Sunday, January 02, 2022

LiK's Played Games in 2021

So 2021 was a weird year for me when it came to gaming. I wasn't in the mood to play too many titles for some reason. I played a few during the first half of the year but spent most of my time this year living in FFXIV. But I enjoyed what I played so I will post those as well. A massive amount of big games from 2021 are still in my backlog but I'll get to them this year. If you don't see a big release not listed here, I didn't get around to playing or finishing it. This is basically everything in 2021 I played so there are some I liked and some I didn't like so much.


Final Fantasy XIV:  Endwalker - Before I talk about EW proper, I want to backtrack a little to my return to FFXIV. I got back into the game during the summer from its new found popularity with streamers and I decided to focus on playing some new jobs and the endgame. I was a DRG main for literally three whole years since I started. I never played anything else. I finally got my fill when the endgame became too frustrating as a melee DPS. So I swapped to other jobs like DNC and MCH. I quickly fell in love with them and enjoyed most of the endgame with them. I farmed and did a bunch of activities to gather rare mounts and minions (which I've continued to do so). 

Once I had my fill of those, I decided to finally get into the true endgame...crafting and gathering! I've always been broke as a DPS main so I decided I need to make money so I can afford cosmetics and gear I like without asking my buddies for money. I soon became an omnicrafter and omnigatherer after a month or so. I enjoyed (most) of the job quest stories and had a new found respect for people who focus on this side of the game. They weren't wrong, there's a struggle at points but once you maxed out your jobs and can craft/gather the best stuff, money rolls in pretty easily. I'm no longer broke! Finally!

Anyway, time to talk about EW. This was a fantastic expansion and conclusion to the Light/Dark arc. It manages to take everything you ever experienced from the past to make this a super rewarding and emotional journey. The people you've met, the places you've been to and the enemies you fought. They all mattered. I haven't cried as much as I have in the past for any game. So many scenes were so well written and directed. Loved the new characters and revelations. The music was once again amazing as well. Soken and his crew can do no wrong.

Anyway, I was sucked in from the beginning to the end and if you've been playing from the beginning, then you're going to love it. Just make sure to do all the raids, trials and most side stuff before you jump in for a much for fulfilling experience. You'll be glad you did. FFXIV is now side by side with FFVI as my favorite FF of all time and one of the greatest RPGs ever.

Gnosia (True Ending) - A ridiculously cool VN mixed with horror and Among Us style vibes. The story was really great with some interesting characters. The concept and execution for the gameplay was really well done from a small unknown dev. I do admit that the only flaw with this game was it needed way more scenes and dialogue with the characters you meet. There should've been way more character development and unique moments. I can't help but hope there will be a remaster in the future with more content or maybe even a reboot of some kind. It's definitely worth playing. The game hit me in ways I didn't expect.

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir - I've never played the original games but this remake was fantastic. Beautiful 2D art with some insanely detailed backgrounds. Awesome rearranged music. The story was fun to follow and figure out. I was quite surprised how emotional it got and what twists and turns were hard to predict. It's a simple and grounded story that takes me back to those simpler days. Definitely worth playing if you enjoy classic detective mysteries.

Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind - Same thoughts as Missing Heir except this one is far more creepy and darker. But the mystery was super intriguing and the gameplay was improved so I enjoyed it a bit more. Since this is a prequel, you can actually play this first and not be missing anything.

World’s End Club (True Ending) - This was made and published by the Danganronpa and 999 creators so I had to check it out. It wasn't what I was expecting. Even though the game featured some pretty cool twists and story moments, it wasn't quite as engaging as I wanted. The gameplay was more platformer and puzzles and it was pretty janky/buggy at times. The overall story was okay with some very memorable characters. But I feel some of it could've been fleshed out more. I liked the art style and the in-game 3D backgrounds were quite detailed even on the Switch. The soundtrack was also not all that great. I don't usually say bad things about the music in a game but it was very amateurish. It's definitely not anywhere as good as the devs' previous works but it's worth checking out if you're curious.

Monster Hunter: Rise (Story Ending) - A fantastic follow-up to World. The improved mobility really added to the gameplay. Everything felt faster and more fluid. It made fighting the monsters way more fun. The new music was amazing and I loved the ancient Japanese style themes. I really enjoyed the game a lot but I do admit that the technical limitations from being on Switch really hampered parts of it. The events weren't as grand or unique and the limited players in lobbies really made it feel smaller. Which is why I cannot wait to replay this on PC with a visual upgrade. It's going to be even better when I get to play it all over again and enjoy the true visual splendor as intended. Still good. Still fun.

NieR: Replicant (All Endings) - I never beat the original version. I remember I didn't hate it but I fell off and played something else and never came back. I finally decided to give this another shot with the remake. The improved visuals were definitely great and the soundtrack is still INCREDIBLE. I really loved the story and characters. I can understand why it was so beloved. But I hated the quest design so much. Way too many fetch quests and backtracking through the same areas ad nauseum. I was just forcing myself to get through it because I was so invested in the story. There is payoff to this tedium but I think Automata did it better. I wish they redesigned some of the quests steps to make them more digestible. Overall, I still enjoyed my time with it. There were some truly gut wrenching moments.

Returnal (Secret Ending) - A ridiculously cool and challenging arcadey game. Amazing art and audio design. Very fun with tight controls and frantic combat. Some of the enemies were balls hard. The story was quite interesting and very out there. The biggest surprise was how good the VO was from the main character. She was stellar and carried the game's narrative. It was quite the experience.

Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission DLC - Yuffie was done super well in this remake. I loved her and her interactions with all the other characters. She was super cute and charming. Combat was much improved and more fun. The visuals looked even sharper and more grand than the base game. While I enjoyed the story, it still felt like a side story and certain characters weren't with us as much as I liked. But this is a must play since it ties into the main game and there are some crucial scenes that need to be seen. The new soundtrack was great and the Fort Condor minigame was super fun. 

Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island DLC - A fantastic follow-up to my GOTY last year. This DLC features a great story on its own that also connects directly to the main game. The new island was fun to explore and all the new characters were enjoyable. I wish it was longer but I was really happy to revisit this world. Still gorgeous to look at and fun to play. 

Guardians of the Galaxy - This was a huge surprise for me. The marketing and trailers looked so bad and I was coming off a sour taste from the Avengers game. I wrote this game off pretty early but I'm glad I was wrong. Everyone told me how good it was so I decided to check it out. Not only was I floored by the amazing dialogue but the story was actually very well written and directed. The VO in this game is stellar and features some of the best facial animations I've seen.  Combat was simple but fun and the soundtrack was super fun. Lots of great 80's tracks. If it wasn't for Endwalker, this would've been my GOTY. I loved it so much and I want everyone to check it out. It was awesome from start to finish.

Halo: Infinite MP Beta - Really enjoyed my time with it. Ran smooth and was fun. My only gripe were the way they released and sold cosmetics. I also didn't like the progression system. I haven't touched it after the campaign came out so I'll get back to it soon. Which reminds me that I need to play the campaign soon...

Most Disappointing

12 Minutes - There's always one even though I didn't play much this year. But this game was super disappointing on many levels. I loved the concept and style but the actual game was not great. It was janky and restrictive with what you could do. I also did not like the story and the revelations. I think it could've gone in so many other directions but it ended up being much worse. I did enjoy the VO from the celebrities involved. They were fantastic. But they couldn't save this game from it's somewhat lackluster plot.

There it is. That's literally all the games I finished in 2021. There's a handful I'm still playing. I hope to get around to finishing them this year. Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 21, 2020

LiK's Favorite Games 2020

 This year has been total garbage but a silverlining was my ability to play through a lot of games this year due to being in quarantine. This includes games that were released before 2020. I enjoyed a lot of games this year but these were my favorites. I'm just going to include a short blerb on why I enjoyed them. 

Btw, there's a lot of games I never had the time or mood to get into that I'm sure I would love too. I'll def check them out next year.


Ghost of Tsushima (Platinum)

A fantastic game from beginning to end with lots of great quiet moments mixed with drama and cool moments. Combat never gets old and the world is a joy to explore. Absolutely gorgeous visuals and lots of great characters. The Legends mode added a fun coop mode that is worth checking out if you needed more. This game just made me happy from beginning to the end. Never felt frustrated or annoyed.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Platinum)

An amazing "remake" with fantastic reworked versions of the character we all know and love. Lots of surprises and some truly touching moments. This might be one of the best English localizations/dubs I've played this year. Fun combat and an INSANE OST. The remixes were godlike. I'm looking forward to a possible definitive/complete edition. Seems ripe for it.

Hades (In progress)

Is this what it's like to smoke crack? One of the most addictive games I played this year. I could not stop playing it. The combat is super fun and the way the story is told is just genius. The amount of recorded lines is insane and I still haven't heard any repeats after 50 hours. Gorgeous art, amazing VO and wonderful OST. I'm still enjoying it and will not stop until I've collected and unlocked everything.

13 Sentinels (Platinum)

Amazing story with twists and turns you will never expect. The characters were great and the music was awesome. I really enjoyed the mix of 2D adventure game with the tactical combat. Incredible hand drawn art and a great English dub. Truly one of the greatest stories ever told.

Persona 5 Royal (Platinum)

A much improved version over the original. I really liked all the changes to the combat and the new content made the game have better pacing and was actually more fun. There was way more to do. The new story content fleshed out the existing characters really well and the new characters fit in quite nicely. The new tracks were also great. If you haven't played the vanilla yet, skip that and just go for this version.

Dragon Quest XIS (Completed)

What an epic adventure with a great cast of characters. The story definitely surprised me in many ways. The orchestral score is a must and the QoL changes and extra content make this a must play even if you played the vanilla. I never touched the vanilla but my only gripe with this version were the downgraded graphics. But still, I thoroughly enjoyed my entire time with it and it's probably the longest RPG I played this year.

Ai: The Somnium Files (Completed)

Really loved the story and characters. This might be one of the funniest games I ever played. I legit laughed pretty hard at all the lewd jokes and dumb puns. The English dub really sold it and just worked for me. I had a hard time enjoying it in JPN because the English was just so darn well done. Game is also pretty dark and has a great mystery. The twists and turns were crazy. I truly loved it.

The Last of Us Part 2 (Completed)

A brutal follow up to original. The characters were just as interesting and the story was quite engaging. Combat and stealth were significantly improved and the visuals were incredibly detailed. I enjoyed the first game's story more but this game's story was also great. Felt like I watched two seasons of a TV show by the end. 

Demon's Souls (Platinum)

A really great remake for one of my fave games of all time. They kept it as close to the original as possible with some QoL changes. The visuals and audio were incredible and is definitely one of the prettiest games on the PS5. While I had mixed reactions to some of the NPC/enemy redesigns, I applaud the devs for keeping the majority of the gameplay intact so it felt like the old game but had none of the negatives. Even if you're a DS vet, this is worth playing.

Doom Eternal (Completed)

A bigger and badder sequel to Doom 2016. I enjoyed all the improvements to combat. It was much faster and tighter. The game also felt much tougher with some pretty insane level designs. Story is better and the music was just as incredible as the first. I still haven't touched the DLC but I will soon once the second part comes out so I can binge them back to back.

Astro's Playroom (Completed)

What a delightful surprise. Very cute and charming. Fun levels and fantastic OST. This is also an insanely great tech demo for the DualSense controller. If you got a PS5, you MUST play this. It's basically Sony's answer to what Nintendo does with their franchises. I really hope there's a sequel or follow-up.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Completed)

Great follow up to Spider-Man PS4. Combat and missions are more refined and focused. I really liked Miles and all the side characters. Story was good and there were some pretty epic moments. The game looks insane in Fidelity mode and is pretty insane in Performance mode as well. It's just a very cool game and I can't wait for the sequel which will probably include both Spideys. It is inevitable.

