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:

I had no fun playing this.

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 #30

Time flies and there is another Vito post. I completed Just Cause 2 and while I enjoyed it, I don’t think I’ll get the third part soon. It was enjoyable, but not breathtakingly so. After completing it, I started Factorio, a practically endless game, which is the first quasi-permanent addition to my unfinished list in a very long time.


Reviews

Just Cause 2

71.2 hours, 50 of 50 achievements
★★★★☆

More

Release Date: 2010

Just Cause 2 is an open world third person shooter. You play as CIA-agent Rico Rodriguez, who is sent to the asian island nation of Panau to investigate the whereabouts of missing agent and topple the government while he is already there.

Just Cause is not a very serious game. Forget stealth. Forget playing careful. Get the biggest gun you find and shoot, shoot, shoot. The open world is huge and filled with an absurd amount of collectibles. Completing the story is only a matter of hours, but exploring the island(s) and searching for collectibles can give you work/fun for weeks. In addition to blowing up stuff and collecting things you can take part in various races (land, air and sea) or do some side missions.

The most important item you own is the iconic grappling hook. It's great fun, though a bit overrated I think. Apart from that I mainly switched between two weapons, using the second when the first is out of ammo. There is not much depth to anything, so if you're looking for that, you better look otherwise.

The game is a lot of fun, even the grinding necessary for some achievements. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the mindless action is not enough to warrant a five star rating.

Achievements: I really like the way this games handles achievements. You are not forced to collect every single collectible or do every single activity, only about 75% of them. Which is a great decision. You still see almost everything of the game, but it doesn't matter if there is a few activites you're having a hard time with. You don't have to turn every nook and cranny in this gigantic open world, since you do not need to collect everything. The game is rather easy, so playing (and finishing) the game on the highest difficulty level is not too hard. Still, getting all the achievements takes a lot of time.

Verdict: Recommended


I played the first part about a year ago in case you want to read my thoughts about it.



Currently playing

I started Factorio after buying it about a year ago. It is not as captivating yet, as I imagined, I’ll give it some more time though.
DiRT 3 is so far not my favourite either.


Apart from that I watched “Love, Death & Robots” on Netflix. I think it has phenomenal production value and (apart from one episode) I really enjoyed the different art styles. Some of the worlds/universes you get to peek I would definitely watch a series about. Did you watch it? How did you like it?

Happy backlog-clearing to everyone,
Vito

Report #29

Not much to see here. I had a little bit of trouble concentrating on gaming the last weeks, watching streams or aimlessly surfing Youtube instead. It’s awful! Hope that improves in April :)


Reviews

Fallout

10.3 hours, no achievements
★☆☆☆☆

Release Date: 1997

Fallout is an open-world RPG set in a post-apocalyptic USA, in the aftermath of a global nuclear war in an alternate history timeline mid-22nd century. The protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of a Vault, long-term shelters, who is tasked to find a replacement Water Chip and save their Vault.

This is going to be a different kind of review, with a more personal note: When put into historical context, I understand why this game got so much praise. The graphics, though completely outdated, are still nice to look at, and the open possibilites to roam the land and search for quests and their solutions are still impressive. Most of the time, you are able to solve quests either peacefully or with brutal force, mostly depending on the character build you pick at the start. It has a lot of different places to visit and a lot of people to talk to. It's baffeling that this is a game that is more than 20 years old. A milestone.

However! We're not living in 1997 anymore. And computer games evolved a lot since then, particularly in accessability and Quality-of-Life-improvements. Fallout gives you absolutely no clues what to do next and is unforgivingly hard if you don't know what to do. And while some may take that as a challenge, I took it as mere nuisances. I used a guide from almost start to finish, because the old-fashioned controls and constant struggle to stay alive made me want to go through the game as quickly as possible. I'm glad it is that short, I think I would've stopped playing it otherwise. I had no nostalgia, since I never played it when it came out, so that wasn't a factor for me either.

That leaves me with an interesting peek in the past, the realization how astonishing Fallout must've been at its time and the joy that I don't have to deal with this kind of game anymore. I have no problem with diving deeper into unaccessible games (like Dwarf Fortress or Aurora 4X), but only if they give me a unique gaming experience, something Fallout doesn't offer for me. Like the original Deus Ex, FarCry or Just Cause, it was interesting to see how games played like back then, but I prefer modern gaming. After all, I like going by car more than going by a horse carriage and nobody complains about that either, do they?

