Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Review

A game that is far better than it had any reason to be.

Normally prequels, whether in games or in movies, aren’t welcomed or worthwhile. This game breaks that stigma. The story line of Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes place before the events of the original Life is Strange but after the plot point of Max leaving Arcadia Bay. This setup left many people upset because the main character of the original would not be in the game. Mentions by Chloe are the only ghosts of Max even existing. Fans were left with the idea of playing as Chloe, who was a beloved character, but not the main focus that they had been endeared to . This character shift made it hard for some to accept playing a game that covers material that has somewhat been detailed in a game they have already played.

As someone who had these exact concerns, it can be said that they were laid to rest almost immediately. Not long into the game that groove of walking around, inspecting things felt homey and familiar. Along with that, seeing sites and faces that you know made it feel like you were back in Life is Strange. Playing as Chloe became natural as her story started rolling out. That tough as nails on the outside but brittle as glass  on the inside persona played out in heartbreaking tones. If it can make a forty year-old man like myself feel empathy for a teenage girl then I have to say they did a fine job. As I played through the game, I forgot what happens to Chloe in the original game and fell into what was happening to her in Before the Storm. It was only after I had finished the game that I took time to process it and piece even more things together.

Of course, I’ll never be one to say a game is perfect. The gameplay was a bit flustering at times when you don’t get the prompt to inspect an item. Many times the solution was just to backup, walk around a bit, then walk back up to the object. This could have been me as much as anything as I am anything but a master with the keyboard and mouse when gaming. A few times throughout the game I felt like there were some gaps in the plot and it made jumps that I didn’t feel were quite right. The possibility exists that I just missed something and there were explanations I missed. What I had the most dislike of was the ‘backtalk’ system that was employed. It was supposed to be a way of Chloe using her wit to get her way but it turned into a word match game. Just listen to the last thing the other person says and pick the response that has one of the same words in it, instant win. It took away from playing the argument the way you felt it should have gone making it feel guided and somewhat pointless.

Whether you are new to Life is Strange or coming into it new this game is well worth the play time. Unfortunately it released amongst controversy that took away from how well the game was made. Not only was there the issue of being a prequel, the game was developed by a different studio and lacked Chloe’s original voice actress. The game should be recognized and enjoyed for its own merit, not any issues that surrounded it.

If the game had released its final episode earlier it would have earned a high place on my GOTY list for 2017.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

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It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

With Brad out enjoying the upper west coast I’ll be posting for the week.(Send me a post card… or maybe just a picture of a postcard that is a picture of Seattle)

It’s a holiday weekend and likely almost everybody will be spending time with friends and family. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be time for gaming. Perhaps there could be some gaming with the aforementioned friends and family?

As for my plans, well… they aren’t that exciting. I’m on-call for the holiday and really won’t get to do much(I know, I’m making you jealous). What time I will have available will be spent on some single player stuff, that way if I get interrupted by work it won’t be a big bother to my game progress. I’ll be playing things like…

Star Wars Battlefront II – Stop rolling your eyes at me. The shooter aspects of the game are well done and it is Star Wars after all. My hopes are that the Resurrection story piece they added will somehow, some way make the story at least feel more complete if not better. My expectations are low but I’m going to give it a chance.

Far Cry 4 – This game has been sitting on my shelf for months and I just can’t get myself to play it much. I spent a couple hours a few weeks ago on it but just couldn’t stick with it. The main story was good but I didn’t like all the side stuff, it just felt like the game was constantly distracting me. This is my test to see if I want Far Cry 5 when it lands next year. So far, not so much.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm – This is the first order on my gaming list. About two weeks ago it was on sale on Steam and I decided to buy it. By all accounts I have to agree that this game should not be as good as it is… but it is. The final episode just released a few days ago and I’ve forced myself not to play it yet just so I have it for this weekend. I want to see how they wrap this up but I don’t want it to be over.

What will you be playing??? Is there something on your wish list that you’re hoping Santa gives you???

