Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2017
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Welcome to the sure-to-be-massive, soon-to-be-out-of-control Geeklist where VGGers rejoice in beating games large and small, new and old. Here's how this works:

Whenever you finish a game, add it to the list and share your thoughts. Use your best judgement for exactly WHEN a game is 'beaten:' 'final boss defeated,''saw the credits,' 'completed the main storyline,' '100%' etc. Whatever seems reasonable and is the end for you.

These lists have been running since 2011 and tend to draw a lot of conversation. Feel free to offer whatever commentary you like on the game and your experience playing it. Be brief or thorough, broad or narrow - its up to you.

To get started, tell us what platform you played the game on and whether or not you've beaten it before.

There are always some "power-users" on this list who play a lot of games and have a lot to say about them. Don't feel like you have to contribute as much or as often somebody else - we like to hear from new folks and nobody really cares if you're "keeping up with the Joneses."

To all new users: the more the merrier. We try to keep it lively and friendly. There is no need to read through every page before jumping in (though you are encouraged to do that at your leisure.) Be sure to subscribe to this list so you can see what everyone else is playing!

Also head on over to Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2017 if a game is driving you nuts or just isn't any good! If you're just not sure about a game, embrace your ambivalence. If you want to see what VGGers were up to in years past, look here.

Also, make sure to join the fray at The 2017 Videogame Challenge!.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Should I add a game to this list if it has already been added by somebody else?
A: Of course!

Q: Should I add a game to list more than once if I beat it more than once?
A: No, but feel free to update your original item or add a new comment beneath it.

Q: I wrote something for this list that seems review-ish. Should I cross-post it as a review?
A: If you are so inclined, cross-post away.

VGG Community Goals for 2017:

mb Community goal 2017: Play the top 101-200 games on the VGG ranking list

mb Community goal 2017: Play games on 5 different platforms!

mb Community Goal 2017: Let's play games on as many platforms as we can!

And of course, our community goal for this list is to finish 1800 games!
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Sorting:

VGGer extraordinaire Grimwold hosts a useful sorting mechanism for these lists through his own site (oh, it seems weird now, just wait until there are 1000+ items). This lets you see what individual users have beaten (sort by user) and also how many times a game has been beaten, and by whom (sort by game). Due to the way VGG handles caching, you will need to refresh the lists 10-15 seconds after clicking on the links below.

Sort by User

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Microbadges!

Everyone who participates on this list and the abandoned list will get a free microbadge!

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You can also purchase these as a longer-term variant.

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Stats - Updated November 8th

Are we on pace to finish 1800 games this year? Not quite, but we're in the home stretch and we could still make it!

Most Popular Games:

14 Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
12 Swappy 10
8 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
8 Portal 2
6 Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
6 The Witness (2016)
6 Refunct

Most 'Dedicated' Gamers:

93 Legolas_Katarn
53 UnknownParkerBrother
53 wizcreations
50 tickmanfan
50 seneca29
48 JohnRayJr
44 Aarontu
44 ColdFrog
43 Eldritch
42 vyran
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101. Video Game: Super Hexagon [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1385]
Chris
United States
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Platform: Android
Time: who even knows
Time Completed: Third
Enjoyment: High

I got a new phone (A while ago) so I had to try and get full completion on it too. I feel like I'm getting better at the final mode but a lot of it is just being more relaxed. That's actually what I kind of feel like I'm getting better at (and what let me finish some of the hard achievements on Circa Infinity).

My thoughts on the game haven't changed. It's still super hard and a great time filler for when you're lying in bed and don't want to get up yet. According to a friend of mine who used to hold some records in the game, the real game happens in the post-Hyper Hexagonest game, but I've never lasted more than like a second there so I dunno.
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102. Video Game: SteamWorld Dig [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1497]
Ooops
Belgium
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Steamworld Dig
Windows
1st time beaten?
Yes
Time to beat: 5 hours

In this game, you're a robot digger and you must find what happened to your father (or is that you uncle? Nothing in the story is memorable). You'll have to dig in a mine, Boulder Dash style, collect gems, use them to upgrade your equipment (faster digging, better armor, ...) and gain new abilities, like double jump or wall-climbing (this part is quite like a typical Metroidvania).

Steamworld Dig is a very polished title. I really liked its vector graphics, even though I'm more of a pixel enthusiast. The animation, sound effects and music have clearly been given lots of attention too.

The problem is that all this polish comes on top of game mechanisms that aren't that much fun. While upgrades make digging faster, the ground becomes increasingly harder, so progressing down the mine remains a slow process. Fighting the underground critters is also very repetitive. Some of the areas present interesting, though easy, puzzles, but they are few and far between. The story is nothing more than a basic excuse to have a game and the dialogue can be skipped without a second thought.

The game ends with a boss battle. It's one of the most fun parts of the game, though still too easy. It's a shame it's the only one then.

It's not a fun game to dis, because in many ways, it's a labor of love. It just needed a more solid base.

Rating: OK

Note: I'm really fond of the art style, so I'm still tempted by Steamworld Heist. Can anyone advise on that game?
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103. Video Game: Undertale [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:876]
Matt
United States
Alabama
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Platform: PC
Time played: About 7 hours
First time completed

I played through this at least 6 hours, close to 7. I didn't go the full pacifist or killer route, instead going somewhat of the middle ground. Here is how I treated the people I met on my journey, and how that affected the game:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I killed Papyrus, angering his brother later in the game.

I saved Undyne with the cup of water. She was grateful, but that wasn't enough for her in the end.

I stayed on the good side of Alphys, but she didn't seem to have an impact on the ending as far I can tell.

I spared Asgore.

After Flowey went mad with power, I told him twice that I would spare him, then killed him after he continued to taunt me.

My ending involved appearing back at the beginning of the game, but the flower being a normal one instead of Flowey. Sans called and taunted me that Undyne took over Asgore's cause, and was more militant in her mission to attack humanity. Oops!
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104. Video Game: Papers, Please [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:260]
Rudy
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No too far from Philly
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Played for the first time on Steam. I got to one ending, which took about 40 minutes. At the end of day 5 my family died and I was fired. But I got ending 2/20, so I guess I finished the game? If this does not belong here I will just move it to the abandoned geeklist.

Dark humor aside, I did not enjoy this game. I just didn't care about the people I turned away or my family who was dying due to my lack of pay over citations. It felt like more a chore than actually playing a video game. The nail in the coffin for me was on the last day when received a citation for a wrong photo when I remember being confident that it looked exactly like the person. The whole experience leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I have no desire to try for any of the 19 other endings.

I will admit that it does bothers me, a little bit at least, when a game is rated overwhelmingly positive on Steam and I didn't enjoy it. I am left wondering what I am missing.

6/10
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105. Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1728] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Andy
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Game : Talisman: Digital Edition
Platform : Windows PC
Time : 2.4 hours
First Time Beaten : No.
Enjoyment : Cool Beans!

Completion Details - I played a 3 player game against Matt and Rudy, with the base game and the following expansions: Highlands, Dungeon, City, Sacred Pool, Frostmarch, Reaper and Blood Moon. The game lasted 2.4 hours and I won, despite Rudy being favourite to win for the majority of the game. At one point he had 12 strength, but a card allowed me to remove up to 2 points from his strength/craft... reducing him to 10. I made it round the inner region with only 9 strength thanks to a lucky re-roll in the crypt, and beat death at dice on the first attempt.



Game Overview - Talisman is a digital edition of the classic boardgame which I grew up playing with my Dad and brother... Thankfully with this version we can finish a game in a couple of hours instead of it taking a couple of days! The game is very random, and often suffers from a runaway leader problem, but with a healthy dose of luck it can still be possible to come back from the brink and win the game. The game has a lot of charm though, and it's fun to play with friends.
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106. Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1728] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Rudy
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No too far from Philly
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Played on Steam with Matt and Ken. It took about 90 minutes with some of the expansions.

