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July 18th, 2019, 00:11
Just finished a full run-through of Witcher 3 and all DLC's. A most satisfying and engaging several weeks. Only the second time I have gone through Heart of Stone and I was very impressed even if horror elements aren't my favourite. Just great. Only mod was one to update/improve visuals.
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July 18th, 2019, 00:22
I was just thinking about tw. Would you prefer tw2 or tw3?

I think I finally made up my mind because:
1. As good as cdpr filled the world of tw3, it could have been a much tighter experience without losing anything of value.
2. tw3 tells a great story, but that's a culmination of the world building of previous games.

In the end I prefer the tighter experience of tw2, setting everything up. I'm clearly nitpicking, but it is important to decide this once and for all.
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July 18th, 2019, 13:23
Hmm, probably TW3 as the long play out of decisions, yes some from prior games, but many within the game. Also, it was much more ”this is just life” for NPC's rather than kings and grand battles.
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July 18th, 2019, 22:07
I finished https://store.steampowered.com/app/712730/SIMULACRA/ , pretty cool concept, not much horror as it says there but really interesting overall.
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July 21st, 2019, 19:32
The Sinking City

I enjoyed it for the most part, but it didn't break the mold for games based on H.P. Lovecraft lore. It's janky and inconsistent like the rest of them, but there's a lot to recognize and enjoy for fans of Lovecraft.

You play as a private investigator by the name of Charles Reed, and the game takes place in the fictional city of Oakmont, Massachusetts in the late 1920's. A good portion of the city is underwater due to a flood that happened the previous year, and parts of it can only be explored with a boat.

The game world is completely open from the start and offers a lot to see and explore. Whether or not the exploration is good is a little more subjective. Most of the buildings you can enter won't have anything of significance in them until an associated quest has been triggered. Also, while they did a great job of making the environments look very Lovecraftian, there isn't a whole lot of variety from one section of the city to another.

Combat is serviceable but doesn't stand out in any particular way. You start out with a basic pistol and add other weapons over the course of the game. Ammo can be found in loot containers or received as a reward for completing quests, but you'll craft the majority of it. In addition to the various firearms, you'll also use a melee weapon, grenades and firebombs, and traps that you can place in the environment.

In addition to your health bar, you also have a sanity meter which depletes if you come across something disturbing enough to affect Charles' psyche. If your sanity gets low enough, you'll start hallucinating. If you lose all your sanity…well, let's just say you don't want that to happen.

There's isn't a ton of variety in the bestiary, but the devs did a good job with the monster design. While the normal monsters you face aren't taken directly from existing Lovecraft lore, they would certainly fit right in. You'll also have the occasional battle with local gangsters and "Innsmouthers".

I thought the writing ranged from average to good by gaming standards, and the voice acting was better than I expected. There are a decent amount of sidequests in the game, and none of them felt overly similar to each other. There are also quite a few Lovecraft easter eggs scattered about in the form of objects and notes signed by certain characters that fans will recognize.

Overall, it's not going to blow anyone out of the water (pun intended), but it's absolutely worth playing for anyone who's even remotely a fan of Lovecraft.

7/10
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July 22nd, 2019, 20:18
I completed Final Fantasy Four: The Afteryears this morning, and it's a mixed bag for me. I really didn't care for how much of the game were just short stories, brining in characters that I didn't really care for, and you've no option to switch them out for others. Later, near the end of the game where you get to make your final squad, the game excels and approaches that Final Fantasy greatness that we all love. I did finish it, I don't regret playing or buying it, but I believe it highly unlikely that I'd ever replay this game. Others might like it, and that's fine, but for me it was a bit less-than.
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July 24th, 2019, 22:17
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. This came as a surprise to me. I knew it was a tightly driven story-based experience. The kind I love and am easily engrossed by, but it was even much better executed than I expected. From looking at videos it had more of an indie feel to it, but it was really polished and beautiful. Graphics, animation, voice, and oh boy the music. Even the combat was ok. Not much to it, but very fluid. Puzzles were easy, just there to drive the narrative, but for me enough of gameplay to enjoy.

