RikkiUW’s profile

Despite attempting to work on my backlog, it was still growing faster than it was decreasing so I’m now only entering for SG games I really want, and only keeping bundle games I genuinely want to play. And I’m determined not to let my VR backlog grow much, despite seeing so many good games.

As you can see from my favourites list (which is in no particular order) my taste is varied. I tend to like games with story. I also like games that are unique in some way. I tend to play more short/medium games than long games as I get bored easily (which explains my large ‘unfinished’ list :P). I will stick with a game if it’s good enough though. I’ve never been into massively multiplayer games. Actually I play single player almost exclusively, but I’m usually willing to try multiplayer/co-op for games I like.

My intention is to create a post for every 3-4 games beaten, including a review on steam. I find other people’s reviews helpful, so why not help other people.


September '21 Play Log

Not many game this month, partly due time spent on other things. Coming up on the end of the year I’m miles away from any of my goals. Ideally I’d like to spend more time gaming and catch up a bit, but we’ll see if that actually happens.


Republique

Republique

5/10
26 hours playtime

I quite enjoyed the first 3 episodes of this game, but it was downhill from there. Unfortunately the last 2 episodes put me off the game too much to recommend it.

Pros:

  • Well voice acted
  • I really liked the concept - actually playing ‘myself’ and looking through cameras to see what was happening worked better than expected
  • When you’re in ‘look for electronics’ view, time is paused so you can take time and look around
  • Getting caught isn’t that big of a problem as holding cells are common enough that there’s never an overly frustrating amount of progress lost, but you do lose most of your items so it’s not inconsequential either
  • The alternative clothes make running through the game a second time for achievements much easier (though IMO they should have been unlocked after beating the game the first time)
  • You get the VR version free too, though I opted not to play it as I don’t think this game would really benefit from VR.

Cons:

  • Achievements for looking through every camera are pointless and frustrating given that you have to be in ‘normal’ vision in order for it to register
  • The episode 1 achievement for looking through every camera can’t be completed until episode 2
  • Episode 4 presented some relevant story information but largely felt like filler, and the ending was frustrating
  • Who thought it was a good idea having pin pads where the order you enter numbers in is random, the numbers shown change every half second such that the number you need may not even be an option, AND there’s a timeout? Thankfully these are episode 4 only.
  • Episode 5 had a significant spike in difficulty with some changes to enemies only discovered the hard way
  • The ending was very disappointing

Verdict: 5/10

Played for PAGYWOSG. Just barely made it then forgot to check the GAs and missed the only one I wanted to enter, so go me. The latter half of the game ruined this for me, which is unfortunate because it had potential.


State of Mind

State of Mind

5/10
16 hours playtime

I was looking forward to playing this game since the themes sounded interesting, but honestly it wasn’t really worth it. It’s not bad per se, and I’m sure many people would like it, but for me there were too many faults to enjoy it. The story took quite a while to get me interested in it. The premise is that the main character is looking for his missing wife and son. Presumably you’re supposed to empathize with him. This is made much more difficult due to the fact that he’s… not very likeable. This doesn’t even seem to serve a story purpose as far as I can tell.

Pros:

  • The story isn’t bad once you finally get into it
  • Well voice acted

Cons:

  • I didn’t find either of the endings particularly satisfying
  • I wasn’t impressed with the graphics. They didn’t feel like they were done in a unique style so much as badly dated (at least when it game to people & robots).
  • The movement controls were really bad. This was the biggest issue for me. If it wasn’t for this I probably would have given the game a hesitant thumbs up. Maybe it’s better with mouse and keyboard but with a controller it’s a nightmare.
  • No manual saves, and the autosaves aren’t frequent enough. I found myself losing some progress when I resumed playing a few times.
  • Unskippable cutscenes. I don’t have any issue with this on the first playthrough - for an interactive movie game like this it’s a good thing - but they remain unskippable on subsequent playthroughts, which are necessary to get all achievements.
  • There are only a few things you can change in the last section of the game, making replay value up until the end pretty non-existent, despite needing to replay it to get all achievements.
  • The auto saves appear to remain usable and thus useful for collecting missed achievements, but it seems that under certain circumstances (presumably if you change something significant) future ones get wiped. So if you’re planning to use them to get missed achievements, work from the last achievements backwards or you may find yourself needing to replay everything.

Verdict: 5/10

Played for PA. This game sounded quite interesting, but ended up being disappointing. Between the awful controlling and the unlikable main character it just didn’t do much for me.


Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity

7/10
74 hours playtime

Definitely worth playing if you enjoy RPGs. The story is decent for the most part, though the last half of the game does get to be a bit of a slog at times as the main story is just ‘find the guy’ and doesn’t really go much of anywhere. There are plenty of sidequests to do though which have stories of their own and tell you more about the world.

Pros:

  • What parts are voice acted are done well
  • The random chatter between party members can be quite entertaining
  • Party members will often give their thoughts during dialogue. This could keep things interesting during replays since you may hear something different if you have a different party
  • Autosaves in new areas are very helpful
  • There’s a hard autosave right before the point of no return
  • The ending was pretty good and unexpected
  • The leveling system is good - it lets you go in different directions so even with the same party members, replays can still be quite different
  • You can always rebuild you character (stats and all levels) for a price, which is great if you realize you made a mistake
  • The various auto-pause options can really help out

Cons:

  • Not everything is voice acted
  • You can decrease difficulty during gameplay, but it only takes effect in unexplored maps. Since the primary reason to decrease difficulty is because of a specific battle, it’s often too late to do so by the time you realize you want to. Unless of course you have an early enough save and are willing to lose some progress.
  • Saves are not ordered by type, not time, which is inconvenient
  • You can’t remove or change enchantments
  • The auto-pause on ineffective weapon option also pauses if the secondary damage type is ineffective, which makes it too frustrating to use later in the game when all of your weapons have secondary damage type enchantments on them
  • The ‘master below’ questline is a major side-quest to add an extra challenge. I’m not a fan of the ending. There’s basically the ‘bad but easy’ solution and the ‘impossibly difficult but good’ solution. The latter is way too difficult. I like a challenge, but it’s excessive.

