Invalid characterset or character set not supported The Big List of Games I Beat in 2021 pt.8

The Big List of Games I Beat in 2021 pt.8
November 11, 2021

The post Halloween update means thereís a lot more activity than other updates because gotta play all the horror games and fill out the month. Itís also been the breaking of an unwritten rule to try and not have more than one main game in progress at once, so I have to actually finish the bloody things so I can move on to the next. I started playing a few horror-y games that I could have rushed through and got a review out to, but it turned out I didn;t need them, mso I pumped the brakes on them. Iíll talk about them anyway

//In Progress//

Bayonetta has been floating about the top of my next to play list ever since it popped up on Steam. I still remember Zig talking this game up hard every opportunity he had and, now Iím about halfway through, I get his point. Itís a hell of a lot of fun, and ridiculously creative ib what it does. Itís been parked for now, but I hope to go back before the end of the year and push through to the end.

Heavy Rain is a game Iíve not wanted to play because David Cage has hurt me before. A decade later, and Iím still not over Fahrenheit. But I wanted a horror game starting with H for alpha marathon purposes. So gave both this and Hellblade an equal chance. Hellblade won handily. No one was surprised. But Iím deep enough into this game to get through to the end. Itís not been too bad so far, but playing a Cage game is like eating a cake with a lightbulb baked into it. You know youíre going to be hurt at some point.

Tomb Raider is a game I beat on release on the console (I used to play consoles a lot!) and I restarted it again on a whim. The big plan is to play the other Tomb Raiders in the same way Iím playing the Yakuzas; with gaps in between, but not to the point where I no longer remember the things Iím supposed to be remembering.

ZenoHell is a shooter that I started to cover Z. Iíve beaten it twice with two different ships. BUT THEN that bloody Venter comes up with a review code for a Z game I requested a month ago in what I suspect is shenanigans on his behalf. Sorry, ZenoHell; maybe next year.

//New Entry//

Saint Kotar is a very Croatian point and click horror. It revolves heavily around religion, and not a single chance to shit on Italy is missed. Itís a stiff game where people loiter about the screen, and much of my game time is spent watching the characters trudge from A to B, but itís certainly got an atmosphere to it.
Review // Incoming

Kathy Rain: The Directorís Cut is a rerelease of a game I played back in 2016 that I have no issue playing again today. The vast majority of the changes from the original have been cosmetic, such as introducing a stable aspect ratio, but the Twin Peaks-like small town oddball horror is still a fun tale to take on.
Review // yes.

Hellblade is something Iíve been meaning to play for a long, long time now; The game is purposefully designed to stress the player out at almost all times. Deconstruct it as a video game, and itís a corridor of uninteresting puzzles and lacklustre combat burdened by enemies who take too long to kill. But as a complete package, itís fascinating. The most anti-fun Iíve had with a game since Spec Ops.
Review // yes

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is a bit of a cheat inclusion; I beat the game some time ago, and only got through a draft of the review, which Iíve been picking at for years since. Iíve gone back and played bits of this game through the scattered save files I still have, so I guess itís not a complete lie. Now that this is a done thing, thereís a slightly bigger chance Iíll finish the reviews on the other Knight games before I quit.
Review // yes.

Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia has no exciting back story. I needed a horror game and itís about something forcing teenages into suicide pacts.So I plucked this from the games sent to me Iíve not redeemed pile and gave it a go. Itís, really, not very horror-y at all. Who knew?
Review // yes.

A Jugglerís Tale is pretty cool, and actually surprised me by suddenly dipping into an existential crisis, which shouldnít have been a surprise considering the gameís strong INSIDE vibe. Beat it all in a couple of hours, would doubt existence again.
Review // yes.

Outpost 13 is a game Iíve been sitting on for ages. I helped vote it through Steamís Greenlight program, which should date the hell out of it. That must have been 2014? The idea of playing reverse The Thing really drew me in, so I waited for the game to be completed. It was a little heartbreaking when I finally gave up on that, and here we are.
Review // yes

//The Backlog Mortuary//

8Doors: Arum's Afterlife Adventure Last stage kicked the crap out of me, but finally beating it down was hugely satisfying. Excellent Metroidvania game based around Korean purgatory myths. Not usually my genre of choice, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Review // yes.

American Patriots: The Swamp Fox: Thereís no win conditions attached to this game, so the only way to beat it is to stop playing. Itís a barebones horde-mode FPS thatís very limited in options. Iíve played it enough to be underwhelmed; Iím done with it.
Review// yes

The Beard in the Mirror: Goofy retro point & click openly inspired by Sierraís Quest games. Got maybe halfway through a few years back, then stopped for reasons I no longer remember. Been threatening to go back and finish it for ages and now have.
Review// yes.