CrossCode (1000/1000)

I played this on a whim from recommendations and because it was free on Game Pass. Turned out I fell in love with the world and characters. I was intrigued by the story a lot. Even though I hated how hard this game was, I just kept playing because I liked the story a lot. Fantastic pixel art and music. Definitely give it a shot and don't be ashamed to use a guide because that's how hard it was.

Honorable Mentions

Destiny 2: Beyond Light (In progress)

Not gonna lie, this expansion got me hooked on D2 again. I really enjoyed the story and characters in the main campaign. They did a great job mixing in the missions with actual storytelling. It's the most story/lore based expansion since Forsaken. I couldn't really stomach the later seasons as much until now. Also, the next-gen upgrade on console is FANTASTIC. It's like a whole new game. While I'm starting to feel the grind again, I enjoyed my time with the first few weeks of release. Btw, Stasis has RUINED PVP.

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order (Completed)

A great story with good characters. I really liked some of the set pieces. Combat and traversal was a bit janky in spots but it was a fun game overall. Some decent dungeon puzzles and very challenging enemies and bosses. A pretty solid SW action game and I look forward to a bigger and better sequel. This is a solid foundation.

Star Wars: Squadrons (Completed)

This was way better than expected for a budget title. The story campaign was actually good and I enjoyed all the missions. The combat was fun and I enjoyed feeling of flying these famous ships from the SW universe. They captured the look and sounds perfectly. I hope to see expansions or a follow-up with a bigger budget and way more ships.

Xenoblade Chronicles DE/Future Connected Expansion (Completed)

I own the original on Wii but never got around to playing it because of the legendary length of this game. But it's not actually that long to my surprise. I guess it's because I didn't do everything. I enjoyed the main campaign and the DLC. The characters were memorable and I liked the VO. OST was also fantastic. My main gripe was the combat. Never really fell in love with it so I ended up just fighting what I had to fight. The exploration was definitely the highlight because the locations can be pretty vast. Felt a lot like playing a single player MMO. The visual upgrades and QoL changes definitely made it better than original from what I've seen. Btw, play this docked because the game looks TERRIBLE in portable mode.

Most Disappointing

Marvel's Avengers

What can I say? I enjoyed the story campaign but the endgame is awful. The multiple currencies is insane and the repetitive levels really don't help. They copied Destiny but didn't learn anything from what Bungie improved later on with their title. The game also ran like shit on a PS4 Pro so it made playing it a chore at times. Not only is the next-gen upgrade delayed until next year but no Spidey until later as well. I have no interest in playing the currently announced DLC characters. The core gameplay and loot needs to be reworked to make me come back. Pretty bummed about what happened to this title.

There's a bunch of game I will play next year that I know people adored this year. I was gonna list some but my backlog is way too Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 02, 2020

LiK's Favorite Games of 2019

I haven't been able to play a ton of games that came out in 2019. I was sucked into a couple of GaaS games and I wanted to play some games that came out in 2018 (which are included in this list). It's been a pretty mixed year for me personally so my need to play certain titles were based on my mood. I still played a good amount of games and I wanted to discuss them in this list.

If a game wasn't listed here, I probably didn't play it because I simply didn't put enough time into a lot of games this year. I barely touched my Switch and PC. 2020 is gonna be stacked but I'm gonna keep pecking away at my backlog.

GOTY: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (Ongoing) -

I actually started playing FFXIV for the first time this year and marathoned all expansions in about 2 months. Loved it from beginning to end. ARR was a bit rough but I persevered and was rewarded with a lot of amazing twists and moments. Heavensward was a true highlight with lots of amazing characters and character development. Stormblood continued this with even more development for other characters in my party which were really sweet emotional moments. Shadowbringers brought everything together in a beautiful way and added a lot of new epic revelations to the story. You get rewarded for following this journey closely and reading all the dialogue and learning the lore. Nothing is wasted and even minor characters you didn't think about would return as major ones. Such a neat thing to see.

I love everyone in the main cast and I loved all the allies and enemies. It’s so well written and the voice acting is superb. I also liked some of the changes to certain gameplay mechanics as you progressed to each expansion like the Trusts which allow more players to solo story-related stuff. The devs truly care about this massive world they've created and I’m glad we’ll continue to get more content as this epic story continues. This game also has the best soundtracks of all time across every installment in this series. Insane tracks especially during the raids. One of the greatest games of all time and one of the top five in the entire FF franchise.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (Completed Story/Endgame Ongoing) -

A massive expansion that improves the game in every way. Wonderful QoL improvements and new moves. I also love the new gear, weapons and collectibles like Pendants. The new monsters and events are fun af. All the new gear looks way better than the base game stuff. I play a female character and one of my biggest gripes is the armor designs for them and Iceborne has improved them. While I don’t like them all, it’s a step in the right direction. This is one of those games where I decide to play a session and end up losing 3-4 hours unexpectedly. The gameplay loop is just too fun and making new builds never gets old. A wonderful game that just keeps getting better with every update.

Control (Completed Story) -

I was always into all the Remedy games since the original Max Payne so I was looking forward to this. Control did not disappoint whatsoever. Solid gunplay and powers that make each and every encounter fun. They really let you experiment and allow you to customize the way you want to play. Great story with lots of humor and a snazzy presentation. The world they created was fun to explore even if the entire setting was inside this strange office building. I really liked some of the characters and their dialogue. Very good performances across the board. The destruction physics and art direction were great.

I loved Remedy's take on the SCP universe and the Souls-like level design and mechanics were really fun. The objects of powers were a bit referential to actual SCPs but with Remedy's own twist which I enjoyed. I considered some of them homages. Some bosses were truly brutal and a few puzzles really made my head hurt. But they were well integrated into this world. My only gripe were the technical performance and visual glitches which they've patched a few times since launch. I was engaged from beginning to end. Looking forward to the story DLCs.

