52 Games a Year 2021 Edition/ Game Record 2021:
  • I am rubber, you are glue.
  • I played the remasters last year, still superb. I think the main theme gets my nod as best in all of gaming ever.
  • 28. For Honor - Xbox One S and Series S (6hrs)

    I christened my lovely new box with a game from 2017 that I started on an older console.  Huge props to the electrickery at work which meant I was able to a) continue from where I left off and b) play at 60fps on the Series S.  It shows its age in a few places, but it's mostly still gorgeous with colours that pop, swords that glint in the sun and a well pitched overall style with weighty characters strutting around like they're in a medieval edition of The Clothes Show.  The dialogue whiffs and it comes across as a bit 24-part Fox TV series in cut-scenes, but I warmed to it after an hour or two and eventually embraced the idiosyncrasies.  If someone spliced together a '90s intro VHS style' for the opening credits I'd watch.       

    Combat is genuinely original, and while clunky in places (especially with the supposedly less clunky characters, I should add) it's a laudable attempt to try something different that emerges as a success overall.  You play as multiple character types over the course of the fairly brief campaign - which is really just a starter to sample before the main course online - and none stood out as particularly overpowered or pathetic.  Some missions were poor as a result of enforced variety, but none last too long so any suffering is short lived.  Running away seemed to be an overly viable option for quite a few stages, which meant pegging it past swathes of enemies to reach the next checkpoint became part of my routine, but I suppose not doing that is a viable option too so I guess that's on me.  Of the three factions I think I preferred the heavy swing of the Knights, but the Vikings were decent too.  I wasn't at all taken with the Samurai, which is a shame as I was looking forward to their missions, but assume they have their fans/uses in mp. 

    There's a lot more to it than I experienced, so the miserly score attached is just for the slightly too rugged story mode rather than the generous package - it's an online battler at heart - but I had fun with it.  There's a lot of numberwang going on (XP up the wazoo!) and even on the Series S it takes a while to load at times while it sorts everything out, but it doesn't get in the way of the campaign if you don't let it.  Well executed (unlike the executions, which only seemed to work half the time) and original with a strong block and thrust core that rewards patience, there's plenty of value here if you're looking for it.  The duels at the end of the chapters deserve a thumbs up too. [6] 

    WlouG8X.gif
  • 21.Monkey Island 2 : LeChuck’s Revenge (Scumm VM)
    Big gif behind spoiler
    Spoiler:
    97%
  • 29. 198X - Switch (1hr)

    Angsty and earnest neon soaked pixel art love letter to 80s arcades.  I was looking forward to this one long before launch, but the finished article was a bit of a gyp whichever way you sliced it.  Still, it had enough about it to warrant a second playthough, and my thoughts are roughly the same as they were in 2019 - it is worth playing if the bitesize nu-arcade hopping interactive visual novel shtick appeals, but it's a flimsy package that offers very little in the way of traditional VFM.  None of the five titles are anything special, although as part of the (eyebrow-raisingly brief) journey they all manage to do a job.  It looks great, the music is primo synthwave/chiptune stuff (Yuzo Koshiro was involved) and the OTT Kevin & Perry with-the-feels voice over somehow suits it, which manage to add up to an experience I've now enjoyed twice, but it's still a tough one to recommend.  I'm not even sure it sold enough to warrant the intended continuation (this is billed as part one afaik).  Disappointing overall, but I still think the final stretch of the super scaler racer game - as the v/o kicks in and the sound effects fade - is magnificent. [6]