I was Magus and wheelchared it to the end. I like the expansions but they can make the game a little too random and drag on a bit.

I still love this game after so many plays of it.

8.5/10
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107. Video Game: Journey (2012) [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:174]
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Platform: PC
Duration: 4h
Times completed: First

Well, this was interesting. Not sure if fun is the right word. I feel a little ripped off that 'Don't Stop Believing' or 'Separate Ways' never made the soundtrack.

I get their going for a certain aesthetic, but I could have used a little more explanation. I stopped at lots of the story panels, but never really followed what the pictograms were trying to tell me. As I said, I'm a literal guy.

I never really figured out the controls, why did my one button make a Cone of Silence, and various tones, but sometimes fly? Sometimes the fly button used up my scarf energy, sometimes not.

It seems this game is multiplayer, though I had no idea at the time. There were other similar characters to me, I just thought they were part of the game.

The soundtrack was nice, and the various environments were cool, and very well done.
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108. Video Game: Shantae: Risky's Revenge – Director's Cut [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:4124]
Jason Birzer
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Platform: PC

Time: 9 Hours

This is another one of those games which I had picked up and put aside last year, only to get around to finishing it this year. I was somewhat influenced by my son playing Shantae and the Pirate's Curse on his 3DS. (Which is currently on the low end of a Humble Bundle right now).

You play Shantae, a half-Genie who is protector of her town, tho the mayor isn't too impressed by you. Your uncle has returned from looking for artifacts and is presenting a lamp he has found. Course, at this time the pirate Risky Boots shows up to steal the lamp. Apparently, if she finds three magic seals, she can unlock the power of the lamp. So, now it is your job to find those seals and keep them away from Risky.

Shantae is an old school SNES-style platformer and a pretty solid one at that. You go around flicking your ponytail at enemies to defeat them. As you go, you gain weapons (which use magic power) to use against your enemies, as well as the power to transform into various creatures: a monkey that can climb walls, an elephant that can smash rocks, and a mermaid that can swim. Course, these transformations are what keeps you from entering certain areas before time.

Overall, I think it is pretty solid and I enjoyed playing it.
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Matt Utting
Australia
Preston
Victoria
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Platform: PC
Time Taken: 3 hours
First time beaten

So this one had more going on than Chapter 3, which was nice, though... hmm... the pacing felt a bit odd. It was like 1 1/2 chapters?

Wasn't really sure what was going to be left for the final chapter, but there's a lot of things I'd like to see how they resolve.

Presume the rest of the status quo will be reinstated... but maybe not?
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110. Video Game: Cinders [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:5381]
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Play time: 3 hours
Platform: PC (Steam)
First time beaten?: Yes.

Some thoughts: This was an enjoyable interactive novel. The art style is fantastic and, while I mostly played it with the sound off, the music was good. I really liked the way the game put the Cinderella story together and grounded it, fleshing it out and giving it background. They did a wonderful thing in taking an existing story we're all familiar with, filling out the world and the characters, and then giving the player a fair bit of freedom. Even when it wasn't perfect, it was still engaging, and it did a great job of making the familiar feel new again.

The writing was spotty, however. I found it really bad initially, but I think this is partly because the beginning of the game was setting the stage for the rest of the game, but also because the writer's worst excesses came out in interactions between any members of Cinders's family (her, her step-mother, and/or her step-sisters), and there were a lot of those up front. I found the writing generally heavy-handed, but it was at its most melodramatic when they were involved - we're talking teen poetry levels of melodrama, here, writ large in petty spite. It was a little painful. But otherwise the writing was middling to good. The Prince's ball was great, and I mostly enjoyed Cinders interactions with people who weren't members of her step-family. It wasn't subtle, but most of the time the writing worked well enough, conveying the story and the characters' emotions, and I did get really engaged in the story and the game (although it felt a bit like what little fanfic I've read - too direct, insufficiently subtle). My wife initially was playing the game through with me, but gave up and her main comment was that this was a videogame - someone really needs to tell the authors to show, don't tell. (Part of the reason I may have found the early writing painful was because she reads a lot slower than I do, so I was forced to focus on what was written more than I usually do. Later on I skimmed as much as I read).

