TigerBlazer

Riftwalker
With Starfield release bumped, I plan on playing this later in the year. Is it worth a replay to do both light-side/dark-side?
Yeah, I say doing a replay on both sides is good, but I recommend doing a light side run first, and then dark. One of the larger problems with the game is that, in terms of story, it was meant to be played on a light or grey path, and the dark side path really feels like an afterthought at the end of the day.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
I finished INFRA, an adventure / exploration game. It was a lot of fun and longer than I expected: it took me about 40 hours to complete, taking the time to explore and even trying to decode a few things that were not really necessary. From the achievements, I see that I missed many photographs but I repaired most of the stuff.

I missed a part (hopefully not too much) because it required something earlier:
I suspect that withdrawing $1000 with the credit card in the metro station (chapter 6) may be necessary for an option in chapter 9. If there's an alternative, I haven't found it.

You have to guess because your character only remembers the digits but not the code. Back then I thought it was just a fake cash dispenser so I didn't insist.

The option in chapter 9 is about
getting a passport to explore another area

Acts 1-2 are the best part, Act 3 was a little less entertaining but still quite good, and overall I found it very well done.

The story begins with a simple task, you're an engineer and you must assess the state of facilities, taking photographs of defects. But it soon turns out there's something wrong involving a plot which is revealed bit by bit. No combat but a few episodes where you have to quickly find your way out or die.

It's linear but often offers alternative paths or solutions. The game does a good job of guiding the player with clues or logic, there is no pointer or journal so it's necessary to keep track of the notes, audio messages and other indications, and to have some common sense to see what to do next. Solving puzzles and repairing systems is mostly logical / engineering thinking - nothing like rocket science, it's basic stuff.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
I finished Portal: Reloaded, the free community add-on for Portal 2. It's not as well presented as Portal 2, which had a better intro and more funny comments, but it's very good nonetheless (and there are several endings, save after completing the finale!).

The presentation is well done, with well-detailed levels - each time in present and future, GLaDOS (if that's still the name) makes some dark humour now and then, explaining a few extra features when it's necessary or when the player makes a mistake at the beginning… and revealing the intentions about the player's future bit by bit.

The difficulty is somewhat uneven, because each time a new element is added, it begins with an easy problem, then it becomes much harder. I didn't mind that, actually I liked the soft introduction to new mechanisms.

The problems are clever, sometimes it just feels impossible, or if you take the wrong path it seems maybe possible but very hard to achieve. The finale is fantastic, really gives you some thinking to reach the goal, with all the elements put together.

The length is about the same as Portal 2, I'd say in the 10-hour range, give or take.

If you play it, don't look for walkthroughs. When you're stuck, let it cool down a bit and try again later, it's so rewarding to solve these puzzles.

EDIT: I replayed Portal 2 :p It's a different game with more "story" and much longer part outside of the test chambers than I remembered. In comparison, all the time in Portal Reloaded is used for the tests, so it's better to keep that in mind. The problems are harder too, they were quite simple in Portal 2 (though more varied). The only difficulty I had was spotting a few items in some of the huge levels.
 
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Redglyph

SasqWatch
I finished Moncage, it's just a short puzzle game playing on optical illusions you get by observing different scenes by turning a cube, looking for similar items to align. I reached the end a little after 4 hours.

See for example the 4 screenshots:
- on one face, there is a truck that cannot cross because the bridge is broken,
- on another adjacent face, there is a trap one can slide open and which has the same form and colour,
- by aligning the two, and sliding open the trap, it allows the truck to slide over the bridge.

There are more clever systems later, with iterations and careful timed sequences. It's very entertaining, though sometimes it's easy to get lost looking for clues in all the scenes, zooming in and out, using the mechanisms. A little help feature gives progressive hints when you're stuck. It's very nicely done!
 

