[Game] God of War (2018)

God of War


I was a little skeptical about the idea of randomly bringing God of War to a Norse setting, especially while keeping Kratos as the main character, but the plot of the game is surprisingly goodmuch better than the action focused prequelsdelivering one hell of a redemption story, and the game-playthough completely revampedkicks ass as well.

Beautiful visuals, both from technical and artistic standpoint
Slow pacing
Fascinating setting based on Norse mythology
Uninspired side-quests slow down the pacing even more
Interesting, likable characters
Incomplete (probably the first game in a trilogy)
Interesting, fairly engrossing plot
The combat can be a bit overwhelming until you get used to it
A good redemption story
Challenging, satisfying combat


[Novel] Going After Cacciato (Tim O’Brien)

Going After Conciatio


Going After Cacciatio is an unusual magical realism novel set in Vietnam war, where a bunch of soldiers chase a deserter… all the way to Paris, while experiencing a whole bunch of different cultures and discussing the spiritually hollow nature of modern conflicts.

Interesting, quirky characters
The plot feels disjointed like a fever dream
Thought-provoking on war and human condition
The plot isn’t most immersing or exciting

[TV] Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones


Game of Thrones was one show that I actually wasn’t worried about deviating from the original material because I figured that to achieve the heights it did, everyone involved must have known what they were doing as it wasn’t like George R. R. Martin was writing every scene, but… It appears I couldn’t have been more wrong–the way they dropped the ball with the final season is legendary.

The tense atmosphere is gone, everyone has plot armor, the characters are making dumb decisions that feel nothing like them, the battle strategy is abysmal and all battles are won through magic, and most of the events feel rushed and not set up properly. It simply doesn’t feel like Game of Thrones anymore. It’s still better than what you normally see on TV, but this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about, not goddamn Hercules: The Legendary Journey.

While I thought I didn’t need to pick up the books while I was around season four, I started having doubts through season five and six, until I finally realized I simply had to read them to get a proper conclusion to the story around season seven. At this point, I really can’t help but treat the last two seasons as fan fiction that I give no more credit than alternative fan endings on youtube, which also happen to be infinitely better.

The underwhelming last season doesn’t change all the amazing things that came prior to it, and the first four seasons of Game of Thrones (and arguably five and six too) still remain my favorite TV series. I’ll be looking forward to see how the story actually concludes if George R. R. Martin finishes the damn books.

Seasons based on books:


Original material:


Awesome cinematography
Action scenes use too many jumpcuts in the earlier seasons
Fascinating, gritty medieval fantasy setting
The integrity of the plot falls apart in the original seasons
Immersing, dark atmosphere
Characters act out of character and are dumbed down in the later seasons
Interesting, likable, profound characters
Abysmal battle tactics in the final season
Enthralling plot full of surprising twists
Poorly written ending
Fantastic pacing with something interesting happening every minute
Solid, well thought-out story fueled by medieval politics


[Game] Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Resident Evil 2


A remake of Resident Evil 2 that retains enough of the old game to feel nostalgic, but offers just the right amount of changes and tweaks to feel fresh.

Beautiful, modern visuals
Run-of-the-mill, generic story
Interesting, likable characters
Clunky boss fights
Does a great job at recapturing the original survival horror game-play
Genuinely scary

[Novel] Making Money (Terry Pratchett )

Making Money


A beautifully written, sarcastic story about an ex-con-artist introducing paper money to a high-fantasy-like economy and other bureaucratic hijinks in a quirky and fascinating fantasy world.

Flowing, sarcastic prose
The story, when you take away all the flare, is pretty simple
Fascinating, quirky fantasy setting
Pulp fiction
Interesting, likable, wacky, and even relatively profound characters
Involving plot full of twists and surprises


[Game] Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler


Octopath Traveler started strong with eight relatively interesting characters beginning their adventures, which I thought would intertwine and mold into one epic story like a fantasy novel, but they somehow never do. The characters go through their individual quests (that don’t even acknowledge the presence of other party members and grow more and more formulaic by every chapter) and that’s itthey only somewhat come together with the secret final boss and even there, just barely.

I feel like the fantastic localization was kind of wasted on such a weak story, but then I might’ve dropped it, or at least skipped the text, if it wasn’t so beautifully written (or if I played it in Japanese which, as I could tell from the voices, was just as generic as the plot), so I guess it wasn’t completely for nothing.

