The last game you completed, and rating.

Soldato
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Dragon Age 2
A major disappointment compared to the other games in the series. I was ready to give up several times, but stuck with it mostly to see where the character arcs went. The empty, bland environmnets and reuse of the same maps felt like being shown total disrespect by the devs in this one. It was like a big CBA sign hanging over everything. And I did not at all care for the way the combat waves were implemented. Nothing against having waves of reinforcements arrive in battles and it can provide a good tactical challenge as you balance focusing fire on elites versus getting overwhelmed by trash mobs and manage resources. But - the way they literally just drop out the sky in seemingly random positions also felt so lazy and nonsensical.
I like the DA skill system and how it makes every class feel like it has some cool abilities and something to manage in fights, and some of the battles did feel pretty epic. But they were outnumbered and overshadowed by those with seemingly random and overlong waves dropping from nowhere that I just felt I was slogging through.
If it hadn't been for the DA setting, characters, and its place in the middle of a series I really like I would have noped out of this one long before halfway.
4/10
 
Soldato
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8 Sep 2012
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3,215
Yakuza: Like A Dragon - 8/10

I was rather skeptical about a turn-based Yakuza title but they somehow made it work. The series has always been famous for balancing serious themes and ridiculous, unadulterated fun but I think this one is the craziest and goofiest overall. The main story isn't the strongest in the franchise (0 is still the best) but still pretty good compared to typical AAA titles. Lots of twists and turns as usual but unfortunately it all loses focus later on and drags a bit. Strong characters and all the fun banter between them keep the game interesting, though.

When it comes to the actual turn-based combat, it's a pretty strong effort considering the series has always been a story-driven brawler with rpg elements. The inclusion of jobs that you can switch between helps keep things fresh. Each job can be levelled up individually and gives you different perks/attacks. There are even skills that can be cross-learned so using different jobs is actively incentivised by the game. The attacks themselves can get really ridiculous, especially the ultimate ones. The combat is enhanced by a couple of interlocking systems like building bonds between the members of your party, which unlocks new backstory-building conversations/substories, gives them access to new jobs and allows you to use special tag attacks with different party members.

Gameplay-wise it's a very intelligently designed game. Everything has a purpose and interlocks with something else, there is no side-content that doesn't give you tangible rewards but at the same time you're rarely forced to do any of it. For example, there's a substantial business management minigame that can take like 10h to complete which rewards you with some great stuff I won't spoil but you can skip it completely if you don't feel like it. Same goes for increasing the main character's stats by going to a vocational school and passing exams on various subjects. The game is massive and the side content is really fun, probably the most varied in the entire franchise.


Even though I'm not a big jrpg fan (which is weird cosidering I study the language and have a big interest in the country), I really enjoyed my time with the game. It wasn't perfect and there were a few niggles like some parts in the story, some grind here and there, pretty poor "dungeons" (mostly) and too many random encounters but overall it's been a nice departure from more "standard" games.
 
Soldato
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Horizon Zero Dawn - 8.5/10

A pretty amazing game. Does take a bit of time to get into it IMO. Had lots of false starts, but after sitting down with it for a few hours and getting a few hours into it, became a blast to play. Combat is not easy and there is a good challenge throughout, lots of machines to fight. The sound track is awesome, on a surround sound system, sounds absolutely amazing, hearing the metallic sounds machines make and so on. Graphically does look good too with a 3090 on OLED @ 120hz able to set everything maxed and running smooth. HDR during the day looks amazing, at nights can be problematic in the game as it becomes to dark.

The story itself is pretty engrossing, really opens up as you get into it. Will not spoil it, but real interesting take of old meets new. Worthwhile reading lots of the notes and what have you scattered to give you a bigger backstory to the world.

Overall really neat, do not have a PS5 and can only imagine the next game out in Feb will be a few years away for PC sadly.
 
Associate
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7 Jan 2012
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A Plague Tale: Innocence - 7/10.

Really liked the way the story panned out and was portrayed. No issues during gameplay. Wish they had allowed more time with other playable character as it seemed very short. The gameplay was mainly stealth and worked well but did not seem challenging enough. Puzzles encountered were fairly easy without having to do any thinking about solving those. Overall a decent game with a great fantasy story. Looking forward to the next one.
 
Associate
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26 Sep 2009
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240
Halo Infinite - 8/10

I enjoyed this one. The open world was lovely to traverse and fight through without being unnecessarily large. I loved the side content which was never mindless busy work that detracts from the 'mission' but in my opinion enhanced it. I would always stop to save my boys and take over a FOB or take out a target without feeling side tracked like I would in other games.

