Insert catchy title here VitoStippkow’s profile

Hi!
I'm another gamer trying to battle his backlog. And I'm looking forward to gain additional motivation by joining this beautiful site and community. I began to work on my backlog "professionally" in February 2017 and joined the site in October 2017.

I just couldn't really decide on fixed goals for 2019 yet. However, these are my provisional goals for the year:
  • Get the games in the 'unfinished' category down to 80.
  • Get my Steam AGC up to 75%.
  • Beat or finish at least 75% of the games I add in 2019.


Sounds all nice and dandy, but alas -- some issues hold me back:
  • Skillwise, I am not very good at playing games considering how much I play. I think I just lack the patience to play something again and again to really improve in a game. This is especially hindering when playing platformers and similar games.
  • Multiplayer...oh, multiplayer... I have a list of games I'm looking for partners. If you're interested, I would be happy to hear from you :)
I'll try to give a short little review for each game I beat or complete.

I rank games by this 5 star ranking:

STAY AWAY from this crap.

Not completely bad, but time is better invested otherwise.

An average game. There is nothing wrong with playing it, but don't expect to be blown away.

This is a really good game, play it if you have the chance.

Reserved for the best of the best. This is an amazing experience.


Report #26

I finally managed to beat a game again, wohoo! I got LEGO LotR from HumbleBundle for free shortly before christmas. It is my first LEGO game and I was keen on playing one for quite some time, so I started playing it right away. Beating it was quick, but collecting all achievements took some time. Apart from that I’m still enjoying myself playing Dungeon Siege. I don’t think I’ve played practically the same game (DS II + I) for such a long time. There is not much else to say, so let’s start:


Reviews

LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™

37.3 hours, 48 of 48 achievements
★★☆☆☆

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Release Date: 2012

LEGO LotR is a Lego-themed action adventure game, following the storylines from the LotR movie trilogy. It uses the original voices and soundtrack from the movies, which immediately makes for a great atmosphere (well, unless you disliked the movies, but then you wouldn't play the game anyways, I guess…)

The gameplay has an open-world part, where you can collect collectibles, forge new items for your characters and explore. And a second part, where you replay key-scenes from the movies. You play as the characters from the movies, able to switch to other characters during play. Each character has special abilities (Sam can garden and make a fire for example) and you need to combine these abilities to solve puzzles.

Personally I really struggled with the controls. It's really hard to play with keyboard and mouse, since there is no mouse support ingame. So everything has to be done with the keyboard. And that's no fun at all. So I switched to controller: better, but still found the controls clumsy. In conjunction with the sometimes strange camera angles they were not always quite precise. Or I am just not good enough with a controller, that may also be true.

Collecting stuff in the open-world and exploring middle-earth was quite fun (apart from some jumping puzzles, where I would have wished for better controls). Replaying each level to get all the in-level collectibles was tedious however. Especially since when you missed one item you had to start the whole level from the beginning.

Achievements: Easy to get, but time-consuming and sometimes wrath-incurring.

Verdict: This was my first LEGO game and after hearing great things about them I was honestly disappointed. I really wanted to like the game. At some points I did, but on so many others I did not. Sorry to all you LEGO game fans out there, but it don't recommend the game.



Currently playing

  • Dungeon Siege
    Dungeon Siege

    too many hours playtime

    no achievements

I think I’m slowly reaching the end of this…my life will be empty afterwards.


At first I was a bit sad that I missed the LEGO The Hobbit giveaway on HB, especially after learning the games were pulled from stores. But after not liking LEGO LotR, I think I can live with it.

Happy backlog-clearing to everyone,
Vito

Report #25

Hello fellow assassins. There is little to report this time, as I had way too much work to do in the last 2 weeks. I’m tired. Anyhow, I’m sticking to my plan of bi-weekly updates nonetheless, as I think structure is important. I had a look at the monthly theme, which I think is greatly chosen again. And as usual, I plan to take part in it, which – as usual – won’t work out in the end. Anyway, I still appreciate the effort put into those :)


Reviews

None


Currently playing

  • Dungeon Siege
    Dungeon Siege

    72 hours playtime

    no achievements

I’m still going strong on playing Dungeon Siege I. I finished “Kingdom of Ehb” and “Legends of Aranna” and am now playing the “Utrean Peninsula” campaign. I guess the game will take another few weeks to finish.


That’s it. There’s not lot to comment on, I know. Maybe next time and until then happy hunting!

So long,
Vito

Report #24

Hello fellow assassins. My usual approach is to post every 3 games I’ve completed. Since this time that includes two really long games I haven’t posted in 3-4 months time, which I find unsatisfying. I’m thinking of changing to bi-weekly posts for my reports, esp. seeing how most of the games left in my backlog are on the longer end as well. Reading the Traveler’s last post gave the last push. I’ll try to update every 2 weeks, regardless of my progress, and see how that sits with me.

