level 26. And oh boy, I'm noticing since coming back to the game that the entire script and character names are riddled with puns. There's an enemy called an "Apeckalypse" for goodness sake...

Edited by GenericAperson
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today I have finally made some more progress with DOOM (2016).

I always thought this game was a horror-shooter which I usually don't like. And...it actually is a horror game.
But for the enemies :D

It's perfect arcadey FPS-action. Enemies spawn and it's up to you to bring 'em hell. :cool:

It's a shame, though, that the trophies are glitched beyond belief. :nono: I wanted to get the Platinum, but getting the trophies turns out to be a crapshoot. Guess it'll just be one playthrough. ::shrug:

If the quality remains high I have no complaints, though :D

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it took a while but I managed to acquire all seven Fyggs in Dragon Quest IX. I was stuck on the Dreadmaster boss for ages, had to significantly grind and invest in new armour in order to beat it. The main problem is that his Double Trouble attack hits like a truck and wipes out my party members very quickly in high 20s. It took significant grinding with interest in getting money in mind to outfit the entire party with better armour and when I went back with better armour and attacks I managed to beat him and tank the hits while only requiring one Buff spell.

 

I get the feeling I'm more than halfway through the game now. The plot has finally moved on a bit and presented an interesting plot twist, if a tad predictable. The main antagonist has finally revealed themself and now the game is asking me to hunt down a dragon... well, it's in the title of the game after all.

 

Party is currently nearly mid 30s in terms of levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites