Firewatch is supposed to be a story driven, first person game where you’re a firewatch in a national park somewhere. From what I understand, you walk around doing stuff while communicating with your boss or whatever, and the dialogue is supposed to be really good. People in Steam reviews whine about the ending being crap, also calling this an “expensive walking simulator”. Since I don’t trust shitty kids on Steam, I’ve gotta try this out for myself.

Stages of the game

First impressions

Graphics are very mediocre. The park as such looks pretty okay, but you know, it’s a national park. They are beautiful. Hard to fuck that up, I imagine.

The prologue is pretty intense, even if it’s just a bunch of text mixed with a little bit of gameplay. Seems good enough, though. Controls are somewhat limited. climbing rocks is painfully slow. It doesn’t have to me Mirror’s Edge, but c’mon, if the game is really just running around the park, at least it should be easy and painless getting around the park.

The dialogue is really good. For once I agree with the shitty kids writing reviews on Steam.

Somewhere in the middle

I am hooked right now. The story escalates pretty quickly and is now really exciting. Navigating with the map and compass is pretty fun, I think. For once we’re not spoiled with fancy auto GPS features and stuff.

I find myself really wanting to radio stuff in to my boss so I can hear a bit more of the dialogue. I will surely finish this.

After finishing the game

Yeah, so.. the ending actually did disappoint me. There was such tension in this game. It really kept me on the edge of my seat, and then, in the end, I was more like “..okay then”.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think they could have done something different with the ending. I am not sure how much it would have mattered though. It was still just as exciting to play through. But I don’t know, maybe you shouldn’t listen to me. I am, after all, the only one to ever finish the Mass Effect trilogy without bitching and moaning online about the ending afterwards.

So yeah, play this. It’s not very long, but it doesn’t have to be. It is a really exciting, beautiful and original game.

Verdict

Play!

I never played the old school XCOM games from way back. I did, however, play the reboot (XCOM: Enemy Unknown) and it was pretty damn awesome. I am afraid this will be too much of the same thing though. Let’s hope I am wrong.

Stages of the game

First impressions

My initial thoughts, in order:

  1. Performance is pretty bad
  2. It looks and acts very much like its predecessor (Enemy Unknown/Within)
  3. HOLY SHIT THIS IS DIFFICULT

Yeah, it is difficult for sure. I am so outgunned it’s not even funny. I did not have this much trouble playing Enemy Unknown. I am even playing on the “normal” setting. The timed missions give you way too few turns to complete the mission. I actually went and install a mod for that from the Steam workshop (I’d recommend you do the same).

This game really has me biting my nails because it’s so stupidly hard. And the fucking aim is broken as shit. I miss way too often.

I can appreciate that the game is challenging, because it feels pretty awesome when I do complete missions. It sucks that I have to resort to save scumming (you know, saving/reloading all the time to get the outcome I want) so much though. And it’s still fucking too difficult.

Oh, by the way, I found out that the excruciatingly long loading times when returning from missons can be drastically shorted (almost completely eliminated) by pressing caps lock. What. The. Fuck?

My experience with this game can go two ways. Either I keep balancing on the edge of losing (yeah, there’s a doomsday meter in this game too, just like in Enemy Unknown) and have a really good time with this very cool game, or the doomsday meter fills up, my campaign is over and I’ll never play this piss pool of a game again.

Somewhere in the middle

 

Nope. Nope nope nope nope.

The fucking doomsday was filled. I managed to push it back a little, but apparently I communicated with other countries too late. How was I supposed to know?

Let me be perfectly clear. This game is awesome in so many ways, but as a grown up person with a girlfriend, job and other hobbies than playing video games, I don’t have the time to look through a bunch of YouTube videos just to figure out how to play a game without being fucked in the bum ten hours in. I don’t have a problem at all with the combat. That challenge I appreciate. But I feel like I just threw a lot of time out the window. The damn doomsday meter also filled up on what was in otherwise a bad day for me, so it hit me right in the feels.