    ddr4zkh-96ecd4de-e3ba-4b63-a94f-09c7228ee956.gif?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOiIsImlzcyI6InVybjphcHA6Iiwib2JqIjpbW3sicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvMjdjZDQ4NjMtZDU5OC00NDc3LWE5YmEtNDY1MjMwYjEzNGUwXC9kZHI0emtoLTk2ZWNkNGRlLWUzYmEtNGI2My1hOTRmLTA5YzcyMjhlZTk1Ni5naWYifV1dLCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6ZmlsZS5kb3dubG9hZCJdfQ.qkIVbBw77pxzyWiz31uPmf5NzmFrmVwjgrcukb1kIwM
  • 22. Dragon's Lair (PC)
    Thought I'd get an easy three out of playing the trilogy but the first one was enough, and it's pretty cheeky counting it as one. The animation is obviously great. A rare example of Disney-calibre talent being let loose on stuff a bit more interesting than cartoon ducks. I only wish I could have watched some of it. And that's where the 'game' comes in. Not so much a game as a symbol down the bottom of the screen which tells you which of five buttons to press and when and if you take your eyes off it, you die. I wasn't expecting much as I knew it was all QTEs. But I thought I'd at least get some decent animation out of it. You get a sense of the action above and that’s it.

    The other two games improve the UI a bit I think, but I'd had enough by then. I remember this from the arcade back in the 80s. It looked like something from the future. It was a quid a go and I had no idea what was happening, what I was supposed to do and I died straightaway. Should have left it at that. 
    [36%]
  • I played at least two of the games in the pack on Switch a couple of years ago. Dragon's Lair 2 was by far the most interesting in terms of animation and set-pieces, but it required collecting items in certain scenes to finish properly iirc. It might be worth a watch on Youtube as you've just finished the first. Glad I played them and I don't doubt the wow factor at the time, but Road Avenger remains the only full FMV/QuickTime event style game I genuinely like.
  • Yeah I thought youtube was the best way to go here. In the game, there’s an option to just watch the game scenes play out but I ticked the box saying ‘show all death animations’ and there’s often multiple ones per scene so it quickly goes into the realms of just watching a barely connected bunch of stuff.
  • Hadn’t heard of Road Avenger. It does look a lot better.
  • 7. Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening (Switch) - 10hrs 20mins

    This was a stone cold classic for the Game Boy. I remember being amazed at how it felt more like a SNES game than a NES one, especially after the Mario Land games felt like a step back from the Super Mario games on NES.

    Question is, is this the now the definitive way to play Links Awakening?

    Its a good remake but there's something that's been lost along the way. Part of it is definitely due to it going from being a technical marvel on primitive hardware, to being a game that is technically nothing special.

    But for me its mainly down to the art direction and graphical effects.

    I'm really not keen on the dotted eyes for the character models, I much prefer the style in A Link Between Worlds on 3DS. I also don't like the haze at the top and bottom of the screen depicting a long distance, its only about 10 foot from Link not miles away on a horizon, pointless effect that does nothing for me. On the odd occasion I noticed the frame rate drops in this, I wondered if this effect had anything to do with it.

    Now they are very minor complaints that to be fair are subjective.

    So what about improvements? Off the top of my head:
    - Less screen transitions
    - Memories menu (to see previous key conversations)
    - Markers/pins can be placed on the map
    - Extra dungeons
    - Key items now have dedicated buttons

    Add to that, the little fact that this is in full colour, HD and can be played in handheld and on the TV.

    So, is this the definitive way to play Links Awakening? Yes, it definitely is. A must play for Zelda fans, especially those who missed out on the original release.

    9/10

    My list
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • Glaucoma-vision did nothing for me either, an option to turn it off wouldn't have gone amiss. It was my first time playing LA and without nostalgia it ended up pretty low down my Zelda list. Mightily impressive for a GB game though, and I enjoyed the dungeons.
  • Out of interest what other handheld Zeldas you played, and where would this one rank for you?
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • ALBW, Minish Cap, ALTTP (GBA), TriForce Heroes. I'm not counting TriForce Heroes as a proper Zelda and I won't count A Link to the Past as a handheld Zelda, so with those bookends taken out I guess it's ALBW [9] > Minish Cap [8] > Link's Awakening [scraped an 8]. I thought ALBW was a cracker.
  • I like this and ALBW a lot, bit of a drop off after those two for me though.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • I'd heard mixed things about Minish Cap but it was a pretty solid adventure imo, and I didn't play it until 2017.  I had a look at my thoughts on both games, just to be sure, and it seems LA edged it immediately after playing:

