Traqie

12th January report & 2021 recap

Hey hey hey people,

late as usual!

  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

    19.8 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

    1143.6 hours playtime

    613 of 637 achievements

2021 turned out to be a better year for me than 2020 in every regard EXCEPT my backlog. Sadly this year I only beated 19 games vs 27 games in 2020. Maybe one upside to it is that I beated and 100% one very long game, that is Mad Max. And in 2021 I started the first Witcher game and I’m currently in middle of chapter 2 out of four chapters. A couple un-ending games kept me busy too, that is latest DLC to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth which I will definitely finish this year and Forza Horizon 4, I did most story missions in the base game but I don’t consider it beaten yet, so it’s still Unfinished on my list AND I haven’t touched the DLCs yet! So, maybe this year wasn’t that bad considering in 2020 I mostly played shorter games?

For the first time, I made a list of games to beat in 2021. I would say it was pretty ambitious considering there are 5 very long games and I only just started The Witcher! I ditched Yakuza after trying to play with K+M, I decided it’s finally time to buy myself a controller so I bought Wireless Xbox Series X Controller sometime during summer and I still haven’t tested it lol. As for B2, Dragon’s Dogma, Digimon and other unfinished games – I will move them soon to 2022 list which is even bigger and more ambitious. Will I succeed? Probably not XD

Some definitively good news – I read more books this year than last year, yay for the book backlog! I also worked a lot more this year and tried different jobs. And just before 2021 ended, I got a job in game industry! Well for now, my contract ends at the end of this month, hopefully they decide to extend my contract. I work in LQA (Localization Quality Assurance) and so far it’s been… very boring. I got no horror stories to tell (yet?) and apparently work in QA is not so bad too, at least here where I work. Might be because I live in EU, not in US where there are almost no labor protections or at least it feels like there’s none. But I only worked for 3 weeks there, so who knows, maybe I’ll end up hating this job and entire industry. And don’t worry, I don’t actually make translations, just look at translations of actual translators and make sure they make sense, it fits the context etc etc.

Covid remains a huge issue here, with only 48,8% of population vaccinated with 2nd dose (as of 6th January 2022), despite vaccines being free and recently allowing kids to get vaccinated. This country is fucked. As much as I want to I don’t think we’re going to see the end of it this year, with new, more resistant variants popping up it’s going to be at least one more year IMO. I hope more and more politicians take a stance like Macron and make lives of unvaccinated as annoying as possible.

But enough covid, here are my last 2 beaten games in 2021, top 5 games I played in 2021 and enjoyed the most!

See ya later this year!

8 hours
+8/10
Played on Steam

Beaten 1st time on difficulty – Cero Miedo (Hard)
Mods/fixes used: N/A
Favorite Tracks:
04 - Alienation Akimbo
07 - Handgun Harmony
24 - Sacrifice
26 - Beautiful Blasphemy
27 - Occultivated
37 - Reflections of Violence


DUSK is one of the best boomer shooters that I played so far. It takes inspiration and best parts from most well-known, old FPS games. Quake, Blood, Half-life, DOOM, Hexen/Heretic etc.

But I’ll start with OST – it’s absolutely fucking amazing. When you’re not fighting, it’s usually a dark ambient music that perfectly captures the atmosphere of the level, and during fight, full on industrial metal, a music closer to Quake 1 than DOOM. I strongly recommend to listen to all tracks I listed above when you read this. Picking just 6 was really hard and I usually try to pick just 3 tracks when I make these reviews 😭

DUSK is split into 3 episodes, each consisting of 10 levels + 1 secret level for each episode, so 33 in total. Episode 1 consists of levels set at farms, old caves, abandoned industrial sites and cities. Generally most enemies appear in every episode, but some stay in the episode they were introduced in, so in episode 1 we have demonic goats and live scarecrows with shotguns that don’t come back until more twisted levels of episode 3. Episode 2 is even more industrial, with giant factories and machines, with one level that’s basically Black Mesa from Half-life and near end it goes in a strange direction, like E2M7 where we are on an industrial site that appears to be in some kind of void and it gets weirder the further we go like in E2M9 where industrial meshes with some ancient castle or fortification set underground. Episode 3 aims for more Hexen/Heretic vibes as we start in a gothic, underground cathedral and we descent further to what turns out to be an entire city and then down the crypt where stone seems to merge with flesh… And then, halfway into the episode, we start on a floating island with a big church in the middle with dark and red blood sky above. After we gain access to the church and destroy a corrupted altar, a giant, bloody tornado comes, destroying the church but also revealing entrance to the underground.

DUSK has a story, that’s stretched through all three episodes. Through episode 1 and 2 it’s barely there, sometimes game reminds you that maybe there is something more to this, with a deep, demonic voice that occasionally talks to you or a blood written message on a wall. It starts to unfold in episode 3, giving us some idea who we are, what we’re going through and what’s the purpose to all this. It’s nothing amazing, though there is a little more to it than “big demon boss is behind all this and you have to destroy it!!”. There’s some Lovecraftian elements too, because of course there is.