Reviews

Aviary Attorney

6.4 hours, no achievements
★★★★☆

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Release Date: 2015

Aviary Attorney is a detective-VN set in 1848's Paris. Talk of revolution is in the air, when attorney JayJay Falcon and his assistant Sparrowson attempt to solve a mysterious murder case. This is only the beginning of bigger events, however…

I very much enjoyed the old-fashioned sepia art style. It fits very well for the time period AA takes place in. Insted of humans, everyone is represented by different species of anthropomorphised animals: a lot of different birds, but also rabbits, elephants, wolves… I am a fan of well made anthropomorphised animals (no, not furries), so this hit right home for me. The ton of bad jokes were intentionally so bad, that I enjoyed them again. This games makes a great effort of not taking itself too serious, while still telling a serious story.

Is there bad in it? Some, yes. It's a bit too short for my taste and I would have loved to see more than just one case as a kind of prologue. It has no controller support, which is a bit unfortunate, since I like to play/read VNs with a controller.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Recommended.


Dungeon Siege 2

84 hours, no achievements
★★★★★

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Release Date: 2005

Dungeon Siege II is an action role-playing game from almost 15 years ago. It's a classic RPG, where you manage a party of up to 6 people on a journey to save the continent of Aranna from ancient dangers.

I've played the first Dungeon Siege but never finished it and finished the third (and last) part of the series last summer. It's almost the same as the first one and both have little to do with the gameplay of the third. A prominent comparison would be to the Diablo series (but don't tell that to Diablo fans…): Hacking away at enemies in various dungeons, without much story. I mean, there is one, but it's really much in the background and there are no long dialogues explaining it or whatever. Almost all of the lore is contained in tomes, which you find on your travels -- whether you read them is up to you. That just was the way back then. Very linear, no choices.

So, why give it the elusive perfect rating? The gameplay works well, I had no big issues. I think the game aged okay, because it's not so dependant on graphics. There are several great improvements in the engine compared to the first Dungeon Siege. It is fun to fight trough your enemies and always hope for better items to drop or for rare set items to complete your collection. The little bits of story were still enough for me to shape the world and your companions; I liked some of them very much at the end while detesting others.

Most importantly however: I think the game came at the exact right point in my life. I had little time to play the last months and bigger gaps in between. DS2 doesn't require you to stay focused all the time, it was perfect to play after a long day of work. It's linearity doesn't leave much room for choices, but sometimes that's a relief. You don't have to concern yourself with moral questions, or which ending to choose, you can simply … play! Nonetheless, I think it caters to a niche audience. And maybe I wouldn't have had so much fun with it a year ago. It's hard to describe :D

Hints: I think some hints are in order. Make sure to visit this page to learn how to play the expansion with Steam and how to adjust the resolution (careful, this doesn't work for the main menu, only once you start a game). Mild spoilers: While you can skill anything with any hero, stick to one or two areas. A disproportionate high number of enemies is weak to fire magic, so make sure to have a proficient fire mage in your party .

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Read some reviews and have a look at ingame footage. I think it's an absolutely great game, but definitely not for everyone.


Currently playing

  • Dungeon Siege
    Dungeon Siege

    40 hours playtime

    no achievements

I had so much fun with DSII that I decided to give DS another go. There is a DS-mod for DSII, I decided to play that to keep the gameplay improvements of DSII. Downgrading to DS was just too unappealing. I finished the main story and continued with the expansion today.

⤜ ⤛

That’s it for my first post 2019. Felt a bit more chaotic than usual. Maybe next time I’ll talk about a bit about my gaming resolutions for the year, but for now I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Happy backlog assassinating to everyone!

So long,
Vito

Report #23

Hello my lovely fellow assassins. We have had a beautiful October so far, with lots of sunshine and tons of work. So I was glad to pursue a few smaller games in the last month. Therefore I even allowed myself to play a new game, I haven’t previously had in my library (I know, I’m such a madman). There isn’t much else on my mind right now, so let’s get the reviews started.

Darksiders

31.1 hours, 43 of 43 achievements
★★★★☆

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Release Date: 2010

Darksiders is a hack'n'slash action-adventure game. The game takes inspiration from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, with the player taking the role of the horseman War. The Four Horsemen are tasked with watching over the peace on earth, but when actual war erupts between Heaven and Hell at the start of the game, for some reason only War takes note and the other Horsemen are nowhere to be seen. War alone is not able to stop the war, mankind perishes and War is left bereft of his powers, seeking to uncover the reasons for the events that came to pass.

The gameplay is pretty much standard hack'n'slash. You fight your way through enemies, attacking, achieving different combos for extra damage and dashing out of the way of your enemies attacks. The game consists of 6 different chapters, each featuring a unique mapset and a boss fight at the end. With the souls of your enemies you are able to purchase new skills and improved attacks, while in addition there are multiple power-ups scattered around the world. Some of those require you to backtrack, because they are only reachable with skills you only get later on. Personally I quite enjoyed the gameplay, I think the controls are mostly on point and the character progression is satisfying.