The gameplay was a lot of fun with a lot of varied approaches that I found to be quite difficult at times. There are some encounters that would just kick my ass but many attempts later I would always find a way through. It was just a matter of quite frankly... playing better. Or going to get a Scorpion...

The story was fine I'd say but nothing ground breaking. The villain was two dimensional but I enjoyed the relationship chief had with his new AI.

For £1 I really can't complain and I look forward to an expansion of the story.
 
Caporegime
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8 Nov 2008
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28,356
Doom 3 Phobos (Episode 2).

With the first two episodes now complete, I can look forward to the third and I expect the final installment of the series.

Like the first episode, plenty of action and great level design is clearly evident by an experienced team.

Quite a lot of puzzles are also evident - as in the first episode, and although I don't tend to associate that with Doom or Doom 3,
it does make for a refreshing alternative. There's also an interesting but convoluted story that takes shape over time,
with plenty of lengthy cutscenes added.

The only negative aspect that has consistently stood out for me so far has been the NPC spoken dialogue,
which seems as if it's been recorded at too low a volume, or maybe suffers due to being placed within one track?
 
Associate
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Vanishing of Ethan Carter (redux): 6/10.
An okay walking simulator/experience. The music and the setting feels quite serene and the story is a bit interesting based on own interpretations of the ending. Offers very little hand holding so one might find it a bit confusing at the start.
 

ne0

ne0

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Kingdom Come Deliverance 6.5/10

Argh what a difficult game to rate! I actually bought this on release back in 2018, got 40 hours into it and then lost interest/got side tracked by other games. I finally got round to restarting the campaign recently and have now completed it but wow it's a bit disappointing if I'm honest. Most of the quests are bugged to the point of ruining them, the writing is seriously bad in some places and it drags big time in the middle with some really boring questing. The world is beautiful but is seriously let down by a lack of polish so you have aliasing and pop in ruining your immersion throughout - this is with all available tweaks, mods and a very high end system.

Ultimately I think it's a great effort by a small studio but suffers from a severe lack of polish.
 
Soldato
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@ManCave
Kena bridge of sprits 8+/10

the +
qaulity game - zero bugs now
best qaulity lighting ive seen in a while
good combat
good adventure
good platforming
indie with qaulity better than the best AAA
decent story

the -
little bit repetive by the 9th hour
 
Man of Honour
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It Takes Two - 17/20

Played this in Co-op with my son

+Great visuals that really suits the game style. It's not so much the graphics being 'technically amazing' but more a case of good art direction married with level design
+Excellent performance
+Decent game length, lasted about 16hrs
+Varied settings for the different levels that generally stayed to the overall concepts. Some really nice design, going a bit zany at times but it never felt out of place
+Inventive use of different game modes spanning the core platforming game mechanic, puzzle solving, racing, dungeon crawling, QTE etc. Different abilities introduced throughout the game specific to the level. This really helped keep the game fresh as when you least expected it e.g. you'd hit this hack'n'slash section (shame it didn't last for longer)
+Included in Game Pass
+Good range of minigames, integrated into the level design
+A few cute nods to other games like PvZ and Mario Kart

-The underlying subplot felt a bit contrived and silly, but the game doesn't take itself too seriously in general so this is forgivable
-A couple of scenes that felt a bit uneasy, like 'torturing/kiling' the elephant. I guess this is why it ended up with a 12 rating because aside from a couple of minor swearies there wasn't much in there you don't find in PEGI 7 games.
-A couple of puzzles where I had to resort to looking up online. The end of the snow level was a good example, had spent ages trying to figure out how to get past the wind and the actual 'trick' you have to use just seemed odd.

It makes me want to try No Way Out and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons but just a shame they are not suitable for children.
 
Soldato
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5 Feb 2009
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3,611
So as work crushes my spirit again after a nice Christmas break, time to reflect back on the games I got through over December.

First up was Yakuza: Like a Dragon
I had played almost an hour of Yakuza 0 before giving up on the mouse and keyboard controls, but was otherwise new to this franchise. It ended up being one of the most engrossign and enjoyable gaming experiences I've had in a while. Up there with the best I've played in the past year or two, I think.
This game came at the right time for me in many ways. After two years of lockdown, which included two cancelled holidays, one in which we were aiming to go to Japan, I could wander around a wonderfully realised representation of Yokohama. I spent a long time taking in the sights, reading the signage, looking in the shop windows. This in itself brought a lot of pleasure.