I still recommend this game and I will pick it up again sometime later when I have more time to spare, but if you play this, just be prepared for a very challening game that just might throw a “game over” at you after many hours of playing it.

Verdict

Play!

I played a lot of WWE: Day of Reckoning for the Gamecube during my younger days. I also watched a lot of WWE, RoH, TNA, PWG and other wrestling humbug. I’ve not heard good things about WWE 2k15, but hey, it’s not very expensive and it’s really the only WWE game available for PC (I don’t have a PS4 just yet I am afraid).

My expectation is that this game will be better than my expectation… if that makes sense. I mean, I expect a pretty shitty game, but I think it will be better than that at the same time. Quite contradictory, but we’ll just have to find out.

Stages of the game

First impressions

This music. Seriously. Is this what the cool kids listen to nowadays? Awful, auto-tuned, feminine sounding male voices with crazy bass drops. And don’t get me started on the god damn menus. Every menu entry has an associated picture that has nothing to do with that particular option. Like, the settings option has a picture of the pale, Irish guy Sheamus flexing his muscles. What?! You’d expect a cog or maybe a wrench. I guess Sheamus is ye olde settings master here.

The create-a-wrestler mode doesn’t seem to have evolved very much since the last wrestling game I played (Day of Reckoning 2 for the Gamecube.) I do what I always do in this mode and create a big, black wrestler called Barry White with an, for his size, unnaturally acrobatic move set.

The gameplay is fucking awful. It’s so unresponsive, slow and I don’t fully grasp the controls. Why does this play slower than the old Gamecube WWE games I am familiar with? Hell, even Def Jam: Vendetta for the Gamecube has way better gameplay.

I should have trusted all the bad reviews.

Somewhere in the middle

I’ve been playing the career mode a bit. I became NXT Champion and moved on to Superstars. At that point, I couldn’t bear playing this any longer. This is the worst piece of shit I’ve played in quite a while.

The game does introduce some (at least for me) new features that are pretty cool, but that does not matter as long as the gameplay is this bad. How could they release a game like this? I will not be playing this any more.

I used to be a pretty hardcore wrestling fan (I still watch some PWG and that kind of indy wrestling at times) and I still hate this game. There is absolutely no chance in hell that anyone who is not a die-hard fan would want to play this. None.

It’s good that a WWE game was finally released for PC, but this does not cut it. It’s like if I’m starving, that doesn’t mean I’d be thrilled when being fed fucking poison. Stay away from this. Seriously.

Verdict

Don’t play!

Like everyone else, I love the Telltale games (especially The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. Most movies and a lot of TV series lately bore me. It’s like I’ve seen it all. Telltale’s games, however, have very much managed to keep me interested and invested all the way, and that really means something to me. When you find good shit, you stick with it, and Life is strange is supposed to be a similar kind of interactive story. I can’t wait.

Stages of the game

First impressions

I’m a hip girl with an old Polaroid camera who goes to some fancy private school or something (hey, don’t hang me, I’m not familiar with the ‘murican school system) to learn how to take good pictures, I guess. Apparently I consider myself a geek and make awkward references all the time. In real life, I am starting to feel old at times, but this game makes me feel younger than I’ve felt in years – I actually understand these stupid Internet references. Not only does it make me feel young: it also makes me kind of sick to my stomach. I’m a pathetic old man (26 years old lol AWESOMESAUCE*).

Pretty soon I find out that I have this magic ability to reverse time (just like Square Enix must have done when they went back to the ’90s to steal the graphics for this game.) Any conversations I participate in, I can just undo whenever I feel I got the wrong reactions to whatever crazy shit I just said. Quite a bit of an unfair advantage, but hey, it’s epic win**, right?

Honestly, the first two hours or so did not leave much hope for the game to really catch my attention. The protagonist hipster girl is a little bit annoying methinks, the graphics are not very good honestly (neither are Telltale’s games graphics, but they’re cel-shaded and so get away with a more cartoonish look) and the story did not interest me.

