Welcome to the 5 year anniversary of “Most of the stuff…”. I would like to write things that are not video game related but for some reason this is the only thing right now that I don’t get bored of after the first paragraph. Some long overdue matters before I get started , a late response to dtoid user Lord Spencer in regards to breaking up the blog:I know it would be better for readers but I enjoy this template more(although I did kind of break stuff up in 2016) , your suggestion is appreciated either way. Also, I would like to extend a big thank you for the 246 likes on most of the stuff 2017. Alright with that said let me get to it.
Red dead redemption (Xbox-360 version played via Xbox One backwards compatibility)
I would not have imagined that it would take me this long to complete the main story missions of this game. To give you an idea I actually got the PS3 version back in 2010 , I got bored of that because it felt like a step down coming from GTA IV. There is also an issue on region 3 PS3s where some games mix up the X and O buttons , this issue affected the mini games of RDR on PS3. I got the 360 version in 2015 , I did not think it would take me 3 years to get to it.
What do I actually think of the game? Well , it is one of those rare cases where a developer is doing all they can but I am somewhat underwhelmed. Maybe back in 2010 I would’ve been interested in hunting animals ,gathering plants and side stories but I have no interest in that now. The long horse rides also don’t help the matter , it just becomes tedious after so many times. Shooting wise this is one of the cases where I went for lock on ,free aim while horse riding seems problematic. The praise here is reserved for some great storytelling and graphics that hold up just fine (with or without any Xbox One related enhancements).
Opinion: A totally competent and solid game which is worth your time , just not my goto western franchise.
Crimsonland (PC version)
Nostalgia can only take you so far, I had played crimsonland back in the early 2000s. I had a cracked version that I sunk some time into while I had burnt CDs playing in the background. I think I followed the development blog of crimsonland 2 on and off for some years until it just did not happen. During a free weekend period for the Steam version I was able to play a good amount of the quest missions. I find it silly that new tracks have not been composed for this version after all this time so this time , I likely would have been listening to my steam music either way. The actual game has not been improved really , it actually feels broken now since early pickups and stacking perks just make you too powerful.
The original required some risk taking and careful movement , when a map became full on red at the end of a mission you really felt like you earned it. I would say the survival mode in the updated version feels like the most fun since it maintains the urgency of the original. I can’t really complain because I got to re-experience a classic for free and the updated version does come with the original so purists should not feel left out.
Opinion: An essential stepping stone in the evolution of the top down shooter.
Battlefield 1 (PC version) - REDUX
This was covered in 2016 , I mainly stated that the multiplayer was best experienced in a squad and I would return for the war stories. Well , after finishing the war stories I can tell you it is strictly okay. The stealth focus from hardline is back , only in hardline it was something you did so that you could get arrests and avoid a blood bath. In battlefield 1 , stealth is more a case of dealing with high numbers of enemies. If you want something more cinematic that would be the Australia , Italy and war plane stories. If you want something more open go for the tank crew or Lawrence of arabia stories , those are ones I prefer since they have open maps with multiple objectives. I don’t consider the prologue to be proper gameplay.
Once I had beaten the war stories earlier in the year I figured that was the end of it , then DICE went and made the premium pass for free. I re-downloaded all 80 something goddamn GB of the game to experience the new maps and weapons. The expanded weapon selection definitely helps things. Also worth noting is that the DLC maps are worked into regular rotation unlike prior BF games , this means that you have a much higher chance of seeing the new maps. The MP maps are still very beautiful but the grind for new gear is still frustrating. I would say I have gotten better at BF1 with more time spent but it does not make spawn deaths any less annoying.
Opinion: I hate it less now. A good deal if you get the base game when its cheap and the premium pass content for free.
Sniper: Ghost warrior 3 (PC version) - Multiplayer patch
Real quick on this one , I feel they took way too long to add MP to the game and one may argue it should have been available from launch. If you care at all for ghost warrior 3 , I would say just play the main game and sabotage DLC then move on with your life.