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danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
I finally finished Bioshock 1 (the remastered edition). I had never actually gotten very far the first time I tried it, due to some of its issues, which were still present, but I pushed through and finished it. Overall, I liked it, but also had some seriously annoying issues, partly amplified because I chose to play on one of the harder diffculty levels. Anyways, my full review from steam:

Well, this review is coming in almost 15 years too late, but what the hell. While I had completed Bioshock Infinite ages ago, and loved it, I never managed to finish the original Bioshock. Due to a lot of reasons and some of them, issues with the actual game, that are still present in the remastered version, and which I'll mention down below.

So why not just start with those negatives, since while my final review is a positive "recommended" and surely loads of people already know about the positives, the negatives are a bit more personal and probably not shared by everyone.

One thing which probably exacerbated every other negative issue is that I made the misfortunate decision to play on the second to hardest difficulty. And this really puts a light on how delicate the enemy health balancing is. For the first half of the game, I managed ok, but the other half, I'm not sure what happened, but I would constantly stumble onto enemies that were huge sponges for damage. And it also didn't seem consistent for every situation. I made my character build to use shock/frost and the wrench a lot of the time, and as I said, during the second half, I would constantly encounter enemies which would either die in 2-3 swings, or they felt like they would take forever. Just as an example, freezing enemies was especially weird, since sometimes they would fall over in 2-3 swings from the wrench, other times it would actually take 10+ swings. On the other hand, using the tommy gun seemed a lot more consistent on frozen enemies. But non-frozen were huge bullet sponges for the tommy gun. This is of course also since the iced version has a different lifebar than the non-frozen. But even disregarding this, it was weird like that, and I'm sure it's not a bug, but a balancing design decision the developers made, and which really shows its teeth on the higher difficulties. This is also surely tied into the fact that each weapon has 3 ammo types for each enemy type, and you constantly have to switch between them, to min-max the damage you do to each of them, especially on the higher difficulties.

The main reason though for me not managing to complete the game ages ago, is the very clunky gameplay and especially shooting mechanics. This coupled with the fact that enemies constantly respawn, and playing on the higher difficulties where enemies are sponges for damage and where min-maxing is very important, made the combat to be quite a chore some of the times. Other times, it felt acceptable, but still nothing to mention. And just to compare, I played Bioshock Infinite close to when it came out, and it felt like such an improvement. In every gameplay dimension. And if I remember correctly, Infinite also made the UI, the world, the 3D models and the first-person weapon models are lot better proportioned to the screen. Not to insult anyone, but in Bioshock 1, a lot of the things felt very consolized. And the level design feels especially like it suffered due to its release on the UE3 on the Xbox360 ages ago. A lot of the levels feel very cramped and corridor like, which does fit the underwater city setting, but it also feels very claustrophobic and annoying when chaos ensues during combat.

The only other significantly negative aspect that I think bears mentioning is one point in the plot, and without spoiling anything, they basically meddle with some of your arsenal, so you can't use the exact tools you've been using for most of the game, and this coupled with playing on the higher difficulties really made for some especially annoying couple of levels. But hey, egg on my face and I'm surely to blame for this, at least partially, since I chose that difficulty.

One last partially negative and partially positive aspect is the game's storyline. I enjoyed it overall, and the plot twists are sort of interesting, but once you analyse it a bit deeper, it kind of shows its issues. But I did enjoy the positive ending, even though it might feel a bit hokey. But only a little bit. The worst part of the story though is that it really feels like you're constantly on a fetch quest. And they really milk that, where you constantly have to retrieve parts of things, to make another thing, to then advance the story a little bit, and then back to finding parts of another plot device. It feels like there's a boat load of combat, with very little plot advancement. This, in comparison to Bioshock Infinite, where I felt the storyline was amazing start to finish, with significant plot advances and believable plot twists that you never expect. But it might be worth mentioning that I haven't played Infinite in a long time, so replaying it might prove me wrong slightly. But I suspect only slightly.

