120 Games, 1 Goal - Pile of Shame: 0


#181

Shamelog #029 - A Satisfying Conclusion

Guys, we did it. The Witcher is now in the bag.

I think my initial thoughts on this game remain pretty on point - The Witcher contains a great story that is worth experiencing, filled with great characters and fantastic storytelling, but also with the caveat that the gameplay is mostly outdated. The ideas behind the combat are strong - I love the idea of learning about the creatures you will be facing, preparing your weapons and potions beforehand, then tackling them in a good fight - but the rhythm system was an attempt that didn’t quite work out. Hopefully the sequels build on these ideas in more interesting ways.

I do think the 4th chapter is ultimately a detriment to the game. The way it weaves in main plot information and builds on particular character arcs makes sense, but it would have been better to keep the experience tighter and weave that stuff through the time spent in Vizima. That being said, the story around the townsfolk of Murky Waters, the Vodyanoi and the Lady of the Lake were nonetheless compelling, if a little drawn out thanks to the tedious traversal of the expansive open areas.

The ending to The Witcher landed strong. The implicit gesturing to who the mastermind behind the entire games events is utterly brilliant, and I am impressed that CD Projekt let that underlying truth be only alluded to vs explicitly shoving it in your face. The implications of the events of this game have me super excited to jump into the sequel some time next year.

To wrap around to the question I so desperately sought an answer to in the beginning - would I recommend this game before playing The Witcher 3? Honestly, following the games own themes, the answer is not black and white. I’m never going to play this game again, of that I am certain; yet I’m so happy to have experienced this story. Maybe I’ll know better when I complete the series.


Games Left to Play: 113
Currently Playing: What Remains of Edith Finch


#182

Glad you enjoyed it. I do agree that chapter 4 is the worst chapter of the game. I’m not sure I’d say the combat improves, but I’m also not a fan of how action-heavy the combat gets as the games continue. It’s probably more streamlined, but also just feels fast and loose in a way that I hate in games personally.

I wonder how you’ll feel about Witcher 2 given some of the changes that they take from what you liked about this first game.


#183

Well, I don’t wanna oversell it, but “Distraint” is good. Not great, but good. And an example (going back to your previous post), that single player never gonna die. Some genres/types move to fringes, sure. RTS selection is way more sparse than during “Dune”/“Warcraft”/“KKND” era, for example (shout out to “Northgard”, btw, quite interesting “Age-of-Empires”-y thing). Point-and-clicks are mostly in the hands of indie devs, but there are a lot of them and a lot of them are good (I heard – as I said, I don’t like them). What else “died” during last 20+ years? PC games alone died, like, five times. So, it’s hard not to read those articles like “but I want ‘Star Wars’ by the way of ‘Uncharted’!”, which is valid, but nothing more.

I know about #4iF, I failed it couple of times :­)

That one is… :zipper_mouth_face:


#184

@TheJames yeah just feel like the game generally had really good pacing even though it let you do your own thing, but then just as things were getting really rolling it’s like “oh wait, you need to go spent another 12 hours over here while we burn the city real quick” and just screeches to a halt while you catch back up. Still, some damn great twists and turns in there. I can’t believe how Alvin ended up being involved, I mean damn! To the point of being the head of the Order! That I didn’t see coming, and was brilliant. To show you the opening cutscene of just this boy getting chased down all the way to that, was well done. At the end of the day I’m just actually looking forward to playing the sequel with a controller haha, so that should be good. You have me nervous now, but I’m still looking forward to the story regardless :smile:

@onsamyj yeah so true, it’s all up to the indies! But seriously, we have got some great games in such a diverse array of genres in the past few years, which is awesome.


#185

Not everything! :­) But I do like that indies do things that AAA can’t, and vice versa. I’m totally fine if from now on all big games would be SP/MP hybrids, like deck of cards: you can play solitaire alone, we can play friendly round or two of blackjack, and a bunch of people can participate in a big poker tournament (PvE, co-op, PvP). Indies can’t really do that (yet). But I bet next immersive sim would come from indie(ish) studio. “P.A.M.E.L.A.” seems (I don’t have it) kinda like that, or at least have similar to “Prey” vibes, for example. And I still wanna try “Neon Struct”, Austin recommended it in their conversation about that specific thing.