Homefront: The revolution (PC version) - Everything else
The main campaign in this was covered last year, I did not get it at launch and by the time I did it was patched up therefore I really enjoyed it. What was left of it was the 3 story DLCs and the resistance MP mode. The story DLC is pretty much the prologue , midpoint and epilogue of the main campaign. All this stuff is purely story and not open world like the main campaign. I would recommend it if you wanted closure for the main story or just more gameplay get the expansion pass for cheap.
As for the resistance mode missions , these are meant to be played in co-op but can still be played solo and that is what I did considering nobody really plays resistance mode. If there are still ex-goldeneye developers at dambuster studios their work can be seen here. The time limits and multiple objectives on bigger maps really remind me of games like goldeneye and perfect dark. Playing these missions solo seems to be a combo of stealth and exploiting the AI , it is way too difficult to play on higher difficulties until you have upgraded enough.
I would only go through the headache of the soloing the resistance missions if you somehow still want more homefront after the main campaign and expansions because the gameplay is pretty much the same.
Opinion: Just how much do you dislike North Korea?
The fall (PC version)
This is one of those games that has an ambitious story to tell but does so via simpler gameplay and graphics. It not often I come across a side scrolling cover shooter with point and click adventure elements. The real shame is that upon completion it just feels like an advertisement for the fall part 2. It is a mostly smooth experience except for a puzzle which had a solution that really did not make sense.
Opinion: I would say check out gameplay or trailers first , this is really not for everyone. Despite that I would say I am still interested in the fall part 2.
Mother russia bleeds (PC version)
A shout out to Wormio here , we actually started the playthrough of this in 2016. I would say we finished about three quarters of it before resuming in 2018.
It is very strange how MRB is not more popular it is an alright beat em up with an aggressively soviet aesthetic. The retro style graphics , good soundtrack and brutal combat all add up to a very fun experience. The only thing I don’t understand is if the developers intend or you to shoot up that green stuff , they seem to want to discourage it but then some sections are too hard without using it.
Opinion: Highly recommended , especially for local co-op with comrads.
Counter Strike: Condition Zero - Deleted scenes
There is only so much I can stomach of regular multiplayer Counter Strike but I was always curious about the single player missions of deleted scenes. What you will see here is a similar case to Shadow ops: Mercury rising , it is like a prototype modern warfare 1. The missions however different scenarios that escalate rather than a continuous plot. You will get the usual bomb defusal and hostage rescue , then it will be a matter of taking down drug syndicates and big time terrorist leaders. They work in some gadgets to use rather than just having you kill goons all the time , my only real complaint here is that old fps BS of enemies hidden in blind spots.
Opinion: I’m one of the people that want more of this.
Metal Gear: Survive (PC version)
A very easy to hate game with it being a metal gear title made without Hideo Kojima. In the case I’m gonna be that guy and say I don’t think it is a bad game at all. The main reason being that I would say this is the most accessible crafting survival game I have seen , most of the important information is explained to the player in game without them having to access some wiki. Think of how many crafting survival games have been released on steam before MG: Survive showed up. The crafting here is much less tedious than similar titles , exploration wise I found it to be fun because discovering the map is good risk/ reward sort of thing.
Another problem here is how many reviews of the game were actually misinformative , basically if they tell you all you need to do is build a fence and then poke with spear that is false. Later enemies require upgrades and certain level of caution. I would say the combo of sandbags and a sledgehammer slam is what you need. I would have liked this more if regular hostile humans showed up at some point but all you get here is crystal zombies. Lastly I would like to see the health/ healing system in survive get patched into MGS V , that would be interesting to see. The issue here is the “ Metal Gear” written on the box cover , I would agree that it is not a good metal gear game but I would say it’s a perfectly fine crafting survival game. Let it be known that I have only beaten the main campaign , I never did the survival missions or the post game stuff. I had my fill after 20 something hours.
Opinion: If MGS V was a game about kidnapping people then survive is a game about hoarding junk.
Killer is dead (PC version)
This might be the weakest title from the Suda 51 line up , I say this because it was eventually given away for free. There is just too much I find wrong with this to enjoy it. The graphics are odd because of this blurry glossy UE3 look that hurts my eyes and the combat mainly involves tapping 1 button. This is one of those hack and slash games where the upgrades unlock stuff that really should just be the basic controls. There is room for skilled play once you combine the unlocked moves but you are not really encouraged to do so, the special attacks are not fun enough to break it up. I am not so sure what is up with the frame rate in the pc version since higher FPS seems to mess with the game. Combine that Suda thing of not really knowing what’s going on with bad checkpoints and my patience is gone.