I found the characters endearing too, and it was nice to play a game with older characters in their forties and fifties. I enjoyed all the character stories, and could even forgive the well-worn tendency I often see in anime for the characters to be overly earnest and as forgiving as a saint at times. Now, I normally dislike turn-based JRPG combat quite a lot, but in this game, for the first time ever, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tricks the devs used to give what would be otherwise quite static turn-based fights a feeling of flow and action worked well and I was quite happy even to grind job levels and materials in places.

There is a whole host of content I barely touched because I just didn't care for it, but I appreciated that the game didn't really penalise you for that. I enjoyed the management mini-game but left the golf, baseball, karting, karoake, mah-jong, shogi, can collecting, poker, blackjack, arcade games, and who can even remember what else pretty much alone. I missed out on upgrade materials for the final form of two weapons for characters I wasn't using much anway, but nothing much else I don't think.
The main story was decent enough, and told well through (many, long) cutscenes. My affinity for the characters meant this never seemed a chore to watch even when I balked at some of the motivations behind the decision-making.

There were far, far too many random encounters. Even though I liked the combat, I would have enjoyed the game more if I could move down one main street without three or four random battles. I really appreicated being able to equip the item that disabled these later in the story. The dungeons were really bland in comparison to the city, like something from the nineties, but then there were only two of them, I think.

Just what I needed at the end of the year and a total joy to play through.
9.1/10 (just to push it to my highest rating for the year :))

Then there were two other Japanese games: Nier: Automata and Scarlet Nexus.
I enjoyed both, but they were almost mirror-images in terms of what I liked and disliked in each. Nier had a great eerie atmosphere and in the end a really intriguing and emotional main story arc, but I didn't really care too much for the combat or the fetch quests or the traipsing across the vast empty spaces in the early game. I did give up on it for a while before @Amatsubu talked me into giving it another go in another thread. I am glad I did go back to it, and I even played through multiple times to get four or five different endings (I forget exactly how many). Whilst the combat never stopped feeling a bit limited, repetitive and button mashy to me, and I did not like the length of some of the boss fights or the tanky nature of the bosses themselves, the whole experience gelled into something genuinely emotional, stylish and totally engrossing.

For Scarlet Nexus you could pretty much invert those evaluations. The setting was... okay, the story linear and a bit bland and the characters broad-brush and forgettable (and often grating). But the combat... great fun! All the ways you can mix powers and effects in a flurry of fast-paced mayhem. Sure, it's not exactly tactical and all much too easy, but it does nail the "feeling fun" part. Not enough to entice me into the second playthrough the game dangles in front of you, but certainly enough to make the 25 hours or so the game took to finish once go by enjoyably. Also, I should give a respectful nod to the enemy design. Whilst a lot the game was quite forgettable, the design of the "others" was brilliant and some of them were really unsettling in their mix of seemingly organic and inorganic elements, with just glimpsed, barely recognisable elements of humanity in monstrous creations. All in all, quite shallow and slightly mindless fun.

I can recognise Nier as in many ways a masterpice of game design, even if I didn't always totally enjoy playing it. It's haunting melancholy atmosphere will stick with me for a long time in a way few games manage to evoke. Scarlet Nexus I have already pretty much forgotten much about about, other than the creepy enemies and how fun it was zipping around activating and deactiving all the powers at my disposal in frenetic ballets of destruction.

8.5 for Nier and 7 for SN.

Also, I feel my Japanese listening has improved a bit after all that Japanese dialogue, which is a nice bonus!
 
Soldato
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@strumpusplunket Glad you appreciated Automata, I agree that it's a masterpiece of game design in many ways and the atmosphere, music and everything just stick with you but it does have its flaws. The problem with the combat is that it's actually decently deep but it's deep in the way that 99% of the players won't explore and never get into comboing etc. so it'll feel mashy. I enjoyed it and got to do some cool stuff (also superb animations, jeez). The quests I feel add quite a lot to the lore and there are quite a lot of meaningful secrets. Replicant had far worse, lol, it was basically Taro trolling you for doing them:p Both Replicant and Automata are masterful storytelling devices but the former is a bigger chore, I'd recommend you give it a whirl though, maybe when it comes down in price, just for the same bits you enjoyed about Automata. Who knows, maybe you'll actually like the combat more, it's slower-paced and more controlled but its not the main star of the show either.