Achievements: None, thankfully.

Verdict: Unless you want to know what gaming was like in 1997, I don't recommend getting this game in 2019.



Currently playing

So. Many. Collectibles.


I feel bad for giving Fallout such a bad rating, since I really really see why this game was great once. But there it is, this little word once, which is the downfall of many great games. They simply cannot hold up to modern gaming experiences anymore, when you don’t factor in nostalgia. I’m still glad that we have the possibility to play them and see how video games have evolved.

Happy backlog-clearing to everyone,
Vito

Report #28

What a weird two weeks! They were super-stressful workwise, but the backlog battle was successful as almost never. Some games I’ve been playing in parallel aligned perfectly, so that I managed to finish 4 games. Without further ado, on to the reviews:


Reviews

Dungeon Siege

107 hours, no achievements
★★★☆☆

More

Release Date: 2002

Dungeon Siege is an action role-playing game from more than 15 years ago. It's a classic RPG, where you manage a party of up to 8 people on a journey to save the continent of Aranna from ancient dangers.

It just happened that I played the Dungeon Siege games in reverse order, finishing III then II and now the first. Going backwards in time was very noticeable when switching from DS II to DS I. The mechanics of DS I are just inferior to those of DS II in my opinion. So much, that it really bothered me. Therefore, instead of putting up with them, I installed the Legendary Mod for DS II, which is great work and recreates the DS I maps for DS II, and played that instead.

You are, again, an unknown hero, setting out to save the Kingdom of Ehb from dangers rooting in the past. Starting as a lowely farmhand you forge a group of warriors into an unstoppable force to save your home. Once that is done, there are 2 additional big campaigns to play. The second one, Legends of Aranna, is especially noteworthy, since it combines typical Sci-Fi tropes with Fantasy. Mad scientists' gene-experiments went wrong and you have to clean up the mess. Only that the gene-tailoring was done with magic and all is set in a typical fantasy setting. I absolutely loved this almost genre-crossing concept.

While the bigger pictures was great, it lacked in execution. Uninspired, blatant story-telling, unimportant, absolutetly boring side-quests, liveless companions. While DS II is not much better in that regard, it still had that little bit of additional details in the story to get me hooked. DS I on the other hand? Not so much. I played it solely for the gameplay (keep in mind: which actually is DS II's gameplay).

Therefore, my opinion of DS I itself is not so great. The mechanics are outdated, the superficial storytelling wastes the great potential the plot offers. I had a lot of fun, but most of the fun is to be attributed to the DS II mechanics. So would I recommend the game? Not really. Unless you play it for strictly nostalgic reasons, get aforementioned mod for DS II instead.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Unless for nostalgia I don't really recommend the game.


Titan Quest

35 hours, no achievements
★★☆☆☆

More

Release Date: 2007

Titan Quest is an action role-playing game comparable to Diablo. Ancient Greece is plagued by an invasion of mythical creatures. You set out on a journey through Greece, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China to destroy the source of this invasion.

Please note, that this is a review for the original version, neither with the Immortal Throne expansion installed nor the remastered one and this reflects heavily on the score.

There is not much to add in respect to the story. It is rather unimportant. Gameplay is the core-strength and main focus of the game. Which, unfortunately, is its downfall. From what I gather, the Immortal Thrones expansion already improves heavily on the gameplay with some QoL improvements, but the base version aged poorly. I miss highlighting of items on the ground and auto-attack options for your character. It's tiresome to play and becomes dull quickly.

While there may be more to the game when starting NG+s, I wasn't motivated to start another playthrough after finishing the first one.

The remastered Anniversary Edition should improve on the main downsides, but I haven't played it.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: No recommendation.


Gnomoria

7.0 hours, no achievements
★★☆☆☆

More

Release Date: Early Access 2012(?), Full 2016.

Gnomoria is a Dwarf Fortress clone. And by clone I really mean clone. Gnomoria adds better graphics and controls, calls dwarfs gnomes and does everything else almost identical to Dwarf Fortress.
You start out with a group of gnomes and build up a city/fortress/settlement from scratch, which includes gathering ressources on the map, starting farming or herding livestock, mining for ores.

Does it really achieve it's goals of improving graphics and controls? Well, it adds a third dimension, which looks okay, but confused me a lot when placing orders for your gnomes. And it tries to simplify controls, but though they may be less confusing than in DF, I think they are still far from great.

