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Posted in Game Lists, Recent Games

2019: A Hobbit’s Review

2020 is here at last and I would say it’s going to be an interesting year for gaming, with the next generation of console gaming drawing closer every day, and some great titles due for release across the year.

But what about 2019? We had some good games right? Here is my personal pick of the best 2019 releases that I have managed to get my hands on.


Dauntless

Without a doubt the best free game that I have come across, Dauntless is just a lot of fun to play with your friends, hunting large, hulking behemoths together. I have talked a number of friends into playing it and we always have a great time going on hunts together! It’s the one free game that has me coming back for more and more, so it certainly has some staying power.

I talked about Dauntless earlier in the year in my review post, which you can find here.


Wargroove

Wargroove was a spontaneous little purchase on the Switch which I absolutely did not regret. It’s the kind of game that you can sink a couple of yours of amusement into, put it down, then return months later and still have just as much fun.

For any that played Advance Wars on the good old Gameboy Advance, you will immediately recognise the format of the game. It’s a simple turn-based tactical base-capturing game. The idea is to either destroy the enemy base or wipe out the commander.

It features a fantasy setting, which is always a quick way into my good books. Multiple races, lots of units, a campaign to tackle, a fun arcade mode, and even the opportunity to make your own campaign missions.

Wargroove is simple, easy to pick up, surprisingly challenging in places, and always fun.


Cadence Of Hyrule

I never played Crypt Of The Necrodancer, but when I saw that they were releasing a game that crossed over with The Legend Of Zelda, I knew I would have to give it a go!

It certainly proves challenging at times, but it’s always fun to play, especially with the fantastic disco/Zelda soundtrack! Sometimes I enjoy a track so much, I actually struggle to move on to a new area.

It’s only a short game, but full of fun, and extra mayhem available if you try your hand at co-op mode!


Greedfall

Greedfall was a great pick up this year, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. With a fantasy setting focused on colonising a recently discovered island, it certainly provides unique gameplay! I have enjoyed what I have seen so far of the environment, story elements and characters, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the game has to offer.

There is plenty more fun for me to have with this however, as I am no where near completing it – Greedfall is just one of the games that I must get back to soon.


Luigi’s Mansion 3

Of course Luigi was going to make it to this list! This was one of the games I was most looking forward to getting this year. Even though it was only released on Halloween, I have already sunk a lot of hours into exploring the haunted hotel that Luigi finds himself and his friends trapped in.

It just doesn’t get old – vacuuming up ghosts, slamming them around the room, sucking up anything that isn’t nailed down!

If you want to read my thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion 3, you can check out my post here.


The Outer Worlds

This is one that actually slipped under my radar, and I only heard about it about a week before it was due for release. The first thing I heard was that it was made by the team who are responsible for bringing us Fallout New Vegas. So naturally I then immediately read any article I could find about this game, and the decision was made.

I had to buy it.

The Outer Worlds is just fun to play, no question about it. It has everything – great humour, fun characters, a wacky world, weird weapons … I love this game, is what I’m trying to say.

To see my in-depth thoughts, check out my review post here.


Pokémon Sword And Shield

I’m sure no one is surprised to see this here, especially given my recent Nuzlocke entries.

Pokémon Shield was my choice of the two (it’s all about those exclusives!), and I have a lot of good things to say about it.

Pokémon is a franchise that is very close to my heart, so I’m always going to give the new games a go. There may have been backlash from some, but you’ll find none from me. It’s everything I wanted from a new Pokémon game – well, almost everything.

And of course we have now had the announcement of incoming DLC for these titles, a Poké-first as far as I am aware! I’m sure the idea of DLC in a Pokémon game will also bring mixed reviews to long time fans, but I will reserve judgement until I have played it myself.

If you want to read my full review, have a look at the post here.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Without a doubt, I would place Three Houses as my Game Of The Year. I have put the most time into it by a total landslide, I never get bored of it, and I just love everything about it!

