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Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2019
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Welcome to the sure-to-be-massive, soon-to-be-out-of-control Geeklist where VGGers rejoice in beating games large and small, new and old. Here's how this works:

Whenever you finish a game, add it to the list and share your thoughts. Use your best judgement for exactly WHEN a game is 'beaten:' 'final boss defeated,''saw the credits,' 'completed the main storyline,' '100%' etc. Whatever seems reasonable to you.

These lists have been running since 2011 and tend to draw a lot of conversation. Feel free to offer whatever commentary you like on the game and your experience playing it. Be brief or thorough, broad or narrow - its up to you.

To get started, tell us what platform you played the game on and whether or not you've beaten it before.

To all new users: the more the merrier. We try to keep it lively and friendly. There is no need to read through every page before jumping in. Be sure to subscribe to this list so you can see what everyone else is playing!

Not sure what to play? Curious to see what others are looking forward to in 2018? Join the fray in The 2019 Videogame Challenge! or participate in our annual '100 great games' community goal.

If you want to see what VGGers were up to in years past, look here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Should I add a game to this list if it has already been added by somebody else?
A: Of course!

Q: Should I add a game to list more than once if I beat it more than once?
A: No, but feel free to update your original item or add a new comment beneath it.

Q: I want to talk about a game, but because it's driving me crazy, not because I'm going to finish it. Where should I go for that?
A: Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2019 or Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2019.

VGG Community Goals for 2018:

(links coming soon)

mb [geeklist=][/geeklist]

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Sorting:

VGGer extraordinaire Grimwold hosts a useful sorting mechanism for these lists through his own site. This lets you see what individual users have beaten (sort by user) and also how many times a game has been beaten, and by whom (sort by game). Due to the way VGG handles caching, you will need to refresh the lists 10-15 seconds after clicking on the links below.

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1. Video Game: Mass Effect 2 [Average Rating:8.58 Overall Rank:7] [Average Rating:8.58 Unranked]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Platform: Xbox 360
Time to Complete: 46:45 (mostly in 2018)
Enjoyment: Extremely High
Romance Option: Yes, Miranda
Rating: 9.5/10

This game was on my 2018 Hardcore list, but the holidays prevented me from finishing within the confines of 2018. I just did the suicide mission between 1:00 and 3:00 AM and finally completed the game after a two week hiatus. I am pretty sure that I completed every quest aside from delivering something to a merchant on Omega. I have not played the DLC, but I may very well go back and do that at some point.

Given the fame of this game, I seriously doubt that there is anything that I can say which hasn't been said before or better by someone else. However, I will still venture to give a few comments. I only started playing the trilogy for the first time about six months back, so it is still fresh to me and I am still amazed at how great this series is.

The game improves upon nearly every aspect of the first game. Planet survey missions are a little less repetitive, there are more characters with slightly more interesting backstories than the ME1 characters they replaced, the graphics improved, and best of all the upgrade system has been streamlined so that inventory management is no longer as time-consuming. The ability to continue the story from the first game and have your previous decisions impact your experience is great and added immensely to my enjoyment and immersion. It was also nice to see some of the ME1 characters who survived the fight with Sovereign, get a glimpse into their lives, and get a chance to speculate about what role they will play in ME3.

On the other hand, there were a couple of areas where I felt like the second game took a slight step back from the original entry. The story of ME2 is engrossing, but the more I reflect on it, I realize that I was more interested in the characters and their back stories than the Reapers and Collectors. The Suicide Mission at the end of the game did not feel nearly as epic as the final battle at the end of the first game and while I had to fight hard and make my decisions carefully, I was able to get through it without dying and only losing Jack, for whom I shed no tears. My only regret about my play through is that I did not follow my gut when I was investigating the Shadow Broker's agent for Liara.

I am looking forward to playing ME3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda this year. At some point, I will almost certainly do a replay with female Shepherd as a Renegade to get a different experience.
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2. Video Game: 7 Billion Humans [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Pieter
Netherlands
Tilburg
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Genre: Puzzle/Programming
Platform: PC
Difficulty: N/A
Time spent: 25 hours
Enjoyment: High

7 Billion Humans is the sequel to Human Resource Machine. Both are programming games, in which you use a very simple, goto-based language to instruct characters to perform a task.

