CD PROJEKT REDSteam
Date finished 10/13/23 (62 hrs)
Yeah... I caved and got Cyberpunk 2077 despite my best judgement; granted, I did get it on sale XD!
It's hard to say if this is because of that 2.0 update or whatever; but I'm suprised. This is actually a really good game with an engaging story that actually feels true to the cyberpunk genre. I can't speak for the Cyberpunk tabletop series; but I can say that it really felt alliged with some of the themes of the original cyberpunk story, Neuromancer. Sure, there are critques to be had with 2077's story and gameplay but it has really left me thinking these past few weeks, and likely will contuine to do so for some time.
I realize I'm not really saying much about the game itself; but it impacted me, inspired me. I guess that's really the only thing I want out of any media. And sure, I've felt this way about other games/stories in the past until those feelings have inevitably faded away; but it means something in this moment. Isn't that what a website is kind of about? A collection of things that meant something to me at some point; even if those feelings are gone and the page all but abandoned, they are still here; documented, a memory of a feeling.
Jagged Alliance 3
Haemimont Games Steam
Date finished 8/19/23 (57 hrs)
You know my "Never pay more than 20 bucks for a game" rule, but every now and then I make an exception; a keen eye or desperation? Who's to say why!
I noticed JA3 on the day of its release; I was surprised but skeptical as the series has had some rough releases in recent years. However, the trailers looked promising. I sat on it for 2 days and decided to take a leap of faith, and I have to say I'm happy I did! Jagged Alliance 3 is everything I wanted out of a JA game; likable characters, management elements, engaging plot and sidequests; but most importantly, humor and an over the top 80's action movie vibe. There are serious moments sure, but overall it's just so fun!
My only qualms are that stealth and combat can be a bit wonky and there is a huge difficulty spike mid-game; but these are all common issues that I've come to expect from TBS games. I also have the perfectionist mentality of spamming quickload when something goes wrong; so I can spend 1-2 hours on a single combat encounter XD.
Fox is the best merc btw :3. Her lines are just so on the nose that I couldn't stop laughing every time she said something when I first hired her!
Arkane Austin Steam
Hours played before giving up: 11
I kind of want to phase out this section of the site because it felt unhealthy to have to come up with something to say about every game I've played recently (I've played a bunch since Inscryption). Sometimes you just want to play a game or watch a movie and not turn it into a review project that takes a couple days of introspection. But I don't know, this time I want to talk at the void about Redfall.
I played Redfall with a friend recently and it's really as bad as everyone says it is. I tried to stay positive and give it the benefit of the doubt; but the more we played the more miserable it became. It's just plain boring, everything can be considered sparse; sparse story, sparse combat, sparse world. There's no driving force, you get thrown into the game and things just happen around you. We ended up wandering around in the open world for the majority of our time, and even then; there's really nothing to do, there are barely even enemy patrols! Quests were far too tedious and difficult to manage for us to bother with; you can only carry one primary mission at a time which all boil down to the most basic objectives anyway. I could go on and on, but with people calling it the worst game of 2023; I'm sure you can find 100's of comprehensive forum posts and essay videos that will list everything out.
Honestly, I didn't really have any particular expectations for Redfall even with Arkane's name on it. During the first teaser trailer, we actually thought it would be a co-op horde shooter XD. Anyways, good thing we didn't pay $70.00 for it!
Daniel Mullins Games Steam
Date finished 1/13/23
Having played several Daniel Mullins games, including the previous two mainline entries, I knew what to expect from Inscryption. However, as always I found myself pleasantly surprised at how he manages to tell his stories. I was absolutely hooked during my entire playthorugh! I also really want to commend how polished the gameplay was this time around; I'm not typically a fan of card-based games but the way Inscryption plays with card and rougelike tropes was very well done and enjoyable!
If you aren't familiar with Daniel's work, well... I can only say what you've probably heard everyone else say - the less you know going in, the better! I highly recommend playing Inscryption. Also, if you haven't already, be sure to give Pony Island and The Hex a shot too; they deserve the attention!
Keep up the great work, Daniel; I'm always looking forward to your next release!
Date finished 1/3/23
SIGNALIS is a love letter to the survival horror genre, proudly wearing its influences. That's not to say SIGNALIS is even the slightest bit derivative, it stands tall on its own merit. I would even go as far to say that it has established itself as one of the greats of the genre.
SIGNALIS is stunning visually and acoustically; the visuals alone make it worth playing! There is a heavy emphasis on retro-futuristic tech with many UI elements mimicking CRTs. There's even the way that your screen plays into the story/gameplay with distortion effects and text pop-ups. Cutscenes are beautifully crafted and deeply provoking. Sometimes they are broken up into first person exploration segments to add to the immersion or 2D closeups of characters to focus on their emotions. The soundtrack is also superb! I'm sure I'll be listening it for the next month or two :D! SIGNALIS is simply perfect in it's audio/visual delivery, nothing I can say will do it justice; you really need to experience it yourself!