At the end I really cared for the main character. Did I mention I get really engrossed in such games? So I might be ignoring some obvious flaws but for me it is the final experience that counts and it was a great one, I expect to mull it over in my head the coming week.

https://open.spotify.com/track/3PqG2…TXCCdxo290PuUA

https://open.spotify.com/track/1UaYT…QYispuXYsIzoag
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July 25th, 2019, 20:44
Deus Ex Revision 9/10

Always wanted to play all the DE games in a row - and I finally pulled myself together enough to focus on them.

I tried GMDX - but stopped around halfway through, when I felt unsatisfied with my build and approach.

I'd written off Revision as something too far removed from the original, but then I read more about it - and decided to try it out.

It's by far the best modern version of the game - and fully retains everything that's great about the original game - while expanding upon nearly all aspects in considered and thorough ways.

Game is fantastic as it ever was.

Deus Ex Invisible War 6/10

In a vaccuum - this is 6/10. I tend to review games in a vaccuum. If I compared it directly to the first game, it's more like a 3/10 or 4/10. As in, a very bad joke in comparison.

However, as a stand-alone experience - it's got its moments. I actually liked the ending and the idea of the story.

But the level design and the overall severe reduction in freedom and scope is staggering.

I'd actually never bothered to complete this one - and I had to force myself through it.

But it wasn't all bad. For one, it was mercifully short.

Also, there's a few neat features here and there. If nothing else, then the combat is definitely superior to the first game - where it's just awful.

Here, it's merely rather bad

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On to DE:HR - but I'll take a short break, I think.

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July 29th, 2019, 12:57
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 8/10

I played this back at release on my PS2 - and I've always wanted another go at it. I remember it as my last great christmas present

I've finally gotten the PCSX2 emulator to run it perfectly - or very nearly so.

It's surprisingly good for such an early console title. It's also surprisingly challenging here and there, considering I was playing on normal.

A truly wonderful nostalgia trip - with an actual story and cool loot/progression.

I think it took me around 12 hours or so, which was a very fitting length for what the game has to offer. It did sort of devolve into repetition right near the end, but it was almost the perfect fit for the design.

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August 1st, 2019, 07:13
Finished Underrail, the dlc was a bit dissapointing, was just not that interesting for me. But the rest of the game was fantastic, it is incredible how much content there is, if you play just the main story, i think you skip like 60-65% of the game.
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August 1st, 2019, 17:03
I did finish Chrono Trigger the other day, of course it was great fun and brought back many old and wonderful memories. Often I just destroy the last person you can recruit, but this time I added him to the team and even used him in the end parts, just to see how he functioned. In the end, I believe changing things up a bit added a bit of additional value to my replay, and made the entire journey a bit more enjoyable. This won't be my last replay of this great gem!!
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August 4th, 2019, 06:10
Just finished Tyranny
Got a good 40 hrs out of it, which was perfect, because I started steamrolling the game around hour 35'ish. I had unspent skill tree points by the end, I didnt need em.
Rolled w/ Barik / Verse / Sirin / Shield Tank main w/ some fun javelin stuff mixed in on the attack
Sirin's freakin powerful, good times having her in the crew in heavy armor, just emitting death and lightning

Good story, I liked the game world and Spires thing, some fun final battles.
Played "lawful evil" as much as possible w/ the Disfavored, I'm ALMOST tempted to play thru again chaotic w/ the Scarlet Chorus.
Almost….

Nah, that's enough of that =D

Time for something new!
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August 4th, 2019, 21:23
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
Just finished Tyranny
Got a good 40 hrs out of it, which was perfect, because I started steamrolling the game around hour 35'ish. I had unspent skill tree points by the end, I didnt need em.
Rolled w/ Barik / Verse / Sirin / Shield Tank main w/ some fun javelin stuff mixed in on the attack
Sirin's freakin powerful, good times having her in the crew in heavy armor, just emitting death and lightning

Good story, I liked the game world and Spires thing, some fun final battles.
Played "lawful evil" as much as possible w/ the Disfavored, I'm ALMOST tempted to play thru again chaotic w/ the Scarlet Chorus.
Almost….