#186

Shamelog #030 - The Magical, Dark Whimsy of Edith Finch

The “Walking Sim” genre gets a bad wrap, but to be honest, good narrative games that can be played through in a single sitting are increasingly becoming one of my preferred gaming go-tos. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Firewatch and The Stanley Parable are all games I hold in high regard - and now, What Remains of Edith Finch sits right alongside those as one of the best available to date.

To speak in more than basics about this game is to cause it to lose some of it’s magic, but in the briefest of explanations: Edith Finch is a 2-3 hour first person game that does some clever things with game mechanics through the experience. The game tells a somewhat dark and engaging story revolving around the last remaining Finch who is discovering the roots of their family. This game is so well executed - nothing is lingered on for too long, always keeping the pace up with new story beats and delightful surprises at every turn.

It certainly helps that this game is absolutely gorgeous, and is meticulously crafted. The game is set entirely in a single house, and in order to draw you into the story that house has to be believable. The nature of the environmental storytelling on display here is above and beyond what we’ve seen in similar games before - the house is a character unto itself, exuding personality and truly feeling like a once inhabited space. Books line the shelves and litter the hallways, the walls are covered in photo frames, pots and pans of all sizes fill the kitchen hooks and benches.

I enjoyed this game so much that I played it through twice in a single day - first on my own, then again with my partner. For the game to keep both our attention the entire way through was proof enough that Edith Finch is a well directed piece. Honestly, if you have even an inkling of curiosity about this game, I highly recommend just jumping in - then comment or message me your thoughts, because I’d love to discuss!

As a small side note, I gave another PS4 game on my list a try - an isometric puzzler called Lumo. An hour of playing this game was enough to see what it was - a cute little puzzle platformer that builds on nostalgia for a long lost genre of gaming - but unfortunately falls flat if you don’t share a love for the classics. The puzzles were creating mroe frustration and less feelings of accomplishment, so Lumo will be shelved and moved on from.


Games Left to Play: 111
Currently Playing: Horizon Zero Dawn


#187

I don’t think that “Edith Finch” is a walking simulator. It has limited game mechanics, sure, but it’s actually very complex for a short game (I’m not saying that ws games are bad or anything, I like them a lot). That fish factory fantasy thing (I’m trying not to spoil anything, obv.) was very cool and very game mechanical. And all vignettes are like that. I actually don’t think that there are a lot of pure ws games: from what I played, “Dear Esther” is one and that’s it. Most of them have puzzles, or exploration, or something else. But, yeah, it’s more about how genres are very arbitrary.

I’m also very impressed how they keep it all very whimsical. Most ws lean heavily into sad – again, from “Dear Esther”, to “Gone Home”, to “Firewatch”, etc., etc., – and, oh, boy, it is here too… and yet, it’s not. Yes, sadness is there, but it’s Autumn melancholy rather than “I’m gonna go and cry for couple of hours afterwards”. Not sure how to describe it, but it’s macabre, but not morbid? Goth and gaudy (but in a good way)? It’s like “The Addams Family” the game, maybe? Yeah, quite unique.

I also liked their previous game “The Unfinished Swan”. It’s now on every Sony console, so play it if you can. And here are couple of ws-with-a-twist I would recommend, too.


#188

Giant Sparrow has delivered to of the most whimsical games I have ever played. Already one of my personal favorites but if they can do this 3x then I’m going to start petitioning for them to be thrown into “best developer” conversations.


#189

Edith Finch is one of those 2017 games I need to play, but I’m spending way too much money this month for both the holidays and board gaming so I decided I’m not buying any more video games this year.


#190

Man, Edith Finch seems to be the game everyone is talking about at the end of the year. I might move it right up to the top of games I’ll pick up if everything I’ve got seems boring.

Currently all my gaming has hit a bit of a snag due to a combination of some health issues and Witcher 3 just never seeming like it is moving forward in any sort of meaningful way.


#191

@onsamyj You’re definitely right about the fish factory thing, that was incredible. I’m glad they didn’t make it too challenging though, it could have so easily been frustrating. I think I’d still class Edith Finch as a walking sim at it’s core, more importantly though it expands on the basic formula in interesting and unique ways with its vignettes. You’re also on the money with the tone I think, the game manages to tackle some pretty heavy subject matter without being insanely grim, which 100% works in the games favour.