Human Resource Machine is focused on one single character who has to grab labeled boxes from an input conveyor belt, manipulate them, and put boxes on an output conveyor belt. The concept that the game revolves around is imperative programming, i.e., specifying a sequence of instructions which achieve an intended goal when run from start to finish.

In contrast, 7 Billion Humans revolves around agent-based programming. In every puzzle the player has to control multiple agents, all with one-and-the-same program, which each of the agents runs in parallel with all the other agents, to make the agents perform a task as a group. The tasks have a high variety, mostly related to common programming problems such as selecting, sorting, defragging, counting, and pathfinding. However, often the common solutions to these problems are unfit for the game, as you have multiple agents available to solve them with, which means that you have to deal with parallel programming issues.

In addition to the programming concepts of the earlier game, the player also has access to commands such as "tell", to shout an instruction to one other agent or all other agents, "listen", to make an agent wait for a particular instruction, and "foreachdir", to make an agent execute a block of code for all the squares that surround the agent.

The puzzles of the game vary from really easy to pretty difficult. The difficulty is often upped a notch with the OCD challenges, in which you have to solve a puzzle with a limited number of instructions or within a limited amount of time. Sometimes the solutions to these OCD challenges feel like an insult to an experienced programmer (which I am), for instance when you reduce the size of a program by removing certain checks which make the agents give warnings but still let the program continue, or when you reduce the time the program needs by removing loops and copying the contents of the loops as often as you need them to run. I shiver at the thought. The OCD challenges are optional, though, unless you want to get all the achievements. I found that usually they are not that hard when you have been able to solve the puzzle in the "regular" way (only for one of them I needed a hint to reduce the size of the program by one more line).

The art style of the game and the small story that is running in the background are at least "interesting", and the music is excellent -- however, I always turn the music off as it interferes with my thinking.

There are still things to complain about. Editing the programs could be a lot more friendly, and the fact that you cannot actually turn off the background sounds (you can only choose between "loud" and "very loud") is a strange decision -- yes, you can turn off your speakers, but I sometimes like to listen to a podcast while playing a game like this, so that is not a good solution. Also, I feel that a few important programming concept are missing, like the ability to use parentheses in conditions.

However, all in all I enjoyed my time with 7 Billion Humans. It is a lot more fun for an experienced programmer than Human Resource Machine was. Some of the problems you encounter are truly interesting challenges.

Recommended to fans of programming puzzles.
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3. Video Game: Child of Light [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:766]
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Platform: Windows

Hardcore List: No

Time Played: 3.5 hrs

Personal Best: 1:37:21

First Playthrough: No

Completion: Casual Any% Speedrun

Commentary: I'm continuing speedrunning this game. I got 3 gold splits and all the skips, but got trolled by some of the bosses. I expect my PBs will keep taking longer and longer to beat. I have someone following me on Twitch who is looking to start running the game, so it's kinda fun to have him in my stream.

Again, I just love this game. Everyone go play it now laugh


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4. Video Game: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Beaten
Platform: Windows (Steam/Uplay)
First released: 2016
Date started: January 1st
Date finsihed: January 2nd
First time finished? Yes
On my Hardcore list? Yes (Hardcore BETA)
HLTB: 5 hours
Playtime: 5 hours, 30 minutes (330 minutes)
My rating:

-----

It wasn't as bad as I feared (I heard rumours); but it was quite different... first of all you now have a second player character, Anastasia Romanova - who also get possessed with Shao Jun's (the player character from Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China) memory.

Unlike the other two Chronicles there are no boss fight - apart from fighting a Mk V tank and some MG-gunners - and this was the worst mission! First having to run away from a Mk.V tank hunting you; you have to run fast to avoid being ran down - as well as being perforated by the tank's MG: Then you have to destroy the tank in a traditional three-step boss fight where you have to shoot three shots at three different spots; while three MG-gunners shoot at you at the same time - and you are provided only little cover.
Yes it is a boss fight - but different from the other in the series.

I really enjoyed the cut scenes! They were less "artistic" than in India and a little better (to my taste) from China. All in all pretty good I would say
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5. Video Game: Sorcery! [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1833]
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Platform: Kindle Fire
Time this year: 2 hours
First time beaten? No!

Wow, looks like I haven't played this since 2015, which is crazy, because this is a great little CYOA for when I don't have a lot of time to play a game or read a book, but want to do a little bit of both.