That said, with its flexibility at party building, and always keeping you on edge with all sorts of nonstandard tricks, I really enjoyed the game-play, especially the secret final bossit reminded me why I like turn-based games.

Fantastic soundtrack
Outdated visuals
Relatively interesting, likable characters
Dull, formulaic plot
Satisfying, well-balanced turn-based game-play
Weak story that barely connects the eight adventures
Satisfying secret final boss that pushes you to the limit
Character overworld abilities just needlessly convolute town interactions
Fantastic localization

[Novel] The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins)

The Moonstone


The Moonstone is an interesting work in that it’s both a Victorian and a mystery novel, and pretty much offers the best sides of both worlds with Jane Austin like drama and Agatha Christie like mystery.

Beautiful, old-fashioned prose
A couple of parts might feel too slow
Interesting, likable, relatively profound characters
Though the mystery is good, it doesn’t exactly blow your mind
An enthralling plot full of twists and surprises
A solid story that’s based around a pretty crafty mystery

[Game] Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space

Sam & Max - Beyond Time and Space


The second season of Telltales Sam & Max follows a similar formula to the first, but the episodes are a little bit better defined and the plot is actually more coherent and interesting this time around.

Well-written dialogue
Loses some of its charm by shifting to 3D
Genuinely funny humor
The episodic nature makes the game feel a bit repetitive, though less so in this season
Likable characters
Lacks the sense of genuine adventure the Hit the Road had
Relatively interesting, if a bit over the place, plot

[Novel] A Deepness in the Sky (Vernor Vinge)

A Deepness in the Sky


A fascinating science-fiction novel about two extremely different factions of space-faring mankind observing and hoping to capitalize on a planet of intelligent giant spiders.

An imaginative, well thought-out space opera setting
The conclusion feels kind of simple and predictable in retrospect
A fascinating premise of contacting extremely alien intelligence
Doesn’t really delve too deep in the contact difficulties with alien beings
Interesting, likable, relatively profound characters
Enthralling plot full of twists and surprises
A solid story that explores intergalactic politics and nonhuman intelligence
Thought-provoking on space society and contact with intelligent species

[Game] Tropico 6

Tropico 6


A good if not particularly mind-blowing satirical city builder with some obtuse mechanics that I think I still didn’t fully figure out by completing its campaign.

Exotic, Caribbean setting
Doesn’t offer anything particularly exceptional
Hilarious satirical humor
Could use ironing some bugs
Addicting city-building game-play
A couple of obtuse mechanics that could use more explanation
The game-play gets repetitive relatively quick

[Novel] Needful Things (Stephen King)

Needful Things


I haven’t heard much about Needful Things compared to other Stephen King’s books, but it might have actually turned out to be my favorite of his as the main boogeyman here only plays people and their already prevalent frustrations against each other to create a grand spectacle of horror.

It feels a lot more grounded in reality and plausibility than his other books.

Flowing, pleasant prose
Doesn’t really offer anything particularly mind-blowing
Spooky, unnerving atmosphere
Interesting, likable, relatively profound characters
An involving plot that consists of the whole town going nuts
Thought-provoking on the fragility of society

[Game] Serious Sam: The Second Encounter VR

Serious Sam 2nd Encounter.jpg


Though it’s fascinating to play a full game in VR, and Serious Sam is actually very well calibrated for it, you can’t help but see how outdated the game is–both in visuals and game design. It doesn’t take long for the game-play to become painfully repetitive, and there’s little else the game offers.

Ridiculous, but uplifting humor
Outdated visuals
Lots of monsters to kill with a whole variety of weaponry
Repetitive, dull level design
VR is awesome for shooters
Repetitive game-play
The narrative is insulting to one’s intelligence

[Novel] Creepers (David Morrell)



A horror novel with an interesting premise (breaking in and exploring an abandoned hotel) that soon devolves into stereotypical and painfully superficial psychopath thriller.

Interesting premise
The latter half is pretty much a copy paste of any psychopath thriller you ever read
Relatively interesting, likable characters
Pulp fiction

[Game] Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

Old Hunters


The Old Hunters adds even more lore to an already fantastic narrative, but taking place in a dream it allows for a bit nonsensical level design, and also doesn’t feel as significant story-wise as the original game.