The story is told sparsely and often in disjointed images and words. Still, the delivery alone makes it so unique that I didn't mind if I was a little confused. It's a game you need to play multiple times in different ways to get every drop of information.
The game itself is much of what you would expect from a survival horror title; limited resources, puzzle solving, etc. I personally had trouble with most of the puzzles and had to refer to a walkthrough often. I'm sure if I invested more time I could have solved them, but my patience has been pretty thin lately and I didn't want risk having to backtrack to see if I missed a key-item or anything :/. I didn't rush either, my first run was about 13 hours; I tried my best to explore every nook and cranny, but I still managed to miss out on a couple of weapons. I'll see if I can find em on my next playthrough!
Remember our promise - Denken Sie an unser Versprechen
Persona 5 Royal
Date finished 12/31/22
I've been playing Persona 5 for about three months now. It's the first Shin Megami Tensei game I've played since a very brief stint with Imagine in like 2010. Right off the bat, I was in awe of how stylish the game was, there are all these fanciful graphics and transitions making something as simple as navigating the pause menu a fun experience! But that's really the only positive thing I can say. :/
The game is simply way too loooong and it insists on treating you like a child the entire time (This is an M-rated game btw)! There is so much fluff, from repetitive dialogue explicitly pointing out the most mundane of things no matter how far you are in the game (I.e "Joker, you just unlocked a door, now we can move forward. Yes other teammate, I agree, this will make our infiltration much easier!") to characters being woefully oblivious to everything; your team will always be shocked at how evil a boss is despite having targeted them for being evil in the first place. The game's themes are also very surface level and end on a message that feels so sterile despite building up to more complex themes at several points. They really like to beat these themes over your head too by having every character explicitly spell out what they are feeling. There's really no space for subtext.
Then there's the combat, at first it's fun; using your team's different elemental affinities to exploit weaknesses but once you reach the late game, it seems like most of these mechanics are thrown out the door. It just became a game of using 1 character to heal every turn while the others slowly chip away at the enemy's health.
I really wanted to like this game; I was invested in the story at first, but it goes on and on without any payoff. Every time I thought it was finally over, it throws another plot twist and 5 hour dungeon at you. I just wanted it to end so I could move on with my life and because of that, my opinion of the game has completely soured.
Arsi "Hakita" Patala Steam
Currently in development. Piece written as of early access version "Patch 11B" (12/4/22)
ULTRAKILL is a movement shooter with a focus on stylish gameplay; wracking up combos, not relying on any one weapon, deflecting attacks, etc. When I first played the demo, I was put off thinking this game would be too skill heavy; but I gave the demo another shot recently and found myself getting into the rhythm of things and was excited to play more! ULTRAKILL definitely has a higher skill floor than your typical FPS, but that's what makes it so unique and fun to play! Experimentation is encouraged and there's a lot of cool stuff you can pull off once you understand the mechanics!
The presentation of ULTRAKILL is great! The soundtrack has a lot of variety but the break heavy tracks in particular stole the show for me x3. Story elements are sparse, but I found myself invested in the text walls at the end of each act. I'm excited to see how the story concludes in act 3! In the meantime, I'm going to try to find more secret areas; who knows what I could have missed!
"Mankind is dead: Blood is fuel: Hell is full"
The Forgotten City
Modern Storyteller Steam
Date finished 10/18/22
Just when I thought I had exhausted all options, I find another great time loop game :D!
The Forgotten City follows an unnamed protagonist from the modern day as they find themselves in an ancient Roman city separated from time. The residents all adhere to one dictum laid out by an unknown god "The many shall suffer for the sins of the one" which they title "The Golden Rule". In other words, if any resident is to commit a sin, all of them will die as punishment. Funny you should arrive on this day in particular, because someone is about to break The Golden Rule and condemn the entire city! Talk to the residents, utilize the loop and stop this from happening.
I really enjoyed The Forgotten City, so much so that I finished it in one sitting! I was so intrigued by all the ancient mythology; even though I don't really know much about that kinda stuff, the game provides enough background to be immersed in the residents' understanding of things. Utilizing this historical view point, the game also raises a lot of interesting insights and questions about human culture and morality.
We Happy Few
Compulsion Games Steam
Date finished 10/13/22
Continuing with the 60's theme, I decided to give We Happy Few a play. The story follows 3 characters as they dissent against a 1984/Equilibrium government that controls the population with the use of a drug called Joy.