The story features elements of Christian and Jewish mythology, which was very nice to see. Not because I'm especially invested in this subject, but because usually you only see angels vs. demons when it's Heaven vs. Hell, but Darksiders ventures (at least a bit) deeper into the mythology and features characters not seen in every other good vs. evil setting. I even ended up reading up a bit on the different characters on their respective wikipedia pages and although I'm likely to forget everything in a few weeks time, I enjoyed learning a bit about Christian/Jewish mythology.

While the story is not overly complex and deep, it still was enough to capture my attention and the cinematics telling the stories were made quite good. All in all this game really surprised me in many ways and (for me!) is definitely the best of the three games I present to you this time. I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to sometime play the Warmaster Edition I also own, instead just marking it "beaten in another version".

So why not 5 stars? It was a tiny bit too long for my taste. The second to last chapter was a bit tedious to finish and I was kinda glad when it was done. Also, while enjoyable, the story was not captivating enough to warrant a perfect rating. Like, there weren't any choices to be made for example. Still, those are only minor complaints and people following my reviews know that I almost never rate anything 5 stars anyway…

Achievements: All are obtainable in one playthrough. What a bliss! One achievement requires you to play the game in highest difficulty, but even not being a very skilled or patient player, I found it to be quite doable to start on it right away.

Verdict: Great action-adventure, fully recommended by me.


Doki Doki Literature Club

3.7 hours, no achievements
★★★☆☆

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Release Date: 2017

DDLC is a free VN. I chose to play it, because it's one of the highest rated free games on Steam. The game relies very much on not knowing what you get yourself into, so writing a review is kinda hard. I'll keep it brief and additionally put it in spoilers.

The game starts of as a (from what I can tell) typical lighthearted VN, but has a big twist about 1 hour into the game. From there on it only gets strange and weird and then strange again. Even without having much experience with VNs I can tell that the game is very meta. I probably didn't get a whole lot of that, others might appreciate it more.

While I think the game is well made and quite interesting even for someone not acquainted to the world of VNs, for me, the game fell flat after the initial twist. I was very apparent from that point on, in what direction the game will develop. I read up a bit on it afterwards and always stumbled upon reviews along the lines "this game gave me depression". Is this a meme? Or is it meant seriously? (Yeah yeah, obviously it's not giving people ACTUAL depression, you know what I mean by that…)

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Surely a must-play for VN fans, not necessarily for others though.


DiRT Showdown

11.2 hours, 28 of 49 achievements
★★☆☆☆

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Release Date: 2012

DiRT Showdown is a racing game. It features a broad range of types of races, from standard to stunt races to demolition races.

The controls are okay, the game looks decently pretty, but it feels rather uninspired overall. It's like any other racing game. The "career" mode is totally boring, there is not incentive to actually progress (well, maybe achievements…). You get money to upgrade your cars or buy new ones, but I couldn't feel that much of a difference.

It's okay for a few hours, but there is no reason to bemoan the game being taken off of Steam's store.

Achievements: Don't get into the game for the achievements. Many are MP and take a lot of grind. They mostly are not actually hard, just really grindy as far as I can tell.

Verdict: No recommendation from me.


Those were three games starting with ‘D’ btw. I don’t know what I’ll play next yet, but you’ll see in a few weeks :)

So long,
Vito

Report #22

The start of my next term at university is almost there and I’m hyped: I got into some great courses and my own teaching looks promising as well. And for once I’m actually not behind schedule with my preparations ^.^

It was a weird 3 games this time. I gave rather bad to average ratings despite being really content with my progress. But sometimes a game is good enough to lift your spirits and give you a couple of fun hours, but still not really great. Which is basically true for all 3 of the following games:

M.U.D. TV

11.2 hours, no achievements
★★☆☆☆

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Release Date: 2010

MUD TV is a TV-station simulation, where you got to manage your own TV station. That means buying and scheduling shows and ad contracts, study viewer groups for max target group reach and even produce your own shows.

The concept is great and sounds like a lot of fun. The implementation however is not good. You play as the manager of the station and have to run around all the time to do even the smallest things. You cannot simply get new contracts by clicking on a menu, no you have to physically walk to the ad-contract-bureau, the same for everything else. It doesn't help that you cannot "carry" more than a few contracts or shows at once, which means your basically running back and forth between the different rooms in your station. The actual planning process would be fun were it not for the pesky micromanagment.

In my opinion the game could have been quite good, but some rather poor design choices prevented that. Still, I had some fun playing around in sandbox mode without any competing AI stations, where I had no pressure and could just play around with the different gameplay elements for a bit.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Not recommended. Good idea, bad implementation.


Max Payne 3

26.2 hours, 27 of 67 achievements
★★★☆☆

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Release Date: 2012

The Max Payne series is well-known with (somewhat) older gamers, maybe not so much with younger ones anymore. Anyway, it's a third person shooter (mostly) set in Sao Paolo. Max Payne is an ex-cop, drowning the bitter memories of his past (he lost his loved ones in the first parts of the series) in alcohol and painkillers. He gets the opportunity for a fresh start in Sao Paolo, working as a bodyguard for some rich people. Of course everything goes down the drain pretty fast and Max has to fight his way through a variety of linear levels.