This is part one of four and I have the next game in the series, but not the final two (I'll get them someday - so far I've gotten them all for free - so my plan has been to wait until they are offered then snag them!)

This time when I played I learned three new spells, which are not listed in the spellbook at the start of the game. I also befriended an assassin, made friends with a witch, cured the plague, managed to only get into three fights total, got some elements needed for spells, and got two keys needed in later games.

I also remembered to write down the save word when I finished the game, so that I can continue on to the next game with the same items and spells and allies unlocked.

I did die a number of times, but used the rewind function to see what other choices would have lead to - sometimes purposely choosing that which would kill me so I could get the ending text. I also mainly cast spells - if there was the option to cast a spell, I took it! Last time I played through as a brutish fighter, hardly touching the spellbook except in times of dire need. This time I flung out spells like candy!

I can't wait to play the next game in the series!
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6. Video Game: Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Kennan Ward
United States
Idaho
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Completed: Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Platform: PC

Side scrolling action game similar to Castlevania 3 but with less challenging stairs. Different paths in each stage. At the end of the first three levels you can either gain an ally and play as them with their own abilities, kill them for a new power, or leave them. Characters sub weapons or abilities can give you different ways to progress or options to handle enemies and obstacles in much simpler ways, some characters have moves that combo well together. Different endings will give you two different modes where you replay the game as the other characters with a new extra stage and boss or play with a new charged attack. Can take all three allies with you and swap with a button.

https://twitter.com/Legolas_Katarn/status/108031354763927552...
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7. Video Game: Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution 2 [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Android version. Not first time.

I completed another game of Civ Rev 2, this time on King difficulty and playing as the Romans. I had a really slow start, since my capital city didn't have any grasslands or plains around it and didn't grow at all until much later in the game. My second founded city eventually became my maga-good-at-everything city that was generating ~500 science per turn and was building world wonders every few turns. The AI was keeping up with me in tech and stuff during the early game, and building more army units than me. Fortunatley for me, it is SUPER easy to defend your cities in this game because your units can get so many defensive bonuses. This also means it can be very difficult to take cities from a well-defended opponent, so I don't think anyone conquered a city at all the whole game, even though there was lots of "war". I think all civs in the game declared war on me at some point, and Russia and Germany stayed at war with me for the majority of the game. Once I hit the industrial age, I started taking off in tech compared to everyone else and I started pumping out wonders (Romans build wonders twice as fast as other civs) and eventually built the UN for a culture victory.

Fun little game. More "boardgamey" and not nearly as deep or balanced as the mainline Civilization games, but a fun lighter take on the series.

For more detail on how it differs from the main Civ games, see my 2018 post on it.


EDIT: I just played this game with the sound on for the first time and I found out that everyone talks in Sims-like gibberish. Also, music is sparse and nothing to get excited about when it is present.

At least now I know I'm not missing out on anything by playing with the sound off.
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8. Video Game: Spy Fox 2: Some Assembly Required [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Matt Utting
Australia
Preston
Victoria
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Time Taken: 3 hours
Platform
First Time

Played through with my daughter. We took rather too much time as we missed getting one of the items from the vending machine and she insisted that we absolutely did get them all. We had an entire chain worked out, but couldn't do the first part because of that.

She complained that it wasn't as much fun as Spy Fox 1, but I think that's just because she doesn't remember Spy Fox 1 as much. She's now insisting that we replay that one, but I might just let her tackle that one by herself and see how good her inventory puzzle adventure game skills have progressed
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9. Video Game: The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Play time: 5 hours
Platform: PC (Steam)
First time beaten?: Yes.

Some thoughts: Another good hidden object game. There were some technical glitches along the way, but nothing show-stopping. I don't know that I liked it as much as the previous game in the series, but it was still decent.
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10. Video Game: Beauty Bounce [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Beaten
Platform: Windows (Steam)
First released: 2015
Date started: January 2nd
Date finsihed: January 2nd
First time finished? Yes
On my Hardcore list? Yes (Hardcore BETA)
HLTB: 40 minutes
Playtime: 1 hour 13 minutes (73 minutes)
My rating:

-----

Completed one of the story lines of Beauty Bounce - the ending called Pageant Hero, which sounds like one of the best endings possible (perhaps apart from Harem End (and who knows Saved as a Slave might not be too bad an ending either...). Pageant Hero is also the most played-through ending on Steam I can see.

