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January 11, 2015

10 Random Games of 2014 (Gaming thread)

Sorry bout last week but I caught one of those "just let me crawl under the covers and die" colds.

As you would expect, nothing really gaming at CES outside of some monitors that frankly aren't that hot IMO and MSI being retarded with their GT80 laptop which contains two 980m GPUs, i7-4980HQ CPU, 24 gigs of ram, mechanical keyboard, four 128GB SSDs and a 1TB platter drive on top of it for good measure. If you have $3800 burning a hole in your pocket, there you go for a laptop.



Games Done Quick raised a cool $1.3m for their Winter fundraiser. So many blindfolded speed runs.

Nintendo pulling out of Brazil. Makes sense considering the current state of Brazil's economy.

It's Valve so I don't expect it to amount to much but after a year delay, it looks like they're ready to unveil their controller and more about SteamOS. Considering their initiatives with Mac and Linux have gone no where, I fully expect this to be another piece of crap.

Capcom continues their plea for someone to buy them.

GDC announced their lackluster nominees for their awards. Nothing surprising on any of the lists. It was a bad year for games, kinda expected.

• Curious in how much this cost Nintendo but they're getting a Mario themed version of the biggest game in the world, Puzzle & Dragons

If you expected crazy requirements for Witcher 3, don't as they're quite modest.

Surprisingly, the PSNow sub price is cheaper than I expected. It will run you $20 a month or $45 for three months. Still kinda struggle why pubs would want to be part of this as it hurts any re-release money they can make.


My Top 10 Random Games of 2014

Flatout, I did not much gaming in 2014 and it's lackluster to make a list of games I liked of last year but here is a list of 10 games I liked that were released last year:

1) Crimzon Clover World Ignition (PC) - Bit of a cheat as this is an updated release of a game that came out 2011 (and in 2013 as an arcade release) but the one guy really sat down and put some serious work making a really good shmup into one of the best shmups of the last decade. Out of the three difficulty modes, my favorite is Unlimited as it's bullet count and patterns very much make the whole thing on the level of Mushihimesama Futari Black Label. Throw in that Cave is essentially dead (with their last shmup release being DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou) and this is probably the last good one for a long time till Mages starts using their ex-Cave staff to make some or Moss makes a leap forward (I've never liked the Touhou series). If you like shmups, you owe it to yourself to pick this up for it's meager $10.

2) Bravely Default (3DS) - Square finally did it, they made an RPG that wasn't shit. It's been awhile since they've done that, 5 years since Dragon Quest 9 came out and if you want to go straight Square, Final Fantasy XII came out in 06. Don't get me wrong, story wise, it starts falling apart in the back quarter to the point where you get to the point where you're just skipping stuff to finish it (which doesn't even finish, it just rolls credits in the middle of the story). But what is good, is real good as they dusted off Final Fantasy V and gave it a spit polish with some cool characters like Agnès Oblige who is a lot of fun and looks good. And if you want some good classic Square music, this game has it in spades with some outstanding orchestra pieces. It's nice to see Square caring again.

3) Banner Saga (PC, iOS, PS4, Android, Vita) - The story isn't' bad per se but the "branching paths" are 100% fake but it's saved by a beautiful art style which blends Norse and Gaelic together which gives the TBS mechanics a nice levity. Gameplay doesn't rock the boat too much from your standard TBS game but it jelled quite nicely for me. The game really hit that spot for me as the genre has been...frankly crap for awhile now. It was comfort food for me. Just kinda a right game at the right time.

4) 80 Days (iOS) - This is a trendy pick but it's a good trendy pick. Inkle brought the first two books of Steven Jackson's Sorcery to the tablets which are good but the design has been a bit lacking. This though is frankly kinda easy IMO, they really nailed the design of making a game out of Around The World in 80 Days with combining standard visual novel stuff with a quirky economic system in funding your expedition. And it's all wrapped up in a very nice and clean black & white art deco/cyberpunk motif. The writing is top notch with some great tales of the characters you meet on your travels (almost bite-sized The Last Express level of story telling). I liked this, I liked it a lot and it makes me hopeful that Inkle learned something for when they finish up the last two books of the Sorcery series.

5) Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Vita) - Straight up, this visual novel borrows quite heavily from Kotaro Uchikoshi's writing (his awesome Infinity trilogy, 999 and Zero Escape) but it's a bit darker to say the least. Story is that you and 14 others are locked inside a school and the only way to get out is to kill someone and beat the rap. All the while you're under the careful eye of one of the coolest videogame characters of all time, a sarcastic sociopath black & white bear named Monokuma. It does a nice balance of puzzles and standard chit chat with the other students with well fleshed out characters with oddly making you really like the antagonists, Monokuma and waifu bait, Junko. It's quite good and a meaty story to dig your teeth on. They released the second game last year as well and frankly it's a bit better but I have to give the nod to Trigger Happy Havoc as it's first (and don't play the second game first as a lot of stuff is tied into from the first). And other than some shoddy work in the FPS mode, it's got a great style about the whole proceeding.

6) Wayward Souls (iOS & Android) - Pretty much, this is Rogue Legacy but instead of being a Metroidvania, it's a stage based top down Zelda and it makes it better for it. Tons of secrets, they throw a massive amount of enemies at you at certain parts of the levels while being creative in the different mechanics of the bosses. It's hard but it's really good. The controls is also the way to work a d-pad and buttons on a tablet by making them invisible floating buttons. For the $5 it launched at (it's gone up to $7), I definitely got my money's worth. Just a fun little game to take some runs on while sitting on the shitter.

7) Freedom Wars (Vita) - Story is crap, the controls take some getting used to and the camera is more frustrating than it needs to be and yet, it's a ton of fun for a hunting clone with satisfying gameplay while carrying a nice evolution of the multi from ChromeHound (which itself was an evolution of the Steel Battalion multi). The missions come fast and hard and it's just satisfying to mow down giant mechs while building points for your region and customizing your character. Like something like Dynasty Warriors, it's fun to turn your brain off and run through a few missions at a time.

8) Hearthstone (PC, iOS & Android) - As a TCG, it's not exactly the most interesting (for the most part, it feels like baby's first TCG) and Blizzard for the most part seem to not have a clue when it comes to balancing a TCG. But it's fun, it's quite a bit of fun as a whole package with Blizzard's polish through the whole thing. Like personally, I'd prefer to play Hex or Sol Forge but I keep finding myself playing Hearthstone more. I think it's way too slanted towards to spending money but it's a fun little grind and the way they've got the cards and deck building setup is actually nice (and hopefully more digital TCGs take it and run with it).

9) Qvadriga (PC) - I didn't know I wanted a Roman chariot management sim at the start of the year but yet here we are. I personally really like sports management sims and this one is a lot of fun tackling something that is a bit out there. It's turn based but the actual gameplay honestly reminded me quite a bit of the G1 Jockey (Gallop Racer) series which I really liked. Not deep but enough trade offs to keep it interesting on when to whip your horses and how to take turns. If there is a big turn off on it, it's that the UI is very much form over function. It looks really cool in copying the Roman aesthetic but a lot of it is so rigid that some of the stuff is just straight up damn near impossible to read. I don't think it's worth the full $20 due to the UI issues but I still had a lot of fun with killing my fellow riders and hearing the crowds roar with applause.

10) Hitman Go (iOS & Android) - Absolution sucked and to me, did some damage to the Hitman series but this side game, a puzzler, is really good in teaching you how to setup a perfect assassination. And the later ones (there are a decent amount of maps to work through) really gives you a very nice brain twister without feeling cheap. You mess up, that's on you. And the plastic boardgame piece aesthetic is very nice and calming to some tension in pulling stuff off. Even if you have no interest in the Hitman series as a whole, I think this is still worth checking out. It feels good on a tablet.

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posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:15 PM

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