But now it’s time to talk about most important thing in an FPS – gunplay. DUSK gives us 11 weapons, or more if you consider double-wielded variants. We start with sickles, which you will mostly use for first 2 minutes and then only switch to destroy a vent entrance or a box. But they have one secret power that game never mentions to you – if you time it, you can deflect any attack, including bullets. Sadly, I discovered this after I 100% DUSK so I never had a chance to play around with it. Later, we get a sword that can be charged up if we have 100 morale, to deal one powerful blow and it will kill instantly most enemies. If you have 50 morale or more it can be also used to block & deflect attacks like sickles, but you don’t need to time it and each block consumes 1 morale point. 2nd slot – pistols. Another weapon that you might use at start and dump, but even that has its use. Generally DUSK likes to throw in some cannon fodder with tougher enemies, often that’s Klansman or Soldiers, so instead of wasting ammo of more powerful weapons, use pistols. 3rd – a shotgun. It does decent damage and in this game has good range for a shotgun, excellent for one-shoting some smaller enemies, and you can dual-wield if you find another shotgun! 4th slot is reserved for an absolute classic – super shotgun! It feels and sounds powerful and can take down most end-level enemies in a couple shots. Downside being that it obviously shares ammo with normal shotgun and you can only have 50 shells and it firing both barrels, you can only fire it 25 times before running out of ammo. 5th – Assault Rifle. Fast firing, decent damage, great for spraying or finishing off some tougher enemies. 6th – hunting rifle, DUSK’s sniper rifle, has big zoom, will one-shot some tougher enemies. 7th – crossbow, this one can be really powerful if you utilize it well. It can fire through anything, literally. Any wall, any enemy, it pierces everything, get in a position and with one bolt you’ll kill several weaker enemies. Game even sometimes likes to throw you into a long corridor filled with klansmen to give you some fun with crossbow. It has a slight knockback too and can be used to jump to reach secrets. Downside being it has kinda meh damage. 8th slot is for grenade launcher, fun to use and turn enemies into pile of guts, grenade explodes on impact with enemy and if you miss it will bounce around and explode few seconds later. But with right-click you can detonate all grenades. Last but not least, a riveter, this game version of rocket launcher. You shoot rockets, enemies go boom, you can rocket jump with it, it’s a boss killer, it’s good. It doesn’t have a huge splash damage so you can’t just fire at the ground to clear a room, but landing a rivet right next to their feet is usually good enough. Every weapon has its purpose, you will use most of them (at least on higher difficulty), they all sound good too. Except maybe standard shotgun, it could use a little more audio punch, but it’s a minor critique.




I mentioned how you can deflect any attack with sickles, that’s because there are no hitscan enemies in this game, anything can be dodged or reflected, including soldiers shooting at you with their assault rifles. In hardest difficulty you die from one hit and so it's possible to complete enitre game without getting hit, but it is also possible to do like 90% levels without killing anything. I’m not sure about some boss fights, some are definitely possible to do skip. If you beat it with no killing you get Pacifist award. There’s few more, a Speedrun award for beating dev time, Completionist for killing everything and finding all secrets. Of course there are secrets and I would say most of them are pretty easy to find, maybe even too easy, but most of them just give you some ammo and health, nothing game breaking but can be lifesaving on higher difficulties. Some are harder to find and they give you big rewards. In E1M2 there is a secret that gives you a sword, riveter, crossbow and something else, but you have to complete few steps to open it.

DUSK has some horror elements too, like this game can be genuinely scary sometimes. First time when you encounter this enemy, you can only hear them through walls as you explore dark crypt. They make this horrific, breathing noise like every breath is their last. And when you finally meet your first one, they run insanely fast at you, making noise like they are sucking in all the air on their way towards you. Another horror enemy, the wendigo. It’s invisible until you hit it and there are only two ways to tell it’s nearby – a small drops of blood it leaves on the ground as it approaches you or heavy animal like breathing. Well there’s third way too, when it hits you. And a couple levels fully utilize the scary nature of this enemy, where it throws you into dark corridors or underground passages, where you only have your flashlight (or not! it can break too).

DUSK can be beaten in 7-9 hours, depending on the difficulty and how dedicated you are to finding secrets. Standard play time for games it’s based upon. Don’t worry if you don’t play a lot of FPS games, as easy difficulty is perfect for people that never played one or very little, normal offers some challenge but enemies are slowed down and most don’t hit too hard. Cero Miedo is difficulty I played on and it was great – enemies and projectiles are 50% faster than those on normal difficulty and you have to keep a tab on your health. DUSKmare is for masochists, you get hit once and you die.

