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The Deadly Tower of Monsters is one of these games, which essentially have only one central narration, but manage to get a lot of mileage out of it regardless. There is even a little bit of Stanley Parable thrown into it here and there. I like it!
The game is built around the idea that a director is recording a commentary track for one of his old movies, which gets a new DVD release.

So this director has a ton of stories to share while playing, but also addresses things the player does. It’s done really well, they have thought of a great many scenarios. While the gameplay and the graphics and the sound are all good, the director and the assistant commenting on everything, is the main event here.

It was actually shocking to me how good the graphics were. Both animation and design were much more imaginative and creative than many AAA games I played in recent history. Finally something that has true memorable and distinctive design and isn’t just some generic outing like a thousand other (therefore) forgettable games.

Without them having to say it outright, I was constantly thinking of Ray Harryhausen, tons of the monsters moved/were animated exactly like beasts from his movies. They nailed that stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone even trying anything like that in a game. I had to wonder if it’s harder to animate something that looks like “stop-motion model animation” in the Unreal engine, than it is to do it like everyone else.
It took me only 5 hours to complete the game and I’m really happy I haven’t missed this fun gem.

Ghost 1.0 has the same name problem, I thought, Dex has. Searching for these games is a nightmare and I can only imagine this hurt their success. They are both really great and I think I’m growing fond of this metroidvania type of game. I can’t say I’ve played many, but pretty much every one I have played was a huge hit to me. Dust comes immediately to mind, which is another of my all time favorites.
Ghost 1.0 has good gameplay, good music, nice graphics, good controls, great story and characters honestly and… Does a good game need anything more? I don’t think so. It’s all here.
I enjoyed the game a lot, although I suck at it. There’s this rescue mission in the game and it took me ages to complete it (I hate that it’s not possible to save during this long mission, it has to be completed in one session). Maybe it’s supposed to be hard, because the menu allows the player to skip it, but geez… I had to do some scenes like 10 times before I was able to pass them. :D In a worse game this might have kept me from finishing it.
The game offers more smaller side-missions after the main story is done. These shorter missions (which have to be unlocked during the main campaign) are also very brutal as far as I’ve played them so far.
The game definitely lacks whatever type of frame-limiter. It runs with ~2700 FPS, which seems like a slight overkill…

Hard West is kind of between XCOM and Valkyria Chronicles, as far as the story (or a story) is concerned and uses a “choose your own adventure” vehicle to tell it, it resembles a little bit the interactive slides in Pillars of Eternity. The gameplay is straight XCOM though. I wish the tactical battles would steal even more from XCOM, since there aren’t that many disruptive events within a mission. While the game has a ton of guns (too many almost), there is little else and the guns don’t really differ much, besides their range and damage – so there are usually ~5 guns that fulfill the exact same role. For all the typical Western tropes, this game has no scenes on trains and there are no Gatling guns. In that regard it’s the opposite of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, which obviously constantly has Gatling guns. :P
The story is told in several loosely connected and separate campaigns. Nothing carries over between those campaigns, so all earned gear is gone again. I mean, ultimately you only need the gun called “the judge”, but still. :P
There is also no leveling for individual characters. All characters can be equipped individually (there are also cards which can buff stats), but all this stuff can be given to whomever.
The graphics are good and the sounds are alright alright alright, but for everyone who likes the old west and XCOM, this doesn’t matter all that much anyway, since there is no competition here. I’m glad I played it and I had fun, but it won’t become an obsession like XCOM 2.

PS: After Mad Max this is only the second game to have darker screenshots for whatever crazy reason. The brightness in the game itself while playing it was ALRIGHT.

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ME: AGAIN

What sold Mass Effect 1 (and its world) to me, was that moment on the citadel, still very early in the game. Shepard starts out in the human embassy. All embassies are in the same “wing” of the citadel, so walking into all the other embassies was the first thing I did. Some civilizations were deemed so unimportant, that they were stuffed into the same room even. One of them has the Elcor and Volus in it (I think) and the Volus ambassador complains, because the humans get bigger influence, although they arrived last on the citadel. Whether they are actually getting the short end of the stick wasn’t entirely clear to me, but just knowing that there are several factions with their own agendas, actual politics, made this world work. It gave this universe life. It made it interesting.

ME:A has none of that stuff. The helios cluster is an empty, isolated place in comparison. There are no new places/civilizations/cultures […] to discover. Even the ones brought from the old series were essentially robbed of their culture, because now, they all just blend together as AI members. They are empty faces without meaning now.