Opinion: Weeaboo trash.
God of war (2018)
My personal pick for GOTY 2018 , I don’t like going with what the majority are saying but in this case it is easy to see why. I was prepared to think this game would not feel like a proper GOW experience because of the changes to camera and combat. It is frustrating to not have a dedicated jump button because your instinct is to jump to avoid ground pound shockwaves and not block them with a shield. Having to quick turn every time because enemies are obsessed with moving off camera is also annoying. The addition of loot is really not my thing either but I would say my gripes end there. The combo of puzzle solving , exploration and combat really carry the game and make it feel like a very complete experience. At one point in the game you will be very much convinced that it is a proper GOW sequel.
I would say the idea here is to show that Kratos has become less of a jerk with time , you will see this in how he changes his attitude towards his son over the course of the story.
Opinion: Bring your son to murder stuff day.
An unexpected disappointment. Along with the usual business of getting the game a while after Japan , the demo (which I totally had a chance to download) turns out to be the full game by mistake.
I don’t understand how they think it is alright that critics reviewed this an entire month before its proper release , if they had the game finished and ready then why delay it so long?
My real complaint here is just at full price this game has much less to offer than prior installments , it’s very easy to see that the effort went into the graphics. Coming from Yakuza 0 to this is a real shame since there is a district missing from Kamarucho and alot less heat actions.
Add in that they put real world businesses into the game (like APA Hotel) and actually have a side story where Kazuma is offered a gym membership and says how great a deal it all is. Multiple health bar enemies are no longer a thing which means fights just feel lame rather than a brutal punch up. I don’t hate this but it could have been executed much better.
Opinion: You should be in no hurry to play this if you have not beaten the previous games , if you do want to buy then wait for a sale.
Red Steel 2 (Played via backwards compatibility on WIIU)
If ZombiU was supposed to be the game that showed off the WIIU tablet then red steel 2 was supposed to be the game that showed off the wii motion plus. The setting was changed to samurai western rather than modern day Japan , I don’t consider it to be very appealing but it works. The graphical style has aged well but you will have to deal with tons of loading doors. Combat is what holds the whole thing together and it works well most of the time. Consider that sword swinging is done with motion controls ,combine that with precise gun combat and all from the first person perspective. My issue here are that it just gets way too easy, you can just dash behind dudes and slash them to death. It would be nice to have a local multiplayer mode like red steel 1 but what can you do? If all else fails then just try to enjoy the soundtrack.
Opinion: Anybody know what happened to that charming woman from the tutorial videos?
The conduit 2 (Played via backwards compatibility on WIIU)
This was one of those Wii games that was an attempt to convince people that high fidelity graphics could be done with limited hardware. They went to some lengths to give you higher level of control customization and a bunch of difficulties to choose from. For a game that tries to go bigger , I would not say the changes all work. Graphical changes make the game look muddier ,sometimes you just don’t know what you are supposed to be looking at and the framerate drops in certain spots. It can still be fun but I don’t think everyone can sit through the campaign considering that I think I restarted it like 5 times. I wish I had the chance to play this game’s multiplayer while it was still online and maybe we can get an android port like they did for the conduit 1.
Opinion: Explain how the SCAR rifle is better than most of the alien weapons.
Call of duty: Black ops 2 (WIIU version)
I had originally got this just to see what it would be like to play blops 2 with a wiimote and nunchuck. With black ops 4 releasing this year I figured it would be worth replaying the campaign ( I had beaten it on PC in 2012). First off the controls are fine and you should be able to find team deathmatch rounds with no trouble , sometimes the player count may indicate that more people are playing this on wiiu than people playing some games that just launched this year.
The blops 2 campaign is not only replayable because of multiple difficulties , it has bits throughout the missions where you can make choices and maybe get some different gameplay. So I was finally able to see that other ending for the game(you know the one).
Opinion: Holds up well but I hated the mp maps back then and I still do now.