Nah, that's enough of that =D

Time for something new!
Great game! I enjoyed it more than the PoE series. I did a good-ish playthrough with the Disfavoured first and then a more evil playthrough as a member of the Scarlet Chorus. There were quite a few differences in the two runs, so I'm tempted to do another go as an unaligned at some point, maybe in a few years. I agree with you about the game world, I hope we haven't seen the last of it.
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August 7th, 2019, 07:10
Call of Cthulhu

I can't remember the last time I was so happy to see the credits roll at the end of a game. The last few levels were so bad I nearly quit playing altogether. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that it was almost over.

CoC just isn't a very good game, and it's definitely not an RPG despite oddly being labeled as one. It's an adventure game with a smattering of superficial skills and dialogue choices. The only positive thing is that it's fairly short - around 8-10 hours.

I really can't recommend it even to fans of Lovecraft. Maybe if you're big on adventure games, but even then you need to go in with low expectations.

5/10
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August 7th, 2019, 08:30
I finally picked up Battletech when it was on sale at Steam a couple weeks ago. It's still buggy and unstable, but I was able to finish the game without any insurmountable problems.

I noticed a few features the devs threw in to make the game more addicting, taking cues from free-to-play:

Random loot
Not just after the battles, where you get to salvage the enemy's destroyed mechs and their weapons, but also after you travel to a new star system and check what's for sale. And the high-quality equipment is pretty rare, and sometimes the rare high-quality equipment isn't the rare high-quality equipment you're looking for, but you'll pick it up anyway in case you want to use it later.

Everything on a timer
Your best mechwarrior got wounded and now there's a countdown to when he'll be back in the cockpit. Your heaviest mech got beat up and now there's a countdown to when the repairs will be completed. You picked up a sweet new autocannon and now there's a countdown to when it will be installed on your mech. You set off for a new star system to get new missions and new equipment, and now there's a countdown to when you arrive.

Recurring costs
Every month that passes in-game comes with expenses. Every pilot, every readied mech, every upgrade to your ship comes with an added expense. Flying to a new star system to get new equipment or new missions costs money. Repairing and refitting mechs costs money. If you do anything, you have to take on a mission to pay for it, and that mission will damage your mech, which costs money to repair, or you'll find better equipment, which costs money to install. Earn money, spend money, earn money, spend money.

The free-to-play features in a regular-cost game aren't bad per se. They make the game more addicting, but I don't know if they really make the game better.

The game itself is pretty good. I heard people say that it's too slow, and I can see what they mean. But it's pretty true to the tabletop game. My one big complaint is that there is no reason not to bring your heaviest mechs to every battle. I wish that there could be a tradeoff, where you can bring two light mechs instead of one heavy, but your lance is always limited to four mechs, and more firepower is always better, so your four mechs should always be your four heaviest. That really limits the strategies and play styles you can use.
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August 7th, 2019, 10:06
Originally Posted by Nathaniel3W View Post
I finally picked up Battletech when it was on sale at Steam a couple weeks ago. It's still buggy and unstable, but I was able to finish the game without any insurmountable problems.

I noticed a few features the devs threw in to make the game more addicting, taking cues from free-to-play:

Random loot
Not just after the battles, where you get to salvage the enemy's destroyed mechs and their weapons, but also after you travel to a new star system and check what's for sale. And the high-quality equipment is pretty rare, and sometimes the rare high-quality equipment isn't the rare high-quality equipment you're looking for, but you'll pick it up anyway in case you want to use it later.

Everything on a timer
Your best mechwarrior got wounded and now there's a countdown to when he'll be back in the cockpit. Your heaviest mech got beat up and now there's a countdown to when the repairs will be completed. You picked up a sweet new autocannon and now there's a countdown to when it will be installed on your mech. You set off for a new star system to get new missions and new equipment, and now there's a countdown to when you arrive.

Recurring costs
Every month that passes in-game comes with expenses. Every pilot, every readied mech, every upgrade to your ship comes with an added expense. Flying to a new star system to get new equipment or new missions costs money. Repairing and refitting mechs costs money. If you do anything, you have to take on a mission to pay for it, and that mission will damage your mech, which costs money to repair, or you'll find better equipment, which costs money to install. Earn money, spend money, earn money, spend money.

The free-to-play features in a regular-cost game aren't bad per se. They make the game more addicting, but I don't know if they really make the game better.