    Zelda: The Minish Cap - GBA 

    Finally.  I kick stuff out of my pile of shame all the time, eventually conceding defeat, but this is something I kept on there since launch.  It's not a masterpiece, but it's a fine effort by Capcom.  The shrinking was serviceable rather that special, as was the doppelganger thing, but the kinstone pieces and figurines were a neat (optional) addition.  Much like ALBW, it's too easy for the most part, even though I only found two bottles/a smattering of heart pieces.  The last boss took three attempts to work out, but other than that I don't think I died.  I'd always assumed it was short, maybe 8hrs or so, but I'd say it weighed in closer to 12, and that was without doing much in the way of extras.  None of the dungeon design stood out, but they were all solid.  I think I'll settle on a slightly harsh [7] - good, but not quite up there. 

    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch

    First timer here.  It's easy to see why this is so revered as a 1993 Gameboy title, but played first as a reboot it's a touch trickier to asses.  Getting the old stuff out the way first - it's close to mind boggling to me that this is based on an OG Gameboy game.  As mentioned elsewhere I had no idea that machine hosted games this complex.  I've watched a few videos and I'm very impressed by it.  So, big shout to the original, but from here on in we'll be focusing on the reboot.

    Don't panic!  It's still, mostly, an excellent Zelda entry.  It lacks the intricacies of ALttP but the combat is fun and the dungeons are mostly high quality.  The last 2D Zelda I played was Minish Cap (in 2017 iirc), and I'd put the majority of these dungeons above what was on offer there.  The update is chunky and lush - non game-breaking framerate stutters aside - but it's a shame more wasn't added to alleviate the feeling of being totally stumped.  The phone shacks help, but they're not a complete cure.  Which clearly makes this a game best enjoyed by those who have sampled its delights before.  With Google as my new Navi I successfully muddled through, but I'd probably still be stuck if I hadn't reached for pointers here and there. 

    I was reasonably confident I knew the ending going in, and yup.  Again, that was probably quite something in a 30yr old game but I doubt it would be put on such a pedestal in 2020.  Good though (and probably the best thing I can remember from a Zelda game in terms of storytelling), just not amazing!!!1

    Toyed with a [7] but with its roots taken into account it scrapes an [8].
  • Does Cadence of Hyrule count as a handheld Zelda?  Not on an official list perhaps, but with spin-offs included I'd have that just below A Link Between Worlds.  Alongside Breath of the Wild and Wind Waker it's also the nicest Zelda to look at imo.  You'd hate the game though, so don't even look.
    Spoiler:
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    I'd heard mixed things about Minish Cap but it was a pretty solid adventure imo, and I didn't play it until 2017.  I had a look at my thoughts on both games, just to be sure, and it seems LA edged it immediately after playing:

    Zelda: The Minish Cap - GBA 

    Finally.  I kick stuff out of my pile of shame all the time, eventually conceding defeat, but this is something I kept on there since launch.  It's not a masterpiece, but it's a fine effort by Capcom.  The shrinking was serviceable rather that special, as was the doppelganger thing, but the kinstone pieces and figurines were a neat (optional) addition.  Much like ALBW, it's too easy for the most part, even though I only found two bottles/a smattering of heart pieces.  The last boss took three attempts to work out, but other than that I don't think I died.  I'd always assumed it was short, maybe 8hrs or so, but I'd say it weighed in closer to 12, and that was without doing much in the way of extras.  None of the dungeon design stood out, but they were all solid.  I think I'll settle on a slightly harsh [7] - good, but not quite up there. 

    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch

    First timer here.  It's easy to see why this is so revered as a 1993 Gameboy title, but played first as a reboot it's a touch trickier to asses.  Getting the old stuff out the way first - it's close to mind boggling to me that this is based on an OG Gameboy game.  As mentioned elsewhere I had no idea that machine hosted games this complex.  I've watched a few videos and I'm very impressed by it.  So, big shout to the original, but from here on in we'll be focusing on the reboot.

