Monday 31 December 2018

Raina’s top 10 games in 2018

It is weird writing these every year as I am always a year behind everybody since I usually by games when their price goes down. This year is not any different. It is always difficult trying to remember which games I have played within the first months but luckily Steam to save the date with recently played list of games. This is my personal top ten for pc in 2018:

UPDATE: Added SOTC and moved We happy few in the honourable mentions.

1. Life is Strange series


When I have played LIS season 1 the first time, I gave up after first episode in 2017. It felt it a bit sluggish and while the time rewind mechanic was cool, this whole teenage drama did not interest me much. However, I gave the game a second chance and replayed it again almost a year after my first try. This time, something felt different. I have finished the game within 5 days (too bad I did not end up on Friday) but basically could not stop. I devoured 1 episode per day and finally understood what the whole deal is with this series. Although it starts rather slow, everything changes at the end of episode 2 and onwards. I love games about time travel and LIS gave me exactly what I wanted – likeable characters, realistic relationships and engaging story. Getting to know Chloe and Max felt well done just right and many people shed a few tears when they reached the end.

Later, I have also played Before the Storm, which I was avoiding until then. Again, the game proved me I was wrong. While some things got retconned and did not make sense (not sure if by accident or by intention), overall, it was still great finally to be able to meet Rachel and see what all the fuss was about. The bonus episode, Farewell, gives us also the final, teary look at Chloe and Max, before Max leaves for Seattle. Then we got free episode of Captain Spirit and first episode of Life is Strange 2. If you love LOK series and story driven games, give this series a try. LIS series blows Telltale games out of the water and shows them how it is done. This is probably the best investment Square Enix got right in the last years.

2. Assassin´s Creed: Origins



After a not so great Syndicate (I was a lot more entertained by Unity), here comes the grand game by Ubisoft. I am just about to finish it but still have almost a third of the map undiscovered – the scope of this game is so vast. I found myself doing most of the side quests, not because I was forced to due to level restrictions, but because I wanted. Bayek and Aya work great together (much better than Jacob and Evie ever did) and following their story of neverending vengeance is quite a spectacle. Not to mention the superb exotic and detailed Egyptian environments – this game has more tombs and does them better than any of the latest TR games! I thoroughly enjoyed playing this and the movement, characters and gameplay just feel so right. I am looking forward to playing Odyssey and Witcher 3 after this. Highly recommended.

 3. Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)


How could I have forgotten to add this gem? I have spent countless hours on the original ps2 game and to finally being able to see this in proper framerate and upgraded graphics is breathtaking. The developers used the original engine but swapped out all the graphical assets out (except the beautifl haunting music, luckily) and the game feels and plays great. Only complaint is that the preset control scheme has only been improved slightly (jump is finally X not triangle), however, it is still uncomfortable to control Argo (which is solved by remapping the buttons in PS4 menu). Overall, it is an excellent masterpiece where the lonely and abandoned land is the only obstacle between you and giant colossi. Definitely a must play and one of my top games ever, now in modern graphics.

4. Dark Souls III


After getting myself sucked into the depths of first Dark Souls game, I have skipped 2 and dove straight into 3. From Software improved gameplay (8-way rolling, yey), graphics and netcode, everything just feels great in this game. Boss battles are epic and this is a true sequel to DS1. Too bad the two DLCs/Season's pass are still quite expensive but are still worth it. The Ringed City serves as a proper ending, although not possibly what everybody expected, it is a must to play. This game is amazing and discovering more about its lore was so rewarding I got a few books right after finishing it. Later in the year I have also tried DS2 but was apalled by the terrible controls which are refined and tight in DS1/3 but in 2, the rotation of the character around its axis is sluggish and feels like gliding, not even mods fixed it for me. DS1 and DS3 are well worth the sweat and tears.

5. The Evil Within


This is one of the gems, which I have shamefully omitted since its initial release in 2014. I have fell in love with this and the mechanics as soon as I have started playing it. If you play on survival difficulty, it is quite a test in the first few chapters but well rewarding. The dark atmosphere and gameplay is reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 and the horror elements are like from Silent hill – a perfect match. The enemies do not die permanently unless you get rid of their heads or burn them with matches, but main character Sebastian has only a limited supply, so it is always nerve wracking if the zombie will get up or not. While the ending leaves usually everybody completely baffled, this is remedied somewhat by the DLC where you play as Kidman and the game shows you her side of the story. It is done brilliantly because Kidman does not have weapons, just a torch, so you need to sneak around strategically and the addition of a stalking monster just contributes to the tension. I have found the second game to be not as good as the first one, unfortunately, though.

6. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy


Vicarious Visions remade our beloved furry bandicoot and finally made him available at all platforms after a year of timed PS4 exclusivity. While the versions for PS4 and Xbox1 are both capped at 30fps, pc offers a smooth 60fps with several graphical options, so this is best version to play. I almost gave upon the game on PS4 when it released due to the alterations of jumping collision/distance as the devs had to build this game from scratch, but luckily the controls have been improved since. The music was remade as well and while I think it did it justice, I wish they would have remastered the original soundtrack too and included it as an option. Overall, great remake and looking forward to playing Crash Team Racing!