Clive Barker’s Undying
I would have liked to play through this sooner , on Windows 8 data execution prevention just will not allow it to launch. Following that Windows 10 update I was able to play the GOG version with little trouble.
The spooky vibes ware off the further you progress into the story because the game becomes more of an action horror shooter , you may even compare it to Bioshock with the guns and magic combo attacks. Progression wise the game is executed very well because you can explore a fair amount but not to the point where you get lost. In other words it is a linear game that does not feel linear. Your journal or notes will give you an idea of where to go and what to do next , there is usually a magic spell for every situation. The experience is much more enjoyable despite tech limitations and easily surpasses Clive Barker’s Jericho (I don’t hate that game)
I had to look at a guide for the last boss , I was actually doing the right thing but the boss did not seem to react to it. My only other real problem here is that everytime you die you have to see the enemy that killed you finish you off , the animations are fun but you can’t just skip them and load back.
Opinion: You will be tormented by howlers for a good portion of the intro but stick with it until you get the scythe , then it’s payback time.
Without warning (Xbox version played on Xbox 360 via backwards compatibility)
I don’t think many people cared for Without warning at launch and that has not changed with time, I was able to get a brand new copy in plastic for quite cheap. The experience here is very 24-esque from that time when you had a wave of anti-terror themed games.
The story is experienced from the perspectives of multiple characters , 3 soldiers and 3 civilians. Usually it’s just about going from point A to point B , shooting goons and rescuing hostages. Some variety is here from stealth sections when you play as the secretary ,camera sections when you play as the journalist and bomb defusal when you play as Reagan. Reagan is easily the best character in the game , he has an auto shotgun with a grenade launcher attachment.
You won’t see much innovation here aside from pipes that let out hot steam when you shoot at them , the steam can actually blind enemies. This is the only game to come from a studio that was made up of former core design developers , it is a shame that it just feels very uninspired.
Opinion: Without fanfare.
Breakdown (Played via Xbox 360 backwards compatibility)
Breakdown falls into the genre of first person puncher , you do get some firearms but ranged combat is not the focus. Immersion was the thing here because they went to great lengths to show off your interactions with objects in the game world. Unfortunately , this means you need to press the use button twice on stuff. It just gets old very fast.
This is Japan’s take on half life for the most part , the locations and setpieces are very similar along with the whole scenario of you being stuck in the middle of a human-alien conflict. On hard the game is mostly forgiving thanks to sort of frequent checkpoints that restore most of your health.
The last section of the game though is where the developers decided that they don’t like the player anymore (just make good use of your slow motion for the white room and the platforming before it). While the gameplay can be frustrating , the story was just interesting and varied enough to keep me playing to the end.
Opinion: I hope this receives a dark souls style sequel but in first person.
Perfect Dark (Xbox 360 arcade version played via Xbox One backwards compatibility)
It is doesn’t seem to be brought up as much as goldeneye but perfect dark deserves just as much praise
It is a love hate thing here since I hate the trial and error phase of playing the missions but then I love speeding through them after figuring things out. This is an easy recommendation since the updated 360 arcade version looks nice and the controls are customizable. You can turn off auto aim and switch up buttons to make the experience feel more modern , some missions seem to be built around auto aim though.
While I enjoyed perfect dark: zero more , I would say play both games and see which one you prefer. I needed a guide for both games in certain spots , I just couldn't figure out some stuff.
Opinion: I don’t understand why Joanna seems like a totally different person in zero despite it being a prequel.
Raiders of the broken planet/ Spacelords (PC version) (Hades betrayal - Council apocalypse)
I had covered this last year , 2 campaigns were released and I had hoped that things would get better. With the release of the 3rd campaign a major progression patch was introduced. Before the progression patch your level was determined by how many things you had unlocked , after the patch it became a matter of leveling via xp gain. The main issue is that passive stats were introduced that increase as a player levels up , meaning that higher level players are essentially way tougher. This is my opinion but I think that was a horrible fucking idea. The game already had balance issues to begin with , passive stat buffs just scare away new players and make the developers job harder. Additionally new characters only required gold to be unlocked , now you need to meet a level requirement as well as have enough gold.