Anyways, I may have gone on a bit too much about the writing, but on the whole I liked the game, and I plan to play it again at some point to see some of the other endings. I really liked the art nouveau aesthetic of the game, and while the writing was cringe-worthy at times, I thought the whole package was quite enjoyable.
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111. Video Game: Serena [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Netherlands
Enschede
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Platform: PC
Time taken: 45 minutes
First time beaten? Yes

Didn't really feel very much like a game, more like a story told when clicking items...
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112. Video Game: Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures - Episode 3: Muzzled! [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:4995]
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Game : Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures - Episode 3: Muzzled!
Platform : Windows PC
Time : 3.2 hours (0.6 hours in 2017)
First Time Beaten : Yes
Enjoyment : Decidedly Average!

Completion Details - Although this is the third of the Wallace and Gromit Adventures, it is the first one I have beaten, as the kids seemed more interested in this story than the earlier ones we've played.


Game Overview - The game is a point and click adventure set around some stray dogs that a certain Monty Muzzle has taken an interest in. He holds a fund-raising fair to raise money for a dog shelter himself. Overall it was an ok game, and the kids enjoyed the story.
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113. Video Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:133]
Seth
United States
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Platform: PC
First Time: Yes.
Time taken: 46 hours
2017 HC Title: Yes.

Blog entry
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114. Video Game: 140 [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3215]
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Platform: PC
Time: 45 minutes probably?
Time Completed: 3 or 4? probably 4.
Enjoyment: High

I just played through the regular levels with a few lives (maybe died like 10 times), not the checkpoint-less mirror levels. I just really love this game and the aesthetics of it. It's simple, it's rhythmic, it's quick to finish, it's engaging, and it builds on itself as it goes in such an enthralling way that I have to go play with it every so often. Circa Infinity's ending sequence reminded me of it so I had to pull it out again.

It's a simple platformer that doesn't do anything special but builds on itself in an abstract way - as you guide the modules to their anchor points you get more mechanics, more music, and a constantly changing color scheme. It's extremely smooth to play, the levels are nice but not extremely challenging, and there are numerous checkpoints if you die. It's cheap and takes probably around an hour to beat the first time through (maybe longer because I'm good at this type of game), and to me it's just a feel-good rewarding game. Recommended.

EDIT:
Wanted to pop in to note that I saw the release of a fourth level and finished it. It's really good, though the conclusion is not nearly as satisfying as the conclusion to level 3. Still, good stuff!

EDIT AGAIN: Finished the fourth mirror level. Amazingly, got it on the first shot, mostly because I played the regular level like 5 times before even trying it. I had three really close shots: 2 from the fast moving balls, and one from setting down the controller when my delivery came and bumping the stick so I was hovering right over the edge of a pit. I came back and nearly flipped because I had pulled off the entire previous part perfectly so far and was near the final sphere.
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115. Video Game: Expand [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Ooops
Belgium
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Expand
Windows
1st time beaten?
Yes
time to beat: 90 minutes

If you like the idea of Super Hexagon, or Circa Infinity, but find them too difficult, you'd probably enjoy Expand a lot more.

It's a dynamic labyrinth game taking place in circular environment. The colors are black and red, giving it an air of Russian abstract/constructivist painting (Think Malevitch, Lissitzky or, more remotely, Kandinsky) but without the bold statements.



The levels morph into each other with pleasant animations and the music is of similar high quality: it wouldn't feel out of place in a Cipher Prime title.

The developers describe it as "a meditative video game in which you explore a circular labyrinth that constantly twists, stretches and expands underneath you.". I wouldn't call it meditative myself but it's very relaxing: easy enough to keep frustration at bay and hard enough to require my constant attention, chasing my earthly worries away.