I really wanted to like this game; I love the aesthetic and world they have established. The story is intriguing, main characters are well voiced and likable, it's all very charming. At the end of the day, however, I just can't say I enjoyed actually playing it; it's far too tedious! The game utilizes an open world with survival mechanics sprinkled in; you have all these statuses to keep track of that are all in place seemingly just to slow you down. Most of my 25 hr playthrough must have been spent waiting around for statuses to clear and traveling from one quest marker to another. >:(
I want to make clear that there is something wonderful here; it's just really hard to appreciate all of it when the gameplay itself felt like a part time job with an hourly payment of a couple minutes worth of story. Too many games feel like work, and I already gotta deal with that 40+ hrs a week :|
When life annoys, pop a joy!
Arkane Studios Steam
Date finished 9/28/22
I love a good time loop story. I've seen em all: Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day, Twelve Minutes, Russian Doll, etc!
DEATHLOOP follows Colt, an amnesiac who only remembers that he must break the loop; conversely, he finds himself hunted by Julianna, who seeks to preserve the loop at all costs. A simple premise that is exceptionally delivered by great writing, likeable characters and an awesome 60's aesthetic! The voice acting was also just so well performed; Colt was one of the most believable characters I've played in a while, his reactions are so natural!
The invasion PVP was also cool, being invaded made things really tense, as failure meant restarting the current loop! It blends well with the story as it becomes this cartoonish game of cat and mouse. One time I was backstabbing an NPC, and Julianna snuck up behind me to try and backstab me, but I heard her coming and sidestepped away to backstab her! XD.
The Procession to Calvary
Joe Richardson Steam
Date finished 9/18/22
Short and sweet comedy point & click adventure game with art made from renaissance era paintings. The humor is absurdist; it knows it's a game and has a lot of fun with it! Good way to spend about 3 hours, though you're likely going to need to look up a guide for some of the later puzzles. I don't really want to say much more as it's really something you need to experience for yourself!
Well.. if you want, here's one fun fact to give you an idea what kinda game this is *SPOILERS*
You can speedrun the entire game in like 10 minutes if you just murder everyone who gets in your way! Why bother with a fetch quest when you have a sword? XD
LOOK AT HIS MASSIVE KEY!
Max Payne 3
Date finished 9/10/22
You're probably wondering why I took so long to play this one. *Max Payne voice* I still ask myself that question. Maybe I was trying to avoid the truth, hoping to live in a dream where Mona was still alive. Like all dreams, eventually you have to wake up. In an instant, everything is gone except a faint sense of loss; it leaves you cold, bitter and alone.
My new job took me away from the city I lived and died in; another layer of hell, except this time it wasn't so cold. I could have picked easier work to fuel these old and new habits, but I was already knee deep in bodies, and I was too much of a stubborn old bastard to let this go unpunished.
I didn't know if there was a happy ending down this road, no one ever does; I had no choice but to push on.
Resident Evil Village
Date finished 8/21/22
Resident Evil Village is the sequel to RE7; it follows the first-person format while also adding elements from RE4 such as inventory management, weapon upgrades, etc.
Now, I don't usually play new games as I follow "Never pay more than 20 bucks for a video game" like religious doctrine; but I found Village for $16 so I thought I'd try something new for a change XD. (I know if my friends read this, they will be all like "Melvin, that game came out a year ago! it's not new!" >_>)
My favorite thing about Village was how balanced the mood was. There are some genuinely horrifying and tense moments and yet, the experience felt like a cartoon. This game is absurd; even with in-universe justifications. There are vampires, lycans, giants, and more! Ethan, our protagonist, while having previous experience in such situations is very nonchalant about some of the gruesome things that happen to him. He even finds the time to throw out a few (lame) quips! It's all intentional though, as this is clearly the horror movie victim accidentally being placed in the role of the survivor/hero.
Date finished 6/8/22
Disco Elysium is a narrative-focused RPG developed by ZA/UM. It follows an amnesiac detective and his partner, Kim Kitsuragi as they investigate a hanging in the city of Revachol.
Disco Elysium is for me, the perfect RPG! It's all the dialogue and character building I love, without the tedious combat loop. The world is full of interesting and dynamic characters and the writing throughout was surprisingly witty and endearing. I found myself smiling and laughing quite a lot! The relationship between you; a disaster of a man who has internal dialogue with 24 different voices in his head and your partner, Kim, who is a stickler for procedure but patient with your eccentrics, makes for a perfect team dynamic! It's just overall such a pleasant game to play, I was hooked from start to finish in my 37-hour playthrough. Now that it's over... all I can think about is playing it again!
THIS GAME IS ULTRA HARDCORE TO THE MEGA! YEEEEEEEAGH!!!!
WolfEye Studios Steam
Date finished 4/6/22
Weird West is a real-time isometric RPG set in a paranormal version of the Wild West. It follows 5 characters dealing with their own dilemmas as they seek answers to the mysterious brand that connects them.