The game is okay; it's a continuation from Beach Bounce, and this time we follow Tomo's struggle with getting a new deal with the bank - while Beach Bounce Resort also are having a beauty contest!

Some of the original girls are being exchanged; only three girls from the first cast is left, and three new are added; one new staff, the banker and a guest. There are five possible endings, where one is really bad! Closing of Beach Bounce! Two of them seems content (Saved as a Slave and Sort of Saved) and two good ones (Pageant Hero and Harem End) - but these are just my guesses of what each ending is categorized as.
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11. Video Game: The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:1880] [Average Rating:8.24 Unranked]
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Platform: Switch
Time Taken: about 40 minutes (for the game)
Times Completed (this year): 10
Enjoyment: Medium-High
Current Completion:
- 10/13 available characters unlocked (missing: Apollyon, Greed, The Lost)
- 43/110 available character modes completed (36 on hard difficulty)
- 2 Delirium kills
- 33/35 challenges unlocked, 7/35 completed
- 169/375 Secrets (yikes)
- 179/182 Bestiary entries
- Less than half of all items found

Just starting this again. Going to see how far I can go with it. I know the switch version isn't complete yet, or at least i heard it isn't, it's missing the final character and probably some other stuff, but it does have The Void and a lot more than I ever got on PC. I like playing this with the switch controls more than on the keyboard or with the XBox controller. It just feels better. BUt again, also, the portability of this is perfect (and the ability to pause and sleep the system in the middle, saving my game, is just wonderful).

I have resigned myself to liking this game despite the many problems I have with it. I definitely have fun with it and there is more than just a compulsion (I'm better at putting it down than, say, Smash Bros) but I'm bugged by a lot of things about it if I think about it. I've never really been a fan of its gross-out stuff, it's not balanced at all, and some rounds are just duds. But sometimes it's just crazy fun. So... yeah? Anyway, I'm going to try and keep this one updated as I progress.
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12. Video Game: Star Trek: Conquest [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:5706]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Platform: PlayStation 2
Times Beaten: Multiple
Enjoyment: Moderate
Time to Beat: ~3 hours

Last year, I beat this game on Easy with all of the factions. Yesterday, I decided to revisit the game on Medium with the Cardassians. Due to the imbalance of the factions, it can be difficult to achieve victory on the higher difficulty settings. The problem for the Cardassians is that their ships have poor hull integrity and tend to explode rather easily, a major problem especially against the Dominion, whose ships can both receive and dole out immense amounts of punishment. I was able to pull it off in 46 turns with the Cardassians, however, largely because they have two admirals whose skill is Movement, which enables them to attack multiple times and Cardassian ships are cheap.

This game is something of a guilty pleasure that I enjoy in much the same way that I enjoy Risk: The Game of Global Domination on both SEGA Genesis and PlayStation. The game isn't deep by any means and the A.I. often makes terrible decisions on any difficulty setting, but it is oddly addictive somehow and I often find myself wanting to revisit it. Last night's session should scratch my itch for a while, but if and when I come back to it, I will be looking for another victory on Medium with one of the other factions.

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13. Video Game: Secret Little Haven [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Kennan Ward
United States
Idaho
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Completed: Secret Little Haven
Platform: PC

A well written and presented story focused on self acceptance, societal expectations and gaslighting, early internet culture and interaction, fandom, and the fragility of partly anonymous but meaningful online friendships and relationships. Set in 1999 where you engage with your friends through instant messenger, doing a good job capturing the feel of its use, and an online community focused around a magical girl anime. Story condensed in length with final parental interaction standing in more for dealing with and overcoming a lifetime of masculine societal expectations, rather than something overcome in a day and a out of nowhere group messaging system.

https://twitter.com/Legolas_Katarn/status/108041855123880345...
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14. Video Game: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:5997]
Kennan Ward
United States
Idaho
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Completed: The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Platform: PC

Play as a 10 year old boy imagining himself as a superhero to uncover a generic story of a mothers death and an abusive alcoholic father. With a few story moments that don't make much sense with some dialogue being a bit contradictory, cliche actions and dialogue, and usual narrative moments that seem more focused on having you understanding why or being partially sympathetic with an abuser instead of focusing more on the harm they do and dealing with that (though it wasn't near as bad as Life Is Strange's abusive father figure who got to be a hero at the end). If more of the story is focused around the abuser and I'm unable to brutally kill them with my telekinetic superpowers, I don't see much of a point. Also don't like kids, even when I was a kid, probably even more so a 10 year old that still writes to Santa.
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15. Video Game: Quake III: Arena [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:345]
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Completed for the second time (I think), on the PC. Took me around 3 hours I'd guess. Played on Bring It On difficulty.