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 12-21-2017: That Other One Before Christmas

Image via pinterest.com

Since I went long last week, I’ll be brief this week. ***SPOILERS – I’m probably not going to be brief.***

Entertainment

  • A Very Murray Christmas – Yes, I watched it again, and again, again.
  • Star Wars – I haven’t seen the new movie, yet. It is highly possible I won’t see this in theatre, which isn’t a surprise for me since I didn’t see the last one until it was out on disc. However, I have been taking the time to rewatch all of the previous movies in chronological order of the story. The prequel trilogy isn’t as bad as I remember it being. Maybe time has tempered me on the subject. The last film in the series I watched was Rogue On, that means the original trilogy is next.
  • Big Mouth – This is a very funny Netflix series. It is kids right around puberty and it is just stupid funny. The only part I didn’t like was the fact that it was a short season and it’s over. I may have to rewatch it soon.
  • GLOW – This series seems to be very good but I was very sleepy when I was watching it. I feel to sleep several times, it would probably be best that I just start watching the series over again from the beginning.

Games

  • The Division – I think I ended up playing this game just because I didn’t want to play anything else. It was late and I didn’t want the stress of PUBG getting me all riled up before bed.
  • Fornite: Battle Royale – A couple of games here and there but I miss the 50v50 mode already.
  • PUBG – It is a mess but it is a beautiful mess. They’ve patched it once already and it is better, still not good but better. On my second game I got my first chicken dinner, which was nice.

News

  • PUBG 1.0 on PC – It is officially out of early access. Not they need to do the same on Xbox One, no pressure.
  • PUBG Xbox One patch – It’s a start. It’s a little better but still needs massive work.
  • Cuphead hits 2 million sold – Not sure what to make of this number. It seemed like it had a lot of backing and people liked it but it just feels a bit low. I’m not trying to speak against the game in anyway but I just thought it would have sold more and concerns me how much Microsoft will continue to support smaller exclusives like this if they, like me, expected higher sales.

Closing Arguments

This week can best be described as hot garbage but I’m not going to let that get to me down going into the holiday. I’ll be on-call for work so other than trying to spend time with family I am going to finish up some single player games. Time will tell how many I get to.

Merry Christmas…..

And Happy New Year!!!!!

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Passing Thoughts – PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS on Xbox One

This game is a janky mess and that may be part of it’s delight.

The last-man-standing shooter has been out on pc  for several months in its early access form and it comes to Xbox One under the game preview program. That should have set the tone for what was to come but some put their expectations higher than they should have. Given all the issues the pc version had at launch I made the logical assumption that it would have similar, if not the same, issues when arriving on Xbox One. The forward looking hope is that, much like the pc development, many of the issues will be resolved in time with patches. My first two games of PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS were proof of problems in the game but were drastically different in how they played out.

The first game seemed doomed before it even began. The character creator was barely usable and I am now stuck with a character that looks nothing like what I would have wanted. The issues continued and worsened as I entered the match. As soon as I spawned on the game’s starting island there were noticeable frame drops and extreme input lag. Running around the area was problematic given that other players would just randomly form in front of you. At times I wasn’t sure if I stopped moving because my controls were not responding or if I had run into another player spawning.

As the match began the problems continued. While on the plane the audio was so choppy I wasn’t even sure what the sound was supposed to be. To get a way from that I jumped from the plane as soon as possible. That put me on the south side of the island and I settled on a small grouping of houses near the shore for my landing point, that was after all of the ground level objects drew in. When my parachute popped I found out just how bad my controls were lagging. There was almost no control of my descent at this point as my character helplessly drifted and my controls randomly responded. Instead of the group of houses, my landing point was a small beach at the bottom on a cliff well below the houses. To make matters worse there was no way to traverse the cliff. The only option became swimming west until there was a larger beach. This took almost all the time given for looting before the initial contraction of the playing circle.

Already running behind, I found an operable vehicle and drove to get my unarmed character within the circle before it closed in on me. Driving proved to be a problem with the control issues I was having and I proceeded to run into several trees. That was ok and I drove on aiming for several small structures just within the circle. I knew my end would come soon as I drove up to the building and another player began shooting in my direction. Rather than attempting to flee, I chose to run straight toward disaster and the other player. Up the stairs and into the room I went and I went in swinging. After landing a few punches in what was the most inelegant of dances, the other player got position on me and proceeded to make short order of me with his gun. My final place was approximately #67.

After a few hours, I decided to give the game another shot. Upon loading there was a remarkable difference in performance. Controls were working. Frames weren’t dropping. There still seemed to be an odd, washed out look to the screen but it wasn’t near as bad as the first game.  We load into the plane and I make the jump. This time I pick a crop of houses slightly north of my previous destination, just to be sure I don’t encounter that cliff again. Before hitting the ground I notice another player descending near me but he and I must have had the same notion as we began to steer in opposite directions. Safely on the ground, it was time to start looting. Things weren’t looking good when I found one pistol, two shotguns, and tons of ammo. Determined not to give up, I pressed into other houses eventually collecting an SMG, then an assault rifle along with a vest and helmet. I was getting fortified.

