Nier and Automata Vinyl box set

The title already spoiled it but I did get one of these, a Christmas gift from me
to me, always the best ones after all:

A set with not only one, not two but FOUR vinyls of Nier AND Automata tracks!
I dare say amazing. I love the drastic increase in the number of games that
get a vinyl soundtrack these days, quite limited and expensive runs sure
but still cool.

Beautiful “sleeves” to hold the four records and a booklet with song lyrics
for each game, really nice. All of them are of course double-sided with
about 4-5 tracks on each side, I would say that they have manage to choose
my favorite tracks from both games, what luck!

This is where the good news end sadly. Firstly, this is exactly how the
inside of the package looked when I opened it:

Most likely the last time I ever buy anything from the Square-Enix store,
a giant box with a small piece of paper in one corner is NOT how you send
something like this… or anything for that matter.
I can’t believe how bad this is, especially considering
the 25 Euro shipping cost!

I am mad but the damage on the box was miraculously small and not
something I need to get replaced.

Time for the good old setup and enjoy some Nier music:

Or so I thought, the next bad news was the horrible sound quality, I feared
that my old amplifier had finally decided to give up but after a while the
speed of the record player started to get very unstable and I decided to plug
in a CD player instead, the amplifier still sounded godly so “luckily” I only
need to replace the player, I could of course restore it with a new pick-up
and fix the motor problem but at this point I don’t feel like it’s worth it
even if it looks good and match the amplifier.

A picture can’t do it justice, it’s just so gorgeous, one of my absolute
favorite items. One of the first Surround/ 4 channel amplifiers ever made
and the control and balance you can get with it is just ridiculous.
Playing around with this, and some CD soundtracks also reminded me of what
a futile hobby the quest for the perfect sound is, you just end up fiddling
with the levels, placements of speakers and all kinds of variables,
different settings for different songs etc. it never ends and like so many
other things it’s very personal what you consider good sound.

I didn’t plan on going into detail today since I might come back to it but
the speakers I use are two relatively cheap smaller “surround” speakers and
the bigger ones built by me years ago, in fact they are not 100% finished
and both the smaller speakers and my home-built ones are quite mediocre on
their own but for some reason they really complete each other and with the
sound quality of the old amplifier combined with the level of balance it
provides it just blows me away (the quality), the volume could also blow me
and the games away but that would be a bad idea, hehe.

Oh well, I will get back to this when I have a new record player but so far,
an amazing set of amazing music!

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Beaten games 2017

Why hello 2018, let’s do this again, I usually like to complain
about how fast the year has passed by but going trough the list,
some of these games feel like ages since I played.

I believe most people agree that 2017 has been a really strong gaming year
regardless of what genres you like to play, I would probably say
the best year since the year of Xenosaga III, 2006, wow!

I will follow the same format as before this year too, my goal was
to beat 72 games this year and I did (79 to be exact), woho!

The top three games of the year is at the bottom.

Enjoy:

—NES—

Yume Penguin Monogatari
Only one NES game this year and the 100th beaten on that console.
A simple cute game with at least one really good song!

—SNES—

Monstania
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

Neuiger
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

Madou Monogatari
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

Hiouden
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

Dragon Quest V
Did I write about this? Either way it had my favorite story
in the series even if that never was the big focus of the
games. Wish I had played part 4 and 6 on the SNES as well.

Operation Logic Bomb
A simple and vague game, you have no idea what is going on in the story
but you shoot at things, it is quite solid but it would really need
some more health items and variation.

Tengai Makyou
So glad to finally be able to play this in English!
As you might know it uses some special chip and a real-time clock
that affects events in the game long before Animal Crossing existed,
thanks to things like that it has taken some extra time to translate.
In the end I really enjoyed the game, some amazing environments,
some good music and maybe not fantastic battles but more than okay.
I only wish the story, and especially the bad guys
were a bit more serious.

—3DS—

Metroid Samus Returns
As you might remember the fan remake AM2R was the best released
game last year, the same can not be said about this remake, as expected.
It is not bad and I am glad that they made an official remake but it
is a waste of time compared to the fan-made.
My main problem is actually the fact that it is handheld, I can’t play
action games on handhelds without hurting my hands, not the games fault
but it adds up. A positive thing is the difficulty, by far the hardest
Metroid game (on normal settings). Oh well I don’t have too much
negative things to say in fact aside from the obvious
(the graphic and MELEE combat in a Metroid game, rabble rabble!).
Just play both remakes, it’s interesting to compare them.

