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The Alphabet Challenge

Phantom Stranger

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LEGO Batman was a lot of fun as L. It's a Lego game; the levels are action puzzlers where sometimes the solution is to switch character for a bit or to construct the right things in the right order while beating up mooks. After a couple of frustrations with previous letters, I consider that a good one. I moved on to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which I hadn't yet played.

This is an enjoyable Assassin's Creed knockoff with just enough other options and just enough interesting combat to keep me focused through the grind, though i could feel Tolkien roto-tilling the cemetery from below from very early on. I haven't finished it, but I've taken down three of the five big guns, and honestly that's been enough for me.

I don't have many options for N. I'm going to try Noir Syndrome, which (If I remember from when I got it, several Steam events ago) is an 8-bitty procedurally generated detective game.

Am I right? I guess I'll find out.

Progress Meter:
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(Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, Big Pharma, Carmageddon: Max Damage*, The Detail, Ellipsis, Freecell Quest, Gone Home, Hypnosis, Invisible Inc, Jurassic Park: The Game, Kholat, LEGO Batman, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor)
* And a truckload of City of Heroes
 

ESkemp

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It took an hour and a half to knock out Sam & Max 102: Situation: Comedy; I'd already partially played through so some parts were quicker than others. Like the previous Sam & Max bit, it's got way more content in terms of the titular Freelance Police commending on every single dang thing you click on and alternate dialogue choices than it needs for the actual puzzles. So it's mostly just goofing around with the boys. I liked the puzzles in this one, though; not really hard, but usually that's a consequence of them making some form of sense (for Sam & Max). And I'd rather have easy puzzles than ones which rely on just using everything in your inventory with everything else in your inventory until you stumble across what the developer thought would be a challenging guess.

For once I'm sticking with the same genre, and indeed the same publisher, from letter to letter. The Sam & Max games are pretty early Telltale; next up I'll be doing my first Telltale game of their more refined style. It also happens to be a well-received one about a property I already care about -- Tales from the Borderlands. Looking forward to this one.
 

evilmrhenry

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I had some bad luck with R. After bouncing off Return to Mysterious Island, I tried Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman. While certainly an interesting game, it's also super-difficult. I gave it a try, but it's just above my skill level. After that, I tried Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, on the grounds that I enjoyed both Rayman 1 and 2. However, I didn't like it anywhere near as much. More importantly, I have it for the PC. I can control it using the keyboard+mouse (unusable) or keyboard only (technically usable, but only just). I tried and failed to get it to recognize a joystick. That left me playing a 3D action game without any camera control.

What I actually played for R was The Room Three. (Or in this case: Room Three, The) This is the third in a series of adventure games focused more on opening puzzle boxes, as opposed to using the BUST OF DAVID HASSELHOFF on the HEADLESS MANNEQUIN. This one's still good, but I was disappointed that it focused more on traditional adventure puzzles rather than the type of puzzles this series has used in the past. Also, the puzzles seemed much easier this time around. There were more than a few instances of something complicated-looking unfolding, piquing my interest, only to quickly determine that I just need to slide a lever or something.
 

ESkemp

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Another R title for anyone who might be shopping around for that letter eventually is Renowned Explorers: International Society. This is a fun little game of picking three explorers from a rather diverse crew, and setting out on expeditions to try and earn treasures. It's meant to have heavy replay value as you try different crews (there are a lot of explorers), different expeditions, and collecting rare knickknacks, so it's pretty easy to set a "win condition" for challenge purposes.

I've played two chapter of Tales from the Borderlands so far, and I'm sold. It definitely makes great use of the Borderlands assets to present a story that very believably could be playing out on Pandora, just focused on the people who aren't blessed with the power to kill thousands of bandits and loaders en route to the Vault. I'm not in love with Rhys, but he's certainly interesting enough to follow, and looking forward to the first Fiona chapter. Really great so far, phenomenal voice talent -- my only complaint is that I'm pretty tired of the running joke of starting a game with vehicular violence to skags, and by the very unfunny way this one played out, I'd like to think that Telltale's writers had something to say about that themselves.
 

evilmrhenry

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I played Shantae and the Pirate's Curse for S. I played Shantae: Risky's Revenge back in November, (according to Steam) and I liked it, so I played the sequel. This is a good-quality metroidvania, without as much of the rough edges from the DS port of the previous game. Bit shorter than you might expect for a metroidvania (10 hours for 100%) but I'm fine with that. (Note that it is heavy on the fanservice, for those who care about that.)
 

evilmrhenry

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I played Through Abandoned: The Refuge for T. This is an adventure game with "Flash Adventure Game" presentation. (Not in actual Flash, though.)