Enjoyment: Medium

Summary: While it's a well-regarded multiplayer arena shooter, its single player campaign leaves a lot to be desired.

Q3 aged pretty badly, and I still hold the opinion that it's vastly inferior to UT'99. It's a faster-paced game, but that's about it - and that's only a good thing if UT is too slow for you. I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, I've beaten this one for our Community goal 2019: Play the top 301-400 games on the VGG ranking list. Please have a look and see if you can help out with our goal this year - we've got a bunch of pretty hard-to-come-by titles, so we could use a hand!
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16. Video Game: Marvel's Spider-Man [Average Rating:8.82 Overall Rank:2087]
Luis
Spain
Madrid
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General info: First time beaten, PS4, spectacular (hard) difficulty, in approximately 30 hours. There's a higher difficulty setting, but you have to complete the game to unlock it. Did all side activities, including gold medals in all challenges but the drone ones. My wife and I bought a PS4 bundle during black friday which included Spider-Man, so this is the first PS4 game I've played, couch multiplayer indies aside.

Commentary: I've always liked Spider-Man when I was a kid: rigorously watched the TV cartoon, bought some comics, and a couple toys. Thus, when I heard "this does for Spider-Man what the Arkham series did for Batman", with the Arkham Asylum and City being some of my favourite games, I was all in. And I do have to admit, said comparison is more than fair: the game drinks a lot from the Arkham series and, aside from the occasional mishap, does manage to adapt mechanisms so as they feel both fresh and Spider-y.

In terms of plot, the game stays true to the essense of the source material. Peter Parker has always been for me, and for many others, the most relatable of all superheroes, as the core of his personality revolves around work-life balance. Yes, there's a fantasy element, but replace the webslinging and the supervillains with a realistic ocupation that's both demanding and altruistic, an his struggles should still make sense. At least if the writing is good. Relatable problems in an outworldly setting is what keeps a super hero story grounded and enjoyable for me, and this is something the video game manages to capture very well. In more specific terms, it kicks in with Pete's and Mary Jane's (MJ) relationship after a fall off, and revolves around how they should be moving forward. Dissecting it any further means spoilers so, even though I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum, it still goes into a spoiler box.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
It's basically that Peter's behaviour has been patronizing out of fear for her safety, something MJ eventually grew tired of, forcing her to leave. A relevant issue in this day and age, if you ask me.

Sadly, there's a considerable flaw when it comes to narrative and pacing of the game: Miles Morales makes an appearance, and his presence contributes precisely nothing to the overarching plot. He seems to be there to serve two purposes. One, to prepare audiences for the film Into the Spiderverse (which is great, and you should see, but that's beside the point). Two, to pave the road for more games, either sequels or spin-offs. Miles gives the impression he has been added late into the developing process, as not only his introduction is forced, but the more you advance his storyline, the more you realize you could remove him entirely. This wouldn't be all that bad if not because he has stealth sequences, which are super annoying mechanically speaking. Said sequences are super linear, and basically act as glorified quick time events: hide behind cover, wait for foe to turn, maybe throwing something to distract him, advance to the next cover, repeat. This goes into stark contrast with the game's fluid and open-ended core mechanisms. Truth be told, MJ has extremely similar sequences, but hers greatly contribute to the plot, so I could find some solace while going through them. Sadly, Miles sequences are just unnecessary, both from a narrative and from a mechanical perspective.

And now that I've covered one of my two main quibbles, I'll cover the other. As a modern AAA open-world game, it has a lot of optional collectibles. Thankfully, because the game's core mechanisms are so enjoyable I greatly enjoyed completing most of them, with a glaring but notable exception: the gold ranks of drone challenges. In those, you have to follow a drone through very specific route with very little margin for error. This not only goes greatly against the open-ended and fuild nature of the game, but it requires a degree of precission and control over aerial movement and webslinging that's not necessary anywhere else in the game. Thus, these feel more like an artificial difficulty spike introduced with the sole purpose of creating some really hard to unlock achievements. The rest of the collectibles are of varying difficulty and enjoyability, and do extend the game's longevity in the natural way you would expect of an optional activity.