A Plague Tale: Innocence (Completed Story) -

Wonderful cast of characters with a good story. I was surprised by this game and felt it had so much heart. I truly cared about the characters’ plight and they grew on me so much over the course of the game. Very well written. I also found the cutscenes and performances to be AAA-tier for a lower budget game like this. Very well directed and added so much gravitas to the moments. The puzzles and levels were intuitive and fun. The stealth gameplay was well done and wasn't frustrating. The way the rats were animated was just intimidating and creepy. If you have a rat phobia of any kind, you might not be able to finish it. Hah! Looking forward to a sequel whenever that comes out. I need more.

Death Stranding (Completed Story) -

Love him or hate him, Kojima is a visionary with a unique ideas. I was immediately intrigued with the world and story when the teasers and trailers were released over the years. I have to say that the game lives up to the weirdness really well. It’s so different and unlike any other type of post-apocalyptic world I’ve experienced in a game. I also found myself enjoying the various character interactions with the main cast. Their performances really sold it. But some of the side characters were pretty terrible though. Two in particular were pretty bad and just made their scenes look cringey af. I was also super impressed with the visuals and audio. The faces were insanely good and looked photorealistic at times. KojiPro definitely did a great job with the Decima engine. The audio was also so subtle and sounded so amazing in surround. It’s one of the best sounding games I ever played. The balance across all channels was so smooth and natural. It never had any issues at all. Perfection.

The gameplay loop took me some time to warm up but after I upgraded Sam a few times and the world opened up, it became pretty addictive. The traversal was challenging and fun. I also liked the asymmetrical coop with other players where everyone can help each other with structures and items. It made me love other players in this game. Something that is very hard to do for any game with some online aspects. I really enjoyed my time with it. The seriousness mixed with some goofiness was a nice mix that made it quite a memorable experience. I also enjoyed the soundtrack a lot. Some really great licensed and original songs. I hope Kojima continues to make games he wants to make.

Outer Worlds (Completed Story) -

Terrific writing for the dialogue and lore. I absolutely loved my time playing through all the various situations. The entire game gave me vibe for Fallout and Mass Effect during their peak. Combat was serviceable but I haven't played a game in a while where I just wanted to talk to people so much. Lots of humor and unexpected tangents kept me engaged for an entire dialogue sequence. The voice acting was superb through out and everyone fit their roles.

The story started off really well and I was intrigued with where it was going. I really enjoyed the QoL improvements over previous games of this type. Way less busywork than expected especially since the size and scope of this game is smaller as well. But it's a double edged sword. I found some quests to be too short or resolved too quickly. Some companion quests in particular were either rushed or simply ended before they even began. Something tells me the devs had way more planned but weren't able to implement them fully into the game. They just felt unfinished. The main quest itself had some good moments but also felt a bit rushed especially towards the end. But I liked how it ended overall from my choices.

I look forward to any DLCs or expansions they come up with. This world has so much potential to grow and expand and I hope we get to see more sooner than later.

Sekiro (Completed Story/Platinum) -

Another FROM/Miyazaki masterpiece. Excellent combat with balls hard difficulty that will test even the most diehard Souls veterans. There were a lot of challenging enemies and bosses that will kick your ass as you learn to figure out their patterns. Some really drove me nuts. Level design was excellent as expected and flowed really well. It was truly satisfying to overcome each and every part of the game. The story was intriguing enough to keep me going and I liked the characters. It's not as memorable as the previous Soulsborne games because there wasn't a lot of hidden lore or things to find. The story is pretty direct with very little mystery. The game also doesn't allow you to make different builds or experiment much like with their previous titles which doesn't offer much replayability unless you make up your own challenges.

Not my favorite game from the Soulsbornekiro series, but it’s definitely a worthy successor. I had lots of fun and really enjoyed it.

Devil May Cry V (Completed Story) -

Insanely fun with a bangin' soundtrack and great characters. The cheese and humor is the best in the series and the combat is the most refined in the entire series for the franchise. There were so many options and you can tailor the game to how you want to play. If you check out the skill trees, it's absolutely brimming with moves and powers. Having three distinct characters to play kept it fresh during the story campaign. They all had their own style which made it really fun to experiment with. The only weak point to this game was probably some of the level designs. A bit plain for the most part and some later areas in the demon world was just bland and not fun to explore. Certainly the best in the series and a nice revival.

Sayonara Wild Hearts (Completed Story) -

Short and sweet. Slick and stylish art and animations with a fantastic soundtrack that matches the visuals so well. I liked the concept and themes that explore a simple story of love and heartbreak in a wildly creative vision. Very simple gameplay but it works. I played on an OLED with surround and the visuals and audio was incredible. I recommend the console version over mobile for sure. My only gripe with the game was probably the controls. There was a slight delay which screwed me up constantly in some levels. I wish there was a sensitivity setting. But I enjoyed the overall experience.

My favorite games from 2018 I played in 2019:

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Completed) -

I really fell in love with this game. The slow burn worked for me during a time when I needed to chill. I enjoyed the atmosphere and locations and the story was well told. I also liked all the characters that popped up. They were fully realized including Morgan who was a true standout. He was pretty sympathetic if you played him as good guy. All the other characters were equally fantastic and were more down to earth than expected. The Stranger quests in particular were nice lil short stories which added humor and heart and helped flesh out this world. The game was simply gorgeous and fun to explore. I roamed around so much just absorbing the ambient sounds and enjoying the view.

I haven’t really enjoyed a Rockstar game as much as this since RDR1. I always liked the previous Rockstar titles but the GTA series looks downright juvenile and crass compared to this. RDR2 has lots of similar idioacy like GTA if you played it that way but I found it more mature and complex with its characters. While the game did drag a bit post-credits, it certainly did an excellent job setting up for RDR1 in terms of the timeline. A real bonus. It’s certainly the most ambitious title in their catalog and I think it deserves all the accolades it got.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Completed Story/Platinum) -

Heard nothing but great things ever since it came out but I didn’t touch it until this year. The game is absolutely gorgeous and does a fantastic job with the audio. It utilizes the surround very well for storytelling purposes. While the combat and puzzles were fairly simple and not all that fun, I found myself intrigued by the story and lore. It still shocks me that the woman who played Senua was just someone who worked at Ninja Theory. She was amazing.

