Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LiK's 25 Favorite Games of 2015

2015 has been a terrible year for me personally and professionally but at least I had plenty of great games to keep me distracted. I've been focusing more and more on story-driven games and you might see a lot of those listed here. I won't spoil anything (as usual). I wasn't able to play everything this year so a lot of big games were left out. Hopefully, I can make some time for my pretty massive backlog soon.

Before I start, I'm going to list my favorite games I played in 2015 that weren't released in 2015.

Persona 4 Golden (VITA) - Achieved True Ending

So yes, if you read my review from earlier this year, I absolutely adored this game. It was a life-changing experience and gave me perspective on my life. Not many games do this but this game did. P4G has an amazing cast of characters with some of the best English VO I've ever heard. The story and combat isn't as amazing as the writing but I was still into it. There's a reason why this particular entry in the series is so beloved. It's a long game especially if you go for the amazing True Ending but it's worth it. By the time you finish it, you'll agree me that it's one of the best RPGs you ever played with a memorable cast of characters you don't want to ever leave. I still cannot believe I only played and completed it this year because it felt like a lifetime ago.

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die (Xbox One) - Completed

This was a pretty weird game. Yes, when I say weird, it's pretty weird. Swery and friends have done it again. D4 is quite similar to his previous game Deadly Premonition in terms of the really bizarre characters and strange sense of humor. Some of the characters were pretty charming and endearing even though they were weird. The story is quite mysterious and you don't seem to know what the fuck is going on. It's just so bizarre in both the story and gameplay that it must be experienced. I truly hope the next season will come out soon because I NEED to know what happens next. Did I tell you that this game was weird?

Far Cry 4 (PS4) - Completed

The first game I beat this year and it was incredibly fun from the beginning to the end. I loved how quickly they give you your weapons/gear and the story was decent. There's also a lot of great ambient music that really made the exploration immersive and fun. The graphics were pretty impressive especially the art direction for those mystical levels. Drop dead gorgeous. Definitely worth playing if you want an open world game with lots of shooting and explosions in a beautiful environment.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4) - Completed

I enjoyed my time with the PC version even though they originally launched it with the dreadful Auction House stuff. But I was interested in playing it with a controller instead so I picked up the console version when it was on sale. I gotta say that this is the superior version of the game. The controller support is excellent and the redesigned UI for consoles is also great. The ability to dodge is a game changer and made battles more fun. The game also looks pretty excellent on the PS4. I haven't tried out all the new modes they added but the core game was still fun and enjoyable. Definitely worth picking up if you enjoy these types of games.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments (PS4) - Completed/Platinumed

Probably the best Sherlock Holmes I ever played. The way you solve crimes is great and actually being able to accuse the wrong person of a crime was pretty cool. While I wasn't a fan of some parts of the gameplay, I thought it was nice that they let you skip any puzzles you don't want to solve on your own if you want to just enjoy the story. I'm excited for the next game in the series and can't wait to see what they improve. There were some rough edges with their new format here but it was relatively well done. Definitely worth playing for Sherlock Holmes/mystery fans.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) - Completed

This was a pretty interesting game that not only had a pretty emotional story with some humor but its ability to educate people about World War I was really impressive. I learned quite a bit from it even though I'm a history buff. The cartoony style made it fairly palatable and the music was great. I enjoyed most of the puzzles and gameplay. A really unique experience that anyone with an interest in history will definitely enjoy.

FRAMED (iOS) - Completed

Picked this up on a whim because it was free for a limited time. WHOA, what a great game! The way they structured the comic book-style panels and integrated them into puzzles was brilliant. I really liked the look of the game and the story was decent. I hope to see more games like this from the devs. There's a lot of potential with the format they used here.

Okay, back to the 2015 release list!

UnderTale (PC) - Achieved True Pacifist Ending

This was a huge surprise for me. I first heard of this game from Giant Bomb's Quick Look, podcasts and various people on Twitter. I wasn't expecting much from its simple graphics but this quickly changed when things started happening. Not only is this one of the funniest games I ever played but it also has some of the most touching and creepy moments. It was an incredible experience and full of creativity. There's just way too many things that happen that blew my mind and kept me going. The music is also amazing. I actually bought the soundtrack right after I beat it. If you're wondering why UnderTale fans loved it so much, you should give it a chance because it goes to the most insane places in both story and gameplay. It's a journey worth experiencing and the True Pacifist ending was pitch perfect. Toby Fox and friends, you have created something special and should be commended. YOU NEED TO PLAY IT.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4) - Completed

I've always been a fan of the Witcher games and TW3 proves to be the best in the series. All the issues I had with the previous two games are gone. The combat has been improved greatly and seems to combine the fighting styles of the first two games into one. The writing and characters were excellent. While the main story was good enough, the sidequests were the real winner. Not only were every single one of them unique and interesting but they all had their lil stories that made me hunt them out. You can tell they put a lot of work into the quests making them not cookie-cutter fetch quests like in other open world RPGs. Even the most minor of side characters have great VO and bits of dialogue to call their own. It was quite impressive. The ending was super satisfying but I'm sad that this will be Geralt's last game in the series. I'm happy there's another DLC I can check out as well as an expansion next year so it's not over yet. Btw, did I mention that this was a gorgeous game even on the PS4? I'll probably replay it on the PC in the future cuz it looks pretty stunning on consoles already.