The game features so many unique characters, and I have enjoyed getting to know all of them, and it’s great to see how they react to each other in special cut scenes that you unlock as their relationships improve throughout the game.

There have been lots of tactic based games that I have enjoyed over the years, but it’s easy for me to say that this is my favourite out of any of them.

I still haven’t completed the game as there are still two different story lines for me to experience, but I can’t wait to do so and see the differences between each one!

If you want to read my original review post, you can see it here.

Posted in New Games

Luigi's Mansion 3

One of the stand-out titles on the Nintendo Gamecube for me was Luigi’s Mansion, and I was so excited when the announcement would be made that the third game would be coming to the Nintendo Switch! I knew instantly that this would be a game that would be added to my collection without much delay.

Without a doubt, the game has not been a disappointment in any way for me. The Hotel that Luigi finds himself in looks so good, and it’s quite fun navigating all the floors with their different themes. The boss ghosts to be found on each floor are fun characters, all of which offer a fair amount of challenge to catch.

The floors themselves also offer plenty of challenge with lots of puzzles to solve, and every now and again I have actually been stumped and had to come back to a puzzle to attempt it with fresh eyes.

Probably one of my favourite things about the game is the pure destructive power of Luigi with his Poltergust G-00! I can’t help myself – every single time I enter a room, the first thing I must do is vacuum everything. It’s just … SO … MUCH … FUN! If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself wondering what the overpowered vacuum is capable of sucking up, and what survives. There’s just something ridiculous about watching Luigi point the Poltergust at a sofa and decimating the cushions!

Another great thing about the third installment to the series is the multiplayer, a returning feature from the second game, Dark Moon. If you feel like a little break from exploring the perilous hotel, why not team up with other plucky plumbers to vacuum up some ghosts in the ScareScraper? And if you’re not feeling cooperative, you could always head to the ScreamPark, where you can pit yourself against others so you can see who is the best Luigi!

While there is very little to complain about here, there is one thing that I miss from the original Luigi’s Mansion. The mansion was split into different areas, and each area had a boss ghost for you to capture. The thing that’s missing for me is the other portrait ghosts and the challenges that they brought with them.

Luigi would enter the room, see the ghost but would be unable to capture them until they expose their heart. All you had was a single clue and your own wits to figure out how to use the surroundings to manipulate the ghost into showing their heart.

I found this to be a fun, imaginative challenge that always kept you thinking on your toes! While Luigi’s Mansion 3 certainly isn’t lacking in challenges, I just miss this as a format, as I feel it was something that really worked.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed playing this so much, I couldn’t recommend it enough for any one else who has a soft spot for this cowardly hero!


  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 31/10/19
  • Genre: Casual Adventure
Posted in Uncategorized

Secret Blogger Santa – Community Event


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers! Earlier in the year I decided to take part in a Secret Blogger Santa, organised by Livid Lightning! And the Blogger that I was assigned for this festive fun was The Gaming Diaries!

For those of you who didn’t see the original post by Livid Lightning, here it is. Here’s a brief explanation: I must now gift a video game item to my assigned Blogger, explain why it is that I am gifting it to them, and just talk about them and select some of my favourite posts,

So here we go!


My Gift – The Gift Of Time

Bit of an abstract one, huh? The Gift Of Time is found in The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons, and it is rewarded to Link once he completes the Snake’s Remains dungeon.

I have chosen this as my gift, because one of the sad truths of life is that it can be difficult to find the time to pursue your passions and interests as an adult – life so often tries to get in the way!

An avid lover of video games, Lego, and an excellent sketcher too, I’m sure anyone would appreciate more time on their hands to be able to fully indulge themselves in the hobbies that they love.


My favourite posts

Here are just a few of the great posts there are to be found on The Gaming Diaries.