Chronicles of Cyberpunk: You know when a gameís been rotting in the library forever when you notice it has since turned free-to-play. Such is the fate of Chronicles, which is best described as bloody weird. Itís a dystopian low-fi walking simulator that obsessively cycles through all the cyberpunk tropes. Niche, but I liked it.
Review // maybe/next time Iím very drunk

Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness isnít what I expected. I thought it would just be a case of maybe my favourite Lovecraft story being transplanted wholesale into the AGS engine, but itís more of its own tale based around the Cthulhu mythos, which is pretty cool. Pretty short, but engaging enough. It starts strong and loses momentum throughout, so its short runtime is probably a blessing. Well worth playing.
Review // yes.

Cuyo: Simple, easy platformer with puzzle elements attached to a limited jump mechanic. Cute, but not especially challenging.
Review // yes

Dagon is currently free on Steam, will run less than an hour and, I thought, is a very decent interactive telling of one of the first H.P Lovcecraft mythos tales.
Review// might not be enough game in there, but maybe Iíll give it a shot

Dungeons of Naheulbeuk: Goofy fantasy parody story told alongside genuinely faithful D&D-built turn based strategy battles. Itís surprisingly good stuff. I didnít expect great things from this when Jason randomly dropped it on me some time last year, but I put the hours in, got pretty far, then saw my progress get mercilessly deleted when the game updated to full retail edition, destroying all my review edition save files in the process. Took a break, started anew, and killed so many cave spiders. The little shits.
Review// yes

Edge of Eternity was the big one. Iíve been very 2000-ish in my games this year, oly pary by choice, because I seem to have gone on a bit of a Japanese game run. Still, this might be the most fun Iíve had with a JRPG since Lost Odyssey. Itís a shame the current PC version is an incomplete game; the main plot is all there, but itís missing a lot of side and post game content right now, but it could be something special when itís all been put together. The tagline pun is aimed at that, but might be too much of a thinker.
Review // yes

Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned: Gabriel has been my fallback series for when my PC blows up and Iím stuck with my decade old laptop to game on. Why do I have a decade old laptop floating around? Because games like Knight are arseholes to getting running on modern rigs, and their re-released games often have zero work done on them to change that. I found 3 to be the weakest of the series, but still quite worth the hassle.
Review // maybe if I ever finish the half-penned drafts of the previous Knight games.

Halo: Reach: Iíve beaten Reach before; Iíve beaten Reach several times, in fact, but I finally broke my buy no new games rule to get the Halo collection on a huge discount. What started as a dry run just to make sure Reach ran out OK turned into a full run through the game in Normal mode. Man, I still adore this game. Itís my favourite Halo by some distance. Itís so full of despair while the others are more or less a power trip. Thinking about re-reviewing it. Weíll see.
Review: pre-existing

Insanium: Heavily based on a very old game I really dug, so itís an easy bet to say I also dug this. Sometimes it takes the homage too far rather than risk trying to make a real go at a unique spin of an old idea. In space, no one can hear you copy and paste.
Review // yes

Loop Hero is an oddity of several genres mixed together with a purposefully dated aesthetic that shouldnít work, but does. Itís a game I thought I was only playing in little bubbles before I noticed Steam had recorded 30+ hours spent in the game. Itís a weird punishing grindfest thatís also forgiving with clear progression provided at the same time. Itís kind of brilliant.
Review // yes

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is the story about a girl writing a story, and how both of those things are affected by the sudden disruption in her life. Itís packaged as a 2D platformer, but itís more about solving easy puzzles based around using keywords to manipulate your surroundings. As a game, itís decent enough, but itís the writing and the voice acting that are Lost Wordís main strength. Absolutely not for everyone, probably more of an experience than it is a flat out video game.
Review // yes

Mysterious Realms RPG has an awful name, and Iím going to mock it. But itís also a throwback shareware-esque fantasy rogue-like with a weird deck-building battle system that works really well but is super hard to explain. Itís an interesting filler title for people in the mood to stab some giant spiders that can be seen through to completion in a handful of hours.

Narita Boy: Genuinely enjoyable throwback game that is happy to flirt with our nostalgia of 8/16bit gaming, but still does its own thing. Really enjoyed it, and has a synth OST that'll unassumingly blow your mind.
Review: yes

Planet Alpha is a game Iíve been meaning to review for years now. Itís very much something made in the image of Another World, but less about rage-inducing homicides, and more about spectacle. Also, the occasional rage-inducing homicide.
Review// yes

Road 96 is not going to attune itself to everyoneís sensibilities. Sometimes, it feels like you are playing an interactive Twitter argument where you either agree with the author or youíre literally Hitler. But the bits in between are a choose-your-own-adventure coming of age road trip. Itís certainly cringey at times, but it's an interesting experiment.

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