Invalid characterset or character set not supported Games Consumed: 2023

Games Consumed: 2023
July 09, 2023

11th Hour

7th Guest was a better realised haunted mansion game, but 11th Hour is more self aware. Better written, better acted and (occasionally) purposefully funny.

Not a particularly good port.

7th Guest

The B-Movie horror point and click game. Weird live action actors and bizarre puzzles made this a game I adored back when it was released, but the steam Ďremasteredí is not great. Itís just a port of the mobile port. Why does this keep happening?

Batman Arkham Origins

Last Xmas seemed like a good time to play the Xmas Batman. It might be the black sheep of the Arkhams but it's still a lot of fun with some stand out ideas. The crime scene examinations, for example, are great.

Batman: Arkham Origins - Cold, Cold Heart

Most would agree the sympathetic villain trope is played out. It's true. Also true; the best version of Mr. Freeze is the one so laser focused on saving his wife he forgets to make endless ice puns. He's pretty cool. So's this DLC.

Batman: The Enemy Within

Telltale Batman does a really good job of rewriting a lot of the Batman canon so that their takes are always unique. The crux of this game; if someone showed genuine care about Joker, would he still be a raving maniac, or could he be something better?

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Not the abomination I thought it would be. Could have leaned in more to the R&D side of the original, but a surprisingly decent third person cover based shooter that has obvious respect for the TBS original. As well it should, considering itís still THE GREATEST GAME EVER MADE.

Blacksad: Under the Skin

A modern point & click in the Telltale vein; the story and moral choices made throughout are a harder focus than the puzzles you must solve to get there. It both succeeds as being a story of worth and presenting choices that actually seem to matter.

The Dig

I'd give beating this a solid attempt every few years, but lose interest and wander off. It was time to strike it off the list. Love the lack of handholding to make the alien world feel alien.

Dinner With an Owl

Uniquely surreal little adventure game that wastes no time weirding you out, then keeps you weirded out throughout.

Don't Disturb

It's a short game about a dog following his owner into the Chinese underworld. It's lovely to look at while it lasts with its water-coloured aesthetic and should be seen to completion in well under an hour.


Grimy Indie horror done right. Clunky and with fluctuating voice acting quality, but imaginative with everything it does. Many cats were harmed in the completion of this game.

Flight of the Amazon Queen

Sometimes a bit on the nose (the protagonist is called Joe King) but I canít hate a game that has puzzles you can solve not with inventory based shenanigans, but by convincing someone they canít actually exist until theyíre deleted by reality.

Football Game

About an hour long, this is still a cool psychological highschool point and click drama that leaves enough unsaid to be mysterious, but tells you enough to invest in the protagonistís shadowy woes. Also, a banging soundtrack.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Another blow to the endless backlog. Short run time, but it was a good time with combat that felt like ghostbusting, wrangling spectres into traps with energy beams that never felt clunky. Really likeable game.

Grey Instinct

Cyberpunkish, short point and click thatís supposed to be the start of a series of games but seemed to have been abandoned for years, until the second I started typing this out and the dev came back to life to talk about the second game more.

Has the most random NSFW content I may have ever seen in a game. Just drops from nowhere and then vanishes again.

Jurassic World Evolution

This was a big personal time sink. Excellent park builder that gave me the chance to finally find out how many velociraptors it would take to stop an enraged ankylosaurus. The answer may surprise you.

Last Door: Chapter 1

Low budget pixel horror of the Lovecraftian kind. Canít really creep you out with its 8bit graphics, so relies on amazing audio cues and excellent writing instead. Should be on everyoneís to play list.

League of Legends: The Ruined King

It's a shame I'll have to out myself as a LoL player with this, but watching wholesome Braum fighting off the constant advances of an increasingly thirsty Illoai was great.

Fun JRPG too, I suppose.


Classic Lucasarts adventure Iíd always put off for reasons I no longer remember. Not the longest game, but mixes a unique setting with a series of goofy characters who often face harsh realities. Its tone bounces all over the place, and itís stronger for it.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

It's crazy to me that Monolith Productions can write a competent LotR companion piece that doesn't crap all over the lore, while Amazon is out there penning bad fanfic.

TLDR: I liked this game.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - Lord of the Hunt

Very much the same as the base game. More of an excuse to prolong that thing you were already doing, rather than a chance to do something new.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - The Bright Lord

Make a genuine attempt to shake up the foundations. Strips the protagonist of much of their godly powers and shifts the focus onto amassing an army of brainwashed orcs rather then being a one man greenskin genocide factory.

Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten

I'll drop money on anything Utawareumono. Mobius is a massive switch up, no longer a TRPG/Visual Novel, but a straight JRPG. It's a big time sink, but I had a blast.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

Whatever your thoughts on SEGA, the effort they put into April Fools is above and beyond. This year, a goofy VN/P&C about the death of their mascot. It's currently the highest rated Sonic game on Steam.

The Night of the Rabbit

It's the best kind of whimsical adventure; one with a clear dark undertone that relies on the player's intelligence to quantify rather than scream into their faces. Slightly ruined by an infodump ending, but recommended.