Things Retail Workers Want You To Know

This one is quite close to my heart as a fellow retail worker. There are lots of frustrations in the retail environment, especially at this wonderful time of year. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that we are real people with feelings, and we always appreciate those who bear this in mind!


Sometimes You Just Have To Lego

As a fellow fanatic of Lego, not to mention Lego video games, this is another post that I relate to a lot. There are some rather sweet, personal anecdotes here, which I found quite amusing. Reading this also makes me recall the many, many hours I spent building houses, secret bases, and dungeons.


Looking For: Video Game Jobs

This is a really interesting take on a very real problem for some people (myself included). Not all of us know what we want to do in life, and this is a fun look at our potential career prospects in video games … no, not in the industry, I mean literally in video games!


Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 6 – Nessa

It’s a new day in Lockie’s Nuzlocke journey, and today she is in Hulbury, home of the Water Gym Leader, Nessa.


Lockie and Nessa meet for the first time on the streets of Hulbury.

Before Lockie begins her challenge, we took some time to explore Hulbury and find some useful items, such as the TM for Electroweb, and a Magnet, both of which will help Gautier the Charjabug against the watery foes we will face.

And while Lockie was wandering down the streets, she came across a good spot to fish! So we tried our luck for our next new team member, and the result was Chester the Chinchou!


Our delightful new friend, Chester.

Other options were Arrokuda, Chewtle, Basculin and Wishiwashi. Chinchou absolutely would be my first choice out of these options, so that was a stroke of luck. With his Electric typing, that means we have another advantage against Nessa’s gym! I have chosen to swap Madeleine the Magikarp out for the time being, she can rejoin after we have claimed Nessa’s badge.


Lockie steps into the Hulbury Gym Mission.

So into the gym we go, and the Gym Mission that awaits us is a fairly standard puzzle-solving maze, where water blocks Lockie’s path, and she must press different buttons to open different paths. Of course there are a number of trainers to defeat along the way, but they will be excellent practice for Chester!


Lockie is more than ready to face the trainers in Hulbury Gym.


After making it through the Gym Mission, and reaching the stadium field to face-off against Nessa, Lockie managed to secure an easy win! Lillian was the star of the show, with her Mega Drain and Shell Bell meaning that Nessa could barely leave a scratch!


Nessa is ready to do business.


So now it is time to think ahead to the next challenge, and this is where the difficulty starts to pick up! Kabu, the next Gym Leader, uses Fire type Pokemon, so Gaspar, Oberon and Gautier are going to take a break, while Gloria (Growlithe), Roland (Roggenrola) and Madeleine (Magikarp) come back for some training.


A brief meeting with Sonia and Chairman Rose before heading back to Motostoke.

Our next stop is Galar Mine No. 2! As this is another case of no random encounters, I simply ran into the first Pokemon which spawned … a Wimpod. Not exactly a thrilling choice. While Golisopod is a good contender for the challenge, Wimpod is not especially useful himself. His stats are not good, and his ability means that if I take him below half health, he will run away! This Wimpod broke out of 10+ Pokeballs (all I had), my only 3 Great Balls, my 3 Nest Balls, and 3 Heal Balls … FINALLY, he was captured! Lockie named this pain in the .. *ahem*, Wilbur.


Wilbur the Wimpod.

The other inhabitants of this cave are Shellos, Binacle, Croagunk, Shuckle, Chewtle and Noibat – I really wish I had found Croagunk or Noibat, but there we go!

Once again Lockie finds herself being challenged by Bede, the most insufferable character in this generation of Pokemon games. I predict Gloria will have no issue wiping his Psychic team with Bite — until, tragedy strikes!


Gloria defeated by Bede’s Solosis!