Verdict: 7/10

Played for PA. One of the longer games I’ve beaten. I quite enjoyed it and would like to play the second at some point, but I have to admit coming up on the end I was ready for it to be finished. I tend to get bored of longer games, hence why this one is in the top 5 in playtime for me.


August '21 Play Log

Short post this month. I spent most of my gaming time playing Pillars of Eternity. I’m almost finished, but it’s been dragging on a bit so I’ve not ended up playing as much as usual which doesn’t help.


Ghost Files 2: Memory of a Crime

Ghost Files 2: Memory of a Crime

3 hours playtime
23 of 23 achievements (100%)

SG win played for PAGYWOSG. Pretty much your garden variety Artifex Mundi HOG. Nothing special.


Recent Acquisitions

July '21 Play Log

Better late than never? Unlike recent months this one was extremely productive, probably my record in terms of hours played. It was a full month of PoP, with a lot of very good games picked. Unfortunately there was a bundle purchased so backlog progress was still in the wrong direction :(.


Submerged

Submerged

7/10
5 hours playtime

Overall a relaxing exploration game that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Great background music
  • No threats - enemies, ability to fall or otherwise die, etc
  • All areas are immediately accessible - no tools or upgrades required, etc
  • No missable achievements, and you can go back and explore after beating the game to finish getting achievements
  • Getting collectibles on large buildings is often puzzle like, but it’s never overly difficult to figure out how to one

Cons:

  • Does get boring after a while - a lot of the small climbable buildings are very similar. Thankfully the game doesn’t outstay its welcome

Verdict: 7/10

PoP. A very scenic game though it does get boring. Given it’s short play time though it was still fairly enjoyable.


Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider

8/10
36 hours playtime

Overall this is a very good game and IMO better than the first. Warning though: despite the appearance from the steam store, this game does not support VR, it only supports VR in one small DLC.

Pros:

  • Decent story
  • Great graphics
  • Good voice acting
  • Good evolution and variety of new weapons/abilities/upgrades
  • The constant sliding from the first game don’t exist here
  • You don’t have to play the first game to understand this game - despite being a sequel they don’t seem terribly related
  • The chapter replay modes and challenges provides some replayability for those who don’t mind repeating the same areas/levels

Cons:

  • Some areas force you into a fight without an opportunity to stealth at all
  • I encountered some bugs. In chapter replay, restarting level causes a crash. Also,
  • I found certain parts of the Baba Yaga DLC too challenging after playing for 30+ hours I had a weird thing start where the screen would randomly go black but the game keeps going (sound is there, menus work, but I can’t see anything in game). I haven’t seen anyone else reporting similar issues though.
  • I don’t like the whole ‘cards’ for upgrades bit in chapter replay. More importantly, I really don’t like the fact that you can apparently buy card packs (many of which are one time use) with real money. It’s gambling and has no place in games.
  • You have to wait a few seconds to skip cutscenes - find in the main game but a nuisance in chapter replay

Verdict: 8/10

PoP. Overall I enjoyed this, but not as much as I was hoping since it turned out I’ve played through at least half of it previously not on Steam so I knew part of it. Still definitely a good game with some improvements on the first .


Heaven's Vault

Heaven's Vault

9/10
16 hours playtime

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It has a great story will lots of exploration that slowly unravels the past. There’s always more to discover. After my first playthrough I’m tempted to start a new game right away to see what happens if I do things differently, and to answer questions I didn’t get to answer the first time around.

Pros:

  • Good graphics
  • Very well voice acted
  • Excellent story that keeps you guessing and leaves you with questions to answer and theories about what happened
  • Lots to discover and explore
  • New Game + lets you replay but keep the translations you have so far
  • Depending on your responses and actions you can learn different information and I think have some people act differently

Cons:

  • You can’t go back to places that you’ve been to unless you have a reason. This can be an advantage because it prevents you from exploring unnecessary places if you get stuck (unlikely IMO), but if you miss something or want to explore it more you can’t.
  • Six constantly asks if you want to leave a place. It makes you feel rushed. IMO you should be able to ask it to take you back, and only have it ask if you actually find all there is to find.
  • The walking speed is fairly slow. Granted this is briefly explained in game, but it’s still frustrating and can effectively discourage exploration, which is the whole point of the game.
  • In some circumstances - especially when flying - it’s not always clear who’s talking until something is said to give you a clue.
  • Once you leave a moon you can’t go back down (even if it’s a place you can always revisit) without going somewhere else and going back.

Verdict: 9/10

PoP. I almost bought this several times and was really happy when it was bundled Really glad I finally got to play it. It’s an absolutely amazing game; I’d love to go back and play NG+. There aren’t many games I replay, so that’s pretty high praise from me.


GRIS

GRIS

9/10
6 hours playtime

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It’s very artistic and open to interpretation to a certain extent. The gameplay is a mix of platforming and puzzles, neither of which are particularly difficult. I generally don’t like platformers because I’m very bad at them, but I didn’t really have a problem with it.

Pros:

  • Graphically gorgeous
  • Platforming sections aren’t difficult
  • Puzzles are provide a bit of a challenge but are not difficult
  • Enjoyable music, very atmospheric
  • After you beat the game you can go back and replay any chapter, including from checkpoints throughout the chapter. This makes getting missed achievements/collectibles significantly less painful than they could be

Cons:

  • The memento collectibles don’t seem to serve any purpose. It seems like it may have been a ‘most other games have collectibles so maybe we should too’ sort of decision.

Verdict: 9/10

PoP. Very artistic, I definitely see why so many people like it.


ENSLAVED™: Odyssey to the West™ Premium Edition

ENSLAVED™: Odyssey to the West™ Premium Edition

8/10
20 hours playtime

I quite enjoyed this game overall, but there were several issues that prevented it from being great. I didn’t enjoy the DLC as much as the main game, though it did like the ending.

Pros:

  • The graphics (once fixed) are quite good, with some gorgeous scenery
  • Decent story
  • Likeable characters
  • Good voice acting
  • Doesn’t suffer from the Assassin’s Creed problem of randomly jumping to your death. If you try to jump, you’ll either make it or you’ll not jump - no accidental deaths.
  • I liked the ‘cheats’ that unlock when you beat the game - it makes subsequent playthroughs (for achievements, difficulties, etc) much easier and doesn’t lock you out of achievements like most games with cheats do.