The game itself is pretty good. I heard people say that it's too slow, and I can see what they mean. But it's pretty true to the tabletop game. My one big complaint is that there is no reason not to bring your heaviest mechs to every battle. I wish that there could be a tradeoff, where you can bring two light mechs instead of one heavy, but your lance is always limited to four mechs, and more firepower is always better, so your four mechs should always be your four heaviest. That really limits the strategies and play styles you can use.
I haven't played it but Roguetech supposedly fixes your laat complaint completely with each mech type having its advantages and disadvantages in battle more pronounced.
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August 7th, 2019, 20:30
About an hour ago, I finished playing Seventh Deep. When you begin the game, you choose a main character to play, and then you can add one or two others as you explore a fifty level dungeon. Some of the levels are pretty small and don't have many encounters, others are bigger and have more enemies. I got more out of the game than what I paid for it, and had lots of fun playing, so on that basis I'd give it the thumbs up. It is an rpg maker game, so if that's something that you like, you'll probably enjoy this one.
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August 19th, 2019, 18:54
Avernum 4 (2005)

There are six games in the Avernum series, I've played and enjoyed 1-3 and so I've now completed number 4.

The main difference between 1-3 and 4 is that 4 starts using a completely different engine than 1-3. Number 4 starts using the Geneforge engine, for a much cleaner and crisper user experience. Also, while 1-3 were remakes of the original trilogy, Avernum 4 is an entirely new game that starts off an entirely new trilogy. So what's new and what's been lost? And how did that effect my enjoyment?

First up, what's missing:

Initially, the game feels less interesting than the first three because gone are a huge raft of environmental exploration varieties. There are no boats and so no river travelling, there is no flying, so no secret areas across cavernous drops, there's no elevation at all in fact, not even walking up slopes and the like, and, most noticeably of all, there's no swamp squares poisoning you, no lava squares burning you and no ice squares freezing you. All the terrain is flat, dry and safe to travel. All of which could indeed be argued make the game more boringer.

Also gone are all the gazillion secret doors hidden in almost every wall, so no more headbanging every single wall square in the hope of finding a cool secret area. In fact there's barely any secret things in the game. Also gone are the many puzzles you might encounter while exploring wizard's towers or deep dungeons. There is some puzzling in a couple of the areas but nothing like what you'd have to do in the original series. All the dragons are gone as well, no dragons at all in Avernum 4, though you can still explore their old homes. All of which could indeed be argued make the game more boringer.

Lots of spells have also gone the way of the Dodo. Most notably the utility spell Light, which illuminates pitch black rooms and dungeons. While there are a couple of dungeons that are too dark IMO and could really do with a light spell, most of the game is bright and provides no such impediment to either exploration or Spell Point management. Also gone is Mass Haste, the most useful spell in the game, resulting in you having to cast Haste individually on every character if you don't want to be chugging potions the whole time, which can be quite the drag. Weirdly though, there are scrolls and wands of Mass Haste. So here, again, much more boringer.

On a similar theme, object identification is no longer a thing, everything is ready-identified and you wont have to pay anyone or sacrifice points into Lore to find out if your weapon is a good'un or a cursed misery. Oh yeah, there aren't any cursed items anymore as a result either. Likewise, all the special abilities have gone, such as potion making and the warrior's Lay-On-Hnads type unique abilities and, similarly, all the special stats have gone, replaced by a basic list of resistances. Finally, spells aren't levelling in strength from 1-3 with all spells at all levels being achievable as an exploration aim. Instead, spells now vary in strength from 1-6 and some spells wont go above strength 2 while others quite easily get to power level 6 and there's no way to get 6 in everything. All of which… etc… boringer.

From a gameplay point of view there's also a couple of annoyances that the new engine brings that were never there in the original trilogy. One of the main ones is that you can't engage combat without entering combat mode. In the original trilogy, if you were wandering around and some respawning rat got in your way, you could just whack it without entering combat mode, which saved a lot of unnecessary clicking. But of more irritation is the fact that you can no longer use your combat turn to defend, you either skip your turn or do something, and skipping your turn is much more irritating as you now have to double-click a character instead of just hitting space bar or the defend button, which, as you can imagine, especially combined with the game's ever so slight lag, particularly between rounds, often results in party members going places you didn't want them to because of the natural chaos of such a system. All of which… boringer.