I struggle to find any critique for this game, to me it’s excellent. I wish it had one or two “crazy” weapons, something very fun to use but not necessarily always useful, like bee launcher in Turok 2, devs played it very, very safe with weapons. Enemy AI sometimes got stuck, but that’s it. I’m not giving it a 10 or 9 because I didn’t enjoy it THAT MUCH, it’s super solid in everything it does and I might return to it someday but it doesn’t have that something that really stands out, that will make me remember this game for a loooong time. I also wanted to try multiplayer, but I think it’s dead now. There’s only few servers and most of them are empty, with one or two players in them. But you don’t really miss much, from what I saw on YT it’s a simple arena deathmatch.

Oh and there’s a soap bar you can find on every level. It kills every enemy with one throw. Highly recommended!


Half-Life 2

Donut County

7/10
2.1 hours
20 of 20 achievements

Beaten 1st time on difficulty – N/A
Mods/fixes used: N/A
Favorite Tracks:
04 – Holes
14 – Bird of Paradise
29 – Racoon House Music


Donut County is about holes in the ground, donuts, flat hollow earth and racoon conspiracy.

We are a racoon that delivers donuts to clients that order them via app. But for some reason the donuts are holes in the ground that grow bigger the more stuff falls into them. Gameplay reminds me of another game that I played long time ago, but in that game you started as some kind creature or force, that grew bigger the more stuff you absorbed. So, you would start taking small objects like scraps of paper or candy and end up eating furniture. Donut County is that but you control a hole. You start with single bricks or cups, move to bigger objects like tables and end up eating entire buildings. There is some variation of course, halfway we get a catapult upgrade for our hole, that lets us shoot certain objects out. Depending on the level, that might be frog to shoot it up high and get those bees that block a certain character from moving or a chicken that needs to get upstairs. On one level we even need to make a soup inside a hole, while avoiding cockroaches that would spoil the soup. After we finish a level we get new entry to “trashopedia” and how much exp we got.

The name of our racoon is BK and he’s kind of an asshole. We don’t consume just objects, but animals that live there and everyone, including us, ends up at exactly 999ft below the earth. Obviously everyone is pissed at him, but he doesn’t take any blame and even suggests we helped most animals that ended down there. I don’t like how sometimes characters talk to each other, for example they talk face to face but one of them will literally say “LOL!” in middle of convo, it’s annoying. Fun detail, on every level where we control the hole, there is a small round screen in the corner of monitor, that shows BK staring at his tablet while we control the hole. Every character in this game is an animal, except Mira who is the only human and who is our friend (and she’s pissed at us too). We jump from present time (when we are stuck underground) to past and getting everyone there.

Donut County has low poly graphics with a very pastel like colors and it looks pretty. On top of that we have a very nice OST that fits the game and it’s long, in fact a full OST with 3 bonus, ~1,5 minute tracks is 1 hour 42 minutes long. That’s almost as long as the game itself. And there’s some good tracks there, I might get it in the future.

Overall a nice game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Disclaimer, I got this for free as a gift, but I don’t think I would recommend spending $13/11,49€ on this. When it goes on sale it’s around $4,50/4,50€ and that feels like a good price.


Raccoons studying trash, very important! You can also see the hole in bottom-center.

--- Top 5 games I enjoyed the most this year! ---

5. Samorost 3

5.6 hours, 30 of 30 achievements


Pretty good adventure game from Czech Republic, inspired by Czech filmmakers. Our gnome protagonist lives in an organic and very beautiful world, this is accompanied by even more beautiful soundtrack. I recommend the entire trilogy. My review

4. Mad Max

68.9 hours, 48 of 49 achievements


I didn’t expected to enjoy this one as much as I did. Open world with awesome vehicular battles, insane desert storms, psychedelic trips with Griffa and a cast of other, weird characters turned this game into a fun trip. My review

3. DUSK

18.3 hours, 30 of 30 achievements


My favorite boomer shooter that tries to capture what was best in that era. Fucking amazing soundtrack, good set of guns, of levels filled with occultic and some very scary enemies. My review… just scroll up!

2. The Walking Dead: The Final Season

18.4 hours, 48 of 48 achievements


The Final Season recaptures some of the magic from Season 1, but doesn’t try to fully copy it. A closing on Clementine’s and AJ’s story, with standard Telltale gameplay with some small twists here and there. My review

1. Finding Paradise

4.9 hours, 1 of 1 achievements


Very moving story that I related to way more than one in “To The Moon”. It’s difficult for me to say more without spoiling the story. My short review

VitoStippkow

I didn’t expected to enjoy this one as much as I did.

Ha! Are you me? I thought the same thing about Mad Max. They did a good job of capturing the desert environment.

I’m skeptical as well that we can leave Covid behind us in 2022. It would be really great, but I seriously doubt it. It’s really exhausting to live in a constant state of pseudo-lockdown and I feel I get lazier concerning social activities each day :D

Reading books is a great hobby, I like it as well. I find it even more relaxing than playing video games although I never get as hyped for a book as I get for some games.

Good luck with your goals for 2022 :)

Traqie

Thank you :3