GRIS (Completed Story) -

A very simple platformer with some simple puzzles and GODLIKE art. I adored the designs and animations. The story is a bit vague but you sorta figure it out as you progress. I really loved the atmosphere and flow of the level designs. It was pretty well done and super smooth. I hope to see more games from this developer.

Celeste (Completed Story/Cheated) -

This is a weird one I have on my list. While I appreciated the gameplay, I’m not a fan of super brutal platformers anymore. I’ve lost my patience for the majority of them. I enjoyed the characters and story so much that I ended up just turning on all the cheats available in the game to get through it as quickly as possible. Loved the writing and dialogue. Very cute and sweet story with a cute art style as well. I also liked the soundtrack a lot. Probably one of the best games I didn’t really “play”. LOL

Deliver Us The Moon (Completed Story) -

I backed this game years ago and didn’t bother playing it until now. What a fantastic experience. Really good story with some interesting characters. The environmental puzzles were super intuitive and fun to figure out. I didn’t need to check a guide to complete it which is saying a lot because most puzzles usually frustrated me enough to check guides these days. But these were very well made and made sense. I also enjoyed how none of it felt too long. There were more gameplay mechanics than I expected and it constantly wowed me all the way to the end. Very satisfying.

Florence (Completed Story) -

I bought this in 2018 and never got around to checking it out until this year. In fact, I popped it in on the very last day of 2019 just to play something in bed. I loved the story and the presentation. Very short and sweet. Loved the sketchy art style and music. It's nothing fancy but had many great moments mixed with the gameplay.

Game I love to hate:

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep + Seasons (Ongoing) -

I dunno why I keep playing this but I'm still into it. I've fallen a bit but the chase for titles continue to keep me invested. Some changes have been better but I'm still frustrated by other aspects. The next season is the very last chance I give to this game before I completely move on. If it weren't for the Discord community I'm in, I would've given up sooner. Bungie, lower the grind and add more content. kthxbai

Saturday, January 05, 2019

LiK's Favorite Games of 2018

Didn't play many games in 2018 and I'm way too unmotivated to do the typical long write-ups for them. So here's a quick list.

Spider-Man (PS4)
God of War (PS4)
Monster Hunter World (PS4)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Xbox One)
Destiny 2: Forsaken (PS4)
Donut County (PS4)
Gorogoa (PS4)
Deltarune Chapter 1 (PC)

I also want to mention that I no longer care about Overwatch. Was a fan for 2 years but it's become stagnant af and Competitive is still a trash fire. Unless they add some actual new content and rework the existing modes, can't find myself coming back to it. New heroes, skins and maps can't save it if the core experience isn't fun.

That's all for now. I'll try to be more active and check out more games this year. Been mainly getting most of my fix from watching YouTube and Twitch for games I don't even plan on playing. Real life has been in the way and I also need to focus on trying to get some personal goals done as well.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

LiK's Top 17 Favorite Games of 2017

Boom, my 17 favorite games this year in no particular order. Remember that this list can include games that came out before 2017. No spoilers for anything in my impressions as usual.

Persona 5 (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - One of my most anticipated RPGs and it didn't disappoint. I was a huge fan of Persona 4 Golden and I was super excited to finally play this. The menu, music and character designs were just oozing with style. The story was much darker than P4G but it also gave us a pretty interesting story with some truly despicable villains. The political climate of this game also mirrored what I felt was happening in our world which made it hit home quite a bit. I enjoyed all the new characters and Confidants. Most had pretty relatable problems which made me care about them. It was fun to see how each relationship resolved itself by the end. I loved pretty much everyone's character designs and the world just looks cool. The music was super excellent with the best boss battle tracks in the series by far. I picked up the OST and love all the various fan remixes out there. Such a good soundtrack. The combat was improved and more engaging than the previous games. I also loved that all the main story dungeons were not randomized or generic. They each had their own style and feel which was nice.

My only gripe with this game was that it's a little too long for its own good. Every dungeon could've been 20% shorter and that would've been perfect. It felt like they padded out the game for too long. I literally felt exhausted after a few of the later dungeons because they felt like they would never end.  But it was still quite an amazing journey with some big twists and moments. This entry also has my favorite MC in the series so far. He's much more developed and badass than the previous ones. Def a worthy sequel in the Persona franchise. Def check it out.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Completed) Wii U - What a wonderful experience. While the overall story and plot was fairly simple, the way it was presented was magical. Yup, I'm definitely using that word. The characters were fun and charming and the world was vibrant and colorful. I really liked how it delved into Japan's entertainment industry as a whole. While it's an idealized world and not realistic at all, it was still enjoyable to go through. The combat was ridiculously fun and challenging and the music was fantastic. The pop music in this game was truly stellar. Shame only the vocal tracks were released on CD because the game's battle tracks were also fantastic. I enjoyed how the story ended. It was super satisfying.

My major gripe with this game was the censorship and changes that were made to the international versions. It's really really dumb. You can check my review for some examples and a more detailed rant. I highly recommend that if you own a Wii U, that you should pick this up. I'm hoping Nintendo considers rereleasing an uncensored enhanced port for the Switch in the future. This is an underrated gem.

Steins;Gate 0 (Completed/Platinum) Vita - Definitely a great follow-up to the original. If you played the original, you must play this game. It clears up some dangling plotlines from the original while maintaining it's own story. Do NOT play this first if you are new to the series. You won't know what the hell is going on and it also spoils the original in many ways. While the story and ending was no way as impactful and strong as the original, it still had plenty of cool moments and twists. I was pretty impressed with some scenes and how well they were written. The biggest surprise to me was the introduction of Maho. She's definitely one of the best new characters this year and maybe my favorite character in the franchise. I absolutely adored her and her journey. I would love a spin-off or sequel involving her, no question.