After making my way house to house in my quest for loot I slowly found that the circle was drawing me back to where I started. At one point I saw a car dry by but they did stop. Then gun shots in the distance. The circle kept getting smaller. Quickly I found myself falling behind and briefly outside of the circle. I had to keep running. Steadily the play count diminished. Before I knew it the count was under twenty. I ran by two players in vehicles do a mock demolition derby. Certainly either of them could have mowed me down but I passed by unscathed. Then the count suddenly became ten and I thought to myself “Good run, pretty proud”.

For a moment a shack served as a haven but then the circle forced me out. While I was running from my shelter, away from the blue wall, I could hear gun shots all around. The player count was now four. I was still one of them. A tree was my only protection and I fell prone to hide my location. More gun shots, then even more as the circle closed in on all of us. To stay in the circle I tried to crawl around the tree but fate would not let me and I clipped into the tree. Worst case scenario in the given circumstances but I escaped after what was surely a few second but felt like an eternity. Somehow I became locked in first-person mode and not able to switch back to the third person view I had played in until this point.

To my left, another player. The player count dropped to three. From my prone position I made the decision to give away my position and take fire at the other player. Taking aim as he looked in another direction, likely looking for myself or the other surviving foe, I pulled my trigger. I pulled the trigger again. Headshot, my first kill. No time to celebrate, I had been wounded previously by the blue wall and needed to heal. As fast as I could I fumbled through the inventory for a medkit and applied it. Shots are fired but not by me. My opponent either has my location or is firing wildly. I cannot be sure of which. The circle contracts and I hear more shots fired. I try to move to see anything resembling another player. Three final shots fire and the victory screen displays.

Forlorn, I drop my hands still grasping at my controller and close my eyes. “It was a good run. One I may never be able to do again and never expected in the first place.”, I thought to myself. I open my eyes, lay the controller on my desk, and read the screen… it is my name showing as the victor. I had won the chicken dinner! In shear disbelief and astonishment I gazed at the screen. Then in a panic I tried to take a screen capture but in my state of excitement I couldn’t remember how. Grabbing my phone I took a picture of the screen. Trying again for a true screenshot I fumbled with my controller again this time succeeding and securing proof of my victory. With my heart pounding and my mind swimming I soaked in my victory.

The tension of playing and the euphoria of winning almost make all of the issues with the game seem forgivable. Even with that said, the game needs fixed. Dropped frames and washed out screens are no way to play any game. The first patch has already helped. One of the easily noticed fixes is the fact that the marker for your location is easier to find on the map. Steady improvements will help this game keep growing and the fact that it has already sold well over one million copies shows people want to play it.

When this game debuted I never thought I would want to play it. Yet here I am, all this time later, excited about it and wanting more. It’s not even about winning. As thrilling as that first chicken dinner was and the fact that I’d like more, it isn’t even why I want to keep playing. It is more about those moments of tension and strategy mixed in with dumb luck and circumstance that give the game life for me. Here is to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and all that it can be.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 12-14-2017: That One Before Christmas

Since I didn’t post last week I’ll try to make up for it a bit by going a little long here. *** SPOILERS – I many not post next week either. Stop crying, there’s no crying in blogging.***

Entertainment

  • It’s a Wonderful Life – I watch this every year not because it is a tradition, even though it is, rather because I enjoy it.
  • A Very Murray Christmas – Yes, I watched it again, and again.
  • Clerks II – When waking up at 3am and not being able to get back to sleep, what else would you do? Turns out to be a bad idea because I got so into the movie I could fall asleep for another two hours after it concluded. There is just as much wackiness in this movie as the original but a little bit more heart. I may watch it again.
  • Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction – About ten minutes into it I remembered how bad it was… but I couldn’t stop watching. It was like Micheal Bay was directing the best train wreck I had ever seen.

Rant

  • I don’t watch much live television. Truthfully I only watch live television for college and professional football. In that given time I have gotten disgusted with the amount of Star Wars tie-ins on advertisements. Star Wars was special because it was a unique thing that we didn’t get much of. It used to be years between movies, now we get one almost every year. On top of that the name is being whored out to promote whatever product will hand over money for the privilege. This is like that cousin from out of town that only visited during the summer. When they were there you were best friends but now the cousin moved to the neighborhood and you see them all the time only to find out you really don’t want to see each other and you drift apart.  The new movie is still a huge draw for me but I just feel sick every time I see the Star Wars title attached to something clearly not Star Wars. Maybe I’m over-reacting but its just how I feel about it.

