Posted in Game Lists

A Hobbit’s Quirks: 5 Weird In-Game Habits

Recently I have been delving back into my adventure in Greece with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and as I have been playing, a recurring quirk that I noticed made me think that it might be fun to write about some of the strange habits I have whilst playing all manner of games.

If you think that you have some habits of your own to add, feel free to comment below, or even write your own post detailing these habits if you have quite a few!

1. Dry Feet

Starting off with what might be the weirdest habit here … I am pretty sure this is my subconscious and not done on purpose, but whenever I traverse a game world, I seem to do so in a way that keeps my character from needlessly getting those toes wet! By no means do I avoid water segments in games, this quirk only seems to affect things like puddles in the street, running through the river instead of alongside it, things like that … I told you this was a weird one.

2. Hoarding

Wow, a potion! This is sure to come in handy later! But when exactly is later? The next boss fight? A tough random encounter? The final boss? These items are here to help us, to ease our gaming journey. But will I use them? No! Because I am crazy apparently. My Pokemon don’t get revives, potions, ethers. My Final Fantasy party doesn’t get a hi-potion. One day perhaps, I will have a bag of items which I will put to use freely, without concern that “this just isn’t the time”.

3. Did I save?

I’m pretty sure that this dates back to my childhood playing Pokemon (possibly Gold or Silver) where I thought I saved but actually didn’t … hours of gameplay vanished, by the flick of a switch. I never forgave, and I never forgot. DID I SAVE?? Save it again, and a third time if you’re really not sure. But what about autosaves and quick-saves? I just can’t bring myself to trust them, I’m not ready for that level of commitment. I will almost always open the load screen just to make sure that this alleged autosave has actually got my back, to make sure that the quick-save has indeed finished saving, and that it will not throw a royal tantrum when I return to the game later.

4. Get Out Of The Way!

I think I’m too polite for my own good. This is another one that is most predominant in my Pokemon playthroughs. I don’t like to be “in the way”. If I heal my Pokemon, access the PC, enter/exit a building, I don’t like to then start fiddling about with menus or anything like that. I actually step to the side so that the completely imaginary populace of the world around my fictional character can go about their day without me standing in their way. Also, shout-out to the fact that I hate running into people as well! Some games you just have to breathe in the vicinity of an NPC and they fall over … it makes me feel guilty! Yes, I know they’re not real people – stop giving me that look!

5. Skill point build-up

Skill points are a funny thing … first you end up not being able to decide which of your desired skills you should invest in first, until eventually you get all the skills that you had your eye on, and then you don’t know what to spend your points on. What will be most helpful? What if you choose something that ends up being a wasted skill point? It doesn’t take me long to build up a reserve of skill points, and there is usually some sort of HUD notification that follows, reminding me that I still need to pick something …

Posted in Game Lists

Animal Crossing New Horizons: A Hobbit’s Dream Neighbours

Today I want to talk about my to 10 favourite Animal Crossing villagers, and seeing as New Horizons allows you to have 10 villagers on your island, I guess you could say that these are my ideal neighbours!

Please be warned, after whittling down my choices I have discovered that I love cute, fluffy villagers with excellent style and personalities. In other words, no cranky or jock villagers!


Erik

If you’re afraid of wolves, don’t go to the woods.

Oh let’s not pretend that you wouldn’t have a reindeer as a neighbour if you could! Plus, we actually have a lot in common. We both love the snow, have a passion for knitwear jumpers, and we’re always thinking about food!


Sprinkle

Frosting is just the icing on the cake.

As a general rule, I always love the penguins. I love real life penguins anyway, and most of the penguin villagers are pretty sweet. Sprinkle really takes the cake though. I mean, look at her. How can anything possibly be so adorable? Her little phrase is “frappe” … she just oozes cute.


Cleo

There’s something lovable in all of us.

Look at those eyes. Look at those eyes and tell me you don’t love Cleo! She takes her name from horseback rider Cleo Ridgley, a rather touching tribute! As a snooty villager, Cleo brings a touch of class to any town that she moves to, and don’t let Victoria know I said this but … she is definitely the best horse. (Sorry Victoria!)