Now, the rest of the game. It's awesome. As I've said many times before, I'm a sucker for third-person games with super dynamic movement, and Spider-Man nails it. The webslinging not only is extremely thematic, but is also implemented in the best way possible, as you're constantly encouraged to keep your momentum up through correctly angled releases, wall runs, dives and point launches. It's just a joy to play around with, and one of the main reasons I completed all optional activities, as I just wanted an excuse to go from one place to another. There's also a fast travel mechanism too, but I do struggle to find a reason for it to be there: why would anyone would want to skip the best part of the game? But hey, using it is optional, so I really don't mind its presence.

Speaking of webslinging, the vibe of Manhattan is captured remarkably well, which makes travesing the city all the more enjoyable. As all other open world games, it's considerably smaller than its real-world inspiration, and multiple landmarks are missing, but the vibe is there. I do have to say I was disappointed when I realized I wasn't going to be able to swing my way up to the Statue of Liberty. On the plus side, I was very amused when I discovered how the "bull" of Wall Street is portrayed.

In terms of hand to hand combat, while the game drinks a lot from Batman's Arkham series, it's far from being a copy. It's like comparing Quake's super frantic action with Rainbow Six's more methodical approach: while both are FPS shooters, they feel remarkably different. This is true of Spider-Man, who does have a combo counter, like in Batman's Arkham, and a parry button too. Thing is, combat in Arkham has a lot of weight to it, as a single bad key press breaks your combo, leaving you open to your enemies. This is not true for Spider-Man, where the parry button acts as both an "avoid damage" and a "jump out of danger", so pressing the parry key a bit off key just means you'll reposition. To compensate for this, successful dodges don't deal damage. This, on its own, makes combat feel super fluid, but the feature that I enjoyed the most were the web shooters, which you can use mid-fight to wrap your enemies. At first, this just serves to leave them open to combos for a few seconds, but after a few unlocks they allow you to instantly remove them from the fight, as if you throw webbed enemies hard enough against the environment, they get stuck to it and are immediately removed from the fight. The more unlocks you have, the more ways you have to stick them to surfaces. And this "instagib" works for almost every single enemy you encounter, including special enemies, so you're actively encouraged to dispatch foes in the most spider-y way possible. Pulling off said moves is also straightforward, mostly requiring you to exploit your mobility in order to find openings in order to safely and successfully pull the move. Thus, not only it's effective tactic, but also extremely thematic and fun.

But Marvel's Spider-Man not only has been inspired by Arkham's combat: it also has "predator" sequences, where you get to pick the bad guys one by one. While not actively bad, some of these feel a bit out of place, as the enemies don't become as rattled as in Arkham, which was what made them so great. This is particularly noticeable in some slower-paced quest sequences, as the more open-ended activities allow you to quickly dispatch a few enemies in a very swift fasion before you get thrown into combat. I do have to say that, while I don't have a grudge against them, they don't provide much to the overall experience. And speaking of unremarkable features lifted from Arkham, this one has oneiric sequences too, reminiscent of Scarecrow's. As with predator sequences, they aren't actively bad, but don't have even half the thematic impact as Scarecrow's.

In terms of presentation and production in general, I have to say the game's superb. Overproduced, even. Was there a need for a dinamically updated in-game fake social network, updated by an A.I. which governs the citizien's posts? Probably not. But hey, it's there. Were the budget shows in a good way is in character desings, animations, voice acting and sound effects, which are all top-notch. And background music, while unremarkable, is unobtrusive and helps build ambiance.

The final veredict is that Marvel's Spider-Man is great fun, as webslinging and combat are both extremely well executed and enjoyable, and Pete's story is, as any good Peter Parker storyline, a relatable tale which gets outworldly from time to time. Recommended to fans of Spider-Man, of the Arkham series, and even to those who're moderately intrigued by superheroes but don't know where to start. The later may be a bit confused by the plot, as most characters are introduced with little exposition, if any, but I genuinely believe it's a game than can be enjoyed even if you're unfamiliar with the lore.
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17. Video Game: England Exchange [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Game: England Exchange.
Platform: Steam.
First Time: Yes.
Time Taken: 2:00 hours.
Completion: Peggy.


