2020 52 Games in 1 Year Challenge!!
  • I'm going for the just created by me wooden spoon trophy on this challenge.
  • 1. Katana Zero (Switch)
    I've seen this reviewed here as too light on gameplay, too much story interrupting the flow. I think that's right. The gameplay is gravy though and right up my street. The story is mostly derivative, not that intriguing despite setting up a load of secrets and mystery and doesn't wrap itself up satisfactorily to say the least. It's criminal really, how it ends. That said the artwork on the cutscenes and story segments is nice and the animations of some of the characters is really decent too. 
    The game itself doesn't really go anywhere, even accounting for the interruptions. It builds up the difficulty nicely enough but doesn't really stretch itself or expand on it's concepts. I'd have preferred short, sharp mini levels but loads of them. Different baddies, environments, challenges. The slo-mo mechanics are only really there to reflect bullets. Compare with something like Guacamelee 2 which, while they don't all work, takes a few tricks and twists and combines them into all sorts of brain-frying shapes. That said, I did like what I played. It just feels a bit meagre at the end of it. A slight waste. 7 is too low, 8 overlooks it's flaws so 
    [7.5]

    2. Ape Out (Switch)
    Piss. Not unadulterated piss. There's a few good things here. Novel visuals, decent rhythm violence concept. It's basic and a fairly straightforward romp until the final few levels where it becomes stupid. You can't smash your way through anymore because you get blasted. But you can't pick or stealth through either. Because you don't have the tools you need to play that way. The real bitch levels were Abandon Ship and Wreck (the two last ones, excluding a fairly easy final mayhem level). You see a guy on the edge of the screen, he's in open space, you've got no choice but to go ahead, you've got no way of seeing ahead, so you go ahead. But off-screen there were two guys with bazookas and you can't possibly get to both in time and now you're dead. And that happens over and over. A slight slip and you're fucked. Or no slip and you're still fucked. You just need the right random generation of enemies and terrain that you can do it without any of that stuff happening. 

    For most of the time playing it, I thought this was an enjoyable 10 minute novelty that's been overstretched. That's not quite it though. Even in those bitch levels it's still satisfying to fling people about to the cymbals or leg it round a corner just in time to avoid a gun blast. I think it's just a poorly designed game. I don't know why they bothered randomising the layouts. It would have probably taken longer to design the procedural generation than just carefully map out some fixed terrain that played to the game's strengths. The phases of this game were fun, then a bit tedious, then frustrating then fuck this game and everything to do with it and just let me finish this level so I can chalk it off and never touch it again.
    [Piss]
  • acemuzzy
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    So I'm up and running with 7BH done, a worthy [8].
  • I really enjoyed Ape Out but one of the final stages did venture into 'luck of the build' territory, which isn't something I particularly like.
    Joustus is served.
  • I don't recall much of that. I remember struggling with the flamethrower guys on disc 3. But there are always ways to avoid being caught out in the open.
  • Do we list books/movies too?

    Just looking at what @acemuzzy 's post on the previous page.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • There's a specific thread for movies now, or there was last year anyway. Posted in there for a while but my film watching is at an all time low. I probably averaged less than two a month for 2019.
    Joustus is served.
  • acemuzzy
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    Do we list books/movies too? Just looking at what @acemuzzy 's post on the previous page.

    I did so in 2017 cos there was no movie thread.  And old habits die hard.  I quite like my whole medium intake for a year being listed in one place tho...
  • I'd easily do a film one.

    I like his hour total/average. It's all about dem hours!
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • JonB wrote:
    I don't recall much of that. I remember struggling with the flamethrower guys on disc 3. But there are always ways to avoid being caught out in the open.
    Weirdly, I thought the flamethrower guys were easy to avoid but it was literally impossible to avoid being exposed in the final couple of stages.

    It’s that last bit that’s left such a rotten taste. I’d have classed it as a reasonably fun romp but just found myself cursing the game and it’s design over and over.
  • 3. Cursed Castilla EX - Switch (2hrs 23mins 35secs)

    Pretty good love letter to Ghouls n Ghosts.  It literally does nothing wrong in terms of flattery through imitation.  If you enjoyed Capcom's classics and fancy playing a new one that feels like an old one, this is exactly what you need.  Nothing spectacular, but brutally difficult (albeit without a soul crushing lack of continues).  Ronseal gaming, recommended at half price. [7].

    tumblr_inline_odi4egDD6g1qd93xq_500.gif
    Joustus is served.
  • 1. Skyblazer (SNES) - 2hr 30mins

    Lovely little 16-Bit action platformer, from an unknown company called Ukiyotei. They must have been a talented bunch because the quality of this particular title is almost at Konami/Capcom levels.

    You have a basic one button punch attack which culminates in a round house kick which inflicts more damage. This same round house can also be used as a flying kick which is a quicker way of taking care of the standard enemy fodder.