Games

  • The Division – With the much anticipated 1.8 update releasing I hopped back in with excitement. For me, it was like jumping into a bucket of cold water. There wasn’t much there and what was there just didn’t feel good. After exploring some of the map area and collecting several of the recordings I got sad when I re-realized that some of the best writing in this game isn’t really in-game. The recordings tell the tales of woe that should have been in the game’s story to make it something people would attach to. The records and other intel take the player out of the game somewhat and feel like a sidecar to what they are doing. The most fun I had with the game was one of the Resistance games I played, the new horde-like mode. What made that fun was the fact that I got grouped up with a bunch of guys that invited me to a Xbox party and against my better intuition I joined. Much to my pleasant surprise these guys were a blast. We made it maybe fourteen waves if that but we all had a good time working together and poking fun at each other. This brought me to another re-realization, The Division is better if you have a set group you play with. Random match-making is no match for having a regular group. There may be others that are happier with this expansion but it just didn’t do much for me. I’ll likely keep popping in now and then but I just can’t see myself playing in any regular fashion any time soon.
  • Fornite: Battle Royale – Having only played one game of the 50v50 mode before they shut it and anything other than 1v100 down temporarily due to issues I couldn’t say too much but I did enjoy it. That weird mob mentality mixed with things happening on parts of the map you can’t see made a whirlwind of action and confusion as you saw your team’s and the opponents’ numbers dwindle. I managed to win the game I was in even though I contributed nothing. In fact the only thing I did was drawing fire and got downed. This lead to the first time I ever got picked back up by a teammate. I had only played solo and had never had a teammate in this game. It was a strangely wonderful experience to be brought back into the game after being nearly removed. Even though I didn’t do much to help earn it, I loved seeing that Victory Royale screen. After the mode was reinstated I played a few more games and want to go back for more.

News

  • Battlefront II DLC – Resurrection? Really? Is this a tongue-in-cheek joke about how they killed their own game?
  • PUBG Crotchgate – I feel like people are offended that they put cameltoe in the game while others are offended that they took it out. Then again, I’m not sure why it is an issue at all.
  • PUBG Xbox One issues – Wait… the game has jank? Imagine that. It was sooooo smooth when it initially released on PC. Seriously, it had and still has issues on PC. There should have been no expectation that it would be smooth especially since it is being sold as a ‘Game Preview Edition’. Just like the PC edition, they’ll keep working on it and it will get better… hopefully.
  • Over 10 million Nintendo Switches sold – That is a solid number that is likely to continue to grow. I’ll lay a guess that this holiday season will help the number even further. What will really help that number is Nintendo continuing to push games on to the platform thus giving more and more people a reason to buy it.

Story Time

  • I was at a Mexican restaurant that I consider pretty legit. Given that there are authentic Mexicans working there and their closest competitions in town are Chipolte and Taco Bell, this place is legit. Anyway, I’m into my dinner when the waiter comes by and says “Excuse me sir, can you hand me that ketchup?”. Following where he was pointing, I instinctively grabbed it and handed it to him. Then this sent me into a mental spiral. There is ketchup at a Mexican restaurant? Moreover, what kind of person asks for ketchup at a Mexican restaurant? The defenders of this will point out the kid’s menu and such but think about it… what if somebody ordered a Mexican dish and asked for ketchup? Think about that, and people wonder why I can’t sleep at night.

Closing Arguments

Embarrassingly enough, I bought PUBG on Xbox One via Amazon and have yet to play it. It is kind of funny that they send you a ‘physical copy’ that is just a slip of paper with a code printed on it in a cardboard box.  It is not even a plastic disc case, just a cardboard box with the same dimensions.  Since the box is junk they give you some sweet stickers for PUBG. Can’t wait until I find some place to actually use them.

Work is gearing up to drown me over the next few weeks. Night shifts and extra hours plus on-call for Christmas. You’re jealous, I know. With all that I’ll be sort of busy and may not have time to do anything here. I’ll get back to it as soon as I can but if I don’t see you here soon….

Merry Christmas…..

And Happy New Year!!!!!

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 11-30-2017: Come On Christmas

image via youtube.com

Thanksgiving is over and I’m done Christmas shopping. Time for the holiday to get here, right?