Tales from the Borderlands (PS4) - Completed/Platinumed

This almost didn't end up on the list because I only just beat it recently but I HAD to include it now! I heard a lot of people praise it but because I never fell in love with the FPS Borderlands games, I was reluctant to check it out. I waited until a sale before picking it up and I'm glad I did. This is definitely hands down the BEST game by Telltale. There's no question about it. The writing, VO and directing was top notch. The story itself was really amazing and had a lot of surprises. Also, the cast of characters you meet and who join you were awesome and fun and gave me the feels from Persona 4. The jokes were really excellent and perfectly timed. This was another game that made me laugh quite a lot this year. The devs really pushed their old engine hard because some of the scenarios and events that happen were insane and over the top. There's also lots of scenarios that would play out differently depending on my choices and characters I chose to side with so I'm definitely going to replay it on Xbox One to see the other options. Even if you don't care for the Borderlands series, this is still a must play for adventure game fans. It's excellent and should not be missed because if you're like me, you'll fall in love with the characters as well.

Life is Strange (PS4) - Completed

What an amazing experience. LiS really felt unique and different than many other adventure games I played this year. It managed to capture that slice of life feel that you don't see often in many games these days. The time travel aspect was done really well and made some puzzles pretty fun. Some parts of the game could've been more polished but I didn't encounter any weird bugs or issues in my entire playthrough. I fell in love with the characters and found myself riveted in what happened with them from one episode to the next. This game also gave me some major feels that I haven't felt since the first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead game. The ending was absolutely beautiful and bittersweet. I couldn't stop thinking about the game for a few days after I finished it. I can't wait to see what the devs come up with for the next season.

Yakuza 5 (PS3) - In Progress

This is the only game in this list that I haven't finished but I love what I've played of it so far. I've always been one of Yakuza's biggest fans and it was pure joy when this installment was finally localized. You cannot believe how frustrating it was when SEGA refused to localize this for the fans. Thankfully, Sony stepped in and granted our wish. THANK YOU SONY/GIO! Anyway, I can honestly tell you this is the best game in the series to date. I already love all the new sidequests and missions in my current playthrough. I also love all the new characters I met so far. They're real living breathing people with very complicated backgrounds. The combat is also much improved over the past games and is just as fun as before. Some of the new finishers are BRUTAL. I really can't wait to see where the story goes and what other new characters to meet. I also have to point out that the localization is pretty excellent so far. Very well done. I love the world of Yakuza and it feels good to be back. Feels like home.

Until Dawn (PS4) - Completed/Platinumed

A game that took me by complete surprise even though everyone was saying how good it was. Funny, scary and shocking. The game combines a wide variety of common horror tropes and blends them together into one great game. I got into the story and actually cared about the characters. There were a lot of moments that made me jump. The graphics for the characters' faces were genuinely impressive and also photorealistic depending on the lighting. The performances by the actors were top notch and helped sell the script. I don't think the game would be as good if they got shitty actors. I also really liked the lore and mystery of the story. I liked the game so much that I just had to play and see all the other major decisions in the game. It was super well done and I hope to see the devs do another game like this in the future.

Bloodborne + The Old Hunters DLC (PS4) - Completed/Platinumed

I've always loved the Souls games and Bloodborne was one of my most anticipated games of the year. It certainly didn't disappoint. Tough and challenging on every level. Fans of shields will need to completely change their playstyles just for this game. It was also one of the creepiest most horrifying games mainly from the monster designs. There were some really disgusting stuff in both the main game and DLC. The world was both beautiful and ugly. The transforming weapon designs were brilliant! Whoever was in charge of the animations and sound effects should be commended because they make you feel like a total badass every, single, time. No other game has made weapons as unique and as fun to use as BB. The only parts that detracted from my experience were the awful Chalice dungeons and subpar online system. Trying to coop with friends/randoms when it first came out was awful. I'm still not a fan of how it's implemented even with the patches especially compared to Dark Souls 2. Like with all of Miyazaki's previous games, the endings will disappoint. But hey, it's the journey blah blah, right? Also, don't forget to check out the DLC/expansion. It's awesome and includes a lot of new crazy weapons.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4) - Achieved True Ending

The final MGS game from Hideo Kojima is certainly his best in terms of gameplay. I've never had so much fun in an open world where you really do whatever you want to complete a mission. The flexibility of your loadouts and playstyle was truly amazing. It's too bad the story presentation doesn't hold up to his previous works. The lack of extended insane cutscenes actually hurt it because the spectacle of the previous games has been replaced with a much more dour atmosphere. Most of the story is relegated to audio tapes which were interesting but not entertaining to listen to. There were still some really great moments and interesting characters but their moments were few and far between. You can tell things felt unfinished and that's a shame. Also, the True Ending will make you either love or hate a pivotal character in the series. Weakest in story but the most fun game in the series. I also need to point out that the FOB stuff and time limits when gathering resources were terrible. You need to respect players and let them play offline without the need to waste time looking at a timer to get the most out of your game. C'mon Konami.

Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4) - Achieved True Ending

The last Arkham game by Rocksteady and it ends on a pretty mixed note for me. The combat was still fun and I enjoyed many moments in the main story involving a certain character. He made it a wonderful and unique experience. But there's a reason why it's so low in my list. I still enjoyed the game but some of the decisions the devs made for the missions were baffling. The main culprit is the Batmobile. One of the most requested features was a be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario. They used the Batmobile too much and even used it in some pretty laborious "boss fights".  The twist in the story was predictable but some of the fan servicey moments were well done and very well directed. While it may be the weakest entry in the series, the finale was pretty amazing and should not be missed. I still cannot believe I got all the Riddler trophies just to see the True Ending. But hey, it's the final Arkham game, might as well go for it. Did I mention that I will not buy any of the meh DLC?

Dying Light (PS4) - Completed

Picked this up during a sale and really enjoyed it. The FPS parkour was super well done and the missions were fun. I found that I really liked how they handled how people would react in this zombie-infested city. There were some really interesting sidequests with some colorful characters that you meet along the way. I also liked how powerful you can get as you level up making the combat more and more fun as you progress. You use some pretty ridiculous weapons and it never gets old. The day and nightime aspects of the game were well done. You definitely feel more vulnerable at night when you need to avoid those crazy strong zombies. While I enjoyed the core gameplay, I didn't like the final few story missions which were frustrating and the last boss was a complete joke. Awful fight. Anyway, it's well worth playing even if you're sick of zombies like me. It's a lot of fun.

Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One) - Completed

One of the most beautiful and visually striking games I played this year. The art and animation is just a sight to behold. The music is also incredible and kept me going even though I had to retry parts of the game over and over again. Yes, this game is BRUTAL and extremely difficult to get through but once you get past a tough part, it's one of the most satisfying feelings ever. I also enjoyed the story quite a lot. It's worth playing if you want a challenge.

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void (PC) - Completed

Always loved the Starcraft series and we finally get to see the end to the conflict. This is the best campaign in the sequel. Wings of Liberty was decent and Heart of the Swarm was alright in their mission structures. But both suffered from some incredibly cringe-worthy dialogue. The Protoss campaign features the dryest dialogue but at least I didn't find myself cringing at it. I also liked some of the new characters. There were some very memorable ones. But overall, I really enjoyed the campaign. It was a lot of fun and the missions were varied enough that it didn't get stale. The CGI cutscenes were gorgeous as usual. The ending was bananas and well worth experiencing for fans of the series. Definitely worth playing for the insane conclusion.

Contradiction: Spot the Liar! (PC) - Completed/100%

Super thanks to Giant Bomb's Quick Look and Playdates for bringing this game to my attention. I fell in love with the quirky characters and campy humor of this FMV mystery game. Inspector Jenks and friends were really colorful characters that made me laugh a lot. All the actors really chewed up their scenes. The story is pretty silly but the gameplay was pretty fun. Trying to find contradictions were sometimes pretty challenging. Anyway, really fun game with a memorable cast. I hope to see a sequel in the future.

Her Story (PC) - Completed/100%

A lot of people I followed on Twitter were talking about this game so I decided to check it out on a whim. I actually picked it up for iOS first but decided to double dip on PC and find all the clips there. Really engaging game where you just watch clips of one woman being questioned by police. It was really interesting trying to piece together her story to understand what really happened. The actress' performance along with the good writing really sold it. It's unlike anything else I played this year.

The Fall (PS4) - Completed

I heard good things about this game when it was on PC but didn't check it out until it arrived on consoles this year. Boy, what a great story and the puzzles were good. I really liked the humor and setting. I'm a bit perturbed that it's only the first episode but I'm really looking forward to seeing where the story goes. Definitely worth checking out.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) - Completed

This game has a pretty interesting story and beautiful graphics and art direction for certain moments. There's not much to do in this game but the VO performance by the actors in this game were amazing and well worth experiencing. The music is also incredible and one of the best soundtracks this year. I was intrigued until the end and found this game much better than the dev's previous game, Dear Esther. There's really no real gameplay to speak of so if you're looking for puzzles and the like, you might be disappointed. I remember someone saying it's like watching a play and that is pretty correct.