One of Crazy Catman's Visual Novels/Dating Sims Follows an American student staying in a hostel in England for half a year. Light story, lots of straight and gay romance options.

Pros:

- Straightforward and easy to read.
- A few decisions to make.
- Art is fine although quite static.

Cons:

- Music is awful but you can turn it off.
- Some of the story is a little forced.

6/10
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18. Video Game: American Truck Simulator [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
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Platform: PC
Duration: 16h
Times completed: Multiple

Completed the Christmas package hauling event, and used the opportunity to explore a large chunk of the latest Oregon map. Unlike ETS2, I found several times that after dropping off a Christmas package, there weren't any packages to pick up in the town I was in, so I had to take 'normal' contracts to a nearby town and hope for better results.
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19. Video Game: Pushover [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:2554]
United States
Washington
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Pushover - SNES (played on RetroN 5)
Main game beaten using save states
First time beaten
Approximately 7 hours (3 hours in 2019)

This is a puzzle game where you manipulate dominoes and then try to trigger a single domino chain reaction to knock them all over, with a target immobile goal domino being the last to fall. Different types of dominoes do different things, like one type of domino will keep toppling end over end until it's resting on top of another felled domino, one type of domino has a delay before it falls, etc. There are 100 puzzles total.

The puzzles in this game are really good, but the game mechanics are really weird and sometimes frustratingly particular. Several times I thought I had solved a puzzle but the game rejected my solution on the basis that not all of the dominoes had toppled completely, even though they sure looked toppled to me. One puzzle near the very end of the game made me furious. It introduced a brand new game mechanic required to solve the puzzle, a very counter-intuitive game mechanic which was never used previously and never used again after the one puzzle. Maybe it's mentioned in the instruction manual (which I no longer have) but I had no idea I could do action X which was required to solve the puzzle. It's the only puzzle for which I had to look online for a solution. Once I knew I could do action X, the puzzle was simple.

Some minor frustration like this aside, I enjoyed the game. Lots of the puzzles are really interesting and very satisfying to solve.
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20. Video Game: Bulletstorm [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1265]
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
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Beaten: Single Player campaign, Easy difficulty
Time: Not sure...about 8 hours
System: PS4, as a free PS Plus game

Bulletstorm is a mediocre FPS from 2011. It's got a linear campaign that feels a bit dated. The action, writing, and dialogue is over the top and ridiculous. You get points for killing enemies in creative or obscure ways, and each has a point score and name associated with it. For example, if you shoot a guy in the butt to death, you get "Rear Entry". If you eject enemies through an air lock, you get "Ejeculated". It's stupid, and it's great.

It's got Jennifer Hale voicing a main character, which I found distracting after playing Mass Effect and also currently playing Diablo 3.

The game was a bit of a struggle to finish, but I powered through anyways. It's entirely mediocre, but does some fun things. Any game that lets you kick guys off a cliff automatically gets a pass from me.
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21. Video Game: Battlefield 1 [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:1473]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Platform: Xbox One
Time to Complete: 7:30
Criteria to Complete: the complete single-player campaign
Enjoyment: High

I treated myself to an Xbox One for the holidays and this is the first game that I've played on it. I played a few minutes of the Gallipoli campaign on my friend's PS4 a couple years back, so I had a good idea of what to expect, but this game still managed to slightly exceed my expectations. This is a great experience from start to finish and I was highly impressed. Granted, the dialogue were merely decent and stealth mechanic doesn't compare favorably to something like Dishonored, but everything else was top-notch. The difficulty was just right, since nothing was arbitrary but there was always a challenge and I was able to achieve different results by changing my approach.

The DLC for this game are very high on my list of things that I plan to acquire in the near future. It's also rare for me to engage in multiplayer action for FPS games, but I think that I'll make an exception in this case.
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22. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
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Platform: Wii U (Twilight Princess HD)
Time to beat: 54 hours says the last save point.
Completion%: Full Story, all bugs, 6/7 stones, 46/60 ghosts
First time: Yes
Enjoyment: Very high

Thoughts
For me, "Twilight Princess" felt like most similar to Ocarina of Time, in the terms that it was open-yet-constrained at the start (ride where you wish, but everything's locked except one exit), and darker and grittier – by far the least "cute" of them all. The semi-realistic graphics made a very weird impression at first, but I got used to it. It felt a bit weird that all paths were "dug down" into the ground, with high rock walls on both sides, though.