Audie

Be the kind of person your future self won’t regret having been.

Another stunningly stylish villager on the list, Audie is an adorable wolf villager (although her colour scheme suggests she is actually a fox) who is supposedly named after 87 year old Audrey Buchanan who put more than 3500 hours into her New Leaf town. I really hope I can get her to move to my island one day soon!


Zucker

There’s no such thing as luck.

Zucker is one of the villagers who is portrayed as food, and frankly one of the best. I love the octopus villagers, look at their cute little tentacles and suckers! I always thought that he was supposed to be some sort of chocolate pudding, but he is in fact takoyaki, a savoury dish that often has octopus as a filling … slightly macabre huh?


Marina

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

So adorable. So pink. So cute! I love her and I need her. I’m not sure if I can add anything else to this.


Julia

Cut once, measure twice… Wait- reverse that.

Julia is an ostrich villager, but her design makes her quite obviously a peacock. I challenge you to find a more flamboyantly stylish villager. She is currently a resident on my island, and that is actually the first time that I have seen her – I’ll make sure she sticks around because I have really come to like her. (Plus she sends me nice presents)


Tangy

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!


Tangy was my SALVATION. I had two villagers I couldn’t stand, I had my full town of 10 villagers, and I was desperate to get rid of at least one of these villagers. I waited and waited and waited … my campsite was empty for so long, with only occasional visitors who didn’t leave a great impression on me. And then she appeared. Tangy arrived with all of her peppy sass, and I knew instantly that I wanted her to boot out one of my troublesome neighbours.

Molly

Like water off a duck’s back.

Molly is an incredibly sentimental villager for me. I got her as an original villager in my first town on New Leaf. She was my favourite villager out of anyone else in the town, I definitely spent the most time with her, and in the end she became the first villager in any Animal Crossing game to give me their picture. Because of this, Molly will always be a special villager in my mind, and there will always be an open plot for her.


Goldie

A little bit of happiness is better than a lot of anguish.

The year was 2006. The game was Wild World. The villager was Goldie. She is the one, the only, the best – the absolute BEST villager! I have not had the fortune of running into her again since my Wild World game, but I am confident that I will find her and bring her to my island. I will rescue her from whatever impoverished lands she is currently enduring, and I will give her a home that is worthy of her. I owe it to her.


Posted in Game Lists

Have You Ever? Gaming Edition

Check out A Geek Girl’s Guide original Have You Ever? post! If you feel like joining in, feel free to copy and paste the questions at the bottom of this post.


Rage quit a game

To the best of my memory, I can only recall doing this once. Earlier in the year I bought the Kingdom Hearts collection as it was in the sale, and the series has been heavily recommended to me by various friends … After playing through the torturous tutorial and then being beaten by the boss at the end of it (after seemingly making no impression on him at all) … I decided enough was enough and quit with a lot of annoyance and disappointment.


Earned all achievements in a game

I think there are quite a few that are missing an achievement here and there, but there is one title where I managed to snag every trophy – Dragon Age: Inquisition. This was before the DLC however, and I haven’t quite picked up all of those, just the odd one or two missing.


Pulled an all-nighter gaming

I have actually never done this. It’s not irregular for me to stay up quite late, I’ve got no problem with that – or even with getting up early … but for whatever reason, I have never stayed up the whole night gaming.


Livestreamed your gaming

Never, but I do watch quite a few livestreams. I have often thought that it looked like a lot of fun, but I’m not totally sure. What would I play? Would anyone watch? Is it complicated to set up? I think I’ll stick to being an audience member for now.


Pre-ordered a game

I don’t often pre-order, I usually prefer to wait patiently for a sale (not like I don’t have plenty of other games to sink my teeth into), but every now and again there’s a title which I don’t mind paying extra for, just so I can have it as soon as possible! The most recent example being Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


Bought a game and never played it

Far too often. Disturbingly often. Problematically often.


Been jumpscared by a horror game

Oh yes. All the time! That’s just part of the fun when you’re playing horror games.