The Room Three (iOS) - Completed

Another fantastic game in the series. While it's not quite as good as the two previous games, it's still pretty great. Some really clever puzzles and the graphics were quite impressive. If you enjoyed the previous games and want to see where the story goes, definitely check it out.

Destiny: The Taken King (PS4) - Completed/100%

I have really mixed feelings about putting this game/expansion on my list. I really liked the improvements Bungie did with the base game and the new campaign was pretty fun. I really liked fighting the Taken enemies as well. I also enjoyed a few of the new Strikes and the new Raid was fun and challenging at times. I had plenty of laughs and frustrations with people I played with and I won't forget those good moments. BUT, the most recent updates have really soured me on the game as a whole. I hate the changes/tweaks to the weapons and how it affected my enjoyment of the PVP. I don't like all the new microtransaction stuff and I also think the Events they've released so far have been quite lame. Yea, I had fun with the initial release but I don't think I'll be returning to the game anytime soon until I see a new expansion or sequel. I need more substantial content, not more filler. It's been real, game.

Thanks for reading people. See you in 2016.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Adventure Game Binging and I Want To Talk About It!

I've been playing a lot of adventure games this year. Certain things that has been happening in my life has made me much more attracted to playing more story-driven experiences. I decided to tell you guys what I think of some of them here.

There will be NO spoilers for any of them here. I want people to experience them firsthand so I will be vague as possible when describing the story and characters. You won't see me revealing any major plot points or anything. Just my overall thoughts.

Life is Strange Season 1 (PS4)

Life is Strange really impressed me with its story and dialogue. The writing is super solid. Not only was the mystery in the plot engaging, but  all the dialogue comes off super natural with that awkwardness that is so familiar. They also sprinkle the game with lots of pop culture references which really amused me. Kudos to the writer for that. The voice actors were also great. Most of the teens sound like teens and they don't have that super slick professional sounding voice-work which made them feel more real. The voice director(s) did a really good job with them.

The time travel story is really well done and personal. I really like seeing how the main character, Max, has to deal with crazy shit with her friends, families and jerks. The ability to rewind time was not only well done in its story but also as a gameplay element. The puzzles to proceed use the rewind mechanic in a very smart way and is super intuitive.

The story was really engaging. I was so absorbed by it that I actually forgot to eat dinner in one particularly long session. Some of the plot twists and revelations really shocked and moved me. The ending was satisfying and I'm really curious what the devs come up with for Season 2.

Overall: MUST PLAY

Until Dawn (PS4)

I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed this game. I wasn't expecting much from the original trailers and teasers. It wasn't until reviews and word of mouth got me interested in picking it up. I enjoyed David Cage's games and just hearing that this is a much better made version of his games got me interested.

The characters and situations were well directed and the jump scares were well done. Most were cheap but they were fun and the reactions from the characters were great. The branching paths and various reactions that can happen depending on what you do makes the game quite replayable. There were also some awesome deaths that will make you cringe. Fun stuff.

I liked the look of the game a lot. The uncanny valley might be a bit much for some but I liked how detailed and well rendered the faces were. The facial mocap is pretty awesome and helped sell some scenes. Sometimes it looks so real that it felt like I was watching a movie or TV show. But overall it is one amazing looking game on both a technical and artistic level. The performances were also excellent across the board. They really hammed it up when they can and when they're terrified it felt like they were. Having real actors can make a difference in a game like this and they did a fine job with what they had to work with.

I enjoyed the story and the atmosphere. I also ended up liking a bunch of characters I hated in the beginning. They did a good job developing some of them. I think if you like adventure games with horror and some humor then you should totally give it a shot. It's a fun experience with plenty of surprises.

Overall: MUST PLAY

D4 Season 1 (Xbox One)

Since I was a huge fan of Deadly Premonition, I was pretty excited when D4 was announced. I was really interested in checking out SWERY's next game and boy was it worth it. I bought the game day one but didn't really play it until this year.

This might be one of the weirdest games I played this year. It's so off the wall and the story is so crazy that I couldn't help but laugh at the situations and dialogue. I was pretty happy that this takes place in Boston cuz the direction for the references and locations were bizarre for a native Bostonian like me.  I just can't really explain to you how insane this game is nor can I explain just how endearing it is as well. It's like Deadly Premonition except x100 with a mystery that is just as intriguing. SWERY has a knack for coming up with some truly odd scenarios that will constantly make you say "WTF".

This is definitely a must play for SWERY fans and if you like weird adventure games, this comes in spades. I'm really hoping we get the next season soon so I can see where the story goes next. This was truly a unique experience.


Broken Age Act 2 (PC)

I loved Act 1 a lot and gave it a pretty glowing review a while back. But I have to admit that Act 2 was disappointing. The simplicity of the puzzles in Act 1 were replaced with overly complicated convoluted ones that were incredibly frustrating to solve. I HATED them. I'm not sure what feedback the devs got from backers and fans but it was a mistake. There was no need to make it this hard and annoying to solve. Even with a guide, one particularly infamous puzzle was a pain to solve. A PAIN.