Entertainment

  • Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: USA – It was funny but just didn’t have the small world charm.
  • A Very Murray Christmas – This has become a Christmas staple for me. I’m not saying it is very good. As much as I enjoy it, I will admit it took me until about the third viewing until I got to that point. It still gives me some chuckles and it does have some heart to it.

Games

  • Titanfall 2 – Jumped back into some Frontier Defense for a change of pace. I really enjoy this game but it wreaks havoc with me when my Xbox One won’t play the disc because it has an HDCP problem with my monitor for some reason. The PS4 thinks nothing off it. For some reason if I hook the Xbox One to my tv then to my monitor it is fine but heaven forbid I just want to leave things hooked up the same way every time I use them. I must be some kind of madman to expect that. It wouldn’t be so bad if other disc games I owned worked, like The Division, without issue.
  • The Division – I pop this game in every now and then when I want to feel sad. This game has some great things but it just tripped over itself and never recovered. Almost two years into the game’s life they are still supporting it but every time I log in I see a dwindling player base and no new reason to play it. Sad.
  • Far Cry 4 – I needed to play something fresh, to me at least. Having only played the trick ending, I started to actually play the game. Upon reaching the end of the prologue I stopped. Not that I don’t want to play more, just not right now. Perhaps in the coming week.

News

  • Battlefront II Robot Players – People making rigs/robots to autoplay for them? It’s not a new idea but given all Battlefront II is going through this is just another kick in the shin. On some level I don’t blame these people. Why? I was trying to complete all of the arcade modes, the player versus AI games. After awhile I got a message at the end of the game stating ‘more credits available in 13hrs’. I didn’t think much of it at first as I had been playing some PVP earlier and just thought that there was a daily limit on credits. That seemed like a crappy thing to do but eh whatever, I was done for the day anyway. The next day is what got to me. I had two more modes on the easy level to do, without having played any games prior to those, after playing one level of the intermediate mode I got a message of ‘more credits available in 9hrs’. I was floored. This was yet another governor to earning rewards in this game.
  • Destiny 2 XP nerf – I wish I was surprised by this. I thought maybe, just maybe it was me when I thought I wasn’t getting much XP when doing solo events. Now I see that it wasn’t the conspiracy trait that I have feeding this. Don’t applaud Bungie for fixing it, scold them for having it in the first place. If you want people to play your game then reward them equally for however they want to play it, not for how you want them to play it.
  • PUBG mobile game – I don’t know what to say. I’ll just quote the quote from VG247.com – “More importantly, it describes the game as “Eating Chicken” game “Jedi Survival.”” Yeah, brilliant.

Closing Arguments

As we hit December and the end of the year it becomes a time to reflect and a time for family. Think of all they’ve done for you and you for them. Or… is it think of all they’ve done to you and all you’ve done to them? Um, maybe just don’t think about it.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

2017 Game of the Year!

2017 turned out to be a fine year for video games. At the beginning of the year I thought the year wasn’t going to have much at all but we got a surprising good crop of games. With that though came some duds and we have to talk about those as well.

Let’s look at the games of 2017…

Honorable Mention – PlayerUnkown’s BattleGrounds

This game makes my list despite breaking two of my cardinal rules for being on the list. 1. The game is not officially released and is still in early access. 2. I have not played the game. Even with those factors I wanted to mention the game since it has been so immensely popular. I’ve watched a lot of other people play this game and I see where the draw is. I plan on jumping into it when it comes to the Xbox One platform. The closest game I played is the Fornite Battle Royale that is likely the first of many clones. The game is supposed to get a full release on pc before the end of the year so I’m ok with having it on a 2017 game list.

Dishonorable Mention – Materfall

With Housemarque moving away from arcade shooters Matterfall is a sad end to a glorious run of games. This game fell short for me and I never even finished it. There were too many systems for my feeble mind to comprehend much less master. The graphics and sound were delightful but they didn’t outweigh my frustration with the gameplay and unforgiving checkpoints.

Hot Mess – Star Wars: Battlefront II

For the vast majority of the year I was certain Mass Effect: Andromeda had a lock on this. Then Battlefront II gets released and the world gets an even bigger disaster from EA. How EA had two disasters of this magnitude in the same year still confounds me. The saga isn’t even over yet which makes it even more astounding. It should have been a simple formula to make this game a success. They needed two things: 1. Add a campaign, 2. Clean up the multiplayer system. Both of these actually made the game worse than the original. The fact that the campaign was short isn’t as big of deal as the fact that it was bad. The loot and card systems in the multiplayer are just atrocious and unfair. The controversy got the microtransactions turned off but EA will be turning them back on as soon as they can justifiably do so. The longer standing problem is the attention and ire the entire situation may have brought upon the industry. If countries do declare loot boxes to be gambling, which some have, and decide it must be regulated as such look for a huge change in how video games are monetized.

