2019 in Review

2019 in Review

I'm always excited for new and interesting games. 2019 was no exception.

2019 saw the surprise release of a RAGE 2, which was the sequel to one of my favorite games, RAGE.
The original RAGE was a strange, buggy oddity. When I finally was able to get it to work, I quickly found it fun. A post-apocalyptic world, with a healthy dose of humor spread throughout, reminded me of the original Fallout games. So I felt at home.
So there being a sequel coming out, and being developed by one of my favorite developers, Avalanche? Sounds great to me! The finished product ended up feeling a bit like Avalanche's Mad Max game, which was fantastic. But then splattered with a ton of color and humor. So why does it feel kinda lacking? I intend to get back into it eventually, since it is still a solid open world game.

Satisfactory has consumed so much of my time, it is unbelievable. A huge environment to explore and exploit the resources, to build machines to make parts that help make more machines to make more parts. And they've been releasing new updates with more and more stuff to do, that I'm sure I'll be spending much more time in this game in the future as well.

Generation Zero was another game I was curious about leading up to its release. A new game from the team behind Just Cause, what could go wrong? A big open world game with robots and crafting. Unfortunately, Generation Zero released in a bit of a rough state. Even though it was supposedly made by a different team, I can't help but suspect that Avalanche bit off more than they could chew trying to release two big games in the same year. Luckily, they are still releasing new updates to the game, and improving every aspect of it. So I look forward to giving it another try sometime soon.

Forager is another game that scratches my "idle/incremental" itch. Although it's a game that you end up being much much more active in. It starts out slow, but after a few hours, you have machines constantly cranking out items, and assistants helping you collect things. There's so much to do and explore in this game, and with new updates still coming out, I look forward to more time with Forager.

Superliminal was a game I was really excited for coming out. I had followed the development for years. A puzzle game entirely based on perspective and size? What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, what could go wrong is them trying to force an awkward story into the game, which really just brought down the entire thing. Not to mention that some puzzles were so obtuse that it was more frustrating than fun. Oh well. Seems many people ended up really liking it, so good for them.

I spent hundreds of hours playing Borderlands 2, so when a new Borderlands game was coming out, I was pretty excited. However, sometimes you try playing a game and just can't "get into it". That was the case for Borderlands 3. It wasn't until sometime in 2020, I think, where I was playing it with my friend, and we were able to get through the whole game, and most of the DLC stories. It was definitely more fun being able to play with a friend, but I think I've now had my fill of the Borderlands franchise, and won't be too eager for any future games. But that may just be me.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood was a surprisingly great game. Definitely one of those games that a lot of the enjoyment comes from playing with a friend. Jess and Soph make for a fantastic team, and the fun way they interact with each other in between levels helps bring you into the mood of the game. And it's also very satisfying to be able to just kill some bad guys. Perfect stress reliever for 2019, don't you think?

Telling Lies was the long-awaited next game from Sam Barlow. The "keyword search" system, where you basically mentally piece together parts of the story based on a limited amount of information. And furthermore, you're only seeing one side of a conversation at any time. By the end of the game, you've learned about this complex web of spies and lies. It's a pretty solid experience. I look forward to Mr. Barlow's next game.

Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was an interesting and unique co-op game, that was more like an interactive movie. Definitely worth playing with a friend, where both people are controlling part of the story separately, and then you can see at the end how the two parts impact each other.

A few honorable mentions, Untiled Goose Game, Baba Is You, and Pikuniku. Fantastic indie puzzle games.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Pokemon Shield, and Luigi's Mansion 3 are all games that I've played a fair amount of, and I can see they're great games, but I haven't gotten around to fully giving them the time they deserve. So I look forward to spending some more time with them eventually, and maybe give them a proper full view.

I've kind of saved the best for last. Dragon Quest Builders 2, and Dragon Quest XI. Two games in the Dragon Quest franchise, both vastly different, but still drenched with the charm that one would expect from Dragon Quest. These games are highly recommended by me, and I intend to give them a separate post to themselves.

So that's kind of a condensed review, but not really a review, of the majority of the games I played in 2019.
Onward to 2020!

How's it going?

Oh Hi there.
It's been a while since my last post, huh?
Like, there was the whole 2019, and then there was the whole 2020 thing.
But maybe I'm back.
There certainly were a lot of games that came out in 2019 and 2020 that I have a lot of thoughts on, and it would probably be enjoyable to me to mentally revisit some of them and share some of those thoughts. So while I kind of hate doing big Wall of Text posts, I will likely need to do two in order to cover everything from 2019/2020 all at once.
So I shall start working on those and will hopefully post them within the next week.
Thanks to anyone who reads!