And the puzzles weren't the only issues. Having to backtrack through the exact same areas was also repetitive and worn out. There were barely any new areas to explore and none of the changes were drastic enough to even make the old areas interesting. Was it so hard to create more areas and screens to explore? It made the game feel small because of this.

The story also ended with a whimper. I didn't enjoy some of the revelations and what happens to some characters felt kinda rushed. It just didn't work for me and I think a lot of potential was wasted with such a cool set up in Act 1. Doublefine just didn't go far enough with it at all. The music and performances were still top notch but the quality of the puzzles dropped like a rock.

Anyway, I was super disappointed with this follow-up and will only advise you to play through it if you enjoyed Act 1 and want to see how it ends. I hope they expand on this universe in the future because I really liked this world and characters. But please don't try to suck up to -hardcore- adventure players and make OG-WTF-do-I-do puzzles. They don't make the game better.

Overall: PASS

Contradiction: Spot the Liar! (PC)

I discovered this awesome FMV adventure game thanks to Giant Bomb's Quick Look and Playdate videos. I was pretty impressed with the quality of the FMVs but the actors in the game were incredibly hilarious. Their performances really made the game for me. The actor who played Inspector Jenkins in particular was super great. Some actors chewed up their scenes so

The gameplay was no slouch either. The puzzles to progress the story were actually pretty well done and really require you to remember what people said in order to contradict their statements during questioning.  I think it worked out really well and I didn't find them frustrating at all. The hint system was well implemented if you get stuck.

I'm really hoping we see a follow-up because of the way it ended. I want to see more Inspector Jenks action and more strange characters. It was a joy to play and the campy humor kept me coming back for more.


Her Story (PC)

So people were recommending this game on Twitter so I was curious to check it out. After finishing Contradiction, I was hungry for more FMV adventure games. This game wasn't what I expected at all.

You're basically just watching a series of police interview clips with one woman in a database. From choosing specific keywords in the search engine, you get more clips to watch and try to piece together an entire interview and come to your own conclusion of what happened.

The actress in the videos should be commended for her performance. She was excellent and did a fantastic job. The writing was also very good and came off pretty natural. If both of these things didn't work, this would've been a disaster.

It's really well done and for anyone with a lot of curiosity, you'll find yourself piecing together a pretty interesting story and form some theories about what's going on. It goes into some pretty unexpected directions. I won't say anymore because if you're interested, you should check it out.


Everyone's Gone to the Rapture (PS4)

I didn't expect much from this since I wasn't a fan of the dev's previous game, Dear Esther. I thought Esther was pretentious and boring and I was expecting the same here. But after some good word of mouth and a sale, I decided to pick it up to check it out myself.

Well, it's also a walking sim but the story is a whole lot easier to follow than Esther and characters were much more relatable from the clues you find. I also found the village to be pretty interesting to explore. You learn quite a great deal from the different dialogue and scenes you come across. I was pretty intrigued until the end. The performances were outstanding. The VO was just terrific from top to bottom. Everyone was awesome and made the scenes fill with a lot of emotion and gravitas. The music is also incredible and a real highlight to the whole experience. The visuals and art direction were also beautiful and helped sell the scenes and events. Really well done. Definitely a very pretty game to show off.

One gripe I had was the inability to run or sprint. Dear developers, f you do walking simulators with a lot of exploration, don't force your players to walk at a snail's pace. It's not enjoyable AT ALL. Please stop doing this, Chinese Room. This was definitely more accessible than Esther and I cared about the characters which I didn't expect. Definitely worth checking out if you're curious.


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PS4)

I blind bought this cuz the trailers looked intriguing. Well, that was a mistake because I didn't enjoy the game at all. The puzzles were not fun or interesting to solve and the story was crap. Really, the reveal and "twist" was bad. I couldn't believe this was the story they came up with.

I enjoyed the atmosphere to come extent but the VO was so awful that it was a distraction. Everyone sounded so bland and flat. I'm not even sure they knew what they were reading.  It was one of the worst parts of the game. The human models also looked pretty bad compared to the environments which I found jarring as well. It's quite a shame because the environments definitely rival Rapture in quality and realism. It's a good looking game if no humans were involved.

Anyway, I don't really have much else to say about it. It's a mess and a waste of time. One of the most disappointing games I played this year.

Overall: AVOID

Kentucky Route Zero Act III (PC)

I enjoyed the previous Acts and Act III is no exception. The journey continues to be a surreal and dream-like experience. Beautiful visuals and music with a lot of atmosphere. I'm still not sure where the story is going but it continues to pull me into its bizarre world. I can't wait until the next Act and I recommend you guys to check it out. If you're interested, make sure to look up the trailers. It's really good.