As you can see, he gave any fence-sitting fans a lot of things to bitch about when he released this game back in 2005. At first assessment it does indeed seem like a downgraded, over-streamlined version of Avernum, which is a lot to pay in exchange for better, cleaner graphics.

But wait. Avernum 4 does add in lots of stuff as well, it's not a one-way street of over-simplification. The added luxuries are:

A World Map. Hooray, at last, finally. No more looking at a quest you picked up three weeks ago and not only forgetting who the person was that gave you the quest but that you can't even remember where the town they live in is even located, usually resulting in half an hour of running round like a headless chicken for no other reason than the game doesn't have a world map. On top of this, he finally implemented fast travel, meaning you can zoom from city to city via a world map list of cities. Admittedly, you don't get this immediately, but when you do get it, OMG, that improves the experience so, so much. Not so boring now.

Because questing is now less irritating-by-design, the quests themselves are much more linear to-boot, very rarely do you have hold onto quests for town after town resulting in a mid-game mind-boggle of 30 unresolved quests, most of which were from people you forgot about weeks ago. For my personality I found it much nicer to have a gameplay loop of dealing with a town's quests while in that town, before moving on, than the old system of quest-jumbling which usually resulted in too much gametime spent backtracking. Also, as a result of less backtracking and fast travel, the game has far fewer environmental respawns, something which I think we can all agree is a plus. Oh yeah, and cows & etc friendly units wont block your travel anymore either, which is fucking marvellous IMO. You can also go in and out of towns seamlessly without changing the screen, so no more loading screens every time you pop in and out of town. Not so boring now.

Combat is, on the whole, vastly more interesting than in the original trilogy. And one might even say more difficult as a result, though in this regard a new player would probably find it a lot harder than an experienced Avernum'er. There's a greater emphasis on elemental counters, a lot of enemies will use ranged attacks and debilitaters such as freezing, stunning, fear, etc, and there's now turrets added to the mix, meaning the old days of mostly hacking down 'regular' mobs and saving your spells for bosses is now a thing of the past. I used a fighter, archer, priest and mage and all of them had a use in practically all the battles and very rarely did different types of encounters result in the same combat routine. The game is also much tighter in it's overall combat balance, one positive of a slightly more linear questing structure (even though the world is still freely explorable). Not so boring now.

Itemisation is also a lot better than the original trilogy. There were always nice items to equip and good loot scattered around so that I was very rarely not taking a lot of time out to try out different items to see how they affected my character sheet. The items themselves felt loads more unique than in previous games and you're wearing unique items almost from the beginning instead of the old trilogy's system of having to wear generic stuff for most of the game and then flooding you with kinda-nice but still not overly exciting things towards the endgame. And, as was said earlier, this time there are scolls and wands that aren't simply copycats of spells you know anyway. Not so boring now.

This time there's no money limit, so no more selling 1,000gp's worth of stuff only to suddenly remember that money vanishes into the void if you already have 20k in gold. So no need to have giant stashes of mediocre loot everywhere and all the running about and forgetting that implies. Some things do now need to be stashed, but very specific things related to the much more interesting crafting system. You don't craft stuff yourself but, instead, it uses the Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights crafting method whereby you meet a professional and then provide them with craftables and then they create you either a unique or powerful piece of armour or a nice potion. This is my favourite version of crafting as it doesn't involve mass-clutter craftable items and doesn't require the irritation of recipes and what have you just to make mundane items. It's crafting as something special and exciting. Not so boring now.

Likewise, special skills are no longer hidden like needles in a haystack behind walls of huge monetary expense and isolated NPCs, but now you come across skill providers as a matter of course and can quickly get used to the bonus options available to you well before you've already spent most of your skillpoints the game has available. Also, no more running around to regenerate health and spell points, simply walking into town restores it all. Not so boring now.

So the idea that it's a 'dumbed down' experience is one that I think I'd argue against. For me, it's more a case of 'de-irritated up', in that most of the stuff that's gone was the kind of stuff that was more irritating than enjoyable and in return the game has added loads of stuff the originals really should have been doing anyway.