    Don't panic!  It's still, mostly, an excellent Zelda entry.  It lacks the intricacies of ALttP but the combat is fun and the dungeons are mostly high quality.  The last 2D Zelda I played was Minish Cap (in 2017 iirc), and I'd put the majority of these dungeons above what was on offer there.  The update is chunky and lush - non game-breaking framerate stutters aside - but it's a shame more wasn't added to alleviate the feeling of being totally stumped.  The phone shacks help, but they're not a complete cure.  Which clearly makes this a game best enjoyed by those who have sampled its delights before.  With Google as my new Navi I successfully muddled through, but I'd probably still be stuck if I hadn't reached for pointers here and there. 

    I was reasonably confident I knew the ending going in, and yup.  Again, that was probably quite something in a 30yr old game but I doubt it would be put on such a pedestal in 2020.  Good though (and probably the best thing I can remember from a Zelda game in terms of storytelling), just not amazing!!!1

    Toyed with a [7] but with its roots taken into account it scrapes an [8].

    Sounds about right to me.

    I toyed with an 8 for Links Awakening, but like you it just scraped a higher rating.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • LOVED Link's Awakening Remake - helps that I was a fan of the new style but really just having extra buttons for your items made it a real winner IMO.  Tried the Ages games in 3DS a while back but found the lack of buttons a bit too fiddly.

    Wouldn't mind a replay at some point soon but the pile of Shame has Cadence (not wrong, that looks gorgeous), Hyrule Warriors 1 + 2 and Minish Cap but don't really want to play any Zeldas before Skyward Sword in case of burnout.
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • Finally written up the last few I’ve finished instead of being lazy.

    9.The Medium - 8 Hours - 8/10 - Xbox Series X

    I really enjoyed this. Suffered the same issues all games of this type do in being a little limited in scope by its genre, but the story was enjoyable and genuinely had me changing my mind on what was going on right up until the end. Had a couple of jump scares but aside from that created an uncomfortable atmosphere throughout. Looked stunning in places but always had good visuals. Great sound work. Good gameplay but also didn’t last too long so kept a good pace throughout. Another ridiculous little Gamepass deal. Highly recommended.

    10.Little Nightmares 2 - 6 Hours - 6/10 - Xbox Series X

    Gotta admit I found this a little disappointing. Really enjoyed the first and whilst this is a good game it certainly didn’t have as big an impact as the first. More of the same certainty isn’t a bad thing, but it didn’t seem like it really tried to change or improve anywhere. Though it’s not my usual genre so maybe I expected too much? Still, quite enjoyed the storytelling, especially the latter section even though they stretched it out a little far. Some very annoying gameplay where you need control a torch and movement at once and it feels very fiddly and not at all like you’re ever in real control. Decent puzzles but never really a challenge.

    I dunno I wanted more but perhaps it’s just a decent game and I should just accept that like I would if it was a 3rd person shooter?

    11.Ailment - 3 Hours - 6/10 - Xbox Series X

    This was ace. Massive games drought and no idea how I came across this and it’s sequel but just a good fun twin stick shooter with some fun Sci-fi references throughout. Aces fun.

    12.Endurance - 4 Hours - 6/10 - Xbox Series X

    See above but just more of the same. Little bit more added to the mix but doesn’t really add to it, still a fun shooter.

    13.Halo 3 - 7 Hours - 9/10 - Xbox Series X

    Gotta admit, I’m the biggest Halo fan I know and I just didn’t enjoy this as much as I remember. Maybe it’s aged in some way or another but I definitely enjoyed 2 more after recently playing that. Can’t put my finger on exactly why, and it’s still one of the best FPS’s ever, but lots felt a little dull and lacking character somewhat. Think it might just be because the Brutes are just lacking as an enemy in comparison to Elites. Plus...I missed Cortana.