The game went free to play with the 4th campaign and was renamed to spacelords , which sounds real generic compared to “ raiders of the broken planet”. Given how player numbers fluctuated between 2017 and 2018 I can understand them going f2p.
It’s no mystery why people don’t stick with the game , it still has issues that were present in the beta and has become unplayable for me thanks to the changes over time. I don’t usually post on developer forums but I did for this game just to point out major flaws , you can imagine how far I got with that. Since I had bought the founder’s pack I had instant access to the campaign missions , I have played what I paid for and I don’t want to play anymore.
AT THE TIME OF ME WRITING THIS you can no longer buy the campaigns on the steam store. You can however spend 35 USD to buy one raider ( 2 are available for purchase). Consider that the people behind this game are alright with charging 35 dollars for a single character ,other f2p hero shooters will allow you to purchase all available heroes for 30 dollars or even less.
I expected the character prices to be discounted in the 2018 steam winter sale , they were not.
Opinion: Fuck this.
Tom Clancy’s The division (PC version)
These are my thoughts based on time spent with a free period , I don’t own this game right now so make of what you will.
I think that if this were released during the previous generation it would have had the campaign separate from the online modes. The live service thing means you’re going to be downloading a bunch of stuff you may not really want to play.
My focus has only been with the story missions , I enjoy the cover based combat which reminds me of future soldier. It is always fun to find fancier guns but again I just don’t appreciate the RPG stuff that means you find like 5 different versions of a MP5.A common issue seems to be the connection cutting out mid gameplay , there are checkpoints but it’s not exactly ideal. I really say much more on this right now.
Opinion: A fine example of environmental storytelling.
Half life: Echoes
Modding wise sometimes you’re going to see modders change the experience entirely. That is not the case here , this is more of a case of great levels made from existing assets.
I really enjoy half life mods that focus on the perspective of some random black mesa employee during the resonance cascade. If you like half life , I recommend this mod.
Half life (PC Version)
Echoes left me in the mood for more Half life , it was just that good. While I have played a good portion of HL1 in the past , I had not actually beaten it until this year. All in all it holds up with solid combat , puzzle solving and platforming across a whole bunch of locations. I would say the Xen levels are problematic because you just don’t know what you are supposed to be looking at.
Opinion: We really need some closure here.
Shadow of the tomb raider (PC Version)
The 3rd installment in the origin trilogy , which is really odd seeing as they did a good job covering Lara’s past in Tomb raider 2013. With this being one of my anticipated releases of the year I did not feel let down. There is more focus on exploration and puzzle solving here , you will be murdering stuff but much less.
I honestly find it refreshing that there is less of an emphasis on combat but then it’s odd that a good amount of upgrades are still geared towards making you a better killer. I turned off alot of the guiding features so exploration felt really rewarding , you can easily miss challenge tombs that are rather detailed as far as optional content goes. Things are wrapped up nicely and you don’t need to worry about those horrible upgrade cards from ROTR any more.
Opinion: More Lara is usually a good thing but I am uncertain where there are going to go from here.
Call of duty: Black ops 4 (Xbox One Version)
I will cover the blackout mode of this game down below in a separate section (You will understand why). With only about 6 hours spent in blackout and 1 hour or less in zombie mode , my main focus here was the multiplayer.
Seeing as I skipped COD: WWII last year , this is kind of my proper return to boots on the ground. While my interest in MP has become less and less since COD: Ghosts , I did reach max level here without prestiging but all I was playing was the MP. It has always been about trying different loadouts for me , once I have seen what I want to see I move on. The process was uncomfortable this time around , this is due to a horrible spawn system and an aggressive change in player attitudes. For some reason people are just taking this installment much more seriously. It does not help that the most played maps are remastered maps from Black ops 1 and 2. People have this stuff memorized so spawn camping was insufferable from the first week.
Some baffling decisions here , I can understand specialist tutorial missions but why do they need bot matches with instructional videos explaining modes people have played for years. I went digital here because the game still requires a download of 50 gb(more now probably) even if you install from a disc.While I did have fun with black ops 4 , it just feels less polished and balanced.
Opinion: The video game equivalent of fast food. It is consumed by millions , sometimes thrown away before it is finished and it is bad for you.
