Sunday, 10 July 2016

Contrast and Thomas Was Alone 100% Completed!

Contrast and Thomas Was Alone join my 100% completed games on Steam. I currently have 54 (55 if we count base game of Fallout 4 without its DLCs) 100% completed games on my Steam account and I feel somewhat accomplished with this number. 

I really enjoyed playing Contrast except for platforming in shadows and insanely fast paced movement from the main character. The atmosphere in the game is pretty awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I particularly loved the voice acting too as it elevated the narrative. Contrast is full of amazing easter eggs so discovering all these pop culture references while working on collectible achievements felt quite entertaining. 

Contrast wasn't a very hard game to get full completion at all; however, it has a lot of missable achievements. The game has chapter select so it's rather easy to go back to a certain chapter to get the missing achievements. I'd recommend Contrast to anyone who enjoys a very solid story telling and easygoing puzzles.

Thomas Was Alone is a different story though. It truly made me realise why I hate platformers so much. I hated the controls too, I spent half of the time in a level just trying to pick the right rectangle. In some levels you are required to pick a certain rectangle, jump with that and immediately select another certain rectangle to jump on top of the first rectangle you jumped with. I don't know if this was an easy task on controllers but it was such a torture on the keyboard. The game was a lot of fun when it focused on puzzles rather than platforming but I absolutely hated the time I wasted on those bloody jumps I mentioned. Thomas Was Alone had a solid storytelling as well. Those rectangles have more character and personality than the characters from some other games. 

Thomas Was Alone is an extremely easy game to get all its achievements. The collectibles are quite hard to miss and you can easily select a chapter if you happen to miss one. The rest of the achievements are just jumping, dying and finishing the story. Anyone who likes platformers and puzzles will adore Thomas Was Alone. So if you're one of those gamers I strongly recommend this game for you.

Ps; I also completed Sneaky Sneaky but I am thinking of writing a more detailed review for it so I'm keeping that post for later. Although I really should start working on that review before I forget the game :P I honestly can't tell what's keeping me from writing it! I'm currently working on Unmechanical achievements, I should be done with it very soon. I'll update the blog once I'm done.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Volume Review and Achievements Completion!

After 10 hours of very entertaining gameplay I now achieved 100% completion on Volume, an isometric stealth/puzzle game from the developer of Thomas Was Alone. Thus Volume becomes the 52th game I got 100% completion on (53 if we count Fallout 4 base game without the DLCs).

I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Volume. It felt more like a puzzle game than a stealth game though. On certain levels you are forced to get detected and then lose the enemies in order to progress. Therefore Volume can't be fully ghosted; however, majority of it can certainly be ghosted. 

One of the things I loved about Volume was that it supported a full pacifist playthrough. There are no weapons and it is completely impossible to kill anyone. But there are quite a handful of very useful gadgets that have to be utilised to either hide/disguise yourself or to distract enemies in various ways. You can create clones of yourself to set enemies on a goose chase while you sneak, you can set off loud noises to lure enemies away or in levels that don't have any gadgets you can simply whistle!

There is a nice difficulty curve in Volume. The game starts off being easy and then introduces new enemies, much more complex levels, new concepts and new gadgets. At the start, the game introduces a fairly easy enemy to evade called Pawns with a very limited field of vision, then you are faced with Snipers who has a very far vision but they fire slowly, then you get Turrets, Dogs, Knights (who can even see behind them) and they all require a certain gadget or strategy to evade.

Art style in Volume is certainly impressive.. The level design in all 100 chapters is absolutely gorgeous and graphics are fantastic. Chapters are quite colourful and they are stunning. I have one complaint though; as enemies are white, certain levels that have bright and light colours make it a bit tough to see which side the enemies are facing and how far their visions go. 

Apart from art, I was also mind blown by the amazing Volume soundtrack! I wasn't much of a fan of Thomas Was Alone soundtrack but music in Volume feels like heaven to my ears!. However, I absolutely hated how loud the notification sound is when you're detected. I even turned down the "volume" but despite me doing so there were still moments of jump scares when I got detected.