Pretty standard gameplay for a shooter, with the exception of the addition of Bullet-time™ (which slows time for a short period and allows you to take better aim at your enemies). In the first parts of the series, this was really new and exciting, by now however, not so much anymore. It allows for shooting in style and it feels that this is what the game is mainly about: shooting bad guys in style. The AI is pretty weak, enemies behave almost exactly the same no matter how often you play a certain checkpoint. They are not very clever either and are only dangerous in numbers. Personally I think this is so that you can learn a checkpoint by heart and perform "epic killing combos" or whatever you wanna call it.

The mediocre gameplay is paired with a lot of cinematics. It feels more like watching a movie a lot of times. The cinematics are well staged, I enjoyed watching them, the sheer number of them make the game a bit long-winded though.

Now to the story: It's a dark setting, showing the corruption of police and politicians, the poor and miserable living conditions in the favelas of Sao Paolo and some other horrors I don't want to spoil. Max Payne himself is a drunken disaster, consuming tons of Whiskey with painkillers and somehow still shooting straight. It gets old after a while, though relatable to a certain degree: Loosing your loved ones and loosing your will to live with it.

Achievements: Awful. Most are designed around Multiplayer, which is of course dead by now (and I think it never took off anyhow). I got most of the easier to get achievements and have barely above 40% of them. Some SP ones are left, involving a lot of grind I did not consider worth. In case you really care about your AGC, be warned!

Verdict: Hard to say. It has it's moments, but didn't really click with me, therefore I'm neutral on giving a recommendation.


Yesterday

5.1 hours, no achievements
★★★☆☆

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Release Date: 2012 as well

A Point and Click game, with special emphasis on the story, at least compared to most other games of the same genre I have played. The story centers around John Yesterday, who has lost his memory after attempting suicide (was he really though?). You help him recollect his memory and uncover a dangerous secret on the way.

What really set the game apart for me, was the great and unusual artstyle. While not unique, I think it's rare to see this kind of graphical choice. I'm sure someone can explain it in more technical and better terms, I can only refer you to the store page however :(

While the gameplay is pretty standard, Yesterday has a well-spun story, which I enjoyed a lot. I'm still no fan of PnC, so I heavily relied on a guide and concentrated on the story instead. After all I was positively impressed with the game, won't give it an above average rating though on account of not liking the gameplay and only being able to play through the game with a guide. I hope you can follow my reasoning :)

I was briefly considering this game for the monthly theme, but decided against it. It's more mystery than horror.

Achievements: None

Verdict: You like P'n'C and a good story? Then the game's for you.


As stated above, I’m again quite happy with my progress. Especially Max Payne 3 has been on my “definitely have to play” list for about 5 years. Although it did not turn out as great as I hoped, I’m still glad that I can say I’ve finished it. I’m pretty sure the next report will contain at least one 4 star game again, so looking forward to reading you in a few weeks :)

Happy gaming,
Vito

Edit: Oh and I almost forgot, I actually finished my reading backlog last week, so I got to go shopping for new books yay

Report #21

Instead of working on my current assignment I played a lot of computer games…So without further ado, here is the next update, with 3 completely different games:

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal

52.5 hours, 135 of 139 achievements
★★★★☆

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Release date: 2014

CW3 is from the rare genre of Tower Defense games. You fight a blue liquid named Creeper with various different turrets. I won't explain too much, since TD always works the same (more or less).

The game has a campagin mode, which lasts about 15 hours, however it has a very lackluster and uninspired story. It's not the point of TD games to have great stories, but I still think a little more effort could've been put into this aspect of the game.

The gameplay is very nice, smooth controls, many useful hotkeys. The campaign maps feature a wide variety of different challenges, which is nice -- the later 'skirmish' maps become stale pretty quickly though. I wouldn't hold that against the game however, since after the campaign you can simply stop playing once you're bored (unless you're interested in the achievements).

All in all I had a lot of fun playing the game, since this not a genre you find that often and on top of that, it is about the best implementation of TD I have seen yet.

Achievements: There are two kinds of achievements. Mission related ones, which require you to finish a specific mission a certain way and general achievements, which require you to defeat x enemies or build y buildings. The first kind can be challenging, but also rewarding, the second one is a huge huge grind. You can grind out most achievements with custom maps, but some (mostly the ones I'm still lacking) require playing on prebuild maps.

Verdict: I can wholeheartedly recommend the game.


Robin

0.6 hours, 6 of 6 achievements
★★★☆☆

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Release date: 2018

A free game about chronic fatigue. I played the game after I read tsupertsundere's review. It sounded interesting and since I was looking for a short game to play after the 50+ hours I just put into Creeper World 3, I tried right away.

It's a lovely made game tackling a serious issue. You basically have to finish a variety of tasks but only have energy for too few of them. Based on which tasks you choose, you get different endings.

I think everyone can relate to that to a certain degree, since we all know the feeling that there is so much to do in so little time (looking at you, backlog). But I don't know…that's probably like saying I'm gluten intolerant because I get a tummy ache every time I eat a whole loaf of bread at once…It's just unfair to the ones really suffering from this condition (and maybe outright dangerous since noone takes them serious anymore).