You'll maybe find the $/€6 entry fee a bit steep for the 90 minutes (or not, still cheaper that going to a movie), but it's certainly worth picking up during a sale.

Rating: Recommended
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116. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:568]
Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Beaten on the PC again. I have no idea how long it took. I think I have beaten this game over 100 times. In fact I would be very surprised if I was still in the double digits considering how many characters I have created over the years. I beat it on normal difficulty with a Marauder, which is not a character I have used since I first started playing. The next difficulty is cruel and that has an xp penalty for dying and -20 to all resistances. I plan to try to take my build as far as it can go. To me a success would be to reach level 80-85. Right now I am at level 43-44.

My build is a totem build that uses righteous fire and searing bond. Basically I cast three totems that ignite and burn everything around them. They melt bosses while I kite around and pick up loot. Leveling before I started using the spell totems was tough and I think I died 3 maybe 4 times. It's rare for me to die normal difficult. Twice was because of the new breach addition, which got me compromised and I got stuck in a huge pack of mobs. All the deaths were of course my fault and could have been avoided.

There is so much I love about this game. Coming back to it after about a 4 month break and I see a ton of little changes that the devs have been making to improve the experience. This isn't new, this is something they've been doing from the start and it is wonderful to see them still going at it. They find ways of keeping the game fresh while I get to try out new character build combinations.

Few games come along that challenge my mindset about video games. The first game to do so was probably Team fortress 2. That was the game that got me into playing multiplayer online casually and competitively, which is something I never thought I could or would do. A few years later Path of Exile changed the run-and-gun Rambo streak I had in me. It forced me to rethink everything. No longer could I rely on my skill at aiming and clicking, no, I had to learn that brute force was not the way to go. The game made me learn how to play it on terms that went against the style that I was used to. It opened my eyes in a way that helps me see video games differently, and for that I am very thankful.

Rating: 10/10 and a top 5 game for me of all time. I've put more money into this free game than I have any game I've had to pay for, and I did it because I wanted to support the devs. This is probably my most played game of all time and I think I have well over 1500 hours easily. Maybe it's a good thing that the game does not keep track of that.
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117. Video Game: Renowned Explorers: International Society [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:2497]
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
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Play time: 8 hours
Platform: PC (Steam)
First time beaten?: No. I think it was my fourth.

Some thoughts: I really like this game, and I've enjoyed going back and playing it. Right after beating it, I started it up again with a different team.

This is essentially a tactical RPG with a goofy Victorian-esque explorer theme, a lot of skill-based challenges with random results, and unusual, mood-based combat. Essentially, you have three kinds of attacks (friendly, devious and aggressive). Only the latter is physical. All three kinds harm your foe's spirit, which is basically HP. Friendly and devious attacks involve your speech stat and run against your foe's speech defence, while aggressive attacks use your attack stat and run against your foe's armour. Friendly "attacks" can also be used to heal your allies. Attacks also inflict status effects (each character's devious and friendly attacks has a particular status effect it inflicts), and manipulating status effects is important. Different attacks serve to generate an overall "mood" for your team, and there's a rock-paper-scissors relationship between different moods, such that if you're in the right mood relative to your opponent, you get a boost; if you're in the wrong mood, you suffer a penalty. Like most RPGs, the game gives you a little statement if you do a lot of damage - but of course, 2/3rds of the time, you're not using physical attacks. I like doing really hard friendly hits and seeing "damage" messages like, "63 spirit! BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!".

As it'd been a while since I played the game, I ran my favourite all-science team, with Anna as captain (as her captain bonuses are nuts). Other team members include Emilia for the mass heals and Ernie for raw damage. This team publishes research papers like crazy, accruing benefits, and tends to be devious (albeit with reasonable options in other categories - especially aggressive). There was a false start (hence, the 8 hours to beat), but I won with ~8000 renown. After winning, I fired it up again with Emilia as captain, and with Agatha and Maria, focusing on friendly, but having devious as a serious side-option (and running an all-woman team). The science still flows well enough, but I've got more status and less gold - the latter being a bit of a problem. I've quickly advanced to the last expedition and my gear is going to be sketchy. That being said, I've already doubled Rivaleux's renowned, so as long as I don't actually die, I should be fine - at least as far as beating the game goes.