That said, as usual with From Software, it’s more of an expansion pack than a mere DLC, and is easily a must-play for any Souls series fan.

Fantastic visuals both technically and artistically
The story is very hard to follow without looking things up
Immersing, dark atmosphere
A lot of easily missable important NPCs
Cool orchestral music during boss fights
Apart from looks armor sets have very little variation game-play wise
Amazing setting inspired by Victorian horror stories
The fact DLC takes place in a dream allows for a bit nonsensical level design
Fascinating, surreal story
Doesn’t really blow your mind like the original as you already know what to expect
Deep, complex lore
Thought-provoking storytelling
All item placement and drops make sense lore-wise
Good sense of adventure
Good dungeon design
Fantastic boss fights
Fantastic battle mechanics
Challenging difficulty

Best Visual Novels of 2018

This has been one of the weakest years for visual novels, so much so, that I actually struggled to collect twenty titles and had to include games that otherwise wouldn’t have met the vote quota (which is part the reason why I delayed this video for so long) and were installments of ongoing episodic series. For comparison, only about ten titles in this list would have made it to top 20 of any other year I did.

However, as ironic as that is, this year has also seen the release of the currently top rated game on egs, and with median of 99 I don’t see anything topping it ever. I’m, of course, talking about Rance 10, and I imagine it needs no introductions.

The other noteworthy releases this year include Key’s newest visual novel Summer Pockets, that from what I heard offers a similar experience to their other works, Nukitashi that has an incredibly unusual premise and has gained somewhat of a meme status in social media, and finally Amazing Grace which is an interesting mystery that’s surprisingly educating on classical and to an extent modern art. I’ll be publishing a review for this one soon.

Apart from that, I Walk Among Zombies has been finished, which is one of the episodic visual novels I’ve been very interested in. I might wait a bit and pick it up in English to see how the translation came along though.

This year also saw the release of the second installment of 9-nine- series which has gotten a far better reception than the first (that didn’t even make it to the list last year). It’s hard to tell if the rating is artificially exaggerated because whoever didn’t like the first simply didn’t read and rate the second one, or if it’s actually improved. I might check this series too, especially since it’s receiving an English localization too.

But that’s about it. Erewhon seems somewhat interesting if you’re into Clockup’s mix of nukige and story. And Butterfly Seeker sounds promising since it’s written by the guy responsible for Apeiria (my favorite last year), but looking at the ratings it would’ve barely made it to top 20 at any other year, so I dunno.

Anyway, it was a pretty bleak year, and I hope the following one is going to be better. At least it looks like it’s shaping up to be.


[Anime] A Place Further than the Universe

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho


A slice of life anime about a bunch of high school girls who get an idea to visit Antartica… that turns out surprisingly fun, though it kind of runs out of steam in the latter half.

An interesting premise
Unattractive character designs
Likable, relatively profound characters
Underwhelming ending

[Novel] Music & Silence [Rose Tremain]

Music & Silence


A historical novel that while not groundbreaking gives some insight into 17th century Denmark and England with an all right plot and relatively interesting characters.

Interesting, relatively profound characters
The story, while not bad, turns out a bit underwhelming
Enlightening on the 17th century Denmark

[Game] The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

The Missing JJ


A somewhat bizarre puzzle platformer that’s a bit dull to play once the initial novelty of dismembering yourself wears off, but then it also offers a heartfelt and thought-provoking story rife with all sorts of horrific symbolism.

Full of cool horrific and surreal imagery
The puzzles are kind of dull
A relatively cool soundtrack
The game-play starts feeling like a chore real quick
Bizarre, super uncomfortable premise
The story only kicks in near the very end
Dark, creepy, surreal atmosphere
A solid, well thought-out story
Thought-provoking about LGBT issues

[Anime] Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden


For all its pretty visuals, Violet Evergarden barely does anything with them, telling a dull story in a dull world with little to nothing of interest happening.

There are a few highlights in its episodic story, my favorite being how she ends up guiding a playwright to make up with his past, but it never really achieves this cerebral high of the episodic greats like Kino no Tabi or Mushishi. Most of the time it’s just boring.

Fantastic animation
Dull characters
Beautiful soundtrack
Dull plot
Thought-provoking on war
Dull story