2018 in Review

2018 was a big year for games.
But then again, every year seems to be a bigger year for games than the last one.
Looking back at the list of the many games that I've played in 2018, there's stuff from the beginning of the year that makes me think "Woah, that actually was just from this year?"
Here's a short list, in rough release order:

Monster Hunter World
Far Cry 5
A Way Out
Yakuza 6
Detroit Become Human
Yoku's Island Express
Sushi Striker
Budget Cuts VR
WarioWare Gold
EXAPUNKS
Donut County
The Messenger
Dragon Quest XI
Marvel's Spider-Man
The Gardens Between
Return of the Obra Dinn
Red Dead Redemption 2
Fallout 76
Pokemon Let's Go
Just Cause 4

That's a "small" sample. It can actually be quite overwhelming. I'd like to take some time to talk about a few of them, what I liked and didn't like.

First, A Way Out is probably the biggest example of the feeling "Wait, that was just earlier this year?"
Playing the whole game with a friend, is bound to leave you with memorable feelings that will last for a long time to come.

Yakuza 6 was probably the biggest surprise to me. I had heard of the Yakuza games, but I guess I just never paid attention to it. But finally decided to give it a try, and I loved it. So now I've got Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami (Yakuza 1) that are on my (rather large, to be honest) list of games I consider to be "in the middle of".

Budget Cuts remains one of the best examples of a must-have game when showing off VR. Simple as that.

EXAPUNKS took over my life for a while. Over 50 hours trying to solve all the puzzles it has to offer. Very satisfying.

Speaking of games taking over one's life. Pokemon Let's Go. What a blast that game is. It has a nostalgic factor from the first-gen Pokemon games, but with modern graphics and adjustments. Coupled with some new mechanics, it really becomes satisfying. There's a lot here to satisfy your Pokemon itch.

I was excited for Return of the Obra Dinn to come out. It's enjoyable to explore the ship and see all the details everywhere. However, I feel like I may be missing a sense of observation that is making the 2nd half of the game super difficult for me to figure out some of the remaining cause of deaths. I should probably have been taking notes on actual paper like people suggested.

I've been having a blast playing Fallout 76 with some friends. I love how you can drop in at any time and help someone with their quest, and the game doesn't make you feel stupid for not having caught up to wherever they are yet. This will be a game we'll be playing for a long time to come.

I still want to mention Dragon Quest XI, because that game is quite wonderful, but got buried by life and some other games. I do plan to get back into it once the holidays die down a bit.

So yeah, just a small sample of the games I played this year. Doesn't include Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Katamari Damacy ReRoll, which come out tomorrow.
Either way, easy to say that 2018 has been pretty good for games.

Diablo 3 on Switch

A few months after I made my previous post talking about how Diablo 3 has aged well, Blizzard went ahead and announced Diablo 3 for the Nintendo Switch.
This is a welcome addition to Switch. After playing around with it for a while, I almost want to say it's the best form of Diablo 3. The inventory system is a bit better than the PC version too, in that instead of having to tetris inventory to make room for things, each item simply takes up one slot. And you can easily see what you have of each armor type, instead of everything just in a big wall.
So, it's nice to have Diablo 3 on Switch. It's nice that many developers are bringing over some of their older games to Switch too, especially games from the WiiU that may not have gotten the attention they deserved.
So yeah, Switch is absolutely rocking it with the game library. Can't wait to see what is in story for it in 2019.

Diablo 3 - Game View

Diablo 3 came out May 15, 2012
I've been spending a lot of time playing the game over the last few months, so I felt it was appropriate to celebrate the 6-year anniversary by sharing some quick thoughts on it.

I actually remember pre-ordering the game, and playing on launch-day. Or, I suppose it would be more apt to say "tried to play" on launch day. I remember the launch day was plagued with error messages when trying to start the game.
This was because the game depended on online servers to manage progress in the game.
Eventually, the errors cleared up, and I was able to enjoy the game.

I remember early on, there was an Auction House, where you can buy and sell gear and other items you've found in the game, in exchange for gold. There also was a real-money auction house.
I remember it being kind of a mess.

Anyway, years later, the auction houses have been removed, and there have been many new additions and changes to the game.
As I decided to give the game another try, I breezed through the rest of the new Act V, and unlocked the Adventure Mode.

Oh MAN. Adventure Mode totally adds a well-needed aspect to the game. In Adventure Mode, all the areas from all 5 Acts are unlocked and available. You're then able to choose wherever you want to go. Each act has 5 bounties to choose from. Bounties can be to find a chest, clear enemies, or kill a boss. This adds a lot of replayability to the game. After each Bounty, you get an XP and Gold bonus. Completing all 5 bounties in an Act gives you an additional bonus, as well as a chest full of bonus gear and crafting materials.

Even though there's a level cap of 70, you can still earn experience to get "paragon levels", which lets you increase various stats.
And you continue to find new gear.
As you get better gear, you can fight on higher difficulties. Which further lets you find better gear. So it really gives you opportunity to continue playing quite a fair amount.
And there are Seasons, which gives you a few months to level up a new character, and complete different objectives, which will give you opportunities for new gear and other unlocks.

Overall, the game feels very solid, and it can really dig into your mind to get you to keep playing.
I'm enjoying it, and i'm excited to see how far I can push my character.

Sometimes, you just want to destroy many many demons.