One minor gripe I had with this entry was the change in artstyle for the sprites. They're less stylized like the original and looked more generic anime. While it's not a huge deal within the game itself, they sometimes included sprites from the original in some scenes for some reason and it was incredibly jarring. I wrote a more rambling review so if you want that, feel free to check it out.

Danganronpa V3 (Completed) Vita - HOLY SHIT. This might be the craziest game in the series. It's another cast of quirky and eccentric characters mixed in with a lot murder and mayhem. I really liked the new cast and how they bonded. The English dub and localization were pretty fantastic which enhanced the experienced. I'm not even kidding. The English dub might be one of the best in the series with some returning VAs from previous entries returning as new characters. They made a lot of the trials very emotional and full of tension and even had some laugh out loud moments all from their performances. It also had a ton of insane insults and vulgar language that made me super uncomfortable in all the right ways. I bet the localizers had a lot of fun coming up with them. They were pretty hilarious and savage. The game had some pretty crazy twists that will melt your brains. DR vets will def be in for an emotional rollercoaster ride. The music was fantastic as usual with some really good new original tracks and remixes.

My main gripe was I felt some murders/investigations weren't as interesting as they could've been and some motives were questionable. But all the class trials were pretty well done and had a good flow. The story and ending might end up being the most divisive among fans but it was a hell of a journey. It was very ballsy and unlike anything else I ever experienced. This entry also had the best collection of minigames in the series. They're much more fun and playable than the previous entries. I found myself spending hours just playing the unlocked bonus modes and I didn't find them painful. I do have to admit that this entry also has some of the toughest trophies to collect as well. It's so grindy that it gave me despair.

Horizon: Zero Dawn (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - What a nice change from the creators of the Killzone series. Aloy is a fantastic character and her interactions with the NPCs in the world was truly refreshing. I really liked some of the NPCs as well. They had some pretty funny interactions with Aloy and with each other. The dialogue was pretty amusing in spots with lots of dry humor. The controls were super tight. The combat was tons of fun and very engaging. The robotic beasts were fun to fight against although I have to admit I didn't like fighting the humans at all. Their AI was very one note compared to the beasts. The world was quite intriguing and there were some pretty good reveals. I really enjoyed exploring it and discovering what the current world is like. While the sidequests weren't quite as deep as some other games like Witcher 3, they were fun and quick. This game is truly gorgeous with a lot of amazing animations and lighting. I was def impressed with the parts of the world especially during certain times of the day.  But even though the game is incredibly gorgeous, I have to say the water effects were pretty horrible. They were flat and didn't even move when you swam in them. It was quite jarring since the rest of the game was so detailed and full of animated foliage. Hopefully, they can fix the water in their engine for the sequel. Anyway, it was a fantastic experience with a super satisfying ending.

Also, I completed The Frozen Wilds DLC and it's def worth playing. The new weapons, enemies and puzzles were fun. All the new characters I met were interesting and much more fleshed out than the NPCs in the base game. There's a lot more lore for both the new region and the past that is a must for fans of the base game if you were interested in that. The new improved conversation's dynamic camera, animations and faces made it much more cinematic. It's like watching a cutscene at times. Too bad this wasn't applied to the base game conversations when I checked. They looked pretty stiff in comparison. I hope other devs will check out what Guerrilla did here because if all RPG/open-world conversations looked like this, it would make everything better. Anyway, must play even if you finished the main game. There's a lot more to this world.

NieR: Automata (Completed) PS4 - Simply fantastic. The action was fast-paced and the combat was fun with super tight controls. The combination of being a character action game mixed with bullet hell shmup was pure heaven. The art direction and character designs were great. I was particularly enamored by 2B's design which was definitely quite sexy. Hell, the majority of the YoRHa soldiers were all pretty and not what I had expected in this world. Props to the character designer for making them look unique and interesting in a game like this. The enemies and world def had a distinct look. I was impressed with the size and scope of some areas. That was not something I expected from PlatinumGames since they usually make their levels very linear and small. The music was incredible and is definitely one of my favorite OSTs this year. Most of the tracks have vocals and they give each area and scene a very unique feel and enhance the emotional moments quite a bit. I also loved the remixes and alternate versions that pop up in certain circumstances. I picked up the OST after I beat the game.

This game made so many bold choices with its narrative and created quite an experience. The structure for the story is a bit unusual and is done very creatively especially in certain gameplay moments. I was constantly surprised and unprepared for certain moments and twists. The game had some humorous moments but the whole game overall had a very melancholy feeling. There were also some pretty dark gut-wrenching moments. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. I loved the English voice-acting. The performances were fantastic across the board. I was particularly impressed with the VA for 9S. His performance was quite impressive especially as the story progressed. The various machines also had really great voices. I especially liked the voices for all the Pods. There's something extremely chill about the way they sound and the way their voices were modulated. I could listen to them all day.

My main gripes with the game were the sidequests and a few glitches. Most of the sidequests were pretty bland fetch quests and weren't that fun to play. I skipped most of them but I may revisit them in the future for more context. I also had one major frustrating glitch that forced me to replay an entire area twice. Turns out I had to turn off the Network feature as a workaround in order to progress. I won't get into specifics but I wish that didn't happen. Anyway, it's not every day that you get a game that is not only an excellent action game but also has an excellent story. PLAY IT.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - What a fantastic follow-up to Uncharted 4. This might be my favorite game in the series. I loved the chemistry between Chloe and Nadine and the pacing was perfect. The optional quests were fun and I enjoyed all the puzzles. This is another gorgeous game this year with some insane textures and art. There were some truly awe-inspiring views and locations. I found myself just staring at certain environments and items in the world. Super detailed and well designed. The combat encounters were fun and didn't last too long compared to the previous entries. I enjoyed killing dudes with stealth as well. I thought there was a nice balance. I liked the villain although I felt his motivations were a bit unclear. I didn't find the pay off to his method of madness to be that interesting. But I enjoyed how menacing he was. Overall, this is a must play especially if you finished Uncharted 4. If someone told me this was originally DLC, I wouldn't have believed them. I didn't know I would want more Uncharted until I played this. Really loved it as a whole.