I didn't like this anywhere near as much as the earlier games in the series, mostly because of the obtuse puzzles. In the end, I had to grab a walkthrough for more of the puzzles than I would like, and I still don't understand the logic at play even after seeing the solution. (Also, there were some technical glitches that forced me to Alt-F4 a few times. Thankfully, I didn't lose any real progress.) The translation is somewhat terrible as well, but that's about average for the series; I knew what I was getting in to.
 

Pieta

Very custom
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I'm going through some real life stuff, so I've decided to put God Hand aside for now, given how often it manages to punch me right in the self-confidence, and go ahead with an H game.

My first pick was How to Survive, but despite looking interesting, it became repetitive very quickly, had some plot bits I had issues with,
Spoiler: Show
A quest to save a child, where if you do what the game tells you to the child dies, and it's written and done in such a way it felt simply too manipulative (towards the player) for me
and topped it with some darn annoying enemies (lots of HP, zips around in a way that makes it hard to tell if your attacks connect, knocks you down with every contact leading to a too-long standing up animation, and then the game spawned two at once in a narrow passage where I got immediately stunlocked and killed without recourse). Nope.

Next on the H list was Hard West. And I'm not sure if it's actually any better, since its "occult Wild West" turned out to mean bleak, soul-crushing creepy place where the final scene of Se7en
Spoiler: Show
happens before you even make it out of the tutorial
and it doesn't seem to get much better.
But it's also a very well made game, with fascinating approach to xcom-style turn tactics which replaces the highly random rules of that game with deterministic, yet merciless and often unpredictable rules of its own. I think I might stick with this one.
 

ESkemp

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I liked Hard West a lot, but yes, it's decidedly bleak. Some scenarios follow more sympathetic characters than others, though, and you can pick sides for the final battle. The difficulty can be tricky if you go in without a guide; the overall meta mechanic changes each chapter, and it's not always obvious which actions will strengthen you and which are gonna bite down hard. The music's fantastic, though, and the gunfights feel awfully visceral for a turn-based strategy.
 

Pieta

Very custom
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I liked Hard West a lot, but yes, it's decidedly bleak. Some scenarios follow more sympathetic characters than others, though, and you can pick sides for the final battle. The difficulty can be tricky if you go in without a guide; the overall meta mechanic changes each chapter, and it's not always obvious which actions will strengthen you and which are gonna bite down hard. The music's fantastic, though, and the gunfights feel awfully visceral for a turn-based strategy.
I'm trying not to spoil myself beforehand; the unpredictability of the choices in the overworld part of the map is part of the charm. And I'm only on my second campaign (I picked Method to the Madness) and I'm already impressed with how different the overall feel of the game is. Going from a small group of down-on-their-luck family members to having a group of nameless agents at your disposal, and from prospecting to doing science! (which might or might not be actually mad) was a nice experience.
 

Pieta

Very custom
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And since my gaming is always a confused mess of games played one over another (-; ,

K is for Kisima Ingitchuna (Never Alone)

What a stunningly beautiful game. I love how the environment - the sea, the wind, the ice - all serve as your foils and your allies at different times. And I love all the little videos with the background stories on stuff that appears in the game.

We played this one together with the kid, since it can be played coop and is relatively forgiving. She was really into this, asking to play it at all possible times,
Spoiler: Show
and then lost all interest overnight when she could no longer play the cute fluffy arctic fox. It's all about the animals for her. (-;

We made it almost to the end before that, so I finished the last few bits on my own.

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