Luigis Mansion 2
Finally played it, not bad but too long for its own good and again,
action on handhelds is not for me.

—WiiU—

Paper Mario: Color Splash
Didn’t I write about this, hm, really like the humor and
references etc. in this, a big step up from Sticker Star but the
battles are still a bit dull and I avoid them as much as possible…
The localization team needs to get a raise after this game!

Zelda Breath of the Wild
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

—Switch—

Cave Story+
This old thing once again! Playing it with the Joycons was
true suffering and only a miracle made me beat HELL and Balos.
Oh well, a few new changes to the game once again,
I can’t believe how many versions there is now.

Super Mario Odyssey
First time that I buy a Mario game on release even if I have played a
few of them on release. It is a good and well designed game
(for the most part) but the lack of any challenge drops it below
a lot of the other Mario games in the end. I beat every boss in the
game on my first try, that is just not fun, the sad part is that they
all have fun patterns and again, very well designed, I have no idea
how you would balance them to fix this but for me the lack of
challenge made the game quite boring. The best part was something I
usually don’t like in games, taking control of the enemies!
Being one of those long-legged guys or a wriggly is THE BEST.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2
I guess I will have to come back to this with spoilers, there is
much do discuss after all but for now, I enjoyed it, the first
game remains my favorite in this series and this
is a second place, all as expected.

—PS2—

Puzzle Quest
Only one PS2 game?! Now that I have them all I should get back
to a few more this year. It got repetitive fast but I still like
the idea of combining a RPG with “match three” puzzles.

—PS3—

Ar Nosurge
Finally beat it, The bad parts outweigh the good sadly,
I have no interest in hearing small conversations about 100
random items that you craft or the 100 side stories when you
want to learn new abilities. I just want to get to the good part
where it connects to Ar Tonelicooo…
Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to play it or maybe I would feel the same
about replaying Ar Tonelico as well. Oh well, I came for the music
and main story and those delivered.

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
First time replaying since the PS2 version got released and I must say
that I prefer the first game after all, a lot of reused worlds etc.
and this is only the second game!! Still a great game and it feels
good with a refresher of the story, not as complicated
as I remembered (or didn’t remember it).

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
My first time playing this, and wow, they were right,
it is on par with the first two games, a welcomed higher tempo in
both battles and story, new places to visit etc, it’s great,
only DDD left to beat before I am finally ready for part 3.

—PS4—

World of Final Fantasy
Never made it to the rumored extra boss that made me play the game
in the first place but still a nice journey. Not much to say,
as a FF fan you will probably like this!

Tales of Berseria
The story was really exciting and even redeemed Zestira somehow
since they are connected. Still has some of the problems of
modern Tales of games and I still miss the days and style of
Rebirth and Destiny 2 (PS2). I still can’t believe I beat a
Tales of with only 200 encounters either!

Nier Automata
NIER AUTOMATA T-SHIRT
I already wrote about this but 9 months later it is even
more clear that this is the game of the year and also this decade,
as I foretold last year this was the first game since Xenosaga III
to make it into my top ten of all times.

Mighty no9
I just don’t understand why developers forget the things they
already learned 30 years ago and make games like this.

Little Nightmares
I still believe Hunger was a better title but I see why they
had to change it, try searching for a game called just
“Hunger” or “Hunger game”, haha.
Oh well, more or less what I expected but a bit disappointing
since Inside put the bar for this genre so high last year.

Rime
Indie version of Ico? I don’t have too much to say, it’s nice,
looks good, have some good puzzles etc. but it’s a short game
that I won’t return to like so many other titles.

Dex
This is interesting, an open-world, Action-RPG, beat em up,
shooter, platformer… it’s all in there! I guess you could compare
it to Shadow Run, you just go into places, people shoot at you and
you have no idea what to do. I would really give it a chance,
the first two or so hours are quite hard and frustrating but once
you get into it, it really is a good game, glad I found it.

Final Fantasy 12
Thank the heavens for the 2x/4x speed option. Nice to replay the
story and visit the world again but my view of the game have not
changed at all over the years since it was released.

Matterfall
Intense, short and 100% action!