What A Let Down – Destiny 2

When I think of this game I think to myself “what could have been?”. Having played hundreds of hours of the original I just wanted Destiny 2 to be more of original Destiny with a few improvements. Maybe it’s me but much like Battlefront 2, Destiny 2 failed two key things: 1. Improve the story, 2. Improve the reward system. Bungie made the story longer and told it better but it still wasn’t a good story. It didn’t really tell much about the universe and by the end of it I probably understood less than when I began it. Then there is the reward system and the fact that they actually added different currencies rather than reducing the number from the original game. Add to that we find out that they were metering XP gain. I dropped off playing this game a few weeks after it released and I make no plans to return to it even with the DLC releasing soon.

Sigh…. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Again, what could have been. With the Shepard narrative over and the series going to a different part of the galaxy the slate was clear for Mass Effect: Andromeda to do great things. What we ended up with was a broken game with an incomplete story. It took too long to get interesting, made wild jumps at times, and ended awkwardly with too many loose ends. Said loose end may have been left that way for DLC but we’ll never get that since the series has been put on “hiatus” by Bioware. The game wasn’t as bad as it was panned for and it makes me sad that there will be no Mass Effect for years to come, if ever.

Good Times – Nex Machina

It was fun but short game that you could jump in and out of and have a good time with. I played through it several times and enjoyed each run through.

Longest Title – Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy The Telltale Series

Much like the movies it has great characters and an amazing sound track. Unlike the movies the narrative from this game is completely separate and handles some events and characters completely differently. That made it a bit hard to swallow but it mostly held up on its own.

More than a Side Story – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Naughty Dog may be done with Uncharted but if somebody else wants to do more of this I’m interested in it. This spin-off with two of the female characters was true to the Uncharted charm but also brought its own. There could be more in this series and I sincerely hope there is.

A Sequel with No Equal – South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Every time this game got delayed I worried. Much like The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole had numerous development issues and delays. Then again, just like its predecessor this game turned out to be a gem. It was a fan service in many ways but never leaned on it too hard. The entire game was a blast to play and I’m not sure I want another sequel but I wasn’t sure I wanted this one.

Almost Number One – NieR Automata

A game that wasn’t even on my radar until well after its release made a strong case to be my game of the year for 2017.  The environment is not the most impressive you’ll see but it adds to the overall feel of the game. The ground doesn’t look very good and some of the character models are simplistic but the style it is all done in makes it work. The depth of the story and the strings that it pulls make the game something special. The characters draw you in and you’ll want to learn everything you can about them. What keeps the game at my secondary spot is the story and combat. As beautiful and moving as the story is at points it can be hard to follow. Multiple play-throughs help but there is always the sense that I don’t quite understand everything in the game. The combat was the biggest issue I had with the game. Almost immediately I dumbed it down to the easiest level because it was frustrating to not be able to advance in a game that I was playing purely for the story. Even after getting seven of the endings(ABCGHTW if you’re curious) I still think about going back to see more.

The Very Best of 2017 – Horizon Zero Dawn

Not only is this the best game I played this year it may likely be one of the best I’ve ever played. The environment is rich and alive everywhere you go. I spent hours exploring even taking the time to walk to points between missions rather than fast travel just so I could spend more time in the game. I won’t claim it is perfect though, there were a few boss fights that I may have approached wrong but they were frustrating just the same. Those few times did not hinder my adoration of this game due to its story and character. At first I didn’t care for Aloy but as they matured her character through the story I was hooked. If I can spare the time, I want to do game+ play through just so I can do it all over again.

That is it, no more games. Ever. Just kidding. With the year winding down I’m probably done playing any more releases from this year. Yakuza 0 was high on my list but I just don’t have enough interest in it to want to play it despite all the good things I hear about. Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Batman: The Enemy Within are on my radar but I’ll wait for all the episodes to be out before I play either of them.

Looking at my list and the order I’ve placed all these games I must admit I’m a bit surprised. Normally I go for shooters but they don’t dominate my list this year. In fact, the shooters were some of the biggest disappointments this year.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.