I did keep playing because that is my duty after all (look at me, thinking anyone actually reads this crap!) and because the time reversal magic seems like an interesting concept, and now I can see it’s actually starting to pay off. Some pretty fucked up stuff, story-wise, is starting to surface. I think I will be happy with this.

* Actually used term in this game
** Frequently used term in this game

Square Enix, oh you...

It was at this point I realized that Max must be fucked in the head.

Somewhere in the middle

I am just totally caught up in this web of lies I created. No matter how I try making the right choices, shit just turns intro crap. There does not seem to be any right or wrong choices. All good things lead up to bad things and vice versa.

This is a pretty emotional story, I have to say. I am glad that I’m playing this as an adult and not a teen. Teen me would have probably not been able to process all these feels. thi

So, I have noticed that they choices I make in the game actually matter.  In the TellTale games, no matter how you try dealing with situations, shit always hits the proverbial fan any way. All choices really lead up to the same ending, with only minor differences along the way. In Life Is Strange, I’m not so sure that’s the case. I am guessing the tree of events that can potentially take place must be a whole lot more complex in this game, and I am loving it.

Does the game have bad parts? Sure. I hate how Max (the protagonist) keeps referring to herself as a “geek”. She’s trying so hard to be a hipster geek girl it makes me cringe. Also, some parts are pretty tedious (like where Max has to look for five bottles at a junkyard) but those are not common.

I will keep playing this, and I very much see myself recommending it to people.

I quite like the boss battles. They are very much “hey, just stand in this corner and fire and you’ll be fine” but it does take some effort to find that sweet spot. I have read some complaints online about this, but they people complaining must not have played many older games. The bosses are all patterns in old NES games, and I’d much rather have that than random bosses shooting projectiles and fire all over, making me feel clumsy and bad at the game.

I’d say it’d take something very drastic to keep me from recommending this game to everyone in the end. It’s just great.

After finishing the game

I’m not a religious man, but jesus christ. This game is heavy stuff. It seems so innocent in the beginning but it gets a lot darker for sure.

I mean, here’s some of the stuff this game deals with:

  • Psychopath murderers
  • Bullying
  • Suicide
  • Drugs
  • Euthanasia (or assisted suicide or whatever you want to call it)
  • A family’s struggle with crippling medical bills
  • Full body paralysis
  • Choices leading to your best friend’s death – over and over again

I totally fell in love with Life Is Strange and just wasted a weekend playing it, but I sure had a blast. The last episode was a bit tedious at times (including the awfully overused nightmare sequence where previous parts of the games was re-played but in a twisted, fucked up kind of way), but the other episodes were quality throughout.

Definitely play this, because this shit is awesomesauce!

Verdict

Play!

Yet another Metroidvania type game with a name that I have no idea whatsoever what it means. Gotta be good, right?

I only now heard of this game since it was nominated for game of the year from what I can gather. It was right up there along with Undertale (which maybe you know is one of my all time favorites) so the bar is set quite high for this. Apparently, just like Undertale, everything in this game was created by one single person and strangely, I have come to accept that such games are generally better than the multi million dollar productions publishers like EA and Ubisoft dish out.

It’s strange – as all my friends played Metroid, I never really gave it a chance. I tried it a few times and did not like it at all. Quite a few years later, I started playing other games influenced by Metroid (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for example) and really liked the Metroidvania conecpt. I then started playing Super Metroid and found that hey, this is not bad at all! So I have kind of taken the reverse course here.

Stages of the game

First impressions

This game sure has some pretty SNES graphics. The music contributes to the mood with its heavy bass and space sounds. It is quite influenced by Metroid and Castlevania; it does not take a genius to tell. I miss Metroid’s spinning jump sound and animations though.. wooshwooshwooshwoosh!

I have become a very easily bored gamer. Most games can’t hold me interested for very long. This is one of those games that still can, however, it seems. I’m having a blast.