But also in terms of story, it does have a very nice story hook right at the end, with gameplay implications, which I enjoyed for the little time it was there.

Now that I got all o the bad stuff out of the way, it's time for the good stuff.

And I have to start with the setting and premise which is just fantastic. Aside from some of the level design issues and graphical shader issues due to the Xbox360 engine, it looks beautiful still. Some of the locations are downright mesmerising. I especially loved the Fort Frolic levels.

In the grand setting of Rapture, another thing worth mentioning is the relationship between the Big Daddies and the Little Sisters. Partially twisted by the background against which all of this is set, but partially full of warmth due to the paternal image it builds. Plus, the Little Sisters calling the daddies Mr Bubbles is a stroke of genius. And from what I hear Bioshock 2 builds more on top of this characterisation. Another game I've yet to finish, so that'll be next, most likely.

Then you have the nice economic and political commentary on what would happen if Ayn Rand had her way, and the disastrous consequences of that complete libertarianism were to be made real. I especially loved the way they show Ryan, the originator of Rapture, and how he slowly moves away from his beliefs, in terms of his actions since they no longer keep him competitive, but keeps hypocritically spouting his initial beliefs while slowly going against the ideas he now only pretends to support.

The music and atmosphere is also pretty great, very similar to other settings, like fallout, which also took the 50',60' atmosphere. Voice acting is again pretty great, with no negatives.

So, all in all, a nice enjoyable game, with some stumbles in terms of gameplay and the story while overall nice, it does have its issues, especially when it comes to how short it is and how long it takes to advance, while having most of the in-between moments padded with a boatload of combat.

7/10

And I started Bioshock 2, and it's ok, I like the relationship between you and the little sisters, but I'm also starting to feel burned out. Might be because I just played too much.
 

Carnifex

SasqWatch
I did fail to mention that, shortly after I started playing Everquest two again, I did complete the finale of Final Fantasy six. That last dungeon is something of a huge pain, yet with some really good battles and forethought on how to prepare the three squads that you must use. All in all it was a great time, another game that I know I'll be replaying again some day.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
So, I finished Burial at Sea Part 1, the first expansion to Bioshock Infinite, and it was pretty great. I played it on hard, since Infinite was so manageable, but man the expansion is hard as nails. I never had enough ammo, or health, or money. Died constantly. And I also had two nasty bugs. The first is that for some reason, when I switch one weapon for another, the old weapon just disappears. Which is not consistent with how things happened in Infinite, where the old weapon would just lay on the ground, to be picked up later on. The other bug I had was that for some reason, I could never pick the tommy gun after I switched it once. I'd constantly find the weapon model on the ground, but no pickup prompt. I was in such a dire need of ammo, that my last fight, against the Big Daddy, I finished by spamming melee on him, since he was busy with the patriot gunner summonable.

Other than these issues, it was pretty great. And it had one hell of a mindfuck ending. I hope they extrapolate more in Part 2.
 

JDR13

SasqWatch
Original Sin Donor
And I also had two nasty bugs. The first is that for some reason, when I switch one weapon for another, the old weapon just disappears. Which is not consistent with how things happened in Infinite, where the old weapon would just lay on the ground, to be picked up later on. The other bug I had was that for some reason, I could never pick the tommy gun after I switched it once. I'd constantly find the weapon model on the ground, but no pickup prompt.

The entire series is somewhat buggy which is a shame because they're such good games. I wish all three titles would get a quality remaster.

I just reinstalled Infinite and both versions of Bioshock 1 just to mess around with them. I had never really played the remaster before. My god...what a piece of shit port that is. I had to tweak it just to get it to run properly in Win 10 which it totally unacceptable for something released in 2016. It only looks marginally better than the original which was released 9 years earlier, and certain things, like anti-aliasing, don't seem to work at all. Unfortunately, the original also has its own set of issues due to age.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
The entire series is somewhat buggy which is a shame because they're such good games. I wish all three titles would get a quality remaster.