Had a set squad for a specific game

Not really … although I guess I do have a group of friends on Animal Crossing, we visit each other’s islands, buy gifts for each other, confer turnip prices … that sounds like squad activity … right?


Bought a game on multiple platforms

No. Of course not. That would be absurd and wasteful. Who would buy Skyrim on PS3, PS4, and PC?? Only a fool, that’s who! … Okay, okay, it was me! I’m the fool! On the plus side, all three purchases were cheap offers.


Got a console for the games specifically

I guess the Nintendo Switch would be the best example of this. Lots of games and franchises I love that I would only get on the Switch!


Want to do this tag? Just copy the prompts below!

Rage quit a game

Earned all achievements in a game

Pulled an all-nighter gaming

Livestreamed your gaming

Pre-ordered a game

Bought a game and never played it

Been jumpscared by a horror game

Had a set squad for a specific game

Bought a game on multiple platforms

Got a console for the games specifically

Posted in Game Lists

Pokémon Generations: A Hobbit’s Ranking


Towards the end of 2019 I took part in Adventure Rules’ Charming And Open project, where we each offered the other a question which had to be answered in the form of a blog post. My question to the blogger was what his thoughts were towards the designs of the different generations of Pokémon, and his thoughts in the ideas behind them.

Reading his response got me thinking about my own thoughts on each generation, so of course I felt I should share!

So without further ado, here are the Pokémon Generations Ranked By Me!


#8 – GENERATION 5 – UNOVA

Unova … Generation 5 was a bold attempt at a completely fresh Pokedex, no previously encountered Pokémon were found in Black and White. To Unova’s credit, there were a lot of ‘Mons that I thought had strong designs behind them, some that I instantly liked – but Unova is at the bottom of this list because of the sheer number of Pokémon that I specifically do not like in this generation.

So, starting with the starters – I would have to say that these are the most lackluster of all the starters we have seen so far. I have to admit that I hold a bit of a personal grudge against Tepig – He was the third consecutive Fire starter to take on Fighting as a secondary type. The third one. Who could have possibly thought this was a good idea? It’s something that has always annoyed me, and to make matters worse, I didn’t actually like the evolutions of Tepig anyway, so there was no saving grace. Snivy and Oshawott I actually have no strong feelings about, good or bad. They simply are what they are.

As for the box legendaries, Reshiram and Zekrom? Honestly, the less said here, the better. I don’t think they look good, I don’t find them appealing to use in any way, and I didn’t really enjoy any part that they actually played in the game at all. Without a doubt they are some of my least favourite legendaries.

There are actually a lot of Pokémon that I really like in Generation 5. There are plenty that I could show you, but I have chosen the best of the best below.

And now for the worst of the lot – these are the Pokémon that I simply cannot abide. These guys are the reason for Unova being at the bottom end of this list for me, with a special mention to Conkeldurr, Scrafty, Vanilluxe and Klinklang.


#7 – generation 4 – sinnoh

Sinnoh brought us over 100 new Pokémon to add to the Pokedex, and there were definitely some solid designs in there! But for me, it wasn’t all good.

The starters were good, with excellent themes being used. Turtwig would grow to be Torterra who clearly takes inspiration from the “World Turtle” concept, Chimchar was an adorable little fire monkey who would later become Infernape, possibly inspired by characters from Asian myths and legends, and Piplup who evolve into Empoleon, quite clearly representing Emperor Penguins and the famous Napoleon Bonaparte. My only complaint about these starters is the fact that this was the second generation in a row that we were given a Fire/Fighting starter. While I do love Infernape, I felt like this didn’t do the ape any favours.

The Legendaries of this generation for me were ….okay? I don’t dislike them by any means, but I don’t like them a huge amount either. I thought that the Time/Space theme was good, but I just don’t see it.

There are more than a few Pokémon that I really like in this region, and here are some of my favourites from the lot.

There were a lot of new evolutions of already existing Pokémon that arrived in Sinnoh – while I personally felt like some of them were simply not needed or well designed, most of them I think were fantastic! Below are the evolutions which I felt really stood out, with my personal favourites