This even swaps over to multiplayer. In ME3, most of the maps were very beautiful, incredibly detailed, with many animated objects which made everything feel… if not alive then at least functional. It was always obvious at first glance, if a map was supposed to be on the Asari homeworld or if it was a Cerberus base. Everything was this well established. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the mp maps in ME:A ugly or anything, BUT in comparison they clearly belong in generic, boring categories. There is maybe one map that stands out for me, the rest is just serviceable. This is the complete opposite of ME3, because there they had one map I didn’t like, all the others were good or great.

I don’t want to do the dead horse thing and yet I can’t help to notice, that the faces of some of the mp characters look better than most in the sp campaign. So it’s not like they can’t do them right. The voices on the other hand… The Asari vanguard in ME3 was voiced by Laura Bailey (I’m quite sure) and therefore she sounds great, meanwhile the voices of mp characters in ME:A sound like various people “from around the office” recorded them and they forgot to re-record these placeholders with real voice actors. Charging with the human female vanguard sounds like the Wilhelm scream. I… just don’t know man.

What also let me down a little, is that the enemies were so much more fun to fight in ME3’s mp. The enemies in ME:A’s mp feel as if they just split into easy and hard and that’s it. ME3 had a relatively wide cast of easy, medium, supporting, annoying and hard opponents. For all 4 factions. I still remember the first time I encountered a Cerberus engineer placing his turret. Or how serious fighting phantoms could be (at least if you didn’t have stasis). ME:A can’t compete. Its enemies mostly look/feel same.

Also don’t read:

MP bugs
My main ME:A post
Faces

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Funny thing is, after playing Torment, I thought why not go back and play Planescape: Torment again? So I installed it, with all the mods and whatnot, approximately 1 day after I did that, this Enhanced Edition was announced. So I was obviously going to wait for it to come out. GOG even gave a discount to everyone who already had PST in their account…

As if that wasn’t a lucky break, it got even much better, because I only played PST once, like 10 years ago and I’ve forgotten A LOT about it. So there I was, playing this game about an amnesiac, who sometimes has flashbacks, as a sort of amnesiac who had flashbacks about his first playthrough. THIS is probably the ideal way to experience this game!

Story, characters, quests – all totally hold up. I can even say, at this point, this game was way ahead of its time, since there are games now which fail to pull off some elements as good as Torment did it 18 years ago.
I can only criticize the ending and the bit leading up to it. The game starts with enormous amounts of text (which is good because the writing is almost always quite remarkable – better than many current games, not kidding) for everything, so much in fact, that the ending just feels rushed in comparison – it might not have been as noticeable in a lesser game. I really wish it could have been elaborated upon a bit more.

Sure, it’s possible to piece the most important parts together, but again, in comparison with the detailed rest of the game, it’s “short”. It really made me wanna read the book, in hopes of reaching a deeper insight, but of course it’s not really available anymore. So scratch that. A nice moment like the one at the ending of Witcher 2 (a huge/long conversation about everything that happened in the game takes place :D), really would have been welcome here.

The EE itself is rather well done, I mean… full text search for the journal? Hello? It’s like a dream come true! It’s amazing (tab-highlighting is the best!). They introduced several features I was hoping for, all without really taking anything away (but to play it safe, they added options to shut down all the new stuff). It’s without a doubt the best way to experience PST now. It always pains me a little to say this, because I don’t want to undermine all the tremendous work all the modders have done over so many years – it’s beyond the shadow of a doubt their merit as well, that these games are still alive after all these years and yet there are just some things even all the mods couldn’t improve.

I had a single issue with this EE, the game would crash when opening the map screen in several locations (thankfully the game auto-saves with every map transition). This is definitely something I hope they can still fix. I could outright reproduce it in the drowned nations and it happened in inner curst and on the baator map too. In the hive, for example, it never happened, although I used the map there a thousand times. Other than that, this thing seemed to be rock-solid.

GOG Galaxy counted 49,5 hours, while Steam counted 63 hours for my Torment: Tides of Numenera playthrough. Of course these numbers aren’t exact, since I sometimes let them running without actively playing, but obviously they aren’t so far off that I could say Tides of Numenera was shorter (something I heard repeatedly which is why I’m considering this as debunked now).

PS: The thing with the screenshots is true about this game too, I was so immersed, that I forgot all about taking any, which is why I now have none of many interesting areas…

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