Yeah, I just finished Part 2 of Burial at Sea, and got even worse bugs. Besides the same ones I got in Part 1, now I couldn't consume health kits, since the game seemed to think I was already at full. But wasn't. So food was my only resort.

I accidentally swapped out my hand cannon, my favorite gun in the games, to a gas crossbow which I picked up accidentally while trying to get out of the way of a turrent. And my other weapon was the radar fryer, which was already almost empty. And due to the bug where I couldn't pick up any other weapon, and no new weapons were introduced anymore, I was stuck with the gas crossbow at 2 shots. And the empty radar fryer. So for the last 2h of Part 2 I had to cheese the whole rest of the fights using my invisibility plasmid, which fortunately I was able to mod to not consume eve when standing still. Thank the lord I explored out of the way of the main plot and got that mod, otherwise I probably would've had to either cheat my way to the end or just restart. Such a shame this had to happen.

As for Part 2, holy shit is it good. Both parts are; and how are they just "downloadable content". They're basically required to play through to get the whole Bioshock experience (1 and Infinite especially). I think some of it went over my head, some didn't make all the sense in the world, but the emotional journey was amazing and touching. It actually kinda makes we want to replay Bioshock 1 again. It's such a beautiful full circle, the whole experience. Holy shit, was that good.

I already loved the story of Infinite, but I think the whole experience really just skyrocketed to my top 3 stories in all of gaming, along with Last of Us and Legacy of Kain. Oh, man. What an experience.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Just as a small update, it seems I was completely wrong about one of the above mentioned bugs. The one where I couldn't pick up weapons. Seems that in Burial at Sea they changed the way weapons work. In Burial at Sea you keep all weapons on you, as opposed to Infinite where you only keep 2. And you need to press and hold the secondary "switch weapon" button to open the weapon wheel. Just using the switch weapon that I used in Infinite, scroll wheel, will only switch between the last two you had on. What a collosal fuck up. I'm not sure how I missed this switch. I'd suspect this change is communicated in the game, but I completely missed it? I don't know how. Anyway, fuck me, that was infuriating. So, the only bug I actually had was the fact that I couldn't pick up and consume health packs.

I also wanted more clarity into the whole series, so I found a very nice video that does a good job, for the most part. And man is it convoluted. Bordering on Legacy of Kain level. Must be why I liked this one so much, also. There's definitely parts in the video where I felt the guy didn't get some parts, but it's understandable, given how mind-bending this all tends to be.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
I finished A Plague Tale: Innocence, it's a short game (13 hours).

The story telling is fine and I liked the development of the sister-brother relationship, even though the main story itself is simple and somewhat cliché. The combat and puzzles are creative but sometimes it feels like the environment has been crafted for the sake of a puzzle.

It's very linear as expected, I would have liked some choices now and then but there aren't any. What is more annoying is the sense of being on rails. You have to follow the succession of goals, one at a time and it's a one-way gated trip. At several occasions when you reach some point in the "exploration" or the combat, you cannot go back or even stay a little longer to collect supplies or even take the time to look around because a cut scene brings you somewhere else or an obstacle suddenly blocks your way back. A few times, it's so scripted that you can only walk ahead or backwards.

The end boss fight is frustrating and silly, then the game ends abruptly without real closure for some of the characters, except for a short epilogue that tries to make up for it.

Overall it's fine and fun to play. I enjoyed it much more at the beginning and I was glad it was over, so I suppose it's the right duration for that game. 40 Euros for this 3-year old game is too expensive IMO, it's best to buy it in a sale (I got it at 8 Euros so I can't complain).
 

JFarrell71

SasqWatch
Norco, point and click adventure game, took me 7 hours.

This is an amazing game. The writing, soundtrack and visuals are all top notch. It was memorable in a way that very few games are. Even with my tragically short attention span, I was riveted to my screen during the ending (and for most of the game). Highly, highly recommended.
 