Somewhere in the middle

The music and some of the art is creeping me out for real. To be perfectly honest, as I lay in my bed last night before going to sleep, I realized I was reluctant to continue playing because of this. Still, this is the first time in a while that I haven’t been bored with a game, even for a minute. There were even moments in Undertale (!!) that I felt boredom come creeping a little bit. So, despite being a little shaky, here I am, continuing playing this great game.

Like I’ve already stated, this is a very Metroidvania game. One of the cool features is glitching: the protagonist can use his cool space gun to glitch enemies and certain objects. When I talk about glitching, think NES games fucking up resulting in weird graphical glitches. Different kinds of enemies react in different ways to glitching. Some become much easier and some actually become harder. Some become moving blocks that the player can stand on. It’s all very strange, very creepy and very unique.

Just drillin' the old the drillin' drill.

Just drillin’ the old the drillin’ drill.

I quite like the boss battles. They are very much “hey, just stand in this corner and fire and you’ll be fine” but it does take some effort to find that sweet spot. I have read some complaints online about this, but they people complaining must not have played many older games. The bosses are all patterns in old NES games, and I’d much rather have that than random bosses shooting projectiles and fire all over, making me feel clumsy and bad at the game.

I’d say it’d take something very drastic to keep me from recommending this game to everyone in the end. It’s just great.

After finishing the game

Yes, yes, yes. Buy this, play this, love this. This, along with Undertale, is by far one of my favorite games of the year (and the year is almost over, so they will likely stay that way).

There are some downsides. For one, the final boss battle was pretty anti climatic. I expected some big monster with several different forms, each harder than the previous one. Well, that wasn’t the case. Also, there may have been a bit too much running around the somewhat large map which got a bit tedious at times. A lot of people seem to have gotten stuck a few times in the game, but that didn’t really happen to me.

Verdict

Play!

I played a demo version of Shank on PS3 years ago. It was pretty damn sweet, but for some reason I never bought it. Well, it is very cheap on Steam now, and apparently there’s a sequel. Might as well try it. Let’s see if it’s as rad as I remember.

Stages of the game

First impressions

The visuals are very nice and cartoony and the controls are responsive. Not much to complain about there. I have a chainsaw, a couple of pistols and obviously a couple of SHANKS!

If you’re a sensitive asshole, you might not want to play this. I mean, some people take offense to someone sticking a chainsaw down someone else’s throat.

Shank seems like a fun enough game. I hope it’s not too long though as I figure it might get a bit repetitive.

Somewhere in the middle

Yeaaaaah, I was right. This is getting repetitive. The combat seems kind of.. I don’t know.. random? I just spam the chainsaw, pistols and shank attacks into combos, get hit by someone and lose some HP, shank/chainsaw/shoot some more, get damaged a lot, get a shitload of HP fills all the time..

I have obtained a few new weapons, but they don’t seem quite as good as just spamming the jump-dive-chainsaw-attack. Except for the shotgun, obviously. The shotgun is awesome.

I can probably keep playing if I just take breaks now and again.

After finishing the game

I would probably not be as happy with this game if I had bought it when it was first released, at a higher price. Now, though, I am quite content. This was a fun little game. A couple of hours long maybe and very violent. The storytelling is pretty intense, even though there’s not much of a story to talk about.

If you enjoy sidescrolling 2D beat’em ups (or shank’em ups as it were), then by all means, play this.

Verdict

Play!

Strange name for a game. I have never heard of this, but it was cheap on Steam and it looks kind of like vvvvvv, so that’s what I am expecting. Let’s see if it is as good!

Apparently this game is “based on difficulty” and has “custom checkpoints”. That is all I know.

Stages of the game

First impressions

Very slick soundtrack so far! Graphics are simple enough that even an artistically void person such as myself could draw them in Paint. They look pretty good, though.