Super Mario Odyssey (Completed) Switch - Wow, this entry might be on par with Super Mario World for being my fave Mario game of all time. I haven’t loved a Mario game as much as World until now. This was so creative and charming. While Galaxy had its moments, I felt Odyssey had a much more loveable feel with its characters and worlds. The story was more down to earth (literally) and some very cute interactions between NPCs. The whole gimmick with Cappy possessing enemies and objects was really clever and fun. It created much more interesting use of Mario’s powers whenever he takes over someone or something. I do have to say that the worlds were far smaller than expected. It wasn’t the sprawling open world I thought it would be like BotW. But I have to say that this entry had the best boss battles in the entire long running franchise. They were fun, well designed and never frustrating. The art direction is great with different worlds having their own feel and look. I played the entire game docked (with Pro controller) and it looked amazing on a big screen TV. The soundtrack is also top tier with many memorable tracks including its excellent theme song.

The HD rumble was incredible and made use of every little thing that touched Mario including even grabbing coins. It was subtle at times and felt very good. More games need to take advantage of this function. As for the controls in general, I did find myself a bit frustrated with the way the camera moved and the slight delay with Mario’s movements at times. It made some of the optional courses quite frustrating. I’m also not a fan that some moves that can only be used with motion controls. Other than those minor complaints, I loved everything else. The climax and ending were amazing. There’s also tons of things to do after you complete the story so the amount of post-game content is worth checking out. It’s not pointless grindy fluff. There’s also a ton of references and Easter eggs to find for Mario fans. Definitely one of the best Mario games to date and a must play.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Completed) Switch - This was quite the departure from the past Zelda 3D games. The open world was fun to explore with lots of secrets and unexpected moments. The main story was a bit underwhelming but at least it added some interesting lore to the Zelda canon. The Shrine puzzles were pretty clever and fun to solve for the most part although the ones that involved motion controls were beyond awful. Please stop. I also didn't like the combat at all. It felt like Link was just waving a toy around like a kid. It made most combat encounters a chore and the weapons broke so easily didn't help. I hope they refine the combat mechanics in the next installment. I was impressed with the size and scope of the world. It was pretty large and vast. I loved exploring and finding new things like some unexpected locations and NPCs/enemies. I haven't felt such a level of discovery since Skyrim. I highly recommend playing this with the Pro Controller. Your hands will thank you for it.

I should probably mention that I absolutely hated the English dub. It sounded like a horrible Saturday morning cartoon with Zelda's voice being the worst. Thankfully, Nintendo decided to patch in the option to pick the other languages and it made it way better. I picked up the Expansion Pass right after I finished the story but I haven't actually put in a lot of time into the DLC content. I'll probably get into them after I catch up on more games. If you own a Switch, this is a must play.

Night in the Woods (Completed) PS4 - Picked this up strictly from everyone's recommendations and you guys were right. Oh man, the first thing I noticed right after I started the game were the visuals. The 2D art is super clean and colorful and everyone animates so smoothly. What really impressed me were the color choices and lighting in various scenes/locations. They took my breath away at times which I didn't expect in a game like this. If you like eye candy, be prepared to take plenty of screenshots because almost every scene could be framed or used as wallpaper. In addition to the great art, the music was equally fantastic. Really chill music and it also sounded so "pretty" and whimsical.

The writing is one of the best this year. The dialogue was super sharp and very witty at times. Some really funny moments. But the game also had a bunch of real talk which will make you think about your own life and situations. It doesn't really hold any punches and can get pretty dark. Story was interesting but the moment to moment with Mae and her friends and family were the true highlights. You'll meet a lot of great memorable characters. They felt so real and I ended up really caring for most of them. I'll def need to replay this game soon because I feel like I missed out on a lot of optional scenes. The game has a lot of branching dialogue and decisions on who you want to hang out on any given day. I really want to see those when I revisit it. Should be fun. Def check out this gem.

What Remains of Edith Finch (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - I went into this completely blind and it was quite a journey. I've always been a fan of narrative-based adventure games like these and this one is def one of the best. The writing and VO was excellent across the board. The music was pretty amazing and really accentuated the individual stories perfectly. The various moments you encounter were just filled with whimsy, emotion, tragedy and a bit of humor. I was pretty impressed with how they incorporated the gameplay with the story elements and how it created the stories you would listen to. Very imaginative. The controls were very intuitive and I enjoyed figuring it out as I progressed. I don't want to reveal too much else because it's an experience you should jump into completely fresh. It was a really interesting story and a very moving experience. I think almost anyone can relate to what's going on with these characters. Def worth checking out.

Cosmic Star Heroine (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - This was a really fantastic throwback to old RPGs from the SNES era. The sprites themselves literally look like they could've come from their original inspiration (Chrono Trigger) for this game. The story wasn't anything outstanding but I really liked the characters. It's a really diverse cast and if you went into it blind like me, you'll never know who would join you crew. I was constantly surprised by who ended up where. I really wish they all had their only main sidequests to flesh them out because what little we see of their dialogue with each other was really well written. The combat was really fun and unique. It's a nice change and felt new and different than what most other RPGs use. I never felt bored or frustrated by the combat. It was fun to mix up the various powers and abilities constantly. Ending was pretty satisfying as well and I'm hoping we get a sequel of some kind in the future. Overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I backed it. Look for my name in the Spy Directory!

2064: Read Only Memories (Completed) PS4 - This was a pleasant surprise. I had heard of this game for a while but I decided to finally pick up the PS4 version when it was released. This was a nice throwback to older adventure games like Snatcher in terms of design and look. I really loved the characters and everyone's interactions. Turing was a really lovable character and I cared about he/she/it. The voice acting was truly exceptional and made me love everyone I met. I don't think I would've liked the game as much before they added voice overs to the original version on PC. The story was interesting and was def quite bold. The music was also pretty fantastic. One track reminded me of a track from Ace Attorney and that ain't a bad thing. The game has multiple paths and endings and I managed to get the best one on my own. I was replaying through the scumbag path to get the Platinum trophy but I ended up not finishing it that way. The best ending felt so satisfying that I didn't want to ruin that for myself so soon. Maybe I'll try again in the future. If you enjoy adventure games, this is def worth playing through.