So why only 3 stars? It left me a bit unsatisfied, I think the game is too short to really represent the condition adequatly, to really make you feel it.

Achievements: I shamefully have to admit that I couldn't figure out the last one myself. I never got the balance right :(

Verdict: It's a free and short game, play it.


Demonicon

17 hours, 46 of 49 achievements
★★☆☆☆

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Release date: 2013

Demonicon is a rather unknown Action-RPG, set in the world of the 'Dark Eye'. The Dark Eye is basically a german version of DnD.

The game is set in a harsh, evil part of this world, featuring demons, necromancy and sexual perversion (no nudity included). This could make for an interesting setup in theory, but…I'll make it short. The game is not good: Clunky controls, bad graphics, mediocre story-telling, bad world-building and so on. It's not utterly awful but that's not enough…

One positive thing though: I found crows (or ravens) for this month's theme.

Achievements: Very typical. Achievements for choices and playing through the game in highest difficulty. Beware: The drink 250 potions one has to be done in one playthrough, which is why I didn't get it.

Verdict: Unless you aim to play every Dark Eye video game like I do, there is no good reason to play the game in my opinion.


Okay, I really don’t know what else to say right now…So that’s it for today :) Keep on playing games!

So long,
Vito

Report #20

The summer is nearing its end, which means we can play a lot of video games again without others constantly bugging us to go outside and such nonesense…In other news, I reached my goal for 2018 way early: Getting an AGC of 66% on Steam and getting my unfinished games down to 95 on BLAEO! Yay!!

With 4 months left in 2018 I haven’t decided what to do: Setting a smaller new goal or just be content with what I reached so far. We’ll see… Anyway, here are the recent three games I’ve beaten/completed:

Magicka

33.0 hours, 70 of 88 achievements
★★★☆☆

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Release date: 2011

Magicka is an action-adventure game, where you play a mage on his journey to save the world. The story is held in a very humorous tone featuring many pop-cultural references.

The combat system is very unique: You can combine up to 5 elements in one spell and the outcome depends on the way these elements interact with each other. This is probably the most prominent (gameplay) feature this game has. It offers seemingly endless possibilities to combine the different elements for new effects. At the same time, since it's necessary to constantly cast the elements, it's quite the button smashing at times. Still, it is very unique and it's a lot of fun to experiment with different combinations for different types of enemies.

Magicka is notoriouly buggy featuring ingame bugs as well as constant CTDs. I think I probably had 1-2 CTDs per hour, which makes the game very frustrating to play at times.

Achievements: Most of the achievements are not that hard to get, but can be quite frustrating due to the CTDs, which force you to start over again. Some DLCs however feature a bunch of very hard achievements I didn't even try. Most can be done solo, but there are also several MP achievements.

Verdict: A fun game, unfortunately suffering from an almost unprecedented amount of bugs.


Midsummer Night

2.6 hours, 33 of 33 achievements
★☆☆☆☆

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Release date: 2016

Midsummer Night is advertised as a puzzle / adventure game and whilst I'm not sure this description is really fitting, I don't have a better one. You follow the story of a little boy trying to save his sister after she was kidnapped by a bear. He enters a deep forest and with the help of its inhabitants manages to find his sister only to find out that she… well, I don't want to spoil the end.

The pixelart look didn't really work for me with the game. The soundtrack is okay, but nothing spectacular. Gameplay is simple and without any noteworthy features (beware of some QTEs though). What bugged me the most was the lack of directions the game gives you. Honestly, half of the time I had no idea what I was supposed to do. And the comparably huge amount of backtracking didn't make it better. Also, from the description on the store page I figured I would learn a bit about russian/slavic folklore, but that wasn't really the case either. All in all, there is little good I can say about the game, despite its good overall reviews.

Achievements: Require multiple playthroughs as you cannot save the game by hand. Achievements are easy to obtain with a guide, but might be rather confusing without.

Verdict: Nah, I don't recommend the game.


Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

70.8 hours, 90 of 90 achievements
★★★★☆

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Release date: 2014

Beyond Earth is a turn-based strategy game, as one might have already guessed. It's basically Civilization set in the future on an alien planet.

Honestly, there isn't really much to say about the game other than that. All Civilization games play basically the same and this one is no different. The different setting has its charme but at the same time lacks the feeling of being part of Earth's history that other Civ games invoked in me.

Personally I quite enjoyed the game, not having seriously played any Civ game since 2012 iirc. It was nice to play this kind of game again. However, was it really necessary to make another Civ game?

The games is rated rather badly on Steam, but as far as I can see there is little actual criticism, most reviews are just "It's not Civ V!!!!111" or something like that. Which is similar to what I wrote above, about not having the "real" Civ feeling to it, but that's not enough to give a thumbs down in my book (That's the friendly version of what I actually wanted to say).

Achievements: Straightforward, but time-consuming. DLC is required to get some of them. Most of the achievements can be cheesed in Hot-Seat Multiplayer if one doesn't want to play too much hours.