Robollix

Watchdog
I actually finished Serious Sam-Siberian Mayhem a few weeks ago. It's the first Sam game that I've ever finished. I love them all to bits, specially 3 and 4, but they normally beat me at the end boss.....You know... rage -quit etc... Quite a good feeling, because the last FPS that I ever finished was Quake 4....which kinda dates things...:roll:
 

Carnifex

SasqWatch
I finished my replay of Final Fantasy Four yesterday, making it the last of the pixel remasters for me to complete. For me this is one of the best games of the series, you've a solid crew for most of the game, all main positions covered with lots of dungeons and open areas to explore. As usual I kept the final save available yet not sure if I'll be going back to toy with it a bit more, perhaps later if I get bored. Top notch for certain, as were all the pixel remasters, if you enjoy the FF games these are worth picking up at some point.
 

JDR13

SasqWatch
Original Sin Donor
I finished Doom Eternal. It was par for the course for an id Software shooter. In other words, it was great.

I beat it on the second-highest difficulty, and it was usually a good challenge. There were a few frustrating difficulty spikes here and there, but it was pretty satisfying for the most part. The final battle is epic.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
I finished Bioshock 2 Remastered, on Hard and didn't get the achivements. Apparently they've been bugged for this game for a while now? Anyway, t'was a great game overall. I kind of felt like they dragged it a bit on towards the immediate ending, with the rescuing the girls from two places. That felt a bit padded out, but otherwise it was great. I also liked the ending.

Overall, I think I liked it a bit better than BS1. And if Minerva's Den is as good as people laud it, it's going to make it a definite.
 
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danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Seems I persevered, and actually also finished Minerva's Den, even though I was near burnout for the Bioshock setting. It was great, but somehow all the hype I'd been hearing throughout the years got my expectations a bit too high, I guess. But I liked it a lot. I also liked the plot twist, one of which I was imagining they would try to pull off. My review:

Well, I'm surprised to say this, but all in all Bioshock 2 is a better game than Bioshock 1, in every regard. I have no idea where I got the notion that it's a half-assed sequel. But it is not. Of course I'm counting both the main campaign and Minerva's Den. All put together definitely makes for a stronger game than the first one.

Of course, part of what makes Bioshock 2 a great game is the strong shoulders of its predecesor. And there's plenty of emotional hooks tying it back to the first one.

But in terms of gameplay, there's plenty of great changes. From just how better combat feels, to the best thing: the removal of the hacking minigame from the first one. That was just the worst. And just when you thought that was good enough, they also give you the ability to hack from a distance. They made a good thing even better.

Like others have mentioned, I also liked the improvements to the moral system of the game. The first one always felt kind of rudimentary. Basically, the whole crux lays on whether you sacrifice even one little sister, and you get the "bad ending". In Bioshock 2 it's a little more subtle, and makes a lot more sense, without going into any of the specifics for fear of spoiling too much.

Then comes Minerva's Den, which I've heard lauded quite a lot by gamers everywhere. And it is a nice and short expansion, with some neat story twists. Some of which I anticipated, others I did not. So it was good fun to get through it. But I must say, considering the amount of praise it's gotten through the years, I was a little let down. It's good, but I guess it's a lesson to not let hype overtake you. It's always better to have lower expectations.

The only bad thing about the game is that apparently your save files can sometimes break the achievement system in steam. You can still finish it alright, but some of the achievements don't register. And it's kind of sad, seeing this bug persist so many years after the game has been out. It's fair to say it's never getting fixed. Oh well.