@Concrete for a young band of devs who were recruited out of school, they certainly have done fantastic work. Their next work is definitely a must buy already for me!

@TheJames totally understand that, this game is definitely worth putting on a wishlist for picking up down the track.

@Ikon it’s definitely in GOTY conversations for very good reasons! Honestly it’s actually a fantastic game to play if you’re feeling bogged down, because it’s an experience with a real end that you can get through in just a couple hours. It felt honestly great to sit down and get through it after so many weeks on The Witcher!


#192

Shamelog #031 - A New Dawn on the Horizon

Beginning with Edith Finch, I wanted to check out the few 2017 GOTY contenders I own and haven’t yet played to see what all the fuss is about. The last few years have turned into an end of year ritual for me - the Giant Bomb GOTY podcasts, Kotaku’s Splitscreen rundown of all the notable games of the year, Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards show, IGN/PC Gamer/every other outlets GOTY lists and of course, Waypoint’s excellent GOTY content. These spoilerific discussions are some of the best parts of this time of year, so experiencing some of these mysteries first are always worth the time. Next on that list of games I don’t want to be spoiled: Horizon: Zero Dawn.

25 hours in, I can definitively say Horizon is a great open world RPG, with gorgeous vistas and a strong story hook.

I’m into the premise. Set X years into the future, after civilisation has fallen into ruin and mechanical beasts roam the earth, playable character Aloy must uncover the truth of both her origins and the plague that is The Corruption, a disease that threatens the mental stability of human and machine alike. While the blending of sci-fi and fantasy feels like the result of a board meeting where everyone threw something “cool” into a pot, it somehow combined to create a compelling premise with a believable series of events. It seems like some of the things included are going to be hard to explain, but what I’ve seen so far from Guerrilla has given me enough faith that they could do it justice.

Horizon does admittedly feel a little… formulaic. It might just be all the open world RPG’s I’ve put significant time into lately, but the stuff you do is very much in the same vein as other RPG’s of this era. The mish-mash of inspirations from Far Cry, The Witcher and Tomb Raider are worn on Horizon’s sleeve, but that isn’t to the game’s detriment. Guerrilla have taken the staples of a well known genre and built around it a fun world to explore and fight in, which is more than can be said for others. I’m keen to see the direction Horizon will take me.


Games Left to Play: 111
Currently Playing: Horizon Zero Dawn


#193

HZD doesn’t deviate too much from open world design but the two things that elevate it to me is the lack of recycled sidequests and the combat system which remained fantastic and challenging throughout the entire game. Plus, it nails the scope I want. Big enough to showcase a lot of different environments but not so big as to be tedious to traverse.


#194

I am really liking the quest design actually. Even the quests labelled as “errands” have been pretty great for the little stories they’ve told. The combat feels pretty great, but I think I’m still missing something - the second a machine sees me I’m basically screwed. I definitely like the setting up of traps and then provoking the bots though :smiley:


#195

I learned that investing in the trip wire bombs and learned elemental weaknesses really helped me down the run. Also, I put points into the skill allowing to knock three arrows at once which helped a ton but also forced me to grind resources more.


#196

Shamelog #032 - Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays everyone! See you on New Years Eve for the year in review :slight_smile:


Games Left to Play: 111
Currently Playing: Horizon Zero Dawn


#197

Breath of the Wild Hunt

Beginning of the month was dominated by big open world games I finished.

Ok, here’s the thing.

It seems that problematic content of some kind is in every game in existence. I still think that it is important to mention it, but if I don’t have anything to say or a lot of people already talked about it, I would rather gloss over it. It’s there, it’s bad, but I don’t want to just say it, you know, drone it out, because I feel it can have almost the opposite effect then. Okay? Okay.

Also, I’m not sure if any of the games I’m gonna mention deserve specific content warning, but obviously horror games gonna deal with some upsetting stuff, so be warned (you can ask me for specifics if you want, but they are obviously a bit spoilery). And “The Witcher 3” is very “mature”. Sometimes for better, but often for worse.