I don't really want to say the game itself is actually bad, but I vastely prefer the original Dwarf Fortress. So much, in fact, that when I heard, that DF comes to Steam (though the reasons may not be glad ones), I immediately dropped Gnomoria. I've seen its alternative approach, but it wasn't enough to convince me to continue playing.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: I prefer Dwarf Fortress.


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

10.8 hours, no achievements
★★★★★

More

Release Date: 2004

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a RTS game set in the universe of W40k (doh!). In the campaign you play as Space Marines, trying to defend the planet Tartarus against an Orc and Chaos invasion.

I recently reviewed the Dark Crusade expansion of DoW. The gameplay is virtually identical. However, the base game features a campaign with great story, better than almost any other RTS title. Though the graphics are definitely not the best anymore, the cutscenes paint a great picture of the what's happening and why we need to fight Orc and Chaos alike. In my eyes, this is the biggest strength of the game: Providing an interesting story.

Actually, if you want to play a classical RTS for both story and gameplay, this may be the best game to look at.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Absolutely recommended.



Currently playing

  • Fallout
    Fallout

    10.3 hours playtime

    no achievements

I started this absolute classic from 1997. It’s a bumpy yet interesting journey so far.


Though the games were not all great, W40k really made up for the slightly disappointing TQ and Gnomoria. With the 4 games finished, the number of completed games finally exceeds my number of unfinished games. That’s really great. I was expecting it to happen sometime over the course of the year, but not so early on. I will definitely try to keep it that way. On another note, I think the Dungeon Siege games are the first game franchise I finished in its entirety, which I am pretty happy about as well.

Happy backlog-clearing to everyone,
Vito

Report #27

I am a little late, here is the next of my bi-weekly updates. I had some time off, so I got a lot of gaming done. I invested it in some unfinished games and while they are not all finished yet, I think my next update will contain two big reviews. There is a small one for all the fans of RTS at least though.


Reviews

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade

25.1 hours, no achievements
★★★☆☆

More

Release Date: 2006

Note: I only tried SP, no MP!

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade is a RTS game set in the world of W40k. It is a standalone expansion to W40k: Dawn of War which adds the Necrons and Tau as playable factions.

Ancient evil is awakening on the planet Kronus: The Necrons arise from their tombs to wage war on all living beings. After a short time, every major power in the galaxy has sent its forces to secure the planet for themselves. You choose one of the factions and play on a campaign map representing Kronus, where you can attack and defend provinces. The battles change to RTS segments (like in the Total War series). This is where the true action happens.

When you build troops (=squads) they do not start off at full strength, but your squads need to be reinforced with additional members and equipment. This makes for a different turn than just the usual recruitment process in RTS. You need to conquer strategic points for ressources and in the end (as with most RTSs) destroy your opponent's headquarter. The tech tree is not overly complex.

The campaign is a lot of fun in the beginning, but becomes stale after a while. This is my main issue with the game: It had very limited replayability for me. The battles are very alike, there is not too much variation in them. Even the end of my campaign run with the Necrons (which took 18 hours) was a bit boring already. I played around a bit afterwards, but was not inclined to start another campaign.

All in all, I think it's a nice game, albeit I do not see a lot of replay potential in SP.

Achievements: None.

Verdict: Slightly recommended.



Currently playing

  • Dungeon Siege
    Dungeon Siege

    too many hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Titan Quest

    30 hours playtime

    no achievements

To soften the blow from finishing Dungeon Siege I started Titan Quest, which is (roughly) the same genre. I ended up playing mostly Titan Quest, so Dungeon Siege is still not finished :D


My review of Dark Crusade got longer than I anticipated. There is one thing to add. It’s not really about the game itself, rather about the universe it is set in: Warhammer 40,000. Each time I come into contact with W40k, I am at awe when glancing at the universe. The amount of lore, the megalomanic constructions… but once I dig a bit deeper, I am always disappointed: It’s just too … genocidal? … for me. The circle repeats about once a year or so. Up to this day, I am not able to make up my mind about W40k… What do you think of it?

Happy backlog-clearing to everyone,
Vito

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
★★☆☆☆

More

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
★★★★☆

More

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
★★★★★

More

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
★★★★☆

More

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
★★★☆☆

More

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
★★☆☆☆

More

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
★★☆☆☆

More

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