I'm currently playing the game with the additional content from the More to Explore DLC. I'd thought about adding it to the database initially, but I don't know that it adds enough content to count as its own entry. Which is a shame, because it wasn't cheap, as far as DLC goes. As far as I can tell, it adds one final expedition to optionally replace Shangri-La as the last expedition, and it adds a once-per-expedition campfire that gives your team some bonus stuff (which bonus stuff depends on a selection you make and which cards you've managed to gain, but none of it is game changing). The new final expedition was interesting, and either way harder or way easier than Shangri-La, depending on whether or not you go for a big treasure or cut and run. I'm glad I got the DLC because I like the game and I support the developer (who has released a fair bit of of additional content for free), and it's good to have if you're playing the game anyways. That being said, I don't think there's anything in there that would give someone a reason to play the game if they weren't otherwise going to. It adds to the game, but doesn't meaningfully change it.
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118. Video Game: Transformers: War for Cybertron [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1608]
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United States
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Platform: PS3

Clocktime: 10-12 hours.

Completion: While it all forms a single storyline, I suppose technically there are two campaigns, one for the Decepticons where Megatron is on the verge of taking over the planet, and one for the Autobots where Optimus rallies his beleaguered comrades and eventually becomes Optimus Prime. I finished both on the normal difficulty.

I was sorely tempted to play the final Autobot chapter on easy (annoying multi-stage bossfight grumble grumble).

Commentary: War for Cybertron tells the origin story of Optimus Prime and the civil war that eventually forces both the Autobots and the Decepticons to abandon their homeworld. As I said in my comments for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron a couple of years ago, I've always found the Cybertron backstory to be the most interesting part of Transformers lore (honestly, maybe the only interesting part).

Both of these games feel vibrant and invested in both the storyline and the world. You can tell they are made by fans who are loyal to that childhood sense of wonder, rather than a developer contracted to produce a by-the-numbers movie tie-in.



As a game, though, War for Cybertron plays it safe. It's a fairly basic third-person shooter that uses a hybrid health system (regenerating within segments of the health bar, but also replenished by health pick-ups) and a two-gun limit. Under the hood, it's actually a resource-management game, first and foremost. Battles are more about cost (scarce ammunition / health) and feel more calculating than your typical run-and-gun. If you don't conserve ammo, you will quickly make life difficult for yourself.

As luck would have it, enemies aren't very accurate at long range, and often stop moving around if you aren't close by. Scoped weapons usually kill enemies in one hit. That makes whole chunks of War for Cyberton amusing if you enjoy a sniper playstyle, but it's not very deep.

As you progress through levels, you always have the option of transforming into a vehicle, but the level design never does anything interesting with this, and vehicles don't infuse any real variation into the combat either. Most levels allow you to choose between two or three characters, but solo there's no reason to deviate from Megatron and Optimus Prime. The whole campaign can be completed cooperatively, and that would probably improve the experience.

Even though War for Cybertron is fairly short, each chapter tends to drag near the end. Ultimately that's down to the developers not taking many risks with the gameplay itself. I'd say this is worth a look for fans but low priority for everyone else.

6/10
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119. Video Game: Deponia [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2576]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Platform: Windows
Started: January 14th
Completed: January 17th
Playtime: 5 hours, 0 minutes (300 minutes) (plus minus some time: The counter (4h16m)is not correct due to two crashes)
First time beaten? Yes
On my VGG Challenge? Yes


Deponia is saved! I managed to save Deponia. I am so awesome. A hero. I am just perfect. I am... just like Rufus?

But a good game; It have some good laughs, but also a bit more tricky than most other point-and-click adventures I believe? I might give it another try in a few years - but also want to get the next games in the series played.

