[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


[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

[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Outdated visuals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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[Game] Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars of Eternity II - Deadfire


Pillars of Eternity II follows its prequel in its attempt to recapture the magic of Baldur’s Gate. Unfortunately, while it’s definitely loyal to the computer role-playing game tradition and offers quite polished combat, I felt like the world it constructed as well as the plot it followed weren’t really the best.

Ironically, the story itself was very interesting and held lots of potential, but it’s told mainly through semi-menial tasks with you helping various trading companies and locals fight for resources with neither of the sides being too interesting. On top of it, the companions are also quite underwhelming, with basically the least interesting ones from the original game making a reappearance.

That said, Pillars of Eternity II is still a good game that can scratch that traditional computer role-playing itch you might have, but it definitely could have been better.

Attractive 2D visuals
The plot is not the most riveting
An interesting world to explore
The factions could have been more interesting
A thought-provoking, epic story
Underwhelming companions
Polished, satisfying combat
Sailing the map and looking for treasure is boring and ruins the pace
One of the few remaining games that follow traditional RPG formula
Role-playing an evil characters feels counter-productive

[Game] Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider


Though I thoroughly enjoyed the first Tomb Raider remake, I felt like the second had lost some of its charm through large chunks of poorly designed content, and the third game only seems to follow the same trend.

I could neither get into the story nor enjoy the game-play that much, even though it’s technically the same as the first Tomb Raider remake that I loved. There aren’t as many flashy action sequences, and the game is simply poorly designed with long stretches of dull content that even the shootouts fail to spark any life in.

It honestly feels more like most of the game has been designed by a random map generator rather than a human being.

Beautiful, high-end visuals
The story is kind of dull
Good climbing mechanics
The characters are boring and not interesting
Good shooting mechanics
The game-play doesn’t utilize its mechanics and feels like a chore

[Game] Blazblue Central Fiction

Blazblue Centralfiction


The conclusion to Blazblue’s epic story that adds even more playable characters to a whooping total of thirty-six.

…And the English localization seems to have improved slightly since Chronophantasma.

Attractive 2D visuals
Almost no game-play in the story mode
Awesome soundtrack
Fascinating sci-fi setting inspired by quantum mechanics
Interesting, likable characters
An extremely convoluted but awesome story
Fantastic 2D fighter game-play
Great multiplayer

[Game] Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0.jpg


It’s been a while since I checked any of the Yakuza games as they always felt clunky and full of redundant boring content that bloated the experience… but apparently, unknown to me, they’ve been improving with every release as Yakuza 0 feels like a Yakuza game with most of the grievances I had with the previous installments in the series fixed.

It has an interesting story with likable characters, side-quests are actually kind of funny (though still a bit too unnecessarily plentiful), and the game-play feels tight and rewarding.

Beautiful, high-end visuals
The map you explore is small and reused from previous games
Interesting, likable, profound characters
The amount of side-quests can be overwhelming and turn you off from the game
A relatively engrossing plot
Exploration is not very fun
A solid story inspired by Japanese underworld
Satisfying brawling game-play
Let’s you have a taste of Japanese culture quirks, such as hostess clubs

[Game] Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV.jpg


Shin Megami Tensei IV returns to the roots and tells a very similar story to that of the original SMT… which is kind of underwhelming after Nocturne, but then it also retains the characteristic dark atmosphere and the awesome hardcore game-play that just never grows old.

Beautiful artwork
Outdated visuals
Cool soundtrack
Doesn’t offer much in terms of story that prequels didn’t already
Dark, creepy atmosphere
The game-play is pretty much the same as the prequels
Thought-provoking on human society
Low-effort side-quests artificially extend the play time
Fantastic, hardcore turn-based combat
Challenging difficulty


[Game] Visage

The Visage


As an early access game Visage is very rough around the edges, but holds a lot of potential. It’s without doubt one of the scariest games I’ve ever played and I imagine it could outright stop your heart in VR.

I just hope it gets finished properly as there was a sense of developers running out of ideas toward the end of even this demonstration version of the game.

Beautiful visuals
Awful controls
Genuinely scary
With no indication of where to go, you end up walking in circles a lot
Potential VR support
The latter part felt like a bunch of random stuff thrown together

Top 50 Best Rates Games in 2018

This was another great year for gaming, and while it didn’t see as many great JRPGs as last year, with Dragon Quest XI being nice but nothing particularly special, and Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Octopath Traveler kind of continuing the already paved path, there were a lot of notable indie games, especially platformers.