As for LAD, we loved and hated the exact same things:p The game was super fun to go through. Just like the entire franchise in general but the whole jrpg aspect was a breath of fresh air to a formula that has gotten a bit stale over the years, at least for people like me who grew up with the series. I did a lot of the side stuff but also left out many minigames just like I usually do, played them a few times but didn't complete all the challenges. I never do poker etc. I did the business management, vocational school and can collecting, though:D That damn Sujimon sidequest was hilarious, lol. "Sujimon" is a slang term for a yakuza member and that was such a great Pokemon spoof:D The bloody Sujidex, the professor and choosing between green, blue or red Sujimon, who the hell comes up with this stuff:p I have no idea how that bit was in English but I hope it wasn't lost in translation.
 
Soldato
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Days Gone: 9/10. Criminally underrated game from the ratings I've seen on Metacritic. I thought it was excellent throughout.
 

ne0

ne0

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Halo Infinite (campaign) 9/10

I had an absolute blast playing through this, awesome gameplay, immersive world and couldn't stop chuckling at the grunt's banter. Kind of on a par with the new Doom games in terms of sheer FPS thrills imo.

Played through on heroic with a controller which was pretty much perfect difficulty for me apart from the very last boss where I eventually gave in and put it on normal :o

btw some of the most impressive audio I've ever heard in a game. Played with Dolby Atmos on headphones and the clarity and dynamic was just sublime, they did a great job.
 
Associate
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Halo Infinite (campaign) 9/10

I had an absolute blast playing through this, awesome gameplay, immersive world and couldn't stop chuckling at the grunt's banter. Kind of on a par with the new Doom games in terms of sheer FPS thrills imo.

Played through on heroic with a controller which was pretty much perfect difficulty for me apart from the very last boss where I eventually gave in and put it on normal :o

btw some of the most impressive audio I've ever heard in a game. Played with Dolby Atmos on headphones and the clarity and dynamic was just sublime, they did a great job.
This would be my game and score as well!! Wouldn't quite put it up there with Doom Eternal for thrills but definitely back up there for Halo games, although I would have loved more environments and a couple of big set piece battles like the scarab battles from 3 :D
 
Associate
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Half Life Alyx
10/10

Superb. Deliberately held off playing this while I worked through the rest of my VR library. Probably a good decision, as this was definitely the best of the bunch. Superb.
 
Soldato
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Half Life Alyx
10/10

Superb. Deliberately held off playing this while I worked through the rest of my VR library. Probably a good decision, as this was definitely the best of the bunch. Superb.

Alyx was amazing, although I wish I did my VR library like you did and did Alyx last - I did it first now nearly everything else looks like ass in comparison :p
 
Associate
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5 Mar 2006
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Shropshire
Psychonauts 2
8.5/10

Great fun and some really original ideas / systems to play with, some really solid art direction in the game too. The story and narration is quirky without being cringe. Also a good one if you like exploration and collecting hidden items. The story and dialogue are just fantastic, real credit to Tim Schafer. Enjoyed it so much that I 100% completed it (all powers, pins, all collectibles, optional missions and achievements).

It takes a few hours into it to get it going but I got about 30-40 hours worth of entertainment which is fantastic since I got it free to play with gamepass. Even the dialogue for the characters is adjusted as the reflect back on the victory after the playthrough. Watched an interview with Tim Schafer about it, looks like it took 5 years development for each of the Psychonauts games, and amazingly it only took 9 months to produce the first Monkey Island....

It's really a great action platformer/adventure and the highlight of the last year so far for me.
 
Associate
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Prey, from 2017. I had actually pre-ordered - which I forgot - but came across a full locker which was given with the pre-order deal. I had tried it a couple of times, running-and-gunning, and got through some serious carnage but the hassle-enjoyment ratio wasn't great.

Enough people on here saying how great it was, so I gave it another shot, a bit more level-headed and cautious this time.

It's bloody good :-D Really enjoyed it. I was a bit conservative on the typhon mods so will definitely replay with more typhon goodies installed.

Well worth it, if there's any more 4+year fence-sitters out there.

7.5 out of 10 for me - would easily be 8 but for a few little bugs on missions - not enough to ruin anything, but should really have been patched by now.
 
Soldato
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East Lothian
Deliver us the Moon - 8/10. If you consider playing games an escape, then this truly was for me. Cool concept and story based on a not too distant future and how me may one day harness the, rare on Earth but abundant on the moon, isotope Helium-3 for energy. I nice bit of variety in the gameplay coupled with not immediately obvious to solve puzzles, but not frustrating to get past either. 7 hours in total to complete.
 
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