    14.Mafia: Definitive Edition - 12 Hours - 7/10 - Xbox Series X

    Had never played an entry in Mafia series but found the 3 at a good price so thought why not. And I was very surprised at how good this first entry was. Very simple GTA clone, simply a campaign with no side story nonsense, an obvious but good story with the usual Mafia type characters, simple gameplay and a good shooter cover system. It was simply an enjoyable straight forward Mafia romp without all the crap stuck on and icons all over the map. Looked great which was an added bonus too.

    15.Mafia 2: Definitive Edition - 10 Hours - 5/10 - Xbox Series X

    This was rather disappointing after the first. Everything took a downturn. The story, characters, setting, added sides, everything. Just another me too GTA clone that had disappointingly decided to try to be GTA instead of stick to its own strengths. It wasn’t absolutely awful and I still finished it but it certainly wasn’t something I’d advise anyone to play. As the series doesn’t really follow on in terms of story abs shares few characters but of no real importance, I certainly wouldn’t bother with this one. Boring and miserable.

    16.Mafia 3: Definitive Edition - 12 Hours - 10/10 - Xbox Series X

    Now onto 3...Absofuckingloutely incredible game, the story, setting, characters, gameplay, soundtrack, cutscenes, everything, absolutely everything. Easily the best GTA-Like game, surpassing every single GTA for me. And that ending!! How has Mafia III become one of my favourite games ever? Not in a million years would I have thought, That was fucking awesome. Couldn’t recommended this game any more highly. Returns to the tight story of the first game and whilst there’s a couple of side options they don’t show all over the map or add to anything. Suffers the same problem as all these games that really it’s very rinse and repeat in terms of go here, shoot everything to shit, then go there and do the same, but such are games, and the story means that you’re more than happy to do it to get MOAR! Absolutely excellent.
  • I played Mafia III briefly and thought the dialogue was surprisingly good, but the early missions didn't really pull me in, so I was out. Should I go back? Is 12hrs an estimate because that seems low for a modern open world experience.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    I played Mafia III briefly and thought the dialogue was surprisingly good, but the early missions didn't really pull me in, so I was out. Should I go back? Is 12hrs an estimate because that seems low for a modern open world experience.

    It’s an estimate but I’d say it’s definitely around about that. I didn’t take part in any of the 3 side quests which I think are multi layered as I wasn’t interested, but I flew through the main game. I’d say go back but the missions are very samey so if the story and dialogue didn’t pull you in it might not be for you dude. There are obviously better and worse missions but I was pretty quickly sold on the whole setup. If you’ve got the time I’d definitely try again.
  • It's on the maybe pile then, thanks. The reboot of the first game might be more my jam though.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    It's on the maybe pile then, thanks. The reboot of the first game might be more my jam though.

    That is an awesome game, nice and simple. Soundtrack is a blast on that too.
  • 30. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch, roughly 7hrs)

    Replayed all stages to collect the KONG letters for the first time, unlocking the secret 7th world before emerging victorious with a lesser-spotted Moot 100% save file in the bag.  This was already a toppest tier 2D platformer for me but I have an even deeper appreciation for its greatness now.  It's the only straight platformer I can think of that's equally good in co-op, something that the modern Raymen bravely attempted but failed imo.  I'd played through twice with two, this was my first full experience with the sp mode, and of course it's sublime.  Easily the top banana of the Country series, which has a very high average already, I think I'd have this as the best side-scrolling 'non-indie' platformer since Yoshi's Island.  Genuinely up there with the very best in class, when the dust settles for the third time I think it'll be in with a shout for inclusion in my all-time top 20.  Give me a Retro Studios developed DKCR3 over Metroid Prime 4 any day of the week. [9]

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  • Retro are such a good studio.
  • Now I just need get you into 2D Mario.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • I appreciate the 2D Mario games - SMW is astonishingly good, of course - but the movement, character weight and jumping arcs just aren't quite my brand of marvellous medicine. I'm not saying their controls aren't perfect (just in case Elf's reading), they just don't make me want to stand up and beg for buttermilk.
  • I am reading. I trust you to not like the superior games.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.

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