My favorite of the year was Celeste that combined fantastic game-play with a pretty good story, but then we also had The Messenger that brought back the classic Ninja Gaiden of all things to life, Iconoclasts that really caught me off guard with its fascinating setting and characters, Yoku’s Island Express that combined pinball with platforming, The Missing:JJ coming from the crazy guy responsible for Deadly Premonition, Guacamelee! 2 which carries the already established legacy, Dead Cells which is equal amounts frustrating and fascinating, Just Shapes & Beats which is a rad if very short experience, and though I didn’t like it that much, the audiovisual spectacle that’s GRIS.

The other indie games include my second favorite game this year, the underwater survival and exploration simulator, Subnautica, that’s though rough around the edges is a beyond incredible experience in VR. Then there was a detective-like game Obra Dinn which is probably like nothing you’ve played before, and Unavowed that does a worthy homage to the 90s adventure games.  And I nearly forgot my new favorite turn-based game, Into the Breach, which though short is mind-blowing addicting.

It really makes me think that indie games might be the way of the future, though we had some pretty cool triple AAA titles as well this year, like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Monster Hunter: World. …All of which I have yet to play, but I’m sure at least one or two of those would end up in my personal top ten of the year.

There was also a resurgence of the city builder genre with a worthwhile successor to Theme Hospital and an ice-age themed survival builder Frostpunk, which turned out to have a much more involving narrative than I’d expected.

[Game] Guacamelee! 2

Guacamelee 2.jpg


For better or worse, Guacamelee! 2 is just like its prequel. It offers the same kind of pleasant experience, but it feels a lot less fresh the second time around.

Attractive, colorful 2D visuals
The story’s pretty generic
Pleasant, unique music
Combat mechanics are a bit repetitive and can get dull
Cool Mexican setting
Some of the levels drag on for too long
Well-written, genuinely funny dialogue
Plays a lot like the previous game, making for a less memorable experience
Good boss fights
Good platforming with lots of gimmicks to keep things fresh

[Game] Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep


I was never a huge fan of Disney, so I’ve got to admit, when I first heard of Kingdom Hearts it sounded like a pretty stupid idea to me, but the first and especially the second game of the series ended up growing on me as they had just enough of the Final Fantasy flavor to keep me interested… and the Disney worlds were surprisingly fun to explore as they still were something I experienced and enjoyed as a kid.

Birth by Sleep, though a prequel and not as grand as the two flagship titles, still offers a pretty genuine Kingdom Hearts experience and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series.

It’s just too bad that the convoluted naming and ever-changing platforms of Kingdom Heart game releases have made it so aggravating to even figure out what order they are supposed to be played in.

Fascinating setting that combines Final Fantasy with Disney
The story has a lot of parts that are hard to take seriously
Interesting, likable characters
The convoluted nature of the overarching story will turn many people off
An interesting story with lots and lots of lore
An odd delay before blocking makes the gameplay feel clunky on higher difficulties
Surprisingly interesting plot that you explore from multiple angles
It’s nostalgic and nice to visit the worlds from your childhood movies
Challenging, fun action game-play

[Game] Soul Calibur VI

Soul Calibur VI


Soul Calibur VI offers the same awesome and flashy fighter game-play as its many prequels, but it barely feels like a new game at this point. It being a reboot not only takes you backward in the story, it means you have a smaller roster of characters to select from (as it takes place before they’re introduced).

It feels more like a step backward than forward, and I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between it and V or even IV if I was looking at the screen from a distance.

Beautiful visuals
Underwhelming story that alternates between dull and cringeworthy
A large cast of interesting and memorable characters
Barely feels like a different game from the previous installments in the series
An actual story mode (though it’s not very good)
Actually offers a smaller roster of characters than the prequels
Top-notch 3D fighting mechanics
Subpar localization

[Game] King’s Bounty – The Legend

King's Bounty


An interesting strategy and computer role-playing hybrid that plays like an RPG version of Heroes of Might & Magic. It’s just too bad that its story reads like bad fanfiction.

Satisfying strategy game-play
The story reads like bad fanfiction
A well-designed world that’s fun to explore
Long battles start getting tedious towards the end