Game Completion 2018 #23 – Dying Light

  • Game: Dying Light
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Techland
  • Publisher: Warner Bros.

As a spiritual follow-up to Techland’s Dead Island series, Dying Light treads its own path as something of a Mirror’s Edge with Zombies.

It’s an improvement on Dead Island, for sure, while never quite hitting anywhere near ‘great’. What I found interesting is the difference in design philosophies; how tough things are at the opening, and how they become far easier the more skills you unlock. No enemies with scaling levels here; you get tougher, more skilled and that makes it feel a lot more rewarding as you progress.

The story is mostly throwaway, sadly, and though I’d heard that side-quests were the real star of the show in terms of writing, I found them mostly uninteresting or at worst, punching down toward some of its cast.

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Game Completion 2018 #22 – A Way Out

  • Game: A Way Out
  • Platform: Xbox One
  • Developer: Hazelight
  • Publisher: EA

Can’t say too much because of spoilers, but A Way Out is a fun as all heck, hammy, dumb action movie told in the style of a TellTale game. The co-op game mechanics are easily its best element, seeing you interact in ways that push the plot forward, rather than just having two players exist in the same space and doing/shooting the same things.

Smart and stylish, even if the story lacks the substance to back it all up.

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Game Completion 2018 #21 – Xenoblade Chronicles 2

  • Game: Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Monolith Soft
  • Publisher: Nintendo

Such is the release schedule for the Nintendo Switch, there was a point that it seemed unlikely I’d ever go back to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Yet, playing through Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for a recent freelance project proved to me that I can get through meatier games if I put my mind to it. And so I decided to revisit this while I was in that frame of mind.

I was a huge fan of the original Xenoblade Chronicles, which I played through a few years ago on New 3DS, and while this follow up is also very good, it’s bogged down in a number of ways that the original simply wasn’t. Pacing is a particular problem, it drags at points, even halting progress with skill checks against abilities you didn’t know you needed to upgrade. The story also takes a while to get there, but it does, and I was fully invested by the end.

I’m glad I found time to beat it.

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Game Completion 2018 #20 – A Normal Lost Phone

  • Game: A Normal Lost Phone
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Accidental Queens
  • Publisher: Playdius/Plug In Digital

A Normal Lost Phone is a super-interesting concept that sees you poking around the messages, emails and accounts on a phone found in the street. I can’t really say more than that as it would spoil pretty much everything that makes it unique.

It’ll rub some people up the wrong way, I’m sure, but I enjoyed it. Bargain price too.

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Game Completion 2018 #19 – Kirby Star Allies

  • Game: Kirby Star Allies
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Publisher: Nintendo

If you’re a regular listener to Switch Focus Podcast, you’ll know that Kirby Star Allies is my first ever Kirby game. I’m not sure why, but I’d either never happened upon a Kirby game in my youth, and didn’t have the interest as an adult.

Still, as a Switch super-fan, I finally wanted to give it a go and really enjoyed it for what it was: a low-investment, low-challenge, relaxing b-tier Nintendo platformer. It’s not mind-blowing, but fun and pleasant. I’d happily play more Kirby in the future.

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Game Completion 2018 #18 – Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

  • Game: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco

The original Ni No Kuni is easily one of my favourite JRPGs of all time, not just because of its charming plot and enjoyable mechanics, but because its themes of coping with depression really struck a chord with me as a former sufferer.

While I was excited for a follow up, I have to admit that I did have a secret worry that the sequel would suck and not live up to what I’d experienced before.

Sadly, while it didn’t suck – Ni No Kuni II is a great RPG – it just didn’t resonate with me in the same way.

It simply lacked the emotional punch the original had in spades, and the characters never really developed in the ways I’d hoped. Maybe because I had such a deep personal connection with the first game it was unfair of me to expect a repeat, but it’s natural I’d find a little disappointment there.

Otherwise, it’s a lot of fun, is way charming, and its fast-paced combat makes it a refreshing genre entry. I completely recommend it.

If you want to know more about its systems, check out the two IGN videos I wrote and captured footage for below.

 

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Game Completion 2018 #17 – Bayonetta 2

  • Game: Bayonetta 2
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Platinum
  • Publisher: Nintendo/SEGA

Much like with the original, I’ve ran through this game a few times before, so won’t say much more other than to reiterate that it’s a great sequel that improves massively on everything I already love.

Much like Bayonetta 1, it’s still in my top 10 of all time. I adore it.

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Game Completion 2018 #16 – Old Man’s Journey

  • Game: Old Man’s Journey
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Broken Rules
  • Publisher: Broken Rules

What a delightful little game with beautiful art, simple but satisfying mechanics, and a super-touching plot.

I won’t say much more, but it’s a bargain price on the eShop and only takes 90 minutes to an hour, and is totally worth your time.

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Game Completion 2018 #15 – Night in the Woods

  • Game: Night in the Woods
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Infinite Fall
  • Publisher: Finji

Night in the Woods is a weird game with a ton of complex layers and subplots to unpack, and therefore is in some ways exactly what I expected, and, in so many others, absolutely not.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but most of the discussion about NITW revolves around the protagonist Mae and her worth as person. She’s certainly flawed, in her own words ‘a jerk’, but I see a lot of my younger self in her – I used similar mechanisms as her to cope, I acted in similar ways in the social situations that she finds herself in – and I found that pretty confronting.

That’s a testament to the writing, as she’s a believable human in spite of being an anthromorphic cat, and the dialogue is brilliantly sharp, witty and brutal throughout.

I wholly recommend it.

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Game Completion 2018 #14 – Bayonetta

  • Game: Bayonetta
  • Platform: Switch
  • Developer: Platinum
  • Publisher: Nintendo (Originally SEGA)

Not going to talk about this one a great deal as I’ve beaten it multiple times before. Some elements have aged less than perfectly, but it’s still a great time overall and it’s still easily in my top 1o.

Play it, love it. Play the sequel too, it’s also great.

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