But hey! It's also another of my Hardcore list games that is ready to be crossed off the to-play list.
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120. Video Game: Xexyz [Average Rating:4.33 Overall Rank:6819]
Platform: NES
Times Completed: 1

Xexyz is an odd mashup of consonants. Additionally, it is a video game which is an odd mashup of exploration platformer (not depicted on VGG) and shoot 'em up. The player assumes the role of Apollo, who may or may not be a robot, and is told by a group of fairies both where he is and what he's trying to do.

You walk into a room and a giant rat is sitting there and foists a new weapon upon you. In another room, there's a giant Gundam head holding a fairy captive who gives you EBalls should you rescue her. Then you find out EBalls are apparently money when you find a man who will give you "imformation" in exchange for them.

One room informs you that you must free the queen of each land from the Mechani Castle. Apparently we're in some sort of post-Skynet apocalypse with magic or something. In order to gain access to the castle, you have to find a demon to give you a power star by shooting a rock. You have to do this in every one of five different worlds. It is that odd sort of sideways game design that only existed in this era, but this time with instructions clumsily built in.


It plays very much like an amateur indie game. It would be out of place as a modern independent release on Steam only in its adherence to the limitations of the NES (seeing as it is actually an NES game). The stages are festooned with random platforms and haphazardly littered with enemies: No rhyme or reason to their placements to catch players or force them into interesting platforming.

This nonsensical placement is further exacerbated by the shooter interludes. Within each castle, as well as after beating the boss of each castle, you will enter into a shooter section that could only be further separated from the rest of game play by requiring the player to physically switch the console to a new cartridge. There is no cohesive factor holding together the power-ups from the platforming sections and the shooter sections, which would easily make one or the other feel like a waste of time if it weren't for the fact that both are already fairly mediocre.


In fact, that mediocrity may be the saving grace of the game, in addition to its (as pained as I am to use this adjective as a positive value to the game) easy difficulty. Both game modes are just passable enough that each is a welcome break from the previous, and those issues of its strange enemy placement and jarring game play shifts would grow irksome if the game was either longer or more challenging.

In spite of all its design problems, Xexyz is at least charming to one fond of the old fashioned sensibilities of games of the time while managing to carve out its own niche.

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121. Video Game: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1292]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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First time. Completed all missions, including Separatist missions.
Time taken: I don't know. I have over 40 hrs logged, but most of that is my kids messing around in arcade mode.

My kids (age 5 and 7) have been playing a lot of this lately, with me helping them beat main missions. It's more modern than the Star Wars SAGA LEGO games, with more moves/abilities, more things to do (especially as jedi characters), a bigger hub area, better graphics, and an odd RTS-style battle game mode. They really like playing the battle mode, probably because you can actually play player vs player battles outside the missions and you can freely build a variety of buildings and units and use them to fight and destroy the other player and their stuff, which is not something you normally see in LEGO games. The cutscenes have no dialogue, like in the older Star Wars LEGO games, so that's nice. Some of the missions are kind of buggy when playing with 2 players. We've had to restart a mission due to bugs more than once. Also, split screen is pretty terrible and disorienting, especially the "dynamic" option. In the RTS-style mode, the wonky splitscreen camera greatly reduces your aim with cannons and vehicles, which is annoying.

We've unlocked a good amount of stuff, but I am not a completionist, so I consider this game done (though my kids will probably play around with it more). The "puzzles" and gameplay in general is kind of annoying and obtuse a lot of the time, but that's true for all of the LEGO games, really.

The missions in the game are based mostly on the first season of the Clone Wars show, with some of the final levels based on a couple episodes from season 2. I'm surprised they never made any DLC based on the later seasons (there were 5 aired on TV, and a sixth one that went straight to Netflix).
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122. Video Game: BattleBlock Theater [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1118]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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First time beating the co-op levels.
No idea how long it took to beat them; I have 92 hrs logged, but that includes single player levels, just messing around with arena and custom levels, and my kids playing it.

