Short opinions on games I played in the second quarter of 2016.

Bravely Default (3DS)

The worst investment this year so far. The characters are basically four containers of XP and JP, with empty dialogues and embarrassing jokes. The story is bland and predictable, and “Ringabell’s journal” is the worst plot device I encountered ever since I have the ability read. All these made the grind-heavy job system more frightening and difficult to dive into. If that is not enough, they hide a great chunk of the game behind a mobile-style building game.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)

Only finished the light side, but it is my favorite Bioware game so far. The main plot may be not excellent and the map often feels narrow, but I seldom feel bored as I always find myself involved in some interesting stories. These stories lead me into the exotic culture of alien races and planets which otherwise need tons of codex pages to tell. All the teammates feel alive and always talk in a lovely way, and there is no awkward Bioware-style romance section to break the great atmosphere on my ship. A very boring final dungeon and boss fight drags the experience down a bit. Computer skill is too emphasized over other non-combat skills.

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Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)

This game would be excellent if it further explore the situation of Jodie and all the people she encountered in her exile, like it does in certain sections. But instead it continue to insert the stupid other world thing plus some political and military affair which they definitely do not have the talent and resource to handle with, and certainly it ended up in a mess. It is also not a joy to play as it often expects you to move your stick in specific ways with very ambiguous indication on the screen. The camera is more annoying than Aiden, sometimes pushing you to look at or walk to a certain direction even when there is not urgent things going on.

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Warhammer 4000 Dawn of War II+ Chaos Rising (PC)

Relic Entertainment has the magic to capture the essential elements on the battlefield that lives in my imagination. DoW II mostly put you in the place of several elite squads’ espionage action yet still convince you that you are taking control of a battle. Metal, flesh, bullets, fire... you can direct every elements conveniently to literally pour them on enemy and observe that astounding effect when they collide with each others, without too much worry about logistic. The loot and equipment system ease my RPG nerves and add great depth to the strategy. It is also one of the best looking RTS in my eyes, on par with Company of Heroes from the same developer, despite their age.

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Braid (PC)

My only complaints is the writing is too self-indulgent to be attractive to an outsider. Being a very succinct game, it pushes me to find blind spots in my own thought more than most puzzle games. It is simply a joy to appreciate how the new time manipulation skill works and how tidy and clean the puzzles are. There are just the right number of everything in right places to help you achieve the goal.

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The Stanely Parable (PC)

I feel reluctant to call it a game. Salt makes food delicious but I do not want to eat only them for breakfast. Sometimes it is cool that a game has certain moments where the in-game people jumps out of their role and communicate with the player. When you want to make these the sole existence inside the product, how far can you go with that other than showing “I am smart”?