These are just some of the many adventure games I played this year. I'm planning to play more and will do another round up soon. Hope you guys enjoyed my impressions. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Persona 4 Golden Review - Thoughts + Feelings

Finally played through and finished Persona 4 Golden. Everyone kept telling me how great it was and you know what? They were right.

I actually own the original version on PS2 but never got around to it. I actually started playing Persona 3 back when that came out but never finished it so P4 was also placed in the backburner. Years later after Persona 4 Golden came out, I picked it up at launch but I still didn't play it. I was dreading the length and didn't want to abandon it like I did with P3. Yea, it was stupid.

Anyway, after the Persona 5 trailer was released recently it sparked my interest in the game again. I also got a PSTV as a gift for Xmas so I could play it on my TV instead of the Vita. This gave me another reason to finally check it out. It was a perfect time for a marathon since a snowstorm had been giving me days off and nothing else to do. And so it began...

Well, I played the game blind for my first playthrough because I wanted to be surprised. I checked a guide for dungeons I got stuck in but mainly chose whatever decision I thought was right. After a major marathon session of 41 hours and 28 min in 3 days, I hit one of the Bad Endings. That shocked me since I had no idea there were multiple endings. Well, that was a challenge for me to replay in NG+ and get the True Ending. I used a guide so it took about the same length as my blind run even with skipping cutscenes I watched before. Oh man, it was worth it. Not only was the True Ending route longer than expected, but it featured a lot of great moments and has one of the most satisfying endings in all of video games.

This game is truly special and is one of the most uplifting experiences I had in a while. The messages about friendship, family, helping people etc really made it quite a refreshing experience. While the murder mystery helped hook me into its main story, it's all the daily life scenes with the characters that really shined. So many of these scenes were super well-written and hilarious. I literally laughed out loud every time during these funny scenes. They were so well directed and animated. There's also a lot of touching scenes and conversations that I found pretty relevant even today. Gender issues and self-identity was a really interesting part of the story. I was also really intrigued with how they dealt with it. It was pretty honest and thought-provoking at times. Other games should totally take a look at how P4G handles it. Every character I met were really well developed and were more than what they seemed. I really liked that.

I think my only gripe with the game were the dungeons. They weren't fun to navigate or explore. I enjoyed the combat somewhat but the dungeons took too long and were quite repetitive even with the occasional conditions. Thankfully, the ability to lower the difficulty made them a nonfactor. All the sidequests and various random tasks were simple and not too bothersome. One nice touch were the many costumes you could collect. Not only did it change their look, but it also gave them new animations and win poses. They even talk about them if you initiate conversation with them in the dungeon sections. Really great optional dialogue where they chime in on what you're wearing.

The localization was super great. I'm glad I played Golden over the original because they added a ton of extra scenes not found in the original. The amount of extra content is huge and made the game longer than expected during my second playthrough. I'm super curious on how the original game ended so I'll probably check out a LP for that in the future.

And the English VO was excellent. Every character was cast perfectly and made the dialogue even better with their timing. I really loved the characters because of their performances. What a great crew that you end up really caring about. This game also has one  of the most adorable child characters in all of games. I dare you to find someone else as cute and adorable as Nanako-chan. No, don't bother. It's impossible. ^^;

I also need to point out that the soundtrack is amazing as well. Every track is great and never got tiresome. Everything from the intro to the end credits was fantastic. It really gave the game its own identity and is super pleasant to the ears. I really loved the music. Great stuff.

Overall, I'm now in love with the Persona world. I'm going to restart and try to beat Persona 3 now. After that, I'll jump into the Arena fighters and also Persona Q. I really can't wait to see how their story continues in the crossovers. I might also check out the anime since I'm curious how certain scenes played out in animated form. If you haven't played this game, check it out! It's awesome! :D

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Snow and USPS Frustration

So it's been snowing a lot lately around here. I'm frankly sick of it but we have more tonight and another big storm tomorrow. Hopefully it's the last one for Winter because there's frankly no where left to put all this shit.

Also, I've been pretty frustrated with USPS concerning my package deliveries lately. I am particularly annoyed with them for the past two weeks. My Amazon Prime two-day shipping packages have been continually delayed which is irritating to say the least. I can understand that the weather is involved but UPS and FedEx seem to be doing fine at delivering my packages on the estimated delivery dates. But USPS has failed.

I decided to file a complaint through their website and actually got a response back from my local post office the next day. I could tell the USPS rep wasn't exactly happy trying to explain themselves but at least they tried to tell me why it's happening (sorta). It's pretty lame though. They said that they're usually given two extra days to deliver something and said I was right that the weather was affecting them. But this completely negates why I chose Amazon two-day shipping in the first place. In any case, I'm glad they got the message cuz I've let them off the hook too many times before. I hope they fucking wake up and get it together. If UPS/FedEx can get their shit delivered on time then USPS should try too. This isn't the holidays and the weather has been pretty clear so I'm not sure why packages that have been sent recently suddenly get delayed when they reach my local post office.