Cons:

  • My main complaint is the camera. Quite a few games take the approach this game does, and it almost never works well. I’ll be going in one direction and the camera will suddenly turn and I’ll now be running in a different direction. It’s confusing and frustrating. While you can control the camera to some extent, you can’t always rotate to the view you want.
  • One graphics issue - grey banding on characters in cutscenes. There’s a fix for it in a guide, I’m not sure if it works or not though.
  • I found counterattacking very difficult - getting the timing right was too tricky for me
  • There are costumes that unlock after beating the game - one for Trip and 2 for Monkey, but you can only use one at a time (without a manual hack). It’s not possible to have both Trip and Monkey changed at the same time. This is probably because the costumes are combined with the aforementioned cheats - you can’t only apply a costume without the cheat.

Verdict: 8/10

PoP. Also the last game remaining from my ABC list from 2019 which I sort of abandoned at the end of that year with only 2 games left. Very enjoyable with pretty nice graphics.


Recent Acquisitions

March, April, May, June '21 Play Log

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on non-gaming hobbies and also spent quite a few hours in My Time At Portia which I haven’t beaten yet. I’m not going to bother with a goals review - I’m not way too far behind to achieve them. I’m doing PoP this quarter though and my goal is to beat everything, so hopefully I’ll get back to actually progressing on my backlog.


BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Since I beat the first Bioshock a while ago I went back and played Burial at Sea. It was interesting how it connected the two games. I opted to skip Clash in the Clouds as it looked too frustrating.


Clandestine

Clandestine

8/10
15 hours playtime

I suspect this would be a great co-op game. Personally I played it single player and it worked fairly well.

Pros:

  • Good stealth system
  • Innovative hacking that works well as both single player and co-op
  • Good voice acting
  • Decent graphics

Cons:

  • A few of the animations were a bit buggy/could be better
  • While the story is decent enough to carry the game, it fails to get you emotionally involved enough at the beginning to really care about your goal.
  • There didn’t seem to be much difference between normal and easy difficulty (at least if you’re taking the non-violent stealth approach)
  • You can’t see your footprint (how much evidence you left) for missions after you leave the post-game summary, so if you’re trying to get the Whisper achievement, you’ll have to keep your own notes or you’ll probably end up having to replay all levels.
  • In the in-between mission area there’s a firing range, but it seems like you’re not able to use it which is unfortunate

Verdict: 8/10

Definitely an interesting game and quite enjoyable. I think it would have been really interesting to play with someone else. If you’re into co-op games and/or have a friend to play this with, I’d definitely suggest giving it a try.


Observer

Observer

5/10
9 hours playtime

I genuinely don’t understand how so many people like this game. Apart from the collectible-induced nightmare, the story just isn’t that great, and neither of the endings were satisfying to me.

Pros:

  • There is a story, so people who like story based games may like this
  • Well voice acted

Cons:

  • An epic amount of collectibles that must be collected in one playthrough
  • The collectables don’t add anything to the story
  • The collectables are well hidden and many are missable
  • I wasn’t a fan of how they did the ‘cyberpunk’ feel. Some of it was good, but sometimes it just felt like they stuck glowing lights and/or screens all over the place whether it made sense or not
  • I don’t undstand why people seem to enjoy the story. There weren’t any moments I would describe as a significant twist, and the main plot didn’t hold my interest at all.

Verdict: 5/10

SG win. This game seems to get quite good reviews. I really don’t know why because I didn’t really enjoy it.


House Flipper

House Flipper

8/10
26 hours playtime

If you’re into renovation and interior design then you’ll enjoy this game.

Pros:

  • The workshop allows for a huge variety of items
  • The tool upgrades worked well and at a good pace
  • If you really hate cockroaches you can replace them with glass
  • The mini map (when unlocked) can make finding things you missed cleaning/fixing much easier
  • I really liked the unique/themed houses

Cons:

  • You can’t move/remove/place windows, which sometimes limits renovation ideas
  • You can’t paint/tile around the bottom of stairs
  • There are items & tiles in houses that you can’t buy yourself
  • What’s up with the electric window cleaner? Where can I get one of those? I’m pretty sure it’s not actually a thing.
  • There’s a fairly wide variety of paint colours, but personally I found most of them pretty ugly
  • The number of different houses available isn’t as large as it looks, as several of them (especially the first few) are pretty much identical

Verdict: 8/10

I randomly decided to get this game. If you’re the creative type and/or enjoy interior design you may like this game. While I did enjoy it, I’m definitely not creative enough to enjoy it as much as I think others would.


Smile For Me

Smile For Me

8/10
4 hours playtime

Definitely unusual but quite enjoyable.

Pros:

  • Definitely has some funny moments
  • Interesting art style
  • Among the best puzzle difficulty I’ve come across - they’re challenging but don’t get frustrating
  • I liked the unique nod/head shake used to answer questions

Verdict: 8/10

SG win. Really bizarre game but pretty good.


Recent(ish) Acquisitions

…Ouch. They look really good though!

February '21 Play Log


Train Station Renovation

Train Station Renovation

5/10
16 hours playtime

This has the potential to be an enjoyable game for anyone who enjoys games like House Flipper. Unfortunately in its current state I cannot recommend it.

Pros:

  • Variety of stations for renovation
  • in addition to the usual ‘clean up garbage and add appropriate furniture’ each station has other unique goals to complete, which I like (and which could be expanded on)
  • A scanner helps you find any trash you’ve missed, making it much easier to get 100% completion
  • There’s some leeway - you can get 100% completion even if you’ve missed one or two pieces of trash

Cons:

  • Controls could be better - they don’t feel as natural and as easy as House Flipper
  • It was in a Humble Choice bundle despite it having numerous bugs that made it largely unplayable
  • The bugs rendering it unplayable have been fixed, but there are still numerous bugs
  • Achievements are broken
  • Levels can’t be replayed, so you can’t go back and get 100% completion on previous levels without restarting the game
  • The furniture/item requirements for various areas frequently don’t make sense
  • Once you put trash in a dumpster it can’t be moved, which can be an issue with the recycling dumpster if you get a piece stuck at the front, forcing you to pay to have it emptied before putting anything else in it

Verdict: 6/10

Got the HB choice partly because of this and it turned out to be a buggy mess. To be fair, the devs are active on the forums, and do seem to care about players, but I’m not convinced they’re doing much to fix the broken achievements. In addition to having to find workarounds to get them unlocking at all, I’m pretty sure I should have 3 more than I do, so the workarounds still aren’t perfect.