Pyre (Completed) PS4 - I've been a fan of Super Giant Games since their first game so I had to pick this up as soon as it came out. This was a lot of fun and had plenty of good characters. The Rituals were very fast paced and fun. People compared it to playing something like NBA Jam and I could see it. The story itself was okay. I feel like there's a whole lot more out there that wasn't explored as much as I would've liked. But I did like how your choices and Ritual results would affect the ending. I really loved the lore and various party members you recruited. They were all very different and unique with a few standouts. Loved the dialogue for them as well. I found myself loving characters that I didn't expect when I first met them. It goes to show how you can't just judge someone from what they look like. The art is also gorgeous and one of the best looking games from SGG. Super colorful with very smooth animations. There were so many nice character designs. Music was also very good but I didn't find it quite as memorable as their previous games.

I did have a few gripes with the game. I did not like how the story would push you constantly forward without any time to openly explore. You would be forced into the next Ritual and must complete them before a deadline which took away the potential of learning more about the world and meeting more random characters and developing the said world. I was also confused why we didn't get NG+. Both Bastion and Transistor had excellent NG+ modes which enhanced the narratives and gave them replayability but Pyre lacked that. With the way this game's branching paths and upgrade system went, you only get one chance without the ability to revisit story beats and previous upgrades felt like an oversight. I'm hoping they somehow patch in NG+ in the future but I'm not holding my breath. So while this is my least favorite game from SGG, it was still a great experience and worth playing through.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (Completed) PS4 - Whoa, what a fantastic follow-up to The New Order. It literally starts a few minutes after the first game ends. The story and characters were the true highlight. The writing and dialogue were super sharp and very witty. So many interactions between your crew were just laugh out loud hilarious. I loved all the optional scenes you would encounter from just exploring your base. But the game also had a lot of really dark emotional parts too. The way it presented racism, homophobia, antisemitism, domestic abuse etc is just pure and raw. The devs didn't pull any punches. I was also thinking that with the way America is now in real life, some of these scenes hit me much harder than before. It was pretty powerful stuff and I'm grateful the devs did it. This game also had one of the best scenes I've ever witnessed in a video game. If you played it, you know which scene I'm talking about. The ending was super satisfying and made me wonder what could be next for this franchise. While the gameplay and level designs were inferior to the first game and its DLC, I still had fun for the most part. This is definitely worth playing and like I said before, make sure to play the previous game first because it's one cohesive journey. BJ is now one of my all time favorite protagonists in video games.

BUT, one major gripe I had was the bad audio mix. For some reason, the surround was really inconsistent. The problem usually happens during firefights where sometimes the audio doesn't register or lack a punch. It got worse after I got a perk that would cause slow-mo to happen whenever enemies noticed me and it made it sound like I was in a fish tank. Got pretty bad when it was multiple enemies in a row. The CG cutscenes also sounded very muted and lacked surround of any kind. These issues were in the previous game as well but I noticed them a lot more in this one. I just had to mention this because it ruined some of the engagements and I hope the devs patch it in the future. Also, this game has one of the worst ending credits song I ever heard. Play something else during it. Anyway, well done. Fuck Nazis!

Destiny 2 (Completed/Platinum) PS4 - Ah yes, I really enjoyed the sequel quite a bit. You can read my review if you want more detailed thoughts. The game was much less of a grind than the first and it was much easier to max out my level. I enjoyed playing with some old Destiny buddies and it felt oddly nostalgic as a result. But I do wish the game changed it up more. It felt a lot like the first game and still had a lot of issues that were never expanded upon or improved. It feels like we won't see the jump we wanted until the next game and who knows when that will happen. I also checked out the Curse of the Osiris DLC and while the fairly short campaign was fun, it's not anything special. The additional gear and changes didn't really do anything new or interesting. It's just more Destiny 2 and that's about it. The other content is just more guns and gear but nothing of note. Also, make sure to play this game with HDR on if your TV supports it. It's gorgeous. I don't believe I'll be playing this as much as I did with D1 but I had a good time. It'll most likely be a game I will jump into for an hour or two every week just to shoot random stuff.

I do also want to rant about the Eververse microtransaction BS that's been going on with it. As of this writing, the devs have mentioned that they will try to address this issue next year so we'll see how it goes. I refuse to pay a single dime for the Silver for cosmetic stuff because this game doesn't have enough long term content for me to care about them. Hopefully it gets better next year.

Cuphead (In Progress) Xbox One - Yea, I admit that I haven't finished it. There's been too many games and it's been kind of shuttered to my backlog. I also have a bad habit of trying to play it when I'm tired or sleepy so my progress has been slow. But man, this might be one of the best looking games of the year. The animations look incredible and the entire presentation is just stunning. They did a fantastic job mimicking the 30's style of animation. Even the sound effects and music sound like those old cartoons. Controls are super tight and the levels and bosses are just plain devious. Def one of the toughest games to come out this year and also def worth checking out for the visuals alone.

Honorable Mention:

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (In Progress Forever) iOS - I never got into the mainline games but this got me to play for a good couple of weeks. I liked how chill it was and and how simple the mechanics were. It's like playing a clicker games at times. The furniture placement is light and the interactions were a bit muted. It's a charming game and looks great on my iPhone and iPad. I kind of fell off it because I got tired of the grind for materials to build more stuff. I'm hoping they add more substantial content in the future to bring me back in. I'm hoping the inevitable Switch version will finally make me fan.

Games that would've probably been in this list if I had time to play them this year:
Yakuza 0
Yakuza Kiwami
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
and whatever else I'm interested in...

They'll most likely show up next year. Thanks for reading!