Verdict: Civ fans seem to hate the game, but I think it's decent, albeit not inventing the wheel anew.


That’s it for this time, I wish all of you happy backlog-killing :)

So long,
Vito

Report #19

I’ve finished 3 games again, so it’s time for another report. I’m quite content with my progress this time, as I’ve also played two other games (State of Decay and Magicka) and progressed pretty far. But those are not finished yet, so they’ll have to wait for a future report. Apart from that I decided to give playing a few games in multiplayer a try, as I haven’t really done that for a long time. I compiled a list of games I would like to play, maybe some of you would like to join me. At the moment there are 4 games on it: Dungeon Siege III, Magicka, Portal 2 and SR: Gat out of Hell. I’m mainly looking to complete multiplayer achievements, not necessarily all of them, depending on the game. Of course I can help you get achievements as well. If you’re interested, I would be happy to hear from you.

Deus Ex: Invisible War

13.7 hours, no achievements
★★☆☆☆

Release date: 2003

You may remember that I've recently played Deus Ex for the first time and didn't like it at all, mainly due to its age. Nonetheless I wanted to see how the series developed further (also story- but mainly gameplay-wise) and played the second installment of the series. Deus Ex: Invisible War is a stealthy FPS, which sets in some 20 years after the first Deus Ex. The story is rather confusing again, with many secret organizations taking part in the plot.

DE:IW offers a lot of quality-of-life updates in gameplay compared to the prequel. I found the controls much more akin to modern shooters than in the previous DE. It suffered from a few CTDs, but I'm not sure, whether thats due to the mod I installed (DE2 Visible Upgrade Mod which I definitely recommend using) or the game itself.

The game got overwhelmingly bad reviews from the press and the playerbase alike, which I don't find totally justified in their harshness. I don't think the game itself is good, but it's not that bad either. However, I think it made one crucial mistake: It deviates a lot from the first Deus Ex in terms of gameplay. It plays much more like a generic shooter, not as stealthily as the first part and offers a lot less freedom of choice. On the other hand it's still not like a real generic shooter, so it probably didn't appeal to any of the two target groups. It's neither a game in the style of Deus Ex, nor a simple standard shooter. I guess fans of the first Deus Ex miss too much of the first game's spirit and that lead to the harsh reviews. It would be interesting to hear from someone, whether my guess is correct :)

Achievements: None. Which is nice from time to time!

Verdict: Not recommended unless you want to experience it for the story. Then it's okay since it's rather short.


Space Pilgrim Academy: Year 2

5.6 hours, 18 of 18 achievements
★★★★☆

Release date: 2018

SPA: Year 2 is a point-and-click RPG maker adventure game, set in the universe of the Space Pilgrim Saga. It follows the story of Gail Pilgrim, hero of the first Space Pilgrim games, and Maggie, a student of the Pilgrim Space Academy, one year after the events of the first part of Space Pilgrim Academy. They get deeper involved in politics and its intrigues, both in- and outside of the Academy.

I find the game to be quite lovely made, with much attention for detail and a suprsingly deep background universe for a game in this price range. The puzzles are more on the easy side, the story is told in an okayish manner. I have one point of criticism though: The story advances mainly in dialogues without any input from the player themself, so you end up feeling like a mere spectator a lot of the time. I liked the first part better, but still regard this as a good game overall.

Achievements: Easy to get, however you need to play some scenes up to four times to experience all routes and all corresponding achievements, which can take some time. Good guides are out there, in case you're stuck.

Verdict: Recommended, but only if you played the first part.


Dungeon Siege III

24 hours, 36 of 54 achievements
★★★★☆

Release date: 2011

Dungeon Siege III is an action RPG set in the Dungeon Siege universe, albeit not deeply connected to the story of the first or second part. You fight as one of the last member of the 10th legion in order to save the Kingdom of Ehb, which is entangled in a bloody civil war. You rally the last of your allies before meeting your overwhelming foe which of course is defeated in the end, what a surprise!

The gameplay is rather straightforward, there are neither a lot of skills to choose from, nor a complicated item system, not to mention any crafting system or something of the likes. But hey, it's an action RPG, remember? The story offers only few choices, but all of their consequences matter in the end. While the game is rather mediocre in the gameplay, I still really enjoyed the way the story is told and unfolds, although it's really generic in a way. There is limited interaction with your companions, but they still comment your actions all the time. At least I felt some connection to them. I especially liked the architecture of the buildings and various structures in the game. It felt impressive to me and managed to have me look a lot at the environment when entering cities or dungeons (the open nature is rather unimpressive). Also, it features seamless transitions with no loading times between different areas, which was rather immersive.

DS III has only mixed reviews on Steam, which is normally a really bad sign. Very much like in the case of DE:IW (see above), most of the reviews are criticising that the game deviates a lot from the first two Dungeon Siege games. It's quite dumbed down from what I gather. I however didn't really play the former two, so it didn't matter to me as much. On the contrary, I had a lot of fun with the game and it motivated me to play a longer RPG again, which I haven't done in quite a while.