GET EVEN

GET EVEN

5/10
13 hours playtime

There are definitely some good aspects of this game, but unfortunately I can’t recommend it. The way it’s split into 2 parts is… different. It definitely has the potential to be an interesting game mechanic, but some other unfortunate design choices prevent me from being able to appreciate it. The biggest flaw is the mechanics. It’s built purely as an FPS. There are a variety of unlockable weapons, melee takedowns are lethal, and apart from crouching there are no stealth mechanics to speak of. Given that you are supposed to be stealthy and kill as few people as possible, this is a very big problem.

Pros:

  • Very good voice acting
  • For most of the game you have a phone which shows you where enemies are as well as their field of vision, which partly compensates for the lack of stealth options
  • The idea of the story taking place in your memories was a really neat idea
  • All chapters can be replayed
  • Cutscenes are still unskippable during subsequent viewings
  • Despite the difficulty getting to it, the good ending is very well done

Cons:

  • Previously mentioned lack of stealth mechanics are a problem if you want the good ending
  • Most of the ‘evidence’ you can collect seems entirely pointless
  • The asylum sections felt like little more than padding
  • Until you’ve beaten the first part of the game, not all chapters are replayable
  • I found subtitles kept turning off for some reason
  • The story failed to keep me interested, though was due in part to my frustration around the game mechanics
  • There seems to be little to no difference between the two difficulties

Verdict: 5/10

SG win played for PAGYWOSG. Another game with unmet potential. The story writers and the devs in charge of gameplay mechanics seem to have been trying to design two completely separate games.


Darkestville Castle

Darkestville Castle

9/10
5 hours playtime

Entertaining point & click game with plenty of funny moments.

Pros:

  • Excellent voice acting
  • Good artwork
  • Very funny
  • Decent story

Cons:

  • Has several moments where I restored to using random things together to see what happened
  • The last chapter was difficult enough that I ended up using a walkthrough for most of it

Verdict: 9/10

Hurray, a positive review! I picked this up in the winter sale and thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommend to anyone who likes goofy point & clicks.


TSIOQUE

TSIOQUE

9/10
3 hours playtime

Very cute adventure game with a very good art style that’s well worth playing for point & click fans, though it is perhaps a bit expensive given the short play time.

Pros:

  • Beautiful art style
  • Very well voice acted
  • Puzzle difficulty is very good
  • Had quite a few funny moments
  • Good story

Cons:

  • I wasn’t a big fan of the ending
  • Most P&C games have a double-click to run/instantly move to the next screen feature. This doesn’t. While I definitely appreciate the very well done scene transitions, there is enough back and forth that the speed of the scene transitions can get unfortunate.
  • Mutually exclusive achievements despite no replay value

Verdict: 9/10

Another one I thoroughly enjoyed, and also recommend.


Still There

Still There

6/10
4 hours playtime

Honestly I was disappointed in this game. It was more depressing than I expected, and not as humorous. My main complaint though is that the puzzles were quite difficult.

Pros:

  • I liked how the story was told
  • You can interact with the AI to get hints
  • The space station the game takes place on is very ‘busy’, there’s lots of stuff lying around and it generally looks realistically lived in

Cons:

  • It’s not obvious you can get hints; I found this out by accident
  • I found the hints were often just ‘how to get started on the puzzle’, rather than helping with specific parts I was stumped on
  • Most of the humour fell flat for me
  • The down side of there being so much stuff on the space station is that there’s so many things you can interact with that it’s very easy to miss the one or two things that are actually useful
  • The puzzles really are technical, but the in-game technical manual doesn’t always do a great job of explaining systems, some of which are quite complex. It’s easy to get intimidated/frustrated.

Verdict: 6/10

This was on my wishlist, but honestly it disappointment me. It’s not a bad game per se, but IMO if you skipped it you wouldn’t be missing much.


Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition

Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition

7/10
37 hours playtime

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It was a wild ride, with lots of unexpected twists and turns. If you enjoy VNs and a good story, I recommend giving this a try. My biggest complaint was the grinding required to get all scenes etc. As much as it’s tempting to ignore this, it did reveal some interesting parts I’d missed and answered questions I had with the story.

Pros:

  • Interesting story that has lots of unexpected twists, keeping you guessing until the end
  • The characters were well done and all had their own personalities that came through well
  • I didn’t come across any translation/grammar/spelling errors with the translation
  • Repeated playthroughs using different options can reveal different parts of the story
  • I was impressed how well the different parts fit together. With such a complicated story inconsistencies wouldn’t be surprising, but this game did not have any. Even the small details were well done.

Cons:

  • It felt like there were a few too many bad endings
  • Unlocking all of the tips, scenes, etc to get all achievements is a nightmare, especially if you don’t follow a guide for your first playthrough (which I highly recommend)
  • I had a hard time with SSS. I found it often wasn’t obvious how different values would affect the outcome. There were times were I wanted to get or to avoid a specific outcome, and even after finding the correct values via trial and error it still wasn’t obvious why those values worked. Answer mode had the same problem.
  • Most of the tips seemed a little pointless since it just repeated explanations given in game
  • I came across some points where skipping didn’t want to skip scenes I’d seen before. This was especially true in the xtend episode.
  • This game is supposed to be set in the near future, but I found both of the male characters sexist, as well as some of the writing. For example, some of the girls being ‘naturally frail’, but not having any health concerns? That’s just BS.
  • The skipping is not fast enough given how much you have to skip when doing repeat playthroughs. I’d often start skipping then go and do something else while I waited.

Verdict: 7/10

I very nearly finished this one in January but didn’t quite make it. SG Playing Matters & PoP win. This was my first proper visual novel. I definitely enjoyed the story, and it was told in a unique way, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy more VNs. As much as I enjoy story based games, and definitely enjoyed this game, I think I’d prefer to read a book than play a VN with little to no actual gameplay.