As for bugs, I only noticed one and I don't even know if it was a bug. The game said that if I go into town any dead party members will be resurrected. However, this never worked for me. Even when I'd learned the resurrect spell, that didn't work either. I wondered if I'd not ticked or unticked a box in the options, but there was nothing in the options. I was only on normal difficulty so it's not a difficulty thing. I googled for people with a similar problem and found no results. So, no idea what was going on there. I didn't mind anyway because reloading upon death is how I play RPGs anyway, it was just weird for me that one of Spiderwebs games actually might have one bug in it!

In terms of the gameworld, Avernum 4 doesn't really add much, you're just questing through the main cave area of Avernum, all places you've been to before. But because it's a different engine, all the areas are different anyway. Like how new cities developed across Europe after they were blitzed, they're the same place, but they're now completely different. However, if the game does have one weak point this is it, as it doesn't add much in the way of the continuing Avernum saga. One is enjoying it simply because RPGing in the caves of Avernum is enjoyable. On the plus side, a new player could play Avernum 4 without ever having played any other Avernum game and find themselves a really good starting point. A game that's even better for newbies than it is for continuous fans.

All in all I really enjoyed my time in Avernum 4. Even after 130 hours of adventuring I still felt like the game ended too soon. What a fantastic gameplay loop this game has. This game got practically everything I like about RPGs just right, even if it was lacking some very important things that would make it stand out more from the crowd. For about two or three days after completing Avernum 4 I was in deep love with gaming once again, my love of gaming renewed and refreshed. I instantly wanted to replay everything I'd ever enjoyed playing after completing this.

A bit too generic and adds nothing much new to the series or wider genre but supplies really good combat and exploration with great itemisation, crafting and, most importantly, a really nice gameplay loop 8/10.
Last edited by lackblogger; August 19th, 2019 at 19:49. Reason: many, many, many typoos
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August 20th, 2019, 20:17
Ghost of a Tale

Every once in awhile you get one of those "under the radar" games that really surprises you. This is one of those games. I tried it out of curiosity, and it ended up being one of the best indie titles I've played.

You play a minstrel namd Tilo who also happens to be a mouse. In fact, all of the characters in the game are based on some kind of animal. I must admit I wasn't big on that idea at first, and I think that's one of the reasons why I didn't try it sooner. All I can say is that it works.

Ghost of a Tale is labeled as an action-RPG, but there's very little direct combat. There is a lot of stealth though, and it's done quite well. The mechanics are based on both sight and sound, and you spend a good deal of time sneaking around.

The level design is also quite good, and the environments are nearly AAA quality. Those things combined with the perfectly fitting music give the game an excellent atmosphere, and I was often reminded of games like Gothic 2 while exploring. There are tons of nooks and crannies to discover and hidden things to find.

The animations are superb and are actually better than many games I've played that had AAA budgets. The fact that this was done almost entirely by 1 man, and with around $50k, is mind-boggling.

If I have some complaints, I have to mention the overabundance of fetch quests and the amount of backtracking. There's a lot of both, and the backtracking became very annoying to me towards the end of the game. So much so that I deducted a 1/2 point from my total score because of it.

Overall though, Ghost of a Tale was a very pleasant surprise, and I urge anyone who is even remotely interested to check it out.

7.5/10
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August 23rd, 2019, 16:26
I've finished DARQ. It's a short and sweet game. It's only about 3h in total, depending on how long the puzzles take you. Upon finding out about hidden pages through the levels, I quickly replayed them to get the achievements. Somehow I missed them completely the first time I played it.

But, it's a nice short game. I liked the atmosphere quite a lot. Very imaginative in the dark themes it uses. Every levels in special in its own way. And the puzzles are quite fun. I mentioned this before, but found it similar to the FAR game, but with a different vibe and atmosphere. But that one felt longer.

As far as gameplay, I really liked the spin with the flipping the world around, and playing with gravity. It was novel and they really made use of it. Some of the puzzles are even timed, so it added a bit of tension.

Overall, I liked it. And, as mentioned before, I also bought it since the dev refused to become an Epic Game store exclusive. (also, Epic refused to let them sell their game on the store, since they refused the exclusivity deal. kinda sucky of Epic).
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