So the “custom checkpoint system” means I can place checkpoints wherever I want to, and then just respawn there whenever I die. Sound easy? You only have 100 lives for all of the game. Unless you play on Easy, where you have unlimited lives. That’s what I’m doing. Yeah, I’m a coward.

Somewhere in the middle

Beat the game. It was short. 15-20 minutes, maybe. It was alright though, I guess.

There’s a remix mode, featuring 8 levels of “varying difficulty” and where cowards such as myself cannot easy mode. Let’s see how this goes…

After finishing the game

Beat the remix as well. I had 100 lives to start with, ended with 79. Too easy I would say; I got a B- score on the first try.

This was a cute little game. Worth my while and it certainly did not overstay its welcome. I’d say it’s worth a playthrough, especially if you can get it really cheap.

Verdict

Play!

I have played quite a few indie games over the years and a lot of them have been awesome. Having just finished Undertale I am in the mood for more wonderful indie goodness, and I stumbled upon Cave Story+ on Steam, which just so happens to at the time of this writing have the average review score of “Overwhelmingly positive”, I have to give this a try.

I don’t know much about the game, but it’s supposed to be a metroidvania type game with fantastic music.

Stages of the game

First impressions

I hate the design of the main character. He just looks so bland and has an ugly, flat head. Also, why is the music so acclaimed? It’s not bad my any means, but c’mon, I just played Undertale, which had the best soundtrack I’ve heard for a long time. I guess it’s cool that you can choose between the original tracks, remastered and “new” versions though.

I was never huge on Metroid, or on Castlevania, but at least Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are very atmospheric and have good gameplay. This just seems like a cheap game made in Game Maker Studios or something.

So, I’ve acquired a couple of different weapons. They’re okay, I guess. The enemy design is also okay.. I guess. This just about sums up my first impressions of this game. It’s okay.. I guess. I definitely have yet to see the greatness here.

Somewhere in the middle

Uh, so I guess I’m a robot from the surface or something. I don’t know. I don’t care.

I have obtained a few more weapons and seen a few more areas. Nothing impressive. Seems like your ordinary Metroidvania style game without all the content. There was this one part where I had to run back and forth a bunch of times to collect “Jellyfish Juice”. It was excruciatingly boring. Then I had to collect some dogs for an old lady. That was also boring. The enemies are boring, the level design is very “meh” and the characters are also bland and boring (except for Balrog, the toaster guy who is apparently really modeled after a soap bar).

The best thing about Cave Story+ is the soundtrack, and I don’t even think it’s that great.

After finishing the game

Yeah, okay, so I just realized I’d get the bad ending if I’d keep playing this piece of crap. One of the supporting characters fell down a hole, so I thought “well, better check on him”. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem since I had traded my first gun for the machine gun, which fully upgraded can act as kind of a jet pack, enabling me to traverse vertical spaces easily. The gun trade is apparently one of three available ones (which I could not possibly know). Jumping down to check on the fallen guy will actually give me the bad ending, I read online somewhere. Really? REALLY?! Did the maker of this game add the machine gun after this part was done or something? Did he not realize that going down that hole could be a very rational decision if you have this gun? This makes no sense.

I won’t play the last part of this game (which by the way is only 3-4 hours long) and I won’t ever play it again unless I’m forced to at gunpoint or something.

This is seriously the most overrated game I have ever played, and I’ve played some pretty overrated games. This is why it is generally not a very good idea to listen to people on the Internet. This game has a cult-like following and I so can’t understand why.

Do yourself a favor and go play Undertale instead of this shit. Maybe this game was OK as a freeware indie game before indie games were really a thing. I accept that. But as a 15€ Steam game, this game smells. It’s short, ugly, badly designed and has a soundtrack that is only a little bit above average.

Verdict

Don’t play!

adore Earthbound, both the first and the second of the series (I regret not having played the third one yet). When I heard there’s a game on Steam that supposedly is inspired by Earthbound, I knew I had to buy it. Will play it with my XBone gamepad.

