Untitled Goose Game
The most joyful game experience I had in 2019.
Not sure it has much replay value (I already wanted to leave the extra to do list stuff for further off in the future) but the main game content was nice.
Loved snatching things then running around honking wildly. <3
A Short Hike
I knew this game was divisive and for many didn't live up to expectations for a game with so many legends (Akira Yamaoka, Mikami, and Suda in one game could've been the most monumental game I ever played in my life) behind it but I wanted to believe I'd be different. For the first half of the game or so I wasn't sure what the issue was. The gameplay isn't anything particularly special and it's pretty repetitive but it's nothing that the incredible soundtrack, voice acting, and dialogue couldn't overtake. Garcia is incredible and the love of my life.
Like any other Mikami game I've played, the cracks started to show in the mid or late portion of the game. Things started to get a bit messy with some of the boss encounters being less than great. Lots of messy hit boxes that rely on context sensitive moments where damage can be dealt out while your health is being drained adds up to a frustrating experience. Some of them went on for what felt like ages on the normal difficulty so I couldn't even imagine on hard. Regardless, I was still enjoying my time up until this point.
The last straw of sorts was Act 4. The pacing all but screeches to a halt as we end up with a series of levels featuring repetitive gimmicks and three 2D turret/arcade shooter sections to top things off. I understand this is a thing with a lot of Suda games but I've never seen it be so prevalent and invasive in the other games. It was cute/mildly charming the first time even if the mechanics were bad, I was irritated the second time, and then the third time made me consider quitting the game if I wasn't close to being finished.
I'm glad I stuck around because I wanted to finish the story off and the gameplay did mostly improve to an at least acceptable state. The final bosses left a bit to be desired but I'll take it over more turret sections or chase sequences.
It's a shame this game had such a troublesome development period. I'm not exactly surprised it did with EA publishing but I'm not sure what anyone involved in this on either end was expecting of each other? I'm glad the game exists even in this not ideal form. One of the most unique and memorable games of its gen and I'd love to see it get a remaster/port someday.
A nice penultimate episode. The game lays some solid groundwork for the narrative that's wrapped up in the final entry.
I really enjoyed some of the settings in this game in comparison to the other games. The opening on the boat in addition to the night club were nice ways to switch things up.
Just one more game to go for the series replay.
Life is Strange 2
Props to Dontnod for accomplishing some solid endings after the absolute disaster that was Episode 5 of the first game.
I'm gonna miss my journey with Sean and all of the characters along the way.
This is a bit better than I had given credit for in the past. I'm not sure how since the combat, fetch quest mission design, aesthetics, and map layout all leave a lot to be desired (that's pretty much a solid 80% of the game). Regardless there's a solid gameplay loop to be found in exploring the wasteland, doing quests, and becoming progressively more overpowered due to the perks, skills, and equipment you come across or receive. Miracles do happen, I guess.
I played this on game pass so I could snatch achievements for Microsoft Rewards so i didn't have access to any of the DLC. I'm looking forward to eventually giving this a third playthrough on PC with mods and all the DLC for the first time.
Dead Space 3
One of the most misguided games I've ever played. I'm not gonna complain about the shift to an action heavy focus because I think it had potential (even if it wasn't what the series was known for) but wow, was the execution botched.
With an increase in combat focus one would think the combat would be enhanced in a significant way. We end up with some baffling cuts/simplifications instead. For some reason ammo was turned into a generic consumable for each weapon in the game. The plasma cutter you start out with consumes the same exact clips as a rocket launcher you'd build later on. There's this new weapon crafting system that had potential but I'm not sure what incentive there is to experiment with things beyond building the strongest weapon you can and slapping on upgrades since it isn't like you'll have to worry about rare ammo drops.
Isaac (and Carver) have a smoother feeling set of movements but it's hard to take advantage of them due to the encounter design. The pacing of the game in terms of gameplay flow is wack. There's no sense of build-up when you move through environments because every time you encounter enemies it's a massive spawn of them. I'm not sure if it was in an attempt to balance for co-op or not but said enemies are also really tanky in regards to health values, even on the normal or easy difficulties. After awhile I felt like I was playing Doom 3 in regards to the constantly spawning enemies that come from nonsensical places. Unfortunately this game didn't have the atmosphere to make it more tolerable.
My review probably sounds a bit damning but I want to be clear that the very base of the game itself is solid enough. It plays like a slightly more refined version of the prior games, it's just that the surroundings are all rotten. It's probably a bit better with a friend.
The Silver Case
One of those games where the hype you had for the game kinda overcomes what the game itself is. I'd known of this game for a pretty long time and was enamored with the art style/aesthetics and general story telling but there wasn't any official access for it in NA until fairly recently.
Having finally gotten around to it, it's a solid enough adventure title but isn't lacking in flaws. I think the biggest stopping point for some will be the controls. The examination, interaction, and just general movement in the game is a bit clunky and confusing. If you can stick with it and get past that there's a pretty compelling narrative to be found. I can't help but feel if this was more widely available at the time of original release that this would be as notorious as MGS2 in terms of plot.
Glad I finally gave this a go even if it didn't blow me away completely.
The Blackwell Legacy
A cozy point and click classic. Love the city setting and the soundtrack slays too.
There's not a lot here to dive into quantity wise but it's a very solid foundation for the series to come. These games have typically done a nice job of avoiding some really obscure pixel hunting gameplay or puzzles that result in you randomly combining things in your inventory to see what works and I truly appreciate it.
This is on sale all the time for pretty cheap so there's not a huge loss to be found if you give this a go. If you aren't averse to adventure games it can't hurt.
The Cat Lady
One of my favorite games of all time aesthetically. Some really nightmarish stuff was accomplished here with very little.
As far as gameplay this falls in line with some of my other favorites. Cozy feeling (not the content of the game itself of course) adventure gaming. Some of the typical trappings of messy adventure game puzzle design show up here but there's nothing too outlandish.
Not the most replayable game due to the subject matter being pretty heavy and at times hitting close to home but I'm glad I gave this another go and look forward to doing it again in a couple of years.
Mitzi is a legend.