January Acquisitions

February Acquisitions

January '21 Play Log I

Yep, it’s still strange writing the year 2021.

Finally got around to setting up my VR stuff on my new laptop, except for reasons unknown it only works using integrated graphics, which of course gets maybe 5FPS. It’s been a week now and Oculus support hasn’t managed to figure out what’s going on. I’m really hoping they manage to, but I’m also beginning to realize the 1660ti in it isn’t as great as I thought, so it remains to be seen how many of my VR games it’ll be able to handle anyway. Turns out a laptop that would be good with VR would be close to $3500 though. I could build a desktop that’s better still for $1k less. I’m resisting the urge to do that for now (not that I have the money) but it means I’m stuck with a play area that’s small enough to cause me problems. For example I won’t be able to play Skyrim VR until I find a way to play in a larger area :(.


Project Warlock

Project Warlock

8/10
10 hours playtime
More

Decent FPS that’s very retro. If you enjoy FPSs or want to relive some of the older ones this is worth playing.

Pros:

  • Really great music
  • Good weapon, level, and enemy variety
  • If you find most/all of the secrets you’re unlikely to run out of lives
  • The pause menu shows you how many secrets you still have to find on the current stage
  • As long as you don’t accidentally go to the next stage it’s generally not too difficult to find all of the secrets
  • I liked the choice of weapon upgrades, allowing for different play styles

Cons:

  • As much as it is faithful to the era, I’m not a fan of limited lives since it means you have to start the game from the beginning if you run out. Even if it’s unlikely I don’t enjoy the added pressure.
  • It’s easy to accidentally go to the next stage before you’re ready (i.e. before you finish finding the secrets)
  • If you proceed to the next stage without getting all of the secrets, your only option is to return to the workshop at the cost of one life, since levels can’t be replayed
  • On some levels the secrets are next to impossible to notice, leaving you no option but to run around trying to interact with all of the walls

Verdict: 8/10

SG win for PAGYWOSG. Pretty good overall. I’m really not a fan of secrets/collectibles/etc in games though.


The Town of Light

The Town of Light

7/10
6 hours playtime
More

Partially Experienced on Oculus Rift

First things first, don’t play this on VR. VR mode has been abandoned in beta. It mostly works, but there are parts when you have to make a selection but cannot choose. Additionally, there are some parts that don’t work well in VR, or which make much more sense playing the game flat.

The game itself is depressing and very disturbing. Be aware of that, and if it’s not your thing give this game a pass.

Pros:

  • Good sound effects
  • Good voice acting
  • The graphics are pretty good
  • They did a very good job of making the hospital feel abandoned and decaying
  • The story keeps you trying to figure out what’s going on
  • Collectable diary entries are easy to find as long as you visit every room

Cons:

  • The walking speed is frustratingly slow, and there’s no running
  • VR abandoned in beta
  • In one chapter you are in a more violent ward and are hearing screaming, but if you go to other parts of the hospital that should be quiet, the screaming continues.
  • Even after playing through all of the routes, I’m still not entirely sure what actually happened Renée, though to be fair this is probably by design
  • It’s never made clear who you are playing as. This is actually referenced in the story so is probably also on purpose, but personally I would have preferred it to at least be a bit more obvious.

Verdict: 7/10

I attempted to play this in VR but gave up. It’s still in beta and didn’t entirely work. Overall it’s an interesting look at how asylums used to work, but the ending is seriously disturbing.


Aragami: Nightfall

Aragami

8/10
10 hours playtime
More

Clearly designed for co-op, but works well solo. Definitely worth buying if you enjoyed the base game.

Pros:

  • Adds 4 new prequel chapters to play that explains some more of the backstory
  • Adds some new weapons/techniques
  • I expect this would be great to play co-op
  • works well solo, and you can call in the other assassin in solo as well

Cons:

  • If you finish a chapter and quit, then next time you start the game press ‘continue’ it will default to normal difficulty, even if you were on a different difficulty when you played the previous chapter. NOT EFFING COOL!

Verdict: 8/10

Picked up this DLC in the winter sale and thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely looking forward to the sequel.


The Blackwell Legacy

The Blackwell Legacy

6/10
5 hours playtime
More

This game doesn’t start out well, but it does get better and the story seems promising enough that I think I’ll try the next game.

Pros:

  • Pretty good voice acting
  • Promising start to the story

Cons:

  • Default resolution is awful, and it’s not clear how to change it (go to the install folder, there an exe there, change it to 4x)
  • Feels short, more like an introduction to a story. Thankfully the price reflects the length.
  • Crashed a few times, and opening the steam overlay breaks the dialogue
  • The first puzzle followed by an info dump was bad. In fact I almost refunded it because of this. Thankfully it gets better, and even the developer has said it wasn’t a good start.
  • Why is there an achievement for listening to developer commentary?! Thankfully it can be skipped as it comes up. On the plus side, some of it was interesting and has convinced me to try the next game since he’s clearly learned from mistakes made in this game.

Verdict: 6/10

Also picked up during the sale. It wasn’t as good as it could have been but it does show promise. One advantage of being forced to listen to the developer commentary (for an achievement) is that the developer has clearly learned from the mistakes in this game, so I think I’ll pick up the other 3 in the series during the next sale and give them a try.


That’s it for now. I won “Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition” from Zlia via Playing Matters, so that’s up next. I also started watching a Let’s Play for Subnautica in VR. Turns out I got it from Epic at some point so I’m seriously tempted to give that a try. Hope everyone’s having a good start to 2021!

December '20 Play Log III: New Years Edition

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully this one will be better than last year.
Overall backlog progress is in the right direction. Unfortunately the number of unplayed games went up. I had it just below last years total, but the sale put an end to that.

December 2020 Overall:

16% (107/653)
26% (170/653)
6% (40/653)
39% (252/653)
13% (84/653)

December 2019 Overall:

15%
22%
9%
44%
10%

December 2020 SG:

26% (35/137)
50% (68/137)
1% (1/137)
7% (9/137)
18% (24/137)

December 2019 SG:

23%
47%
2%
13%
16%

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter

6/10
20 hours playtime
More

Decent over the top shooter. My biggest complaints revolve around the achievements and not being able to change the difficulty mid-game.