    Where the game opens up a little is in the magic system, there are a total of 8 spells you unlock throughout the game. While not needed to complete the game they're all useful, especially against the bosses.

    Talking of bosses, for the most part they're all decent. Not the best of the era but much better than most. Only one stood out as poor imo.

    Most of the game plays out as a left to right platformer but it does shake it up a few times with an underwater maze and scrolling shooter levels for example.

    The sprite artwork is sublime with most of the Super Nintendo's visual trickery such as mode 7, transparencies and sprite rotation put to good use.

    The music on the other hand is quite poor. It won't insult your ears but it's very forgetful and doesn't push the SNES sound chip in any way.

    The real shame however is the length. At just 2hr 30mins the credits were rolling, sometimes that's a good thing. Scrolling beat em ups for example have far outstayed their welcome by that point but it's a genuine shame here.

    It feels like you don't see enough of the variety the game teases and it could have offered so much more, especially with the unlocked abilities. I guess this is where Ukiyotei's resources and budget show and how someone like Konami/Capcom would have done a better job.

    A solid addition the the SNES library and a must play for retro enthusiasts, but there's better 16Bit games out there.

    7/10
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • 1. Her Story (Mac)

    And I’m off the mark!

    A great interactive story really. Use search words and terms to unlock clips (over 200 of varying lengths from a few seconds to a minute) of a woman being interviewed by cops, and piece together the story. But it’s so well put together, works really and is surprisingly compulsive in trying to find more videos. Hits get less successful (diminishing returns) as you progress obviously but there is a skill to it (listen carefully to the clips and suss out key words that may occur across more than one clip etc).

    I found all but one random clip in middle and a block of 8 towards the end. (A database diagram shows which ones you’ve found.) Found the random one after I made credits roll, but still no idea about the block of 8 (I know when in the interview they are but not how to trigger them?!). Gonna look it up.

    Well worth a few quid and few hours of time. Onto Telling Lies shortly.

    [8]
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • GIVEN UP!

    Baba Is You (Switch)


    Gave this a fair whack. 6 hours or so and I managed to unlock 7 areas, but not without looking up 3 or 4 solutions. It’s driving me crazy. It’s really clever, but way beyond my capabilities.

    My give up.

    [No score]
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • b0r1s
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    1. Disco Elysium - [9] - 8hrs*

    Next... Control
  • 1. Persona 3 FES (PS3) - 9/10
    2. Kami (3DS) - 6/10
    3. Donkey Kong Country (3DS) - 7/10
    4: Everybody's Golf (PS4) - 6/10
    5: Forza Horizon (XB1) - 7/10
    6: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore (Switch) 9/10
    7: Donkey Kong Country 2 (3DS) - 7/10
    8: Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) - 5/10
    9: Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight (5/10)
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • 1. Control [8]
    30 Dec-11 Jan

    This is an excellent and original AAA action adventure game with some minor issues that just bring the overall experience down a touch. I loved the location and the way the scenario allows for all kinds of reality bending events. The combat is also great fun for the most part, especially once you've unlocked a number of skills, with a great fluidity between the different moves. It encourages you to get in amongst the action, rather than hiding behind cover, and reeling in a hefty piece of scenery then chucking it back at an enemy never gets old.

    But still there are too many regular battles with enemy designs that could've been more interesting. The middle of the game certainly started to feel a little padded out. It's also annoying how quickly battles can go wrong when you've been doing well, as you're suddenly caught unawares by a projectile or fall off the edge of something while charging about the place. The health recovery system is a nice idea but sometimes just isn't convenient, and the checkpointing system is a bit weird, adding to the frustration. Other than that, special mention to the map for being next to useless half the time. And although performance on my base PS4 mostly wasn't too bad, the loading times became an issue.

    And yet, there's so much clever stuff to find and do, so many neat little touches or amusing characters, none of that can really spoil it. In the end, the main story is almost merely a way of introducing all the areas and powers and getting you used to how the place works. What I enjoyed most was doing all the side missions, many of which are better left till after the credits have rolled. It's here that things get more imaginative, and there are some proper bosses to take down, which were genuniely interesting and solid challenges. It's a brave game that hides so many of its best ideas, but it works in terms of gradually unravelling all the mysteries of the place. I was happy to just keep investigating and uncovering new stuff, to the point I ended up exhausting it all and getting the platinum trophy (rare for me these days).

    After all that, I think I'd really appreciate a sequel. Perhaps one that involved travelling around different places investigating reports of strange activity. There's certainly plenty of potential in the fiction to explore, and with a few tweaks to the systems the results could be very special.
  • 2. Super Tennis (SNES) - 4hr 09mins

    Still plays a great game of Tennis almost 30 years on. There not many sports games that can say that.

    8/10

    My list
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • Finally I’m off!!!