Subtitle window is huge....
Just in case I don't miss anything related to the story, I always turn on subtitles in games. Even though I can perfectly understand what is being said, I just enable them on purpose so as not to miss any details. Volume made me deeply regret this! The subtitle screen takes lower half of the screen and some chapters have insanely long dragging dialogues. There was one time I actually just waited before finishing the mission cause dialogue wasn't done by the time I completed the chapter. As subtitles cover a major part of the screen, it becomes insanely difficult to see what's really happening on your south side. Camera can't really be dragged either so on certain chapters I just had to wait until dialogues were over to progress cause otherwise I'd be running in blind to my certain death. If I'm on a suicide mission, I'd prefer to at least see it happen!

My final complaint will be about the game not giving the player options to finish the level in different ways. Most chapters only have one gadget (except some that have multiple) and almost all these levels don't give you multiple gadget options to finish the level. There are 9 gadgets in Volume but you are forced to use only one gadget per section of a level. Only a very few chapters give you 2 options to use.

In short, Volume is a very enjoyable game. I'd suggest Volume to anyone who wants a nice challenge without it being impossible or annoying. Chapters are a lot in number but quite short in content so it's a game that can be enjoyed even if you find 10 minutes of free time. I want to thank Mike Bithell for this amazing game and I can't wait to play his future games.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Review and Achievements Completion!

I played so much Trine these days that I started dreaming about it. Even when I close my eyes I see Zoya grappling and swinging or Amadeus conjuring boxes. I guess it's about time I started focusing on another game to rid my subconsciousness from anything related to Trine!

Sadly I won't be able to make a post about Trine 2 achievements completion as I will not even attempt hard+hardcore gameplay. I'm missing only 4 achievements from Trine 2 and it will be like this forever most likely. So after getting a 100% completion on Trine Enchanted Edition and finishing as many achievements as I could in Trine 2 it was finally time to play Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power.

I read a lot of negative reviews about Trine 3. The game attracted a lot of hate and negativity. Before I played this game I was baffled as to why so many people hated this game that much as I thought it looked absolutely stunning from the screenshots. Let's face it! Trine 3 does have some breathtaking graphics!

Now that I got a chance to play the game myself I really see why Trine 3 is not received very well. The main problem isn't the integration of 3D, it's the camera angles. Camera doesn't exactly follow your character, it gets fixed on a particular spot same as in Trine 1 and 2. However the first 2 Trine games were 2D. Once you add 3D, camera angles start becoming a major player.

There should have been options to set camera angles in Trine 3. Due to this major problem I really didn't enjoy anything the game offered. Both platforming and combat (with namely Amadeus) felt like an absolute torture due to fixed camera angles. I missed a lot of jumps because apparently I didn't align my character with my landing zone very well. Especially during a certain chapter platforming and jumping between some traps, I won't spoil here, really made me want to quit the game. Combat with Amadeus was also a horror story. I conjured boxes to stomp my enemies but I ended up missing a lot because again I couldn't position the box right above the enemy I wanted to crush. Current camera angles don't let you position your character or boxes effectively so prepare to miss a lot of jumps!

I'll briefly state the other negatives about Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power. Difficulty is fixed and there are no difficulty options. Main chapters are too long and low in number whereas side chapters are too short. In order to revive a fallen hero you must stand on top of their spirit but sometimes this spirit can be placed at a location you were trying to reach before losing your hero. For example I was trying to grapple on a platform to get to the other side to collect a Trineangle, I made a mistake and Zoya died. When Zoya died her spirit was placed on top of the Trineangle I was trying to collect, not where my other 2 characters are located. So I had to reload the save to get my Zoya back as her grapple was my only way of reaching that platform. This happens frequently and it starts to get extremely frustrating.