 I hate my local post office.

Monday, January 05, 2015

LiK's 20 Favorite Games of 2014 + Other Things

Note: I am gonna include games that were released before 2014 and they are listed in no particular order. I wasn't able to play everything in 2014 so there are a lot big games missing in this list. You might see them for my 2015 list though.

Steins;Gate (PC)- This wasn't really much of a game. It's purely a visual novel and what a novel it was. This game has one of the greatest stories ever told. Super smart and full of emotional moments. I was sucked into its world and loved all the characters I met. The Japanese VO in combination with the soundtrack was just perfect. I literally had tears welling up a few times. The twists and revelations were super well done. Even if you watched the anime, you should check out the game for all the additional scenes and alternate endings that are absent in the anime. It's a wonderful journey and definitely should be played by everyone who loves good science fiction. Superb. I can't wait to replay the localized PS3/Vita versions coming out this year.

DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Vita) - What a revelation! One of the most intriguing stories with a bunch of really interesting characters dealing with a twisted situation. If you love game series like Ace Attorney or Zero Escape, you'll feel right at home. The music is excellent and is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. Not only that, but the localization is one of the best. The English dub is fantastic and truly one of the highlights. It's awesome and everyone should check it out.

DanganRonpa: Goodbye Despair (Vita) - Oh hell yea! Props to NISA for bringing out the sequel only a few months after the original was released. The story is still crazy and dark. While I didn't fall in love with the new characters as much as the original, the way this story is connected to the original is pretty brilliant. Once again, excellent localization and the dub is even more improved over the original. My only gripe is that some of the new/altered minigames actually ruined the pacing of the class trials. They're a bit slow or hard to play. Anyway, if you loved the original, don't miss out on this. It's crazy.

Bayonetta 2 (Wii) - HOLY SHIT! This game was incredible. While I loved the first game, the sequel is a huge improvement over it. Not only do you get more crazier moments and insane bosses, but the way they're spaced out is pretty well done. Super exciting and fun to play. The combat is improved and smoother than the original. The story was actually pretty good too. The way they tied it to the original was very clever. My only gripe was that the final boss fight from the original was tons more epic than the sequel. But this is definitely one of the best action games ever made. Also, the first game was included which was a nice bonus.

South Park: Stick of Truth (360) - This was one of the funniest games I played in 2014. Some of the situations and moments were laugh out loud hilarious. I really enjoyed the writing and dialogue. While the gameplay got a bit stale towards the end, it was amazing to see how close this game looks/sounds like the show. It was really well done and anyone who likes RPGs and South Park will have a good time.

Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One) - Really fun and the story had some great revelations for fans of the series. I really liked all the weird/crazy weapons they came up with and the amount of zombies on screen at once was insane. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and I welcomed some of the changes to the game progression.

Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One) - Super fun with some funny moments. It's a great looking game and full of color. I enjoyed the twists to the way certain missions and story beats were done. My only gripe would be that I wanted more side stories and some characters should've been fleshed out. But overall, it was tons of fun and I loved the light-hearted nature of the world. There were some genuinely clever ideas for some missions which I appreciated.

Dark Souls II (PS3/PC) - While this game was no where near as atmospheric and well told as Demon's Souls nor as challenging and well thought out as Dark Souls 1, it was still fun. Co-op is better and I enjoyed the improvements to the certain game systems that plagued the previous Souls games. But I wish the lore was better and I really wish the characters and bosses were more memorable. It's definitely missing that magic without the Miyazaki (original director) in charge. I'm not sure if I'll bother with the enhanced rerelease this year yet. Maybe...

inFamous: Second Son (PS4) - While this may be my least favorite game in the series, it was still fun and I enjoyed all the new powers. It's also visually impressive. I was particularly impressed with the lighting and animations. I didn't like Delsin much until the end and he's only likable if you stick with the Good side. Speaking of the characters, I wish they were more fleshed out. You don't really get a lot of side stories which was disappointing. But overall, it has its moments. I also recommend the standalone DLC: First Light if you want more. That was lots of fun too and had a better character.

Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Really fun game with a surprisingly great story. I didn't think I would care about the characters but I did. I really enjoyed the stealth as well as the shooting. It had some really terrific moments worth experiencing. Killing Nazis never gets old.

Watch Dogs (PS4) - While people may like to cry about the graphical downgrades it received for final release, I still had fun with it. This game has the BEST gunplay I've experienced in an open-world game. Hell, the shooting was better than a lot of third-person shooters, imo. It's super tight and snappy. Traversal was also smooth as silk. I also really enjoyed messing with the enemies by stealthily hacking things to distract them or take them out. Those were pretty creative levels. While the story was blah and no one was really likable, the gameplay was fun and I hope we see a much better sequel as a result.