One thing that I enjoyed was the battles – they were more intricate than other games, with a lot of special moves that you actually needed to do, as certain enemies had thick armour and shields. The collectibles were nice enough, but I could never bother to track down all ghosts. It bugs me that I missed one stone, but I don't want to google stuff like that, I want to find them myself.

All in all, I enjoyed this game much. Some things bugged me a bit, such as some items you found never got a re-use, that you never returned to the first village, that everything seemed to happen in Kakariko, and that the teleporting system was so central, that I veered on abusing it, almost never riding over the plains. But all in all, I liked it a lot.

General comments on the series
I haven't had a very pre-dispositioned view on what "a Zelda game" is. Back in the SNES days and Link to the Past, I backed off the game when everyone said it was great, and was more into RPGs. I played Ocarina of Time when it was released in 1998, and only played Link to the Past a few years after that, but then nothing until 2016 with Breath of the Wild. However, after Breath of the Wild, I've gotten into a "play Zelda games" streak, and have since played Mask of Mujura, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and have started on Skyward Sword.

From where I sit, it's clear that a Zelda game isn't really a Zelda game. The style seems to be rather broad, both graphical and gameplay-wise. While the games do share many aspects, they can almost be divided into sub-styles (and it's clear that some fans prefer certain style over others). The common denominator seems to be that it's an action adventure game set in a fairly cute fantasy world, and apart from cut-down-enemies-action, it contains environmental puzzle solving, usually powered by some inventory items like bombs, grappling hooks, or mirrors, and the boss fights will usually require one or more of these items too. Your health meter will go up as you advance, and sometimes you get a more powerful weapon. The games usually contain hidden secrets and some sort of collective aspect (find all bugs/spiders/stones/ghosts). They always start "from scratch", and if they make some references to earlier games, they are (mostly) vague.

It's clear that some games have ben more influential than others, but from my experience, when I put in a (for me) new Zelda game, all I can know is that I'll control a character whose name defaults to Link, is mostly green-clad and that the game will contain some puzzle-solving and adventuring and the final boss will be called Ganondorf. But apart from the fact that I'll most probably enjoy the game very much, I won't know much about atmosphere, story or style. It varies. But it's almost always very good.

Because yes, I've been enjoying them all. Admittedly some more than others, but on a 5 graded scale, the ones I've played will all score 5 or at least 4. It's been interesting to play Zelda games long after they were produced – they are easy to compare to each other, I have also gotten to know my gaming preferences, but mostly I've with the years sort of caught a whiff on what people think about the various games, and it's interesting to see how these opinions have nothing to do with how I've seen the games. I've come to enjoy the variety in style in the series, and I regard Wind Waker as one of the most enjoyable I've played, and the little I've seen of Skyward Sword is very enticing.
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23. Video Game: Talisman Prologue [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:3173] [Average Rating:6.41 Unranked]
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
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About 4 hours!


Somewhat fun since it prepared me for playing the board game version (which was tremendously fun). I took my time in the video game as I was learning the rules. I'd played Talisman before but was shaky on when you needed to make your move into the inner ring.

As it was, I was completely ready for a game with the family when my wife and I visited Toronto on Thursday. We set up in the back of the Imperial Pub just off Yonge and Dundas.



Don't let that chagrined expression of my youngest son (bottom right) fool you; he crushed the dragon and us.
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24. Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1851] [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
Ontario
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about 4 hours
Medium Fun


Thought I'd polish this off as a single player after returning home from the board game and wow! is this game ever different without other people playing it. It's kinda frustrating and slow. Not that the board game doesnt have those problems, being turn-based from before the German revolution, but in a board game, you can talk to people and laugh a lot between turns.

I won on my first time through, not so much from skills learned with the board game, as in spending an extra hour or two making sure no one could challenge me for the crown.


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25. Video Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:847]
United States
Washington
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Arcade Game - NES (played on RetroN 5)
Main game beaten using save states
First time beaten
5 hours

This is a pretty standard NES beat-em-up. It uses the TMNT franchise pretty well. The gameplay is a little repetitive and sometimes frustrating. There are way too many times where it feels like whether or not an enemy counters your attack is determined entirely by RNG which is beyond the player's control. I don't get how anyone could beat this game legitimately without cheats or save states.

I'm not sure if there's any difference, gameplay-wise, between the different turtles. I used Donatello.
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