    1.Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order - 18 hours - 8/10 - Xbox One X

    Really didn’t like this for a good while. Felt clumsy, rushed, no connection to Star Wars, didn’t feel at all like a Jedi, absolutely sucked, but...I persevered and ended up absolutely loving it. When you have a few skills unlocked, a better connection to the force, a badass lightsaber and you get into the story it becomes amazing. By the end I enjoyed the characters, felt like I had control of the force and could dispatch enemies at will, hold my own against the bosses until I understood their patterns and kinda didn’t want it to end. That was awesome.

  • 4. Blood & Truth - PSVR*

    MellowHardtofindErmine-size_restricted.gif
    Spoiler:
    Joustus is served.
  • acemuzzy
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    Uh dude you've not even finished it jesus
  • Too soon.
    Joustus is served.
  • acemuzzy
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    :-(
  • Andy
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    So there’s an entry from Elf which he gave up on, and an entry from Moot which his PS4 gave up on. You people mock the very soul of this thread.
  • Timeline repaired.
    Joustus is served.
  • Oops. Andy is right, I shouldn’t have Baba Is You on my list.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • 4. Shakedown Hawaii - Switch (5hrs)

    Fun fact: this was one of the main reasons I bought a Switch a couple of months after launch.  Was listed as a launch window release for a while, then it unceremoniously disappeared, for ages, and eventually reappeared with the empire building aspect bolted on.  It's kind of my Last Guardian.  Fun fact over.  

    First things first then.  I could've done without the mogul management stuff.  It's fine and it doesn't really get in the way if you're after a straight arcadey experience, but I wasn't tempted to do anything optional.  Having said that, the cutscenes are fun so it's just a not my cup of tea thing.  I suppose they decided not to simply make another Retro City Rampage a few years on, so fair play.  I expect it more than doubles the length if you're a hundo hunter.

    The main playable sections are split between chunky og GTA bits and on foot twin stick shooting.  Both are decent, so if that's what you're after there's plenty to be satisfied with. Plus the absolutely relentless mission hopping is more varied than expected. [7]

    gFNeWhx.gif?noredirect
    Joustus is served.
  • 5. Toki - Switch (roughly 70 minutes)

    2018 redo of the 1989 arcade game, infamous for being one of the 'how much??!' EShop titles at £26.99.  It's finally dropped to a price I was prepared to part with (£5.99), but it's still one to avoid.  Whereas the Wonderboy III remake felt like a lavish lick of paint deftly daubed onto a classic game, the years have been far less kind to the way this one plays.  Couple that with the fact that the lick of paint itself has been applied in a slightly more slapdash way and you've got an oddity that might not even appeal to fans of the original.  Because of this, I'm not really sure who this is supposed to appeal to. 

    It's initially tricky, of course, but once you've learned the simplistic layouts/patterns it becomes strangely easy for repeated attempts.  It's a piece of piss compared to some modern 2D checkpoint platformers/run 'n gun types for sure.  Having needed a full restart to finish it - despite the 9 credits and 9 lives on default mode - I breezed through the first few levels the second time without losing more than a handful of lives.  All in all, it's a reasonably attractive lukewarm mess, with an overlarge character and controls that haven't stood the test of time past basic functionality.  [4], but only because I have a certain amount of respect for what it once was. 

    toki.gif
    Joustus is served.
  • b0r1s
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    1. Disco Elysium - [9] - 8hrs*

    Amazing story driven game of the highest calibre. Everyone should experience it for the great writing and wonderfully none violent (well there is violence) gameplay. The only reason it’s not a ten is in the third act there was a lot of back tracking across the map, but the after a major event towards the end of that act the final encounters really picked it back up again.

    *according to Steam, but felt longer than that.
  • 3. Skyblazer (Snes)
    Very decent. The overall design of the game and the levels is excellent. Nice and varied with lots of ideas. It knows the exact moments to stop what it’s doing and mix it up. The sound and graphics are decent enough. You acquire magic spells by beating bosses. The bosses were nearly all good. Each needing their own little formula but not particularly difficult once you’ve worked out what to do. The end boss run is one of the only one of those that I’ve enjoyed.
    There’s one gripe and one major flaw. The gripe is you keep getting magic right up until just before the last level. There’s probably too many spells which makes cycling through them when you need them a bit tricky. Some of them are redundant.
    The big flaw is that it’s not mechanically precise enough to stand toe to toe with the better games of this type. The hero guy can be quite fiddly to control. Jumping down from a wall climb onto a small platform with a moving enemy and your limited attack range can be a real lottery. Most of the time you can let the enemies come into range and get them. Or you’ve got the space you need to attack. But if you’ve got to close a baddy down there’s a thin sliver of pixels to get to where you attacks can get them without crashing into them and losing health. Some of the seem to have odd hit boxes as well. It’s mostly fine despite this. Just the odd bit now and again where it becomes a slight issue. And you’re well-compensated in lives and power ups for any health lost from some fiddly bit. This shouldn’t take away from the fact that’s it’s a good game. It’s difficult to compete in the 16-bit platformer leagues though. All in all, I enjoyed it and it’s a strong [7].

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