Destiny (PS4) - This might be my most played game of 2014. I literally played it for months since launch while ignoring other games in my pile. I really love the core shooting mechanics and this game actually got me to be social again with folks online. The Raids were a big part of that. Yea, the story is nonexistent, the mission designs are awful, the constant changes to the system from updates is a pain and the bugs/glitches are embarrassing. But there's something that's hooked me and I'm still playing it to this day. I play with a dedicated group of people and leveling the gear and getting the loot has been the new goals that's kept us playing. I'm also still loving the PVP as well. The way I've been playing this game reminded me of my days of playing Counter-Strike, Starcraft and Diablo II. I'm not sure when the spell is broken but even with all the flaws, I'm still addicted to this game.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4) - So they took the Batman Arkham games and combined them with the Assassin's Creed games and mixed them in the Lord of the Rings world and what do you get? Awesomeness. The combat was really fantastic and never got old. I enjoyed every new ability I unlocked. I also loved the Nemesis system which was a gamechanger. While the story wasn't the greatest ever, the way they tied the lore to the books/movies was pretty cool. One major gripe I had was this game's world wasn't very pleasant to explore. I wish there were more NPCs to talk to and more people to help. That would've helped the game's story a lot more. I look forward to the sequel.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4) - Fantastic campaign. I really loved the spectacle and all the new futuristic powers and weapons. The story was a good popcorn flick and lots of fun. While I hated some of the QTE BS within certain sections, they were kept to a minimum. Kevin Spacey really added quite a bit to the story. It's also a beautiful game with some of the most realistic faces I've seen in a game. Whatever they used for the facial capture and rendering, keep using them. They looked damn good. I didn't bother with the MP so I have nothing to say about it.

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - Really fun and polished game. This might be one of my fave Zelda games in the series. I loved the old school simplicity mixed with some modern changes. The music is excellent and the 3D effects were well done. Nothing else to say, it's great.

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS) - What a great SRPG. The story was really well done and I loved all the characters in the game. The localization was great and added a lot to the dialogue. While I admit I dropped the difficulty down to Casual to enjoy all the optional dialogue and characters, it didn't take away from the fun factor of the battles. It's pretty damn cool how the story unfolds depending on whether you're male/female and who you choose to romance and form relationships with. Lots of replayability.

Ace Attorney Investigations 2 [Fan Translation] (DS) - Yea, I'm including a fan translation because this game was damn amazing. The story continues where the original AAI left off and the way it's told is even better. Better cases and revelations kept me going. The way certain older characters from the series were brought back was genius. It's definitely one of the best games in the Ace Attorney series and shows Edgeworth at his finest. And of course, the fan translation was pitch perfect. They captured the feel and sounds of the official localization perfectly. They even came up with some great English names and even did English VO with fans. Really impressive job! Grab this online and play it because it's a damn shame Capcom hasn't bothered doing an official English localization for this game at all. Fans shouldn't miss out on this.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PC) - I was actually surprised how little people remembered about this DLC since Episode 2 came out in 2014. Not only does both parts work together to form a really great story but it also manages to tie into all the previous games in the series really well. The gameplay is also refreshing enough in Episode 2 that it felt like a different game. If you're a fan of the Bioshock series, it's pretty much a must-play and great end to the franchise if they don't make anymore. The ending was bittersweet. Godspeed Irrational Games.

Blackwell Epiphany (PC) - The final game in the Blackwell series. It was great and the revelations were pretty shocking. The finest entry in the series. I've loved this series and it's sad that the creator had finally ended it. I love Rosa and Joey. They're great characters with a lot of heart and soul. If you haven't checked out this awesome series of adventure games, make sure to start with the first and play them in order of release. You're in for a treat.

The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (PC) - Really great new series from Telltale. While some parts weren't the best, I found myself enjoying the majority of the entire season. Lots of intrigue and interesting characters. I loved the look of the game and the music is excellent. I never read the comics but I will check them out soon all because of this game. I can't wait to see what happens in Season 2.

Most Disappointing Game

Halo: Spartan Assault (Xbox One) - Got this free from the Games with Gold deal and boy was I glad I didn't pay for this. Super disappointing game. The gameplay was fine but forcing limited ammo on a twin-stick shooter made it a chore to play through. The missions were also very short with nothing really going on. I was pretty bored by it and that's the worst thing I can feel about a game. Hopefully the follow-up is better because this was definitely not worth my time. Skip it.

Most Surprising

The Room & The Room Two (iOS) - I heard great things about these games but I was surprised how much I got into them. I got the first one free and I loved it so much that I immediately bought the second one. The game looks great and the touch controls were very intuitive. The puzzles were fun to figure out and the hint system was actually helpful without spoiling. Very well done. I look forward to anything else this developer makes.

Games I need to play in 2015 once I break my Destiny addiction

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Far Cry 4
Assassin's Creed Unity
Lords of the Fallen
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright
Persona 4 Golden
Kickstarter games I backed

Thanks for reading.