Pros:

  • Great weapon variety
  • Some good one-liners
  • Great music
  • Can select all levels of all chapters right from the start
  • Good enemy variety

Cons:

  • Can’t change the difficulty mid-game
  • First story achievement is broken
  • If you select any level other than the first (e.g. if you want to change the difficulty) you are locked out of all story related achievements and the collect all the secrets achievement
  • Several extremely grindy achievements
  • Most of the achievements require multiplayer
  • Some of the enemies seem designed to be annoying
  • Some points try to overwhelm you with waves of enemies. I frequently found these parts got boring due to dragging on too long.
  • HUGE number of secrets, many of which are very well hidden. There’s no way you’ll find them all without a guide unless you plan to spend a lot amount of time playing.

Verdict: 6/10

Another one off of my unfinished (i.e. abandoned) list. This one pisses me off. I found normal too difficult, but in order to reduce the difficulty I had to start a new campaign. Thankfully I was able to select the level I left off at. Later I missed a secret and didn’t have a good save, so I did the same again. This caused me to miss the ‘complete the game’ and ‘collect all the secrets’ achievements. Plus another achievement was broken. The game itself was pretty good though once I reduced the difficulty.


Alchemy Garden

Alchemy Garden

6/10
5 hours playtime
no achievements
More

First, note that this game is in very early access - there’s not much content. It definitely shows some promise, but has a long way to go. I’ll try and update this review as the game is updated.

Pros:

  • Good graphics
  • Has the potential to be very interesting if things like relationships, story, more areas, quests, etc are added
  • Still being actively developed
  • Having to actually man you shop is a really good idea

Cons:

  • Very little content
  • No background music
  • Purchasable houses, shop rating don’t appear to have any use

Verdict: 6/10 (not enough content to give it a higher rating)

I saw a lets play of this on youtube and it looked good so I got it in the Fanatical build a bundle, and was then confused why it was totally different. Turns out I actually wanted to buy Alchemy Story, not Alchemy Garden. Oops. On the plus side, this could be a good game if the developer keeps going. Unfortunately it has a long way to go and the pace of development seems slow, so I think the chances of it being abandoned before it reaches it’s full potential are pretty high.


CONSORTIUM

CONSORTIUM

6/10
12 hours playtime
More

Overall this is a decent game, but a few bad choices hold it back from being good. This is very unfortunate since the game definitely has potential. The good thing is that a lot of it could potentially be fixed if the developer were willing to fix it.

Pros:

  • Plenty of replayability
  • Decent voice acting for an Indy title. No cringe-worthy acting, but some parts could have been better
  • I enjoyed never having to reload weapons
  • Choices actually do affect the story
  • Lots of autosaves, so even if you don’t save you’ll likely be able to find relevant parts if you want to go back later to see what would happen if you made a different choice without a full replay, or for achievements
  • If you select a particular save it will show you the results of your choices so far. I found this to be a really nice touch.

Cons:

  • It’s actually a sequel to ARG. You don’t need to have played that game, but I think it would have been more enjoyable if I’d have played it first.
  • Impressively bad load times, and the loading screen frequently froze. There are load screens between significant story points, and being a choices-matter game if you’re trying for a particular outcome, or aren’t terribly good at combat, there will be a lot of loading. This by itself almost prevented me from doing a replay.
  • The load game screen only shows timestamps, not the save name, unless you click on it. Given the number of autosaves, and the number of saves you’ll likely want to make, this makes searching for particular saves a bit of a nightmare.
  • Chances are you’ll want to replay this. It’s not really intended to be played only once. It’s also dialogue heavy. So in subsequent runs there will be lots of dialogue you’ve already heard. Unfortunately there’s no way to skip through it, which also makes replaying it off-putting.
  • There’s a lot of reading (logs, news reports, etc), some of which is fairly necessary to read. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but IMO the game doesn’t build the world up enough to make me want to spend much time reading.
  • I prefer to use subtitles for games. This game supports them, but rather than only showing one or two lines, this will scroll them half way up the screen so I can’t properly see what’s going on.
  • I found using non-fatal weapons much more challenging. For normal/easy difficulties I don’t think this is a good design choice.

Verdict: 6/10

SG win for PAGYWOSG. That’s 3 this month, I think that’s a record for me. This could have been very good, but a few unfortunate choices left me a bit too frustrated to enjoy it as much as I could have.


Recent Wins & Gifts

The first 5 are SG wins, which makes this the best month on SG in a while. Watch Dogs 2 was a gift from Just Ducky for Ninglor’s Stealthy Santa.

Sale Purchases

Some of these were in the Steam Sale, but the Fanatical Winter build a bundle also had a few games I’d like to play so I ended up getting 4 from that too. I also picked up the My Time At Portia DLC and Aragmi Nightfall DLC, but they don’t show up in the generator I’m far too lazy to do it manually :P.

Goal Review

I didn’t have any formal goals this year, but I think I’ll do it this year, though less lofty than the ones I chose for 2018.
SG Wins: I currently have 10 unbeaten wins. As long as this number doesn’t go up I’m happy
Unfinished: Way too many abandoned games here. Currently 40. I’d love to reduce it by one a month, but given that most of them are long that’s probably not realistic. Towards the end of this year I decided to try and reduce it by 12, and just barely made it. I’ll aim for 32 this year, but would like to beat that.
Wishlist Unplayed: Currently at 59. I’d like to focus on reducing this. As much as 40 seems reasonable, I didn’t come close last time so I’ll set my goal as 45, but hopefully it’ll end up being way lower.
Unplayed: I’d love for this number to actually go down this year. I suspect the average play time will still be increasing, but one step at a time.

December '20 Play Log II

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating! I took two weeks off so I had more time than usual to play. I’m hoping to get another game or two finished before the end of the year, but for now here’s what I’ve been playing.


Shadow Warrior

Shadow Warrior

7/10
21 hours playtime
More

Funny FPS that’s well worth playing.