YS VIII
Not the YS game I wanted or expected but a really good RPG!
Just play it but expect a 40 hour RPG not a YS game.

.Hack GU Recode
Another Remaster of another game where my view of it hasn’t changed
at all, it almost felt pointless to play since I remembered every
detail including the meaningless side quests and tutorials…
it was still great to get an excuse to experience the entire
story again, it is a favorite after all and while the remake itself
feels lazy and has almost no improvement at all over the PS2 versions
it is amazing that we got a collection with all three,
in all regions and that they even included the super rare
“terminal disc” and a new chapter with all the old voice actors,
that is amazing. Also, this collection raises my hope for a
Xenosaga collection by 4%!

Rayman Legends
I prefer Origins but this was of course fun as well in co-op.

Life is Strange
Better than watching any movie or TV series but I can only handle
these “games” once in a while. The story was good and that is
what matters in this case I suppose!

Diablo 3
A bit late to the party, I guess it is four times as fun to play
with a friend and I suppose you should replay at higher
difficulties but compared to Diablo 2 this was a joke,
I literally beat Diablo by standing still holding one button…
I enjoyed it and it even reminded me of Shining Force Neo but I
rather just play that!

Rise of the Tomb Raider
The last game of the year, I actually liked this better than
the “first” in every way. The Uncharted, Tomb Raider, (God of War?)
concept feels so old by now but sometimes you just have to hold up
in these games look around and get impressed by the environments
and the 200+ years of work /man hours that is needed to create
these worlds, I feel a bit bad just rushing trough and not
explore every nook of it but like I said, you even get tired
of things like this.

—Xbox—

Fable
Didn’t I write about this, maybe only mentioned.
It really feels like the beginning of modern games as we know
them today but it also feels very old and unpolished.
I have always thought the problem with the game was that they
wanted to do too much but playing it now it feels like the opposite,
a really empty game, I beat it in less than 10 hours and I didn’t
even miss much, I expected tons of side quests, a much bigger world
etc. even the few choices you had changed very little
and didn’t feel enough to raise the replay value…

—Xbox360—

Dark Souls
Revenge all these years later, I might write more about it one day
but for now a pale imitation of Demons Souls, I can’t believe this is
the game everyone mentions before that, Firelink Shrine is not enough
to make it a better game. But don’t worry I like them both now, hehe.

—PC—

Moustache Mountain
A short and fun game about wall jumping, I was number 10 on the
leader boards last time I checked, wo!

A Bird Story
RPG maker! Not as touching as To the Moon but a nicely told story.

Out There Somewhere
Love this one, a short platform game with puzzle elements.

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
I like the “atmosphere” and idea of the game but it is sadly
the ugliest game I have ever played.

Teslagrad
It just works, I feared it would be too many “physics puzzles”
but there were only a few and as a whole a nice game.

Shadow Complex
After all these years I got to play it!
The story is one of the worst I have seen but the important
part is that it really feels like a Metroid game, finding the
hidden items feels just like in Metroid and the combat works
too even if it gets far to easy by the end.

Bleed
Simple and unpolished but nice.

Titan Souls
A 2D Shadow of Colossus? The only goal is to kill a number
of bosses, some optional some not, you only have one weapon and
one hit before you die, so does many of the bosses.
I love the idea but sadly it feels like too much “luck” in
some cases, you can struggle for hours or get lucky and finish
a boss in seconds. I died 200 times before beating the final boss.

The vanishing of Ethan Carter
One of the most beautiful games,
I can’t believe my computer could run this on high settings.

Alwa’s Awakening
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back and read about it!

Hollow Knight
I already wrote a longer text about this,
feel free to go back an read about it but since then I have beaten
it a few more times and they have fixed a few issues and added
more content. It just gets better and better and it has a serious
chance to challenge Super Metroid by now, I love this game!

The inner darkness
Nah. Just too short and too simple for me.

YS Origins
A real YS game! Not much more to say, if you like
YS play it!

Mushroom 11
Not a bad game but I swear, this is the last time I play
physic based platform games, I just don’t enjoy it.

Cosmic Star Heroine
Really reminds me of Phantasy Star, an amazing game that sadly had
a few too many bugs on release when I played it. Very few indie RPGs
out there and especially in this style, be sure to check it out!

Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky the Second Chapter
Hope to finish Part 3 and Cold Steel 2 this year, The series as
a whole have a chance to make it into the top 10, we’ll see.