As for a score, I guess 9/10 is in order, for the whole package. Recommended!
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
I'm on a game finishing marathon, it seems. Another one for the books. Alien: Isolation

Now that I think about it, this could be the best movie to game tie-in project. And although I'm late to the party, I have to repeat the same refrain that this is a pretty great game. And now that I'm done with it, on one side I'm sad it won't be getting a sequel, since apparently it didn't sell enough. (It's always like this isn't it? Great things rarely get the appreciation they deserve). But on the other side, I'm kind of done with this game, since I wasn't even able to complete the DLC missions. Although, admittedly, that's more because they seem to expand the story and lore/universe very little to none at all, and are more gameplay expansions. And the gameplay is what I'm kind of tired of; the cat-and-mouse game; the fright game; the jump-scare game; the heart-pumping, nerve-wracking game is what I'm tired of for now. I don't usually do well in horror games, but with this one I pushed myself beyond my limits since I just love the universe and story.

And what a great rendering of the Alien universe it is. It is by far the best and most outstandingly authentic rendering of the Alien setting. It oozes atmosphere out of every pore. Both visually and auditively it delights the senses. It looks and runs amazing. They obviously took every bit of inspiration from the films, and built this beauty with love and care, as only a fan would do. And even though a sequel won't be comming, which is a real shame since I'd love to see what they could build on top of all of this and how would they expand it even more, it really makes you think about what else could be built using all of this as a basis. A System/Bioshock immersive sim is one of the first things that comes to mind. I think something like that could be amazing, in the Alien universe. Just don't make the xenomorph hunt me all the time. :D

As far as the story, flow and pace of the game, it has a very strong beginning, middle but unfortunately kind of stumbles near the end. It feels excessively drawn out, especially during the last 3-4 missions (out of 18, I think). Plus since you're already tired and drained mentally from being hunted for 20+ hours (I hear this length might also be explained by playing on hard, and needing to reload constantly; others have reported around 15h in total, while I took 26h), it really outstays its welcome. And the inclusion of some near-hollywood set pieces, towards the end, also don't help. Although nothing on too grand a scale, compared to your regular action title, it was enough to be noticeable against the previous 4/5ths of the game which were pretty gritty and took the survival horror theme especially serious.

As I mentioned, the good parts were really tense and nerve wracking. I read some people complain about the parts where you're not facing off against the xenomorph, but I think those were mandatory for my blood pressure to take a break. I honestly don't think I could've gotten through the whole thing just being stressed out continually. Even with the breaks, I constantly dreaded the being hunted parts.

The xenomorph AI received a lot of praise, and it does indeed tend to deliver, most of the time. Sometimes it does screw up. But on hard it's especially sensitive to anything you do. And the feature of the xenomorph learning between your reloads and acting accordingly, while not realistic, it was definitely impressive the few amounts I got to see it. There was one particular occurence where I was shocked how it managed to head me up at the pass, since I kept trying the same pattern over and over. So, it's not impervious to cheese tactics, but it does a pretty good job of keeping you on your toes. At least until you get a bit too powerful towards the end, but it's still a good challenge, if you're mentally still up for it. Some bad points for AI, though, on the AI of some of the humanoids. I got some weird bugs with them. Especially while they're being hunted themselves by the xenomorph they don't seem to notice me at all anymore. So that seems like a bug.

This is also one of the few games where I liked the mini-games used for hacking. Just as a side-note, and not really of much worth it to mention this, but in the last 1/5th of the game it really felt like they went overboard with the minigame/device-hacking/device-activating/mini-animations. There's a lot of them, and some quite involved, introduced right at the end, where you really question why they were introduced. I mean, they're sort of nice, the animations, since they contribute to the immersion of seeing how these complicated devices work, but the ones at the end were really starting to get ridiculous in how long and convoluted they were. These, and some of the long winded space walks, while nice at the start, really felt like they brought things to a crawl. But maybe I'm just complaining since I was just getting tired of being hunted and I was nearly done with it all at that point.

All in all, a great experience, and one that I will not be returning to again, I think. I really need the story, novelty of the location and exploration to be put through the ropes with this sort of stress and tension rollercoaster.

A 9/10 from me.