Pros:

  • Funny
  • Story is decent enough to carry the game
  • Good weapon variety
  • Good skills, weapon upgrades, and powers
  • Well voice acted
  • Graphics hold up well

Cons:

  • Instead of the more typical story based achievements + achievement per difficulty, this has one achievement per difficulty for each of the story based achievements and several non-story related ones, artificially inflating achievement numbers and punishing players who don’t play on the hardest difficulty
  • Some bugs. I fell through the floor a few times.
  • If you switch difficulties part way through, make sure you save. I reduced the difficulty and was still having a lot of trouble before finally realizing it had gone back up again.

Verdict: 7/10

Started playing this years ago and abandoned it for unknown reason. Started it again and thoroughly enjoyed it. The achievements were a pain though. I hate games where every achievement has a variant for each difficulty.


Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard

Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard

6/10
1 hour playtime
More

Similar to the first game. Fairly easy, has some funny moments, probably meant for kids, very short.

SG win. Could have used more content, but not bad.


The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game

The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game

6/10
34 minutes playtime
More

Quite funny but very short. The music and visuals are both pretty good. The story is very simple. I suspect it may actually be intended for kids.

Gift from a generous user on the GMG forums. Same as the sequel it’s decent and has some funny moments but could have been longer.


Arizona Sunshine

Arizona Sunshine

8/10
6 hours playtime
More

Experienced on Oculus Rift

One of the older VR shooters, but still worth playing.

Pros:

  • Good range of difficulties
  • Good graphics
  • The commentary by the PC is really funny
  • Good range of difficulties
  • Decent weapon and level variety
  • I liked having to aim down the sights

Cons:

  • Somewhat buggy. I had a zombie get crippled and start crawling towards me over some train tracks, but it was phased into the tracks. It ended up killing me because I couldn’t shoot it inside the train tracks.
  • Grenades are broken. I’d get some, get to a new area (in the same level) and go to use one and they’d be gone. They only seem to work if you use them in the same area you found them, after that they disappear.
  • Be warned that while this is supposedly cross platform, that doesn’t seem to apply to the Quest/Quest 2
  • Using the sniper rifle was fun but a bit finicky. It seemed like it was attached, but it was at a really uncomfortable height

Verdict: 8/10

A friend & I picked this up intending to play it together since it supports cross platform multiplayer. Unfortunately said friend has a Quest 2 (I have a Rift). It turns out that Quests are the exception to it being cross-platform, so we couldn’t play it together after all. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it by myself and definitely think it would have been great with a friend.


That’s it for now. I definitely may have gotten too many games in the sale, but I’ll list them in my end of year post. In the meantime enjoy the holidays everyone, and an early Happy New Year!

December '20 Play Log I

Continuing to actually make progress on my backlog. For a while Steam had 70 hours played in the last 2 weeks, which is a record for me. It’s usually more like 30-40.
Hope everyone has something to look forward to for the holidays. I’ll be spending it with my parents. I got the gaming laptop on Cyber Monday, so that means I’ll be able to continue making progress over the break. Happy Holidays all!


Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency

Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency

5/10
10 hours playtime

Experienced on Oculus Rift

This comes very close to being a worthy successor to the original Budget Cuts, which is one of my favourite VR games. However a number of unfortunate decisions on the part of the developer have turned have been an amazing game into a frustrating experience. Also worth noting, this isn’t a good game to play for anyone afraid of heights.

Pros:

  • The bow is a great addition to the game
  • I love that you can shoot any weapon with the bow, not just arrows
  • Mutators allow a much wider variety of difficulties, and some entertainment as well
  • The end credits were quite entertaining
  • Weapons are relatively plentiful for the most part, though that doesn’t mean you won’t have to backtrack a bit if you run out
  • The end credits are pretty great

Cons:

  • It’s not made clear that you can shoot things besides arrows from the bow until the boss fight
  • Where the original game had a relatively easy normal mode and a hardcore mode for people who wanted more of a challenge, the default for this game is the same as hardcore was on the previous game
  • The increase in difficulty wouldn’t be a problem given that you can turn it down, except that if you modify the difficulty in any way achievements are disabled, effectively punishing players who prefer a more casual experience
  • If you hit a bot anywhere but the head, chances are they’ll get back up. If you hit them in a limb (which happened to me very often) you can either waste another knife/arrow, or hide and wait 2-3 minutes for them to finally bleed/oil out. Again, this wouldn’t be a problem if you could turn the difficulty down without disabling achievements
  • The last two levels are incredibly difficult. I ended up having to look for advice on the discussion forums and still had a hard time with them
  • Why do collectibles even exist in games?

Verdict: 5/10

VR game picked this up in the sale last month. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I played the first game, but was really disappointed. I have no idea what the developer was thinking forcing people to play on a higher difficulty. Personally I don’t like frustrating games, and that’s exactly what the increase in difficulty did. I can see why some people would prefer it, but it’s not for me. If there’s another game in the series I’ll probably pick it up as I do enjoy them, but with less expectation.


Journey For Elysium

Journey For Elysium

8/10
2 hours playtime

An interesting story, if not necessarily a happy one. I’d recommend this to people who enjoy story based games. It does have puzzles, but they’re quite simple.

Pros:

  • Unusual graphics that work surprisingly well
  • Rowing the boat works quite well, and is really fun
  • Well voice acted
  • Interesting story

Cons:

  • The first part of the final boss battle was extremely frustrating
  • The presentation of the story could have evoked more emotion. I think it would have been improved if I was more emotionally invested in the character I was playing.

Verdict: 8/10

Another VR game picked up in last months sale. Fairly easy puzzle game, but with a very well done atmosphere. I quite enjoyed it and recommend it for anyone with a VR set.


Clam Man

Clam Man

7/10
2 hours playtime

Definitely one of the more bizarre games I’ve played. It definitely has some funny moments. If you like unusual games I’d say this one’s worth getting on sale.

Pros:

  • Good music
  • Some funny moments
  • Bizarre
  • None of the puzzles are too difficult

Cons:

  • Short

Verdict: 7/10

SG win. I like unusual games and this definitely fit the bill.