Our first casualty! Gloria, who I had so much hope for! Taken down in one shot by Bede’s Solosis! If I disliked Bede before, you can be sure that the feeling is ten times stronger now! I was totally shocked, as I was not expecting to take any losses at this early stage. Even Esther had to make a hasty retreat after defeating his Gothorita! Chinchou had to make an early retreat whilst fighting his Ponyta, with both fighters confused and evenly matched, I just had to play it safe. Lillian is now the last Pokemon at a good level with enough health to take on his Hatenna. Thankfully Lillian’s Mega Drain kept her health where it needed to be for her to survive Hatenna’s attacks, as it was quite a hard hitter!


I couldn’t be more pleased to be the one who made Bede pull this face.

Lockie must press on through the cave in order to make it back to Motostoke, but it isn’t long before she runs into Team Yell. They seem to be causing more mischief, and Hop arrives just in time to provide Lockie with some backup for a double battle!


Team Yell are always ready to cause some trouble.

I’ll admit that the Thievul and Linoone looked slightly intimidating, as Lockie didn’t have an obvious counter in her team … But Lillian should be fine right?


The moment Lockie’s precious Lillian was taken from us.

WRONG! Tragedy strikes for a second time in Galar Mine No. 2! Linoone’s powerful Night Slash, followed up by a critical hit from Thievul’s Snarl sent Lillian on a one way trip to the Graveyard box!

This battle was heating up, as Linoone continually slashed away at my party members, forcing me to switch them out as no one could outspeed him! Finally Linoone was down, replaced with a Pancham … a Pancham who then one-shotted Roland!


Roland struck down before he could prove his worth.

Lockie is in serious trouble now, with 2 Pokemon sent to the Graveyard, and very few remaining choices left. With some luck, Esther was able to carry us through the rest of the battle with no more casualties. We must keep going though, and now that we have two gaps on the party, Gaspar and Rowena are joining us once more.

One last stop before the end of this episode, the Motostoke Outskirts. I first encounter was a Chewtle. We caught him and named him Cedric, and swapped him into the party, sending Gaspar back to the box. I could have found a Croagunk, Pawniard or Impidimp, but I think at this point I would be happy to take anything.


Cedric, the latest addition to the team.

Finally Locke reaches Motostoke, and it is time for a rest before taking on Kabu’s Gym. And I think after what we have been through here today, we could probably do with a good rest. Let’s take a moment to remember our fallen friends today.



Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 5 – Milo

So here we are, at the first Gym Battle! Honestly, I’m not even remotely worried about this one. Milo is pretty small time, with only two Pokémon in his party, both of which are pure Grass types.

Rowena led the charge with the Gym Trainers in the mission (which I think is a really funny mission, herding Wooloo!). No problems encountered here as Lockie breezed through, and onto the actual battle itself!


Wooloo successfully herded!

Our safest option here was Oberon, with his Grass/Poison typing, he receives only a quarter of the damage from Grass attacks! And this plan worked perfectly, his health stayed firmly above half! It only took two shots of Max Ooze to send Milo’s Eldegoss packing!


Milo approaches Lockie on the Stadium grounds.

Lockie graciously accepted the Grass Badge from Milo, and started planning the journey ahead. I put Gloria and Rowena in the box for a little rest, and took Lillian as we will need her Grass typing against the Water Gym Leader, Nessa. I also took Madeleine, hopefully she will evolve into Gyarados quite soon!


First badge in hand!

New areas mean new Pokémon to catch! First I took a quick trip back to the Wild Area to visit South Lake Miloch, as the intense sunshine meant there were some different Pokémon hanging around. I ended up catching a Nincanda, who I named Nancy! Baltoy and Roselia were the other possibilities, but I guess I can find a use for another Bug Pokémon … is Lockie a secret Bug Maniac?


Catching Nincanda is technically like catching two Pokémon.

Now we are back on track and heading to Route 5, where there are quite a few possibilities for our encounter! But the first to show herself was Espurr, who Lockie captured in one throw and named Esther! I’m pretty happy with this, Psychic is one of my favourite types so it’s always good to have another one on board.


Esther seems to like to show off, if this pose is anything to go by.