I'll be honest, Trine 3 is an insanely annoying game. But it does have its positive points too, albeit not enough to remove my distaste while playing this game. I already mentioned that the game has stunning graphics. But I particularly enjoyed the map and chapter select. Once you select a chapter in the map, the game will show you how many Trineangles are in each checkpoint and how many you collected or how many you are missing (provided you have finished that chapter before). You can directly select these checkpoints and start from there to collect what you're missing. So if you are missing a Trineangle at the end of a level, you don't have to redo everything you've done previously. You can simply select that specific checkpoint, collect your missing Trineangle and you're done. Sadly the game doesn't have as many secret areas as Trine so most Trineangles are quite easy to collect; however, I still loved this feature and in my opinion it's the 2nd best thing about Trine 3 after its beautiful graphics.

Would I recommend Trine 3? Absolutely not. Unless you are a die hard Trine fan or an achievement hunter who wants to get a quick completion in 6-7 hours, I would not recommend Trine 3 at all. Trine 1 and 2 are already fantastic games so replay them if you want to get your Trine fix! :)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Steam Summer Sale Galore!

I still consider myself new to the Steam scene. Sure, I've had my Steam account for over 3 years now but I've only recently started using it properly for about a year now. I generally skipped any kind of Steam sale and I had a pretty good track record of 0 purchased games on sales so far :D Well that was until this Steam Summer Sale.

There were some games I set my eyes on months before and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't miss the sale this time. Well I've never let my consumerist persona run loose like that but I might have gone a little bit insane. Of course I am not comparing myself to some of my friends on my list who bought over 30 games but I probably lost the control I think I had. I still bought nothing compared to what some of my friends purchased but I still bought a lot more than I expected I would. And I actually didn't spend a dime for more than half of them...

I had a limited Steam Wallet before the sale. I added the funds weeks before sale and I was gonna buy War for the Overworlds and Lumo. After I bought these two games I had a major dilemma: Multiple Indie games vs Alien Isolation. I went with multiple Indie games and bought 3 games instead of Alien Isolation. Thus my Steam Wallet was depleted.

But this wasn't the end of my Summer Sale escapades. I realised that I was hoarding more than 7 tabs of trading cards in my inventory. I had no idea why I kept them as I wasn't trading anyway so I started selling trading cards like it was my full time job. I decreased 7 tabs to 3 and bought 5 games alone with the cards I sold on Steam community market.

So let's draw a summary of how my Steam Summer Sale 2016 went:

Games I was gifted by my fellow friends <3:
  • Alien Isolation Complete Pack (My dilemma I mentioned above was pointless after all)
  • Everybody's Gone to the Rapture 
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter + The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux
  • This War of Mine
  • Contrast
  • The 39 Steps
Games I purchased with my Steam Wallet:
  • War for the Overworld
  • Lumo
  • Mafia II Joe's Adventures DLC (sadly I'm still missing Jimmy's Vendetta and The Betrayal of Jimmy)
  • Spy Chameleon - RGB Agent
  • Invisible, Inc
  • Not the Robots
Games I purchased by selling Steam trading cards:
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales II
  • Sneaky Sneaky
  • Quell
  • Knights
  • Frankenstein: Master of Death
My principle for the sale was that I'd only use my Steam Wallet. I promised myself that I would never use my credit card. However, I broke this principle for one time only and bought this:
  • Bioshock Infinite + Season Pass
Thus my first real adventure with a Steam Sale is concluded. It was a lot of fun! I purchased and was gifted some fantastic games. Until next time! ;)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Trine Enchanted Edition Achievements Completed!

After about 10 hours of gametime I finally earned all Steam achievements on Trine Enchanted Edition. I feel like I could have finished all of this in a much shorter time. The reason I say this is because I finished the game twice... Instead of starting the game on hardest difficulty, I played it on medium first. After I finished medium I felt confident enough to be able to tackle hard.