Sakura Nova

Sakura Nova

7/10
3 hours playtime

One of the better Sakura games IMO. As usual the story is mediocre but the graphics are great ;)

Pros:

  • Good graphics
  • There’s a patch
  • Choices that have some effect in how the story ends. It mostly affects how the story ends, but there’s some additional story that changes based on your choices as well

Cons:

  • I thought the… ‘action’ started unreasonably quickly
  • I had to get used to the way the characters spoke. I suspect this is due to the fact that it’s translated - phrases presumably that sound normal in Japanese seem overly formal or a little strange in English
  • As with other Sakura titles the characters randomly move side to side when talking, which was distracting at first and generally pointless.

Verdict: 7/10

Yep, another one. Probably the last one I’ll play until they’re bundled again.

November '20 Play Log II


HIVESWAP: ACT 2

HIVESWAP: ACT 2

2/10
6 hours playtime

First things first, this is not a point & click game, it’s a visual novel (and not a good one). I bought this without paying much attention to reviews because I thoroughly enjoyed the first game. I won’t be making that mistake again. They’re nothing alike.

Pros:

  • Great music. I loved how well it suited the different areas you were in. This is definitely the game’s biggest strength.
  • Good graphics
  • Trying to use Byers the pigeon with various things continues to be entertaining

Cons:

  • For the most part it lacks the humour or the first game
  • A huge number of achievements that require repeated playthroughs despite adding no value
  • Early decisions lock you out of some later achievements
  • There’s an achievement that requires an autoclicker
  • The vast majority of the game involves talking to characters; there’s very little interaction with the environment or your inventory.
  • There’s a huge amount of reading in the game, and an equally large number of text/reading related issues:
  • Poor font choice. They’ve used a font with serifs. Serifs improve reading on books/newspapers/etc, but hamper it when reading on a screen. Sans serif fonts should be used for this purpose. I found it very tiring to read.
  • For some reason different characters have different ways the text is displayed. Some of this attempts to reflect the way they speak, but many do not. For example, one character uses / instead of l. Anoth3r charact3r’s dialogu3 is writt3n lik3 this for appar3nt no r3ason. These changes consistently make reading more tiring and frustrating.
  • I found a lot of the dialogue boring, repetitive, or pointless
  • A huge amount of infuriating back and forth travel.
  • A lot of the ‘puzzles’ simply involved figuring out which of the dozens of characters on the train can/will advance the story. Once you find the character that’s helpful, start at the top and talk to everyone again.
  • A lot of trial and error, which can be annoying. This is made worse by a huge number of bad endings that almost seem to discourage trial and error despite it frequently being the only option.
  • Due to the above, the best way to play the game is pretty much just to keep using the hint button and doing what it says
  • Most of the train section felt like filler. This is a problem considering it makes up about 80% of the game. It should have been a single puzzle in a larger story.
  • What passes for story really isn’t very interesting, and largely fails to evoke emotion
  • Xerfros’s constant self deprecation ‘I’m an idiot’ comments get tired very quickly

Verdict: 2/10

Picked up in the sale. Bad idea, it’s a huge disappointment compared to the first. This is the second time now I’ve made the mistake of immediately buying a sequel without actually checking reviews to see if it’s any good. Hopefully there won’t be a third time.


I Expect You To Die

I Expect You To Die

9.5/10
5 hours playtime

One of the best VR games I’ve played. I really hope there’s a sequel (or DLC with more missions). I’d buy it in a heartbeat. It’s a heavily James Bond inspired spy puzzle game with a touch of Austin Powers thrown in that doesn’t take itself seriously.

Pros:

  • Good graphics
  • Good voice acting
  • Funny commentary, especially from your handler after you do something silly
  • For the most part missions are challenging without becoming frustrating
  • Plenty of ‘souvenirs’ to collect, often done by doing silly things on a mission
  • Collected souvenirs are added to your office for you to play with
  • Speedruns are challenging but generally doable without having to repeat the level a frustrating number of times

Cons:

  • Nitpick, but I found pointing to be a tiny bit finicky. Basically I had to touch the trigger after any scene changes before it would detect me pointing again.
  • I found the last mission to be a bit too challenging for my liking, and ended up looking up a walkthrough before I got frustrated

Verdict: 9.5/10

Another game picked up in the sale. I’ve had my eye on it for a while and I’m really glad I finally played it, it was every bit as amazing as it looked. If you have VR I’d highly recommend it. I really hope there’s a sequel, DLC, or more levels. I’d love to get more of this.


No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky

8.5/10
209 hours playtime

Absolutely brilliant game that is well worth the full price.

Pros:

  • Still actively developed with regular updates that add new content
  • Devs consistently listen to the community and deliver requested new content, even when it’s challenging
  • After over 200 hours exploring there’s still new and interesting things to discover
  • Very open ended. Once you’ve been through the first part of the story (which is really just an extended tutorial) there’s so much you can do, and it’s entirely up to you what you focus on.
  • Amazing, friendly, generous player base

Cons:

  • The biggest issue is quality. There are numerous fairly significant (albeit not game breaking) bugs that have continued to exist across numerous update cycles with no attempt made to fix them. I’d love it if the next update or two focused entirely on bug fixes and QoL updates.
  • Updates could use more QA. I often wait for at least one patch to come out before jumping in post-update because otherwise you’re likely to run into bugs.
  • Not well optimized. This isn’t surprising given the scope of the game and the fact that it’s developed by a very small team, but it is frustrating that in VR my 1080ti can only play the game at medium graphics settings.
  • The thing that adds the most ‘challenge’ to permadeath/survival isn’t increased damage etc, it’s the tiny stack sizes that make inventory management (already challenging early game in normal mode) a nightmare

Verdict: 8.5/10

I’m quite sure I’ll go back to this game at some point. It’s one I’ll randomly pick up, play a lot for a few days, then leave again. Especially if it’s been updated. I’ve gotten as many achievements as I’m going to though. I started a permadeath run to get the last 2, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. Inventory is much more limited in permadeath, which makes things much more annoying. This is definitely one of my favourite games. If it appeals to you and you haven’t played it, I highly recommend it.


Recent Acquisitions

The first 5 I picked up in the sale. I also picked up a bunch of DLC for Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 when I was playing it earlier this month. I’m hoping to have the rest of the sale purchases finished in time for the Christmas sale so I can justify picking up a few more. There are so many good games on my wishlist I’d love to get to.