7. DMC HD collection


Everybody remembers the amazing but super slow (especially PAL version) first DMC on PS2. Then the horrible DMC2 came out (which I have not played still) and then the same studio redeemed itself with one of the best action games ever with DMC3. DMC and DMC2 were never ported to pc before, so this is their debut and DMC3 finally got the port it deserves (no more problems with swapped out joy sticks!). As a DMC fan, I can fully recommend this collection and while things could have been improved further (menus are still only 4:3 and cutscenes could be higher resolution), it is a must own for any action fan.

8. Silent Hill 3


SH3 is my favourite SH game and I have found a widescreen mod to replay it again. This game barely aged! It certainly profits from all in-game cutscenes as you can put the resolution right up and it looks great, even after all these years. The character models are highly detailed and mo-cap is convincing too. Heather is not your typical hero, but a normal girl, at least at first glance. She shows all sorts of emotions throughout the journey and it was great to watch her grow. This is the true sequel to SH1 and it is a damn good one according to others as well!

9. Silent Hill 2 Enhanced edition


Now this playthrough was completely unplanned but I somehow found myself being called back to the silent town just a few weeks ago, right after finishing SH3. I have stumbled upon an even greater mod selection called the Enhanced edition – a selection of best mods available out there all in one page and you can actually select which mods you want to include in your game folder. It enhances the game greatly, something which the atrocious original port failed so miserably when it was released on pc. If you are ever considering to play SH2 again, definitely upgrade your version to include these mods for the ultimate horror experience.

10. F.E.A.R.+ DLC


First Fear game and its dlc have a special place in my library – I have already played them over about 3 to 4 times and I might give it a go again at some point. The A.I. in this game is brilliant and I have yet to find a game in which the enemies behave so tactically. The horror atmosphere is also great and this game belongs to my top fps games of all time. While I have played the official sequels, they have lost the appeal of what made the original game so good, which is a shame.

Special mention - Disappointment of the year:



It pains me to be writing this but I have just not enjoyed the newest instance of Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal tried to make things a bit different but in the end, their efforts fell flat and while the other games in the series usually lost their pace about halfway through, Shadow just gives up after a couple of hours. The bland gameplay and corridor like levels just were not fun to play through for me even when stealth kills and mud camo was a welcomed addition. Character development is lacking and I found myself just not caring about anybody in this game. The game introduced hub levels as well, where you can't draw your guns or in one instance, change outfits (which is annoying as you spend a lot of time there) and they just slowed down the pace a bit too much to my taste. I have enjoyed both 2013 and Rise but I simply can't recommend Shadow of TR unless on a big sale. I hope the next game will be by Crystal and the deleted ending suggest we might be going back to the roots of the series.

Honourable mention:


Wolf Among Us is one of those games I had in my library for a while and I could not be bothered to play. I am super glad I did, as this is the best Telltale has produced to this date. The game is based on Fables comic book series and portrays what has happened in the various fairy tales after their stories have ended. They have been forced to live in our real life world and watching them struggle with every day problems is strange at first and we get to see them from a very different point of view Together with Tales of Borderlands, this is the best that Telltale have produced before its fall and it hurts that we will never see the continuation of this game in the future. 


This one is a weird one as I got this for a review and got myself quite sucked in! It did take me a while to get into Arthur's shoes but I got there in the end. The story is quite intriguing and to watch the downfall of once prosperous country is quite a chilling tale. WHF takes place on an alternate timeline, in which the Germans have won in the second world war. Shortly after, they began deporting children from UK until there were none left. I still have not finished the game (only the first section for Arthur) and I am keen to get to the bottom of this mystery. This game is plagued by the early access syndrome, however, and it is certainly not worth the high price tag it got when it released. Tread carefully with this one and maybe get it on a sale.

Well, that was it. I am really wondering what awaits us in 2019 game wise. In the meantime, have a look at Bazielim´s top 10 as well at his Cult of Hash'ak'gik blog.

Monday 24 December 2018

Legions of Nosgoth TCG update

Since the very first release of Legions of Nosgoth, I have printed the cards and played this game several times. Things which sound good on paper sometimes do not translate into real life, so I have adjusted several cards, cleaned up some artwork and edited a few rules. I have also removed the digital online version of it, so now it only can be printed in order to play. It is a minor incovenience, however, I feel this game works best this way. Even if you do not plan on printing it, it might be worth at least checking the cards out if you are interested to have a look.

The download below includes pdf rulebook, high quality PNGs to print all the decks and the energy cards. Hope you´ll have fun, just bear in mind that one game can take up to 2 hours to finish so best find enough time to play this with a fellow LOK fan!

Saturday 1 December 2018

Soul Reaver Beta and Blood Omen Alpha new discoveries

It is really hard to believe that now, 15 years later since the last entry in the series, there are still plentiful secrets in our beloved world Nosgoth to find. In collaboration with Ben Lincoln, Gh0stBlade, Eoghan, Aevum, AesirHod, Bazielim, Kevin and Mama Robotnik, we can now show you the exciting new footage, screenshots and comparisons from these newly discovered SR1 beta versions and BO alpha versions. This is the biggest discovery we had in a while so below are links to videos and pages where you can read about our findings: The Lost Worlds and Legacy of Kain Wikia posts. For more about the Chronoplast visions and screenshots read here.

Below are videos from the actual Chronoplast rooms and Blood Omen Chess Match. More content to follow as this post will be updated!

Originally planned overworld map for Blood Omen and various screenshots:

Screenshots from Soul Reaver beta:

Last image is from ModelEx by AesirHod.