It wasn’t long before she was showing us what she can do, as she took down an Applin two levels higher than herself with no worries at all! Esther easily took down the rest of the route trainers, including a couple of punks from Team Yell, and then Lockie ran into Hop once more, who of ocurse was waiting for another battle.

Esther was around half health, so I didn’t feel like risking her in this battle – Oberon was the way to go here! That is until Corvisquire came out. After a successful dose of Sleep Powder and then a direct hit from Oberon’s Acid attack, he soon woke up and quickly had Oberon down to very low yellow health … thankfully Gautier is beefy enough to take any amount of pecking, and his new Electric typing takes away the Super Effective status of Flying type moves.

With that victory, it wasn’t long before Lockie found herself in Hulbury, home to the Water Gym. Next time we will be taking on Nessa and hopefully claiming her badge!

Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 4 – The Gym Challenge

Welcome back to Lockie’s Nuzlocke Challenge! Lockie has made it to Motostoke, and I spent a little bit of time polishing her team so that she doesn’t fall behind. During this, Lillian and Gaspar both evolved, and I’m feeling much more confident with the team and ready to press on.



Lockie and Hop got themselves registered to take part in the Gym Challenge, then went to the Budew Drop Inn to stay the night, in preparation for the opening ceremony which was due to take place the following day. It was in the lobby here that Lockie came across Team Yell for the first time, but they proved to be no threat at all – Beatrice’s Struggle Bug soon dispatched the Dark types that were sent out to oppose us!

After a bit of poking around the city, Lockie found a couple of useful items, Miracle Seed and Silk Scarf. These items boost the power of Grass type moves and Normal type moves, respectively. They will help certain members of the team pack an even bigger punch. Lockie also came across a quiet spot by the river where she could do a bit of fishing! Seemed like the perfect chance to catch a new Pokémon for this area – and the result was a Magikarp! Lockie captured the splashing fish and named her Madeleine. The other options from the fishing spot were Chewtle and Barboach, but ultimately I think Gyarados will be more helpful than the others. Madeleine is going to the box for now, but I’m sure she will come out later.


Useless for now, but perhaps a life saver in the long run?

The next day Lockie headed to the stadium where she took part in the opening ceremony of the Gym Challenge, which means that we are finally on the road to the first Gym leader, Milo!


The crowds cheer on, which is slightly macabre bearing in mind this is a Nuzlocke.

Before any of that though, as usual Hop wants to test his stuff against Lockie and her team. Thankfully we have Gloria now who can deal with Rookidee, the most worrisome member of his team! It wasn’t long before he conceded defeat and we moved on to Route 3, and our next capture – Rookidee! She was named Rowena, and put into the party in place of Lillian for now.



Beatrice is turning out to be a real asset to the team, which is a nice surprise for me (I hadn’t used the Blipbug evolution line until this point). Her typing means that she has the advantage over a good number of my opponents, and she has excellent defenses, so most attacks are practically bouncing off her!


We love you Beatrice!

Galar Mine was easy enough to traverse, I used it as a chance to level up Oberon by taking on the trainers with their Rock type Pokémon. As there are no random encounters in caves anymore, I ran into the first Pokémon I saw spwan, which was Roggenrola! Another easy catch, I soon found myself naming him Roland. I placed him in the box for now, as the first two gyms are Grass and Water … not exactly his strong points. The other Pokémon to find here were Rolycoly, Diglett, Drilbur, Woobat and Timburr, and frankly I’m just happy I didn’t encounter the last two on that list.


Roland is sure to come in handy once the first two Gyms are out of the way.

Lockie encountered Bede at the end of the mine. He didn’t stand a chance against Gautier, and was defeated with ease. Next up is Route 4, final stop before Turffield where we will face our first Gym Leader!

The golden fields of Route 4 were hiding many Pokémon, but Meowth was the one to jump out at Lockie! She was captured with no problem and named Martha. She has been boxed, but may make an appearance later.