Another plus in my book: The DLC features actual content :D Which is sadly often rare with newer games. Treasures of the Sun introduces new skills, new items and rich new storyline with a lot of sidequests. I enjoyed it very much.

Achievements: About 2/3 of the achievements are connected to the storyline and are rather easy to get. The other third requires either a lot of time to play through the game another 3 times (can be achieved easier in MP though) or are pure MP achievements. Which is dead. Which is why I'm looking for players :)

Verdict: Fans of the first two games will probably not like DS III. Taken as a standalone game, it's a generic action RPG, which I enjoyed quite a lot nonetheless.


Dungeon Siege III was one of the first games I bought on Steam, back in 2012. It feels really good to finally finish the game, 6 years later. Sometimes backlog cleaning is really satisfying. It also helped me to get my Steam AGC to 65% which is only one percent below my goal for 2018! My next games are already in progress, so hear/read/write you soon.

So long,
Vito

I’m a bit tired and didn’t really proofread: I would be happy to hear about mistakes (esp. in word order, since I’m never sure if I get that right – in my mother tongue word order is less important) as I’m looking to improve my writing skills.

Report #18

Almost a month went by since my last review as I (still) don’t have as much time for gaming as I would like. I am nonetheless quite satisfied with my progress: I finally have less than 100 games in my unfinished category. Only a few more and I’ll reach my goal for 2018 (95 unfinished games) way earlier than anticipated. Hooray!

I decided to include the release date of a game in my reviews, since for me that’s always an interesting fact. I’m not sure how to best implement the information, but I think the current way is okay. I have one problem though: which release date to choose for multi-platform games? E.g. ‘Brütal Legend’ was released 2009 for console and only a few years later for PC. Which is the better date to pick? I decided to go with the earliest of the release dates as long as there were not significant changes to the game. What do you think? Do you care about release dates? Do they influence your opinion of a game?

In addition I want to structure my reviews better. For this I included clearer section markings in my reviews. One for achievements, since not everyone cares about them, but others very much do so. And one final verdict for those not interested in the whole review. Maybe I’ll stick to this, maybe there’s too much in bold now, maybe it’s only a one time thing, let’s see.

Brütal Legend

19 hours, 48 of 59 achievements
★★★☆☆

Release date: 2009

'Brütal Legend' is a third person open world game with some minor RTS elements. You play as the roadie Eddie who gets thrown into a fantasy world, heavily inspired by Heavy Metal. Eddie helps to fight the demons, which oppress the humans living in this world.

The game is full of references to heavy metal. Metal icons like Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister and others appear in the game as NPCs. A plethora of heavy metal songs are featured as the soundtrack of the game and I'm sure there are a lot of references which I probably missed because I'm no expert for heavy metal. As I enjoy listening to heavy metal from time to time I thoroughly enjoyed the general theme of the game. While that's of course the major appeal of the game, I sadly think it's about the only one as well.

The game features an okay-ish, but very linear and quite short story. Similarly it has okay-ish, but very repetitive gameplay. While there are a lot of good ideas and funny incorporations of metal into a fantasy world, this does not translate into the gameplay itself. This is especially true for the smaller RTS parts: They are always very similar and on top of that they just don't really work that well. It's quite hard to get your units to do what you want them to do. Another big letdown is the complete absence of a fast travel system and remember that this is an open world game! Therefore you spend a lot of time driving from A to B for some tiny collectible or mission. At least you get to listen to great music in the meantime.

Achievements: Most are quite easy to obtain, the collectibles are a lot but later in the game you get kind of a radar to show you where they are. Since the game's fairly easy, make sure to start the game on Brütal difficulty right away to get all difficulty related achievements in one playthrough. The achievements I am missing are MP or best be done in MP.

Verdict: I cannot recommend the game for story or gameplay. These are okay, but you'll find much better games in this regard. The metal theme however make this game quite unique and if you like metal, I can give a recommendation to try it out.


The Whispered World Special Edition

7.3 hours, 20 of 20 achievements
★★☆☆☆

Release date: 2009

A point-and-click adventure game from Daedalic. The story is nice and there are some funny and witty dialogues in the game. Kind of a spoiler: It features a big twist at the end, which I didn't see coming in the slightest. I don't mind the twist, but I was left wondering whether that was really necessary.

However, I wasn't enjoying the game too much. It had some really hard and absurd puzzles in it, which I couldn't solve by myself more often than I liked. So I relied heavily on a walkthrough at times. I'm however not the most proficient point-and-click player, so you might have an easier time.

Note that I played the game in German, so the following paragraph might not be true for the english version. I normally play everything in English, but since the original version is in German, I went for my native language as an exception. The biggest criticism I have is concerning the voice-acting. The dialogues were probably spoken and recorded separately sentence by sentence. Unfortunately, one then forgot to insert pauses between the sentences. In any case, they now merge seamlessly into one another, which in part leads to the first consonant or vowel being swallowed up in the following sentence. And that definitely makes everything sound very artificial. It was almost unbearable to listen to. Also there were many comma and some spelling mistakes in the subtitles. Maybe that's nit-picking but I don't think this should be the case for a good product.