Stages of the game

First impressions

The graphics are equally charming and horrifying. The music (well, at least the three tracks I’ve heard so far) is amazing. Reminds me of Earthbound and Final Fantasy 6. The fighting system is obviously inspired by Earthbound but has a cool twist involving moving a heart around to avoid projectiles or whatever.

It seems I don’t need to harm anyone at all.. in fact, I am explicitly told so by the cow/guardian creature I met in the beginning. Well, she also told me not to walk anywhere, which I did. I wonder what would’ve happened if I had not walked anywhere.. I wonder what would happen if I killed a creature instead of drive them into tears or running away from them.

This game is really weird, and it has made me giggle a couple of times already in the first ten or so minutes. I am sure I will love this.

Somewhere in the middle

Hilarious. Really, Undertale is hilarious. It also fucks with my head quite a bit. I don’t want to go into details because this is the kind of game you will enjoy more if you don’t know too much about what makes it special, but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll know what kind of things I refer to once you play this.

The fighting system is very unusual and it just keeps getting stranger (and more hilarious!) There is no need to kill anyone here; you can just spare enemies based on what actions you perform towards them. I imagine the game is not quite as fun on a homicidal run as it is on a pacifist one.

After finishing the game

It just keeps coming. This game will take you by surprise, several times. That’s for sure.

Just finished Undertale and it is such a unique game. It is a tad short however, so I am hoping for a sequel. The limited length of the game, however, maybe is what keeps the game fresh and continually funny.

Just do yourself a favor and play this game without reading any more about it. Especially if you like the 16 bit Final Fantasy games and Earthbound.

Verdict

Play!

Just having finished the first Witcher game, I have quite high expectations for this one. I expect the combat will be more slick (I certainly hope so, at least), the graphics to be better and the alchemy crafting system to be more refined.

I also expect this tale will be longer than having to sit through someone explaining the dreams they had last night (I really despise having to listen to that).

I read somewhere that it’s possible to import the best sword in the first game into this one. If so, let’s go kick some monster butt!

Stages of the game

First impressions

This sequel sure looks different from its predecessor. The graphics are better, but the the game runs way slower than is should. I mean, this game is not by any means new, and I can play the newest games on ultra settings with my machine. After fiddling with the settings and disabling motion blur, it’s strangely much smoother now. The game must be poorly programmed for the performance to be this bad.

The combat is much more challenging than in the first game as well. I’m sure I’ll get into it. I completed some tutorial, and based on the results (i.e. I died pretty much instantly) the game suggested the easy difficulty setting. What an insult. I manually set it to normal.

I haven’t really gotten into the game still. So far I’m not too impressed though. Inexplicably bad performance (that I managed to make better by tweaking) and a strange, not very smooth combat system. Let’s see if it gets better after I get used to it.

Somewhere in the middle

Yeah okay, so I have changed my mind. This game is great. Very pleasing visuals, more graphic sex scenes (yay!) and the combat system is actually quite cool once you get the hang of it.

The difficulty, I find, is very uneven however. The first boss of the game still is the one I had to retry the most times so far. I guess it’s a combination of me slowly getting better at the game, and also my character leveling and acquiring new skills.

The story telling is very nice in this game. Most of the bad things from the predecessor have been fixed this time. The combat system is better (you pretty much have to use all spells, or signs as they are called, whereas in the first game I only ever used two out of five), the graphics are much better, there are many more NPC models etc.

Let’s see if this is as long a game as the first Witcher. I sure wouldn’t complain.

After finishing the game

So yeah, this game is difficult on kind of a Dark Souls level. I did not expect that. It does, however, with dignity continue the Witcher series.

In retrospect, what bothered me the most was the gameplay mechanics that I didn’t even need to use. Like, I could put out bombs and traps, but I never saw a need to do so. Just dodge, stab, rinse and repeat until dead. Also, the game is maybe a little bit linear, but hey, it tells a great story and is definitely one of the best games I’ve played (well, at least top 20 somewhere I guess).

Verdict

Play!