Just before we stepped into Turffield, we got a double evolution from one match! Gautier and Oberon, who evolved into Charjabug and Gloom!



And then two battles later, Rowena also evolved into Corvisquire! Lockie’s team is looking much more intimidating with these latest changes, and we’re more than ready to take on Milo!


Bigger and better, and ready to take on Milo!

Next time Lockie will be entering Turffield Gym and hopefully claiming Milo’s Badge! Wish us luck!

Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 3 – The Wild Area

So, after claiming her letter of endorsement, Lockie set out for Motostoke to start her Gym Challenge in earnest. Before that, she must first pass through the Wild Area, a huge open plain split into many different routes. That means that Lockie has the chance to catch several different Pokémon before progressing any further!

The Pokémon available do change depending on the weather, so there’s always the option to avoid the grass in some of these routes and find a different Pokémon later once that weather has changed.


Being chased down by wild Pokémon adds an extra layer of challenge to the Nuzlocke.

So the first area we come to is Rolling Fields. Lockie wasted no time and jumped straight into the grassy wilds, and her encounter for this route was … Oddish! I am very pleased with this result, as I have a lot of familiarity with this old-timer. Lockie successfully caught the little weed and named him Oberon.


An old classic, Oberon the Oddish.

The other options on this route in the current weather (overcast) were Budew, Bunnelby and Metapod. The only one I would have perhaps preferred is Budew, simply because I would choose Roserade over Vileplume/Bellossom.

Next route to venture through was the Dappled Grove, which was suffering from quite the heavy thunderstorm at the time! Fully aware of my crippling weakness to Flying types, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to find a bit of balance with an electric type Pokémon hopefully! The first encounter Lockie came across was another Lotad, so the Duplicate Rule allowed us to shove him aside and look for someone else, at which point we found Grubbin!


Gautier, our friendly little Grubbin.

Although Grubbin is a Bug type now, he will eventually take on the Electric type, so this is an investment for the future! Another capture in the bag, and Gautier the Grubbin has been added to the party! The other options here were Joltik and Budew … I am kind of disappointed I didn’t find the Joltik as he is super speedy, and I am a sucker for the fast hitters.

I suddenly found myself needing to do some levelling to catch up with the Pokémon around me – I suspect the game expects you to be catching lots of Pokémon and therefore gaining lots of Exp, which of course is not the case here! Gaspar got a nasty shock when a Tympole who was three levels higher than him spewed him with Acid! Our new friend Gautier came to his rescue and promptly wiped out the threat.

In the middle of this little level catch-up session, Beatrice evolved into Dottler! With this she gained the Psychic type, and also learned Confusion, Reflect and Light Screen, so not only does Lockie have slightly better type coverage, but also some good defensive moves!


Beatrice claims the title of First To Evolve!

Another close encounter for Gaspar as a critical hit from a Krabby with his Metal Claw deals serious damage! It was the perfect chance for Oberon to make his debut, and the near-killer Krabby never saw it coming. Oberon’s Absorb sent him packing!

The final area before reaching Motostoke was East Lake Axewell, and the weather here was intense sunshine (despite the fact that it was actually nighttime, so I guess … intense moonshine?). I crossed my fingers as Lockie dived into the grass, and rejoiced as Growlithe was the Pokémon who greeted us! A swift capture, and Lockie finds herself with a faithful pup, Gloria the Growlithe!


Gloria will become a precious member of Lockie’s team!

Mudbray, Minccino, Onix and Stufful were the other potential partners here, but Growlithe is by far the best of the bunch for me, so I am so happy with this result!

Lockie eventually made it to Motostoke, after an eventful journey through the Wild Area. We managed to capture three Pokémon here, and I’m quite happy with all of them! It seems like this is going great so far – there have been a few near misses, so I will have to exercise great caution in future, as I’m usually used to being several levels higher than the Pokémon around me.