Achievements: All are obtainable in a single playthrough. There is one achievement for skipping all puzzle mini-games though and separate ones for doing them. So save before you do them, solve them to get the corresponding achievement, load your previous save and skip them.

Verdict: While not really bad, I think there are much better games of the genre.


Disciples III: Renaissance

33.0 hours, 41 of 57 achievements
★☆☆☆☆

Release date: 2010

The Disciples franchise is a series of turn-based strategy games, very akin to 'Heroes of Might and Magic'. And by akin I mean basically exactly the same. Only in much worse. There are quite a few things wrong with this game, I only want to point out some:

There are almost no hotkeys. You have to do everything with your mouse. The savegames are sorted alphabetically, so it really makes it hard to spot your most recent save sometimes. And the automatically generated names for your saves are too long to be fully displayed so that you really end up guessing which is the correct save… ugh!

Achievements: The achievements are a mess. 10 are marked as broken on AStats and another 6 I could not get to unlock even by following a step-by-step guide. If you care about your AGC, don't start the game. (Even if you don't, don't start the game).

Verdict: Just don't…


This got longer than I thought. Thanks for reading through it. I hope for some better games for my next review :)

So long,
Vito

Report #17

Some time passed since my last update, RL was quite stressful the last weeks. I finished another 3 games and although I guess my post will drown under all the end of the month updates, I’ll still do it now, otherwise I fear I’ll never do it. I also apologize for the somewhat lackluster reviews, I am just not as motivated this time around. Overall I had a very mixed gaming experience, but see for yourself:

BATTLETECH

101.8 hours, 73 of 109 achievements
★★★★★

I played this game for last months theme, since I got it as a gift from someone. The game is a strategy game, set in the BattleTech Universe. I don't know much about the universe, only read a little about it from time to time, so it was a rather new setting for me. You command a group of mercenary MechWarriors and try to keep them afloat. There are quite a few similiarities to the 'XCOM' series, so if you like 'XCOM', chances are you gonna like 'BATTELTECH' as well.

However, there is a big caveat: The game has a lot of technical issues. Loading takes forever, there are a ton of animations that stuttered for me (tested this on 3 different PCs, the result was always the same) and it still eats up a lot of ressources. Some of this issues were apparently addressed in a recent patch, but I haven't tried the game since then.

However, this didn't bother me too much, since everything else is just absolutely great. Do you know the feeling, when you start up a game for the first time and fall immediately in love with it? For me it was the opening cinematic and the main menu theme, that was enough for me to sink about 100 hours into the game. There is so much love for details and the combination of managing your company and fighting missions in between is just perfect. It also features one of the best OSTs I've heard in a while. The game is truly great, I don't know how else I should express that. And it has a lot of potential to get even better, either through DLCs or the modding community. I am really looking forward to see this game grow over time. I almost never award a game a full 5 star rating, but if any game deserves it, then it's this one. Definitely my game of the year so far.

So, I enjoyed the game a ton, but please be aware of the technical issues. If they would potentially bother you, your experience may be much less favourable than mine…


Master of Orion

16.1 hours, 29 of 102 achievements
★★☆☆☆

I have never played the original 'Master of Orion' series, so I went into this 4X space strategy game without any nostalgia and no expectations. Which was probably a good thing. The game is a very simplified 4X game. All typical elements, like colonization, ship design, espionage and diplomacy are there, but in a very very simplified manner. Which makes the game not that deep and - at least for me - not as rewarding. There are simply 4X space strategy games out there, that do all this things so so much better, that 'MoO' falters in comparison.

There is one scenario, where I think 'Master of Orion' might be the right thing for you: each individual game takes a rather short amount of time. You can finish a game in maybe 8-12 hours, which makes it perfect for the more casual gamer, that does not want to spend 50 hours in one single game.

All in all, the game is just to simplified for my taste. If you want some serious depth, I would much rather recommend 'Distant Worlds' or my all-time favourite 'Stellaris'.


Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition

23.8 hours, no achievements
★☆☆☆☆

I am going to be blunt here: I did not enjoy the game at all. The main reason being its age. I can absolutely see, why the game was so genre-defining when it came out in 2000, being a revolution and all: You have a lot of freedom to achieve your mission goals, the levels are really huge and there are a lot of things to explore. And it features a rather complex story for its time. I can see that. But it's just too old for my taste now. Yes, I installed mods to make the gaming experience a smoother one, but still. I don't mind the graphics, but everything else, the gameplay, the storytelling…I just feel the tremendous age on that.

Now, I know how there are a lot of people out there, who think 'Deus Ex' to be one of the best games ever made, but I just did not work for me. Therefore I award the game only one star, on account of not having fun at all playing it. If you enjoyed the game, I can understand its appeal, the game is just not for me.


So we have my game of the year next to a mediocre 4X game and a classic that just didn’t appeal to me. That’s it for Report #17, next time I hope to write some more precise reviews (again?).

So long,
Vito