Perfect Tides

Recommended to me outta nowhere, it's a point & click game where the big villain is awkward teenage-ness. A super-focused dissection on Mara, an introverted 16-year old girl. It overcomes some significant mechanical issues with some frankly amazing writing.

Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender

I'll talk about the game before Twitter cancels me. I didn't know Micropose had a pop at point & clicking in the early '90s, but here we are. A polished and amusing sci-fi comedy adventure.

Sam & Max Hit The Road

The best Lucasarts game. Iíll die on this hill. The best puzzles that are neither an insult or an unsolvable enigma, the best cast and the most fun game to play through. It makes me feel more mentally adjusted in comparison, which is affirming.

The Supper

I loved this dark little game. Itís so short, maybe less than half an hour long, but it's awful world instally strikes me as something I want to learn more about. Itís a snapshot of this weird oddity of a messed up world.

This Way Madness Lies

Iíll be Team Zeboyd for life. Madness is a fast-paced JRPG that asks, what if magical girls had to do battles within random Shakespeare works, and the girls themselves are am-dram actors who regularly put on Bard plays.

Weíll Always Have Paris

A short but very powerful tale about dealing with dementia. It packs a lot of clever ways to provoke some serious thought into whatís probably under an hour's run time.

Yakuza 3

Itís going to be a weird one for people playing through the series after getting hooked on 0. Itís not been remade like 1 & 2 were, rather itís remastered from the PS3. Still Yakuza, though; a super serious gritty crime family story full of death and betrayal, backdropped to ridiculously goofy side missions and trying to bang all the club hostesses.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

honestgamer honestgamer - July 15, 2023 (01:06 PM)
I need to declare war on my own backlog. I could do nothing but play games in my backlog between now and probably the end of my life and still not finish all of them without making a concentrated effort toward that end. Which I have not the time to do, since I mostly play new-to-me games these days and write guides to put food on my table. Regarding your comments on the 7th Guest, I really wish they would start with the PC remasters first and maybe convert those to mobile after the fact, rather than the other way around. Regarding Yakuza 3, you did a good job of summing up most of what makes that series great. I need to play the remastered version of 3 myself. I did play Like a Dragon: Ishin! recently and had a lot of fun with that on PS5, but I suspect the remaster of 3 is considerably less ambitious.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 17, 2023 (01:24 AM)
I've done the same with my main backlog, having scraped something like 17 titles off since last December, including a few books. I'm looking to cross Pyre and Rose Madder off the list next, and maybe The Evil Within.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - July 21, 2023 (12:32 AM)
If I ever felt like writing again, I should tackle some of mine. You've got some listed here I've been keen to try but haven't had enough desire to. The Batman and LotR games come to mind especially.
overdrive overdrive - July 29, 2023 (10:37 AM)
I've been doing good work on gradually whittling the actual backlog down thanks to rarely buying anything, so I'm not having regular "beat two games, buy three" situations where, assuming any knowledge of math whatsoever, a person can gather isn't actually helping matters. The only real issue is that, due to PS Plus, I have this huge-ass virtual backlog that's just getting larger because of regular additions. I mean, at least some games do get removed from that one due to being removed from the service, but it's still growing faster than it's shrinking.

In conclusion: I will never win. Never.
overdrive overdrive - July 29, 2023 (10:47 AM)
Oh, and as for your games cleared, on Twitter, I mentioned my time with Shadows of Mordor. Like I said, I never bought the DLC (a bit of a surprise due to my usual addiction to buying everything extra for games I own, but with your recommendation of at least one of them, might reconsider).

I remember old-time gaming magazines really featuring LOOM back in the day. Never played it, but I recall really digging its vibe and thinking it'd be cool to experience.

Speaking of PS Plus like I did in my first post, they hit me below the belt by taking off the two Yakuza Kiwamis (as well as Zero). Well, they're being taken off around Aug. 18, but for me to get through both of them, I'd have to ignore most of the side content and also ignore how I'm enjoying Assassin's Creed III (minus the occasional "wolf tore out my throat" moment) and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and vaguely liking Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. That will slow me down in clearing all the games, as I apparently now will have to buy those two while crossing my fingers that 3-4-5-6 don't also follow them off the service.

Been a while since I played Zeboyd. Loved Breath of Death and Cthulhu, but kind of fizzled out after their first Penny Arcade game (really enjoyed the game itself, but didn't care about the characters, story, whatnot).
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 31, 2023 (02:13 AM)
I'd say Zeboyd's post Penny Arcade stuff is worth checking out, although Cosmic Star Heroine doesn't have really great characters or story. Still, the battle system is fantastic and the boss encounters are challenging and fun. Plus, Cthulhu Saves Christmas is great.
EmP EmP - August 03, 2023 (03:28 PM)
I own the Penny Arcade stuff, but I've never played them. They're not even on the backlog shortlist, but maybe some day if I keep making solid progress!

I picked up Mordor with the DLC included. Lord of the Hunt's not worth going back to; it's very much just more of the same, but Bright Lord is worth the time. Currently getting through Murdered: Soul Suspect, which is surprisingly good.

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