Frog Hop
A very polished game, sadly with very boring
and simple graphic.

Risk of Rain
Another game best enjoyed in co-op and also a bit too much
luck involved, I can’t believe how much this has sold!

Antichamber
Never thought I would beat it but I did,
a very unique game, a must if you like puzzles.

Ori and the Blind Forest
Quite a disappointment, especially since they already
showed the entire story in a trailer…

Westerado
This is one odd game, got the “fight club” ending, haha.
The goal is to figure out who killed your family, like you can guess
from the title it has an old western theme and an open world with very
high replay value since the game is short and have different endings.

Ghost 1.0
I enjoyed it but have absolutely nothing to say at the moment…
the developer was nice enough to fix a bug within a day from
when I reported it!

Oceanhorn
It’s a Wind Waker clone, it’s apparent that they spent a lot of
time on this and it is good but I just don’t get why you want to
make a game this close to a Zelda game, why take both the good AND
bad parts, why copy things exactly and not mix it up, whyyy?

Furi
I have never felt so much pain from playing a game, my hands were
cramping up by the end. Not the hardest game ever but I did have
quite some trouble in the beginning, love the ending part when
that one song and credits roll!

Toren
Another “indie Ico”, just worse in every way.

Cally’s Cave 3
A game about upgrading weapons, you find a good one, think this is
the best weapon ever and then find another even better, constantly!

Oxenfree
All other games could learn from the sound design here.
It really makes the game. The slow tempo sadly destroys the
otherwise high replay value.

Ikaruga
The switching mechanic is good but it is not enough,
quite an overrated game.

Chronicles of Teddy
Backtracking from hell, it has been a while since a game made
me this frustrated. It feels quite unique with its own “language”
and I want to like it but it is hard to do that sometimes.

Valdis Story
This was not bad at all, in fact really good!

Amnesia A machine for pigs
A bit better balanced than the first game but not at all scary,
I died twice and never saw what killed me…
I assume a pig monster but it could have been whatever!

Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom
Another of the few indie RPGs, in full 3D and all!
It really reminds of the PS2 era and Rouge Galaxy, it has a unique
battle system and a lot of energy have been put into this but
sadly the story and characters didn’t interest me at all.

Icey
A meta-game were the developer speaks to you constantly,
it is the beat em up version of the Stanley Parable.
It was fun finding all the different ways to break the game
and all the hidden messages etc.

The End is Nigh
almost 2000 deaths, in 5 hours! A new record, despite that
it is a fun game and I actually prefer it over Meat boy.
Even though you only use one button + Dpad it is much more
varied than Meat Boy and the fact that the world is “open”
instead of split into stages adds another dimension to it.

Downwell
So simple but still fun. Go down, shoot everything.

Tower 57
Another twinstick shooter, it feels like I play a lot of them
these days. It doesn’t feel like one though since you can explore
and talk to NPCs etc. Play with a friend, a bit unbalanced,
really hard in the first stages and far too easy later.

Nex machina
Twin stick Shooter, the amount of action is at least 400%!
I don’t know what is happening and I can’t believe that any
computer can handle the amount of particles and effects
used in this game.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
I could only play a little at a time before feeling ill but
the environments are just gorgeous! A bit more consistent story
than in Dear Esther but more or less the same thing, walk, listen,
walk some more.

AVGN2
The same problem as the first game, too easy! You expect some
real challenge from an AVGN game but no.
Oh well, still fun to play.

Mystik Belle
This is what you get by combining a modern Castlevania with
point and click. You explore a classic Metroid map and fight
enemies but the focus of the game is to combine items to get new
items to combine with new ite… and so on. Not my favorite type of
game since you just end up trying to combine everything
without thinking.

Outland
Ikaruga the platform game, you switch between two colors and
damage opposite colored enemies and absorb same colored projectiles.
I didn’t have any expectations but it was quite good,
especially the bosses.
The biggest flaw was the rather dull environments.

The Fall
You take the role as an AI, blah blah. I thought it was a
“metroidvania” but in the end you just end up clicking on everything
and try using every item on everything. Not a bad game but not for me.

And now for the best games of the year:

1: Nier Automata
2: Hollow Knight
3: Xenoblade Chronicles 2

What a year, next one will be crazy as well but nothing will probably come
close to Nier or Hollow Knight.