I finally beat the game in co-op mode, done mostly with my kids. I've been beating the levels a little at a time over the course of several years. Thank goodness for the suction dart gadget; I don't think my boys and I would have been able to coordinate some of the big jumps together without it.

This is a great platformer. The gameplay is straightforward, fun, and sometimes really challenging. Co-cop is tons of fun, as well. The narration by Stamper is perfectly done and is hilarious. Overall, GREAT.
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123. Video Game: Unravel [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:2641]
United Kingdom
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Unravel
Platform: Playstation 4
Time taken: 6.5 hours
Rating:
Games finished this year: 3
First time?: Yes

Unravel is a thing of beauty and a platform game par excellence; one of the best I have experienced. Its protagonist, Yarny, might just be the most adorable character I ever saw in a game. His journey takes him across a world characterised equally by beauty and hazard. Along the way, you must solve puzzles and navigational challenges that involve, inter alia,

- swinging by your thread of yarn to reach inaccessible areas,

- constructing trampolines and ramps from yarn,

- operating machinery by pulling its levers with yarn,

- tying parts of the world together with yarn to prevent them moving,

- moving objects to where they can serve either as platform, keep a button pressed, etc.,

- using the environment to hide from threats such as wildlife,

- finding vehicles such as boats or a "hand glider" to navigate impassible sections.

The developers did a good job of constructing yarn-based puzzles that remained fresh throughout while keeping a strongly consistent theme. Sometimes, there is pressure to perform navigation quickly (e.g. because the world is collapsing around you). At these times it becomes clear that Unravel is a mechanically well-executed platformer because the controls feel tight and I was never frustrated by their failure to deliver on my intentions. Indeed, the difficulty of both the platforming and the puzzles was in a real sweet-spot for me. I didn't get stuck with either for more than a few seconds, but they were stimulating enough to prevent the game feeling like a purely mechanical exercise.

Much has been made of ColdWood's heart on their sleeve approach to making games. But in all fairness to the developers, you can sense the love and care that was put into this game just by looking at it.

---

Running list for 2017: Firewatch; Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition; Unravel

2016's running list: Until Dawn; Quake; The Witcher 3; Homeworld; Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising; Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; Call of Duty Black Ops; Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon; Silent Hill 3; Tom Clancy's The Division; South Park: The Stick of Truth; Pit Fighter; Sonic the Hedgehog; Enemy Front; Journey; Firewatch; Sonic the Hedgehog 2; Gone Home; SOMA; Moirai; Quake Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity; Everybody's Gone to the Rapture; Dark Souls III; Magic 2014; The Wolf Among Us; Life is Strange; Fallout 4.
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124. Video Game: Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1621]
Matt Utting
Australia
Preston
Victoria
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Platform: PC
Time Taken: 3 hours
First time beaten

The end... it's all done... but wait... a post credit sequence? Could it be that there will be a sequel... eh I guess not.

I really liked Morgan and would really like to know what the Voodoo Lady has planned... but I guess we'll never know... (sigh)

Was a pretty entertaining and well paced ending. I'm not entirely sure about Elaine's true motivations, seems like she was really enjoying herself.

A nice way to end the series....
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125. Video Game: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Average Rating:8.56 Overall Rank:17]
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Platform: PC
Duration: 16h
Times completed: First

And #2 down, I really enjoyed this, even more than the first game. The graphics were noticeably better too. I played on Easy again, but still died tons. I liked that you could do some sneaking and taking guys out that way, I probably took down 1/4 of the enemies in melee instead of guns this time.

I didn't spend a lot of time searching for hidden artifacts this time, so only found 30 of 100. If I wasn't on a time limited subscription, I might have done more.

Lots of great action 'set pieces' in the game, though I still enjoy the temples and tombs and environmental platforming stuff the most.

Final boss fight was a bit of a letdown, in that you have no choice but to run around like a little wuss while the baddie taunts you to stop and fight like a man. Just seems at odds with the normal 'heroic' course of the game.
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