The game boasts a dynamic world but not a lot of viable ways to approach dialogue and combat scenarios. The open world also felt barren, a lot of locations are reused and don't offer much in the way of unique areas, items, or quests. However, the atmosphere and character stories under the backdrop of a greater mystery more than made up for this! I found combat to be fun as well, having it be real-time instead of turn-based was a brilliant choice! I felt like I was playing a reimagining of classic Fallout! The soundtrack was also really good! Not your typical western stuff, a lot of glitchy noise, and electronic ambience.
Overall, I enjoyed Weird West; it's gameplay may have not been fully realized, but the story was engaging enough that I never found myself bored or frustrated during my 22-hour playthrough
Currently in development. Piece written as of early access build 0.4.8 (3/6/22)
HROT is a Quake-like FPS set in an alternate soviet era Czechoslovakia. It is currently being developed by indie dev Spytihněv.
HROT oozes atmosphere. Everything is brown and dingy; the music is haunting; the world feels undead. Strange creatures; both humanoid and paranormal, are the only remaining inhabitants. There's a looming sense of dread as you explore; you never know what to expect as you delve deeper into this horrifying world!
I'm really impressed so far; the gameplay is solid; it plays exactly how an old-school FPS should. There are limited resources, secrets, boss fights and tons of little details scattered throughout! The levels are also very well designed; I hardly found myself lost. Velhartice (E2M2) in particular, is brilliant! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!
Spytihněv is clearly passionate about this project; I'm excited to see how this game grows!
Mobius Digital Steam
Date finished 2/25/22
I went into this game blind. During the little tutorial I was honestly confused and a bit hesitant to continue, however I am so glad I did. This game is beautiful, the sounds the sights, and the story! Space always brings about this confusing stew of emotions, it should be terrifying, however you just can't help but be enthralled by its beauty.
My only caveat is that it can feel frustrating at times; I implore you to pull through, the ending is worth it!
Red Dead Redemption 2
Date finished 2/14/22
Despite being so late to the party, I managed to go in blind! As a Rockstar game, I avoided it since I'm not keen on Rockstar's brand of humor & writing. A friend of mine however, recommended it to me while it was on sale, so I thought I'd give it a shot! I was pleasantly surprised at how mature this game was and how real each character felt. Arthur himself is a great protagonist; his personality is dynamic and you just kind of synchronize with him! Even with a linear story and limited customization options I can watch a video and be like "That's not my Arthur" if that makes sense XD. Overall, I would definitely recommend RDR2 it tells a great western story without feeling generic.
Just be aware it's a long ride! (Took me nearly 60 hours to finish!)
Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines
Troika Games Steam
THE roleplaying vampire PC game. Built on the Source engine, sustained by the blood of a dedicated modding community. While combat can be a bit clunky, the writing and atmosphere are unmatched, you're really going to feel immersed in this world! Malkavians FTW!!
P.S I'm sorry to say it, but I have no confidence for Bloodlines 2 :(
The Cat Lady
Harvester Games Steam
The Cat Lady is a beautifully dark game. It's tactful and the main character, Susan is written so well. Susan is relatable and it's easy to sympathize and invest yourself in her story. I don't want to say much, as this is definitely a game you'll want to go into blind. Also look at that gorgeous art style, it's so unique!
There's nothing quite like Mirror's Edge. Every little detail in the game contributes to this unexplainable feeling of beauty and freedom. The art direction is some of the best I've ever seen, it's sleek and utilitarian yet stunning and impactful. The gameplay is fulfilling, there is triumph in maintaining a "flow" state. Don't even get me started on the music, "Still Alive" is iconic! There won't ever be another game like Mirror's Edge, and that's okay because there doesn't have to be.
Autumn Rain Itch.io
Fun little exploration game with a charming blend of nihilism and chill vibes
E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy
Streum On Studio Steam
Very strange FPS-RPG on the Source engine. large range of mechanics from hacking to slashing! a unique albeit unpolished experience worth going through atleast once.
Looking Glass Studios Steam
The pioneer of the 0451 immersive sim genre. Clunky controls by today's standards but enjoyable and addictive. Also lets be honest here, SHODAN steals the show!
Access Games Steam
A quirky, charming and unforgettable game akin to Twin Peaks. If I may be so brazen, you would do well to be wary of clunky mechanics and poor optimization. So says Mr Stewart.
GSC Gameworld Steam
Based on the Strugatsky brother's novel "A Roadside Picnic" (A great book btw), the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games are immersive shooters with a dreadful and lonely atmosphere. Having just barely pulled through a tumultuous development hell, the games were a bit rough around the edges but quickly spawned a dedicated cult following!
An absolute must play if you are into 90's web design. Step into a alternate reality of the years preceding Y2K. Fun mechanics and engaging storyline. A lovely expereince.