You may not be impressed by this until you understand that it is a Doom mod. It is always a great feeling when you get to play something that clearly had alot of effort put into it for free.
What you will find here is a mostly a mix of Silent hill and the STALKER series. The atmosphere is extremely dark and bleak , sometimes things don’t make much sense and you’re going to be spending a while managing inventory. Enemies are usually introduced to you in a shocking fashion which really helps make them memorable.
I had an issue with the game crashing on one of my machines but I was able to just copy the files over to another machine and continue from where I left off. My biggest gripe here is the weight limit , while conservation is encouraged you can only carry so much. Be prepared to throw away some items that you think you might need later on.
If you don’t own Doom that’s fine because there is a stand alone version of this mod , I highly recommend it for horror/survival fans.
Immortal unchained (Xbox One Version)
One of the more obscure releases of 2018 , while I really wanted to play this I waited for a discount. Waiting on this was also a good idea since the game definitely needed some patching following its launch.
This is basically a gun focused souls clone that plays out in a sci-fi fantasy setting. Despite the futuristic setting, most of the weapons here still look like modern day firearms. Customisation is mostly related to weapons and character stats. You won’t be switching around armour because all of that stuff just stacks when you get it from armour shrines. Your dude’s appearance will change while gaining armour and capacity upgrades at the same time , you will look alot more intimidating later on in the game.
From what I understand it is a smaller development team so quality is inconsistent. They go for that souls thing where the environment is also your enemy, It seems to be executed better in certain maps. While enemy AI is exploitable there are still going to be sections that will keep you on your toes. The story is easier to follow than what you would expect from a souls-like experience , the ending was also surprisingly good.
The Xbox One version was discounted before the PC version , I honestly would have preferred to go for the PC version because of the performance issues on console. Despite the jankiess (which might halt your progression) I think there is alot of fun to be had here , I would recommend that you get it cheap though.
Opinion: Praise the gun.
I learnt of this from a horror game enemies countdown video on Youtube. Grey is a Half life 2 mod which seems to be very much inspired by Silent hill. This means spooky locations , combat and puzzle solving. While the first time you beat the game should not take too long , the challenge mode which includes 9 maps and hard mode which features a new ending will become available.
Despite this mod being forgettable it is nice that the creators wanted to encourage replayability.
According to them this will require you to have Half Life 2 and episode 2 installed , Steam still required that I installed the source 2007 SDK. I cannot confirm if the SDK alone is enough for the mod to launch.
Opinion: Challenge maps 1 and 6 are the toughest things you will find here.
After a year of playing games that have a strong focus on murdering stuff , this is a nice change of pace. Mainliner is a point and click hacker sim game , don’t expect an advanced simulation here. The challenge is not really about executing hack commands but following a series of clues will allow you to arrest suspects.
The game is broken up into levels (cases) and each case will require you to use some sort of new application. The story is experienced from desktop windows and emails with popular operating systems imitated using pixel art. While I have not played many mystery games in my time I wouldn’t say this is too challenging , the focus seems to be telling an engaging story and I would say they did a good job.
Opinion: A love letter to Windows XP fans.
The obligatory 2018 battle royale roundup
With this being the current popular genre I have played a good amount of BR games this year (some more than others) , here is some quick thoughts on the ones I managed to play:-
It is nice that most BR games should be available for free but PC has the wider selection. This genre does not work well all the time because there is alot of waiting involved , it could be in game or when searching for a match. I would prefer that developers avoid making a BR game if they cannot maintain it long term and I hope there is less focus on this genre in 2019.
Despite me actually buying less games this year and actually removing some stuff from this post(Paranoia 1 / 2 , a mother’s inferno and earthfall) this has went on way too long. I would like to wrap up with props to Rainbow six:siege , payday 2 and killing floor 2 for some impressive post launch support. A farewell to lawbreakers and rockshot , we barely knew thee.
2018 has been a mass grave for early access UE4 battle royale games and developers / publishers seem to be preoccupied with self-sabotage. It is hard to say where things are going to go from here but I mean what’s the worst that could happen?
As usual thanks for your time , if you will excuse me I have some life choices to regret.