Now that I finished the game on hard difficulty I realised that I completely wasted my time with medium difficulty cause hardest difficulty wasn't actually hard at all. I should also admit that I didn't play it on hardcore difficulty though. Hardcore gameplay is too stressful for me and there wasn't an achievement for it either. I'm sure hard+hardcore would make the game pretty tricky and I'm positive that I'd rage quit in the middle of it, if I could progress to the middle of it that is! ;)

However, Trine 2 has 2 achievements for finishing the game and its DLC on hardest difficulty with hardcore mode enabled so that will be pretty frustrating for me! Who knows maybe I'll never get it. In that case I'll be missing 4 achievements in total, 2 for finishing the games with hard+hardcore and 2 for "earn all achievements". I will definitely attempt it but I already made my peace with it if I fail, which I most likely will.

But until then I'll bask in the glory of my fresh 100% completed game. As someone who exclusively played non Stealth games on easy difficulty, I'm beginning to ramp up the difficulty of the games I'm currently playing. It feels both scary and awesome at the same time!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

I Have "Improved"!

I feel like I am improving as a gamer and I admit that this feels amazing. I remember a time about 6-7 years ago when I played Mafia II religiously during high school. I have loved and enjoyed the game so much that I finished it 3 times. Once on easy difficulty and twice on medium difficulty. I also started my 4th playthrough on hardest difficulty but I hit a brick wall on Chapter 14 and the name of that brick wall was Derek! I got stuck on him for weeks until I had enough and quit the game. I always felt like the game was unfinished despite my previous completions.

However, I recently obtained Mafia II on Steam and decided to go for its achievements. As there was an achievement to finish the game on hardest difficulty I started my gameplay on hard, the same difficulty I got stuck on for weeks in the past. I was so dedicated to my cause this time and no matter how long it would take I would finish the game on hard! And I did! 

To my utter shock and surprise I actually managed to finish chapter 14 on on my very first attempt. Previous chapters weren't hard at all even on hardest difficulty. This game is actually one of the easiest games to finish on hardest difficulty (except chapter 14 and then 15). I struggled a little bit at the start of Chapter 15 but again to my surprise for the 2nd time I passed the last boss fight on my very first attempt. I don't know what's going on but it feels great to be able to take my previous performance to the next level.

I'm a Stealth purist, I only ever enjoy Stealth games and I don't like shooters or fast paced games. Considering that there is "shooting" involved in Mafia II, finishing this game on hardest difficulty feels like a pretty big triumph by my own standards and skill level. It feels truly incredible to finally get this done.

That being said, I am so pumped and ready for Mafia III. Just you wait for me Vito! I am gonna fangirl the hell out of you and give you every single territory I capture!

Ps, "Improved" in the title of the post is a reference to Abathur from StarCraft! ;)

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Update on Thief Achievement Progress

I have played original Thief games during my childhood. I wasn't patient back then and I had trouble progressing especially on Stealth games so I never actually got a chance to finish original Thief games until years later during my university years. I had a blast because I started to fully appreciate the entertainment Stealth games can offer. 

There were a lot of negative feedback about the latest Thief game, especially from gamers who played the original games. But I do not let others make my own decisions so I picked up the game and started playing it. I am an achievement hunter so when I play a game, I try to get 100% Steam achievements if it's doable and Thief looks doable.

My first playthrough in Thief is completed. It was not that enjoyable as I focused more on collecting stuff (and by collecting I mean stealing stuff) and discovering secret rooms and passages rather than Stealth. Some collectibles were protected so I had to either distract guards or take them down both of which are something I don't like doing in my Stealth game. The 2nd playthrough will be Stealth purism at its finest though!! 

The 2nd playthrough will be done to earn an achievement for finishing the game on custom difficulty settings with 700 points or higher. In order to reach a minimum of 700 points, you need Expert difficulty (Expert is the highest difficulty in game). I seriously love the idea of custom difficulty options. On top of highest difficulty the game allows you to make it even more challenging with additional difficulty options. The custom difficulty options I chose for my playthrough are as follows:

  • No Kills or Knockouts
  • No Alerts
  • No Upgrades
  • No focus
  • Stealth Takedowns Only
  • No Reticle
  • Speciality Arrows Only
  • No Food or Poppies
  • Zero Damage
  • Expensive Resources

 Now we're talking!!!!