Both “The Witcher 3” and “Breath of the Wild” are huge. Steam shows 130 hours for just main game and Switch… oh… “300 hours or more”. Wow. If my calculations are correct, that’s more than my two playthroughs of “Skyrim” (240+ hours). And you know what? I want more! :­) I already bought Expansion Pass for “Wild Hunt” (it’s Steam Sale that goes to the next year, so I’m not breaking my rule), but it seems like that last DLC is it for “Zelda”. I wish that they would do “Majora’s Mask” type game with assets and mechanics reused, so at least we wouldn’t wait that long for the next one.

Second part of December was about “SOMA”. I played it in a “safe mode”. Then I watched couple of videos and a full let’s play. Great game. Long, btw – I mean that as a compliment: it kept my attention for 11 hours! Annoyed that diverse cast is voiced by only white people.

And then I played some more.

House of Caravan” is your run-of-the-mill short spooky puzzler. It’s fine. I liked that all puzzles are contained to one room, so if you miss that thing to do that other thing, you know it’s around here somewhere.

CAT Interstellar” doesn’t have a good story, which is upsetting, because otherwise it’s very nice.

Radiator 2” is awesome. Fair warning, tho, some of those games are full of puns! :­)

I really liked “Seasons After Fall” that I got thanks to a cool thread we have going on. It’s lite metroidvania type game, with good puzzles and gorgeous art. Now I’m thinking if I should dig into proper metroidvania game (never played one for long).


I’m pretty sure what I’m gonna do for the next year, but that’s for later.


#198

Shamelog #033 - The Year That Was: 2017

2017: The year that games were at their best, and also at their most needed.

Personally, it ended up a healthy mixture of new and old for me - 360 games sat alongside PS4, tiny indies bumped shoulder with the largest AAA’s. I whittled my list down from 120 to 112 games (even with several additions!) with a good chunk of them being big worlds with tons to do in them.


Here’s some stats (all relating to May-Dec 2017, from when this project began to now)

Number of games finished: 17
Number of games added to the list: 9
Number of hours played: ~620
Dollars spent on games: $220
Number games I would’ve bought if I wasn’t doing this project: 52
Dollars I would’ve spent on games if I wasn’t doing this project: ~$1570


Here’s the list of games crossed off the list

Watch Dogs
The Witcher
Everything
Horizon Zero Dawn
Lumo
What Remains of Edith Finch
Wolfenstein The New Order
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Code Name: Steam
Assassins Creed 3
Far Cry 3
Tales of Berseria
Far Cry Primal
No Man’s Sky
Super Mario Odyssey
Wolfenstein II: The New Order
Runescape (for now)


Here’s the list of games I passed over in 2017, instead of picking up and leaving sit unplayed for years

Yakuza 0
Gravity Rush 2
Persona 5
A Signal From Tolva
Old Man’s Journey
Deliriant
Rime
Danger Zone
God Wars Future Past
Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy
Black The Fall
Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Lone Echo (VR)
Aporia: Beyond the Valley
Tacoma
Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice
The Shrouded Isle
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Last Day of June
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Subsurface Circular
Heat Signature
Divinity Original Sin 2
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
No Heroes Allowed! (VR)
Megaton Rainfall (VR)
Elex
Witchway
Super Lucky’s Tale
Far From Noise
.hack//G.U. Last Recode
West of Loathing
Assassins Creed Origins
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (for campaign only, buy used copy only)
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Ode
Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds
Haque
Romancing SaGa 2
Finding Paradise
Rumu
Goragoa
Stories Untold
Okami HD
Tokyo Xanadu EX+
Spellforce 3
Rakuen
Blackwood Crossing
Bridge Constructor Portal
Blossom Tales


A few notes

On purchasing games: I broke down and bought SteamWorld Dig 2. I also opened the wallet for that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 collectors edition, Xenoblade X is one of my favourite games ever, so I couldn’t pass that up. I really want to use the Switch more, as I was reminded how awesome that system is while playing Super Mario Odyssey. Blue Reflection ended up being an impulse buy, I know it might be weird but I loved Sailor Moon as a kid and this game sounds like sweet, wholesome fun. Apart from that, I did pretty good in not spending money on games, apart from buying some games for collection purposes only (a story for another time, perhaps - Limited Run Games and $5 deals on 360 & PS3 games - it’s a bad habit I’m slowly breaking).

I think, beginning 2018, I’m going to switch it up a little - instead of flat out not buying any games whatsoever, I think I want to set myself a budget for the year. $300 for the entire 12 months, in which I can buy a few new releases (side note, games are $100 at release in Australia). This gives me a bit more flexibility to play a few of the titles I just don’t want to miss - as I would’ve this year with Mario & Wolfenstein 2, if it wasn’t for my lovely lady - while being wary of not wasting tons money as I have to stick to a $ budget (bargain hunting y’all, is good.)

On the games I missed: There were so many games I would’ve loved to play from this year - Hellblade, Yonder, Last Day of June, Divinity 2 all are standouts - but knowing I have this list I can reference back to in years to come helps me almost let that go in a sense? Part of this project is about learning to let go of the need to buy/play everything immediately on release (a particular challenge around GOTY time) so that old adage of writing things down and locking them away is weirdly relevant here. Maybe one day I’ll return to this list and pick up a few of these games on the cheap - then again, maybe not. The important thing is I didn’t waste my money buying these games even though I know I wouldn’t be playing them for years.


Games played over the past 2 weeks

Horizon Zero Dawn: What a game. I ended up much higher on this once finishing it than I felt 2 weeks ago. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a full piece on it, which I haven’t done in a while. You can read my full impressions here.

Wolfenstein II: The New Order: My lovely partner got me this for Christmas, which I promptly started and finished across 2 days. What a ride. Everything in this game is even better than the first, from the pacing to the weapons to the character moments to the overarching story. It was cathartic to an extreme degree, and I thoroughly enjoyed letting it out through this game. Still mulling over proper thoughts, may end up writing a piece on this as well, so TBA on that for further words.

Everything: I usually dig philosophy a lot, but this was almost a little to far out of my wheelhouse. Maybe I wasn’t in the right state of mind when jumping in, I dunno. Still pretty awesome for what it is, especially once you fully unlock your potential so to speak. Is especially cool to sit the controller down and just watch it do it’s thing.


On the year ahead

2017, personally, was a break year from personal projects. After some time off I’m itching to get working again, so I’m looking forward next year to start learning, experimenting and creating once more. I bought the humble bundle relating to GameMaker Pro, which I toyed with a bit a few years back, and am keen to dig into that more and try to make some cool little games. Apart from that we’ll be moving into our new home in the first half of the year (!) which will be big. Apart from that, it’s full steam ahead here - playing and writing and talking about games with all of you!

So that’s my question for you this week - what are your plans for 2018? Do you have resolutions or goals to work toward? Just a theme of how you want to live your life for the next 365 days? Let me know!


For those that are interested, I usually do a yearly wrap up thing on my website Press Play Gaming. I like to kind of give props to all the games that mattered for the year, so 2017’s coverage was The 58 Best Games of 2017. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 can all be found here if y’all want to check that out.

And that my friends is a wrap for 2017. What a fucking year, in every sense of the word.


Games Left to Play: 112
Currently Playing:
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300


#199

@onsamyj not bad my dude. I would bloody love it if Nintendo did a Majora’s Mask style game from BOTW - I’m already sooo looking forward to a new world on that level again. Also interested on your thoughts with safe mode SOMA - I always was like “that game looks cool as, but noooooooope with the monsters” kind of deal. It doesn’t ruin anything with the safe mode active?


#200

Simply put, monsters are still there, they do their thing, they are still scary. They just can’t hurt you. Which means that I can play “SOMA” more like immersive/walking simulator – go around kinda freely (there are still puzzles, so you can’t just open every door), exploring everything, reading and looking at stuff. In my opinion, it’s just better. Story alone can carry that game.

But it is interesting to look at that game, and addition of a safe mode, in general.

Ok, I said that monsters are scary, and they are, but only for some time. First, game is actually knows, that what you can’t see is way scarier, so it very cleverly introduces monsters. But what would happen after that in original game, is that you may die to a monster, maybe a lot, and you would see them more clearly, and it would be just frustrating, like a death from a regular enemy in any game, and no more frightening (well, at least less so). In safe mode it is similar, because you can just walk up to a creature and stare at them.

In Patrick’s piece, developers admit that there are inherent flaws in a game where you can’t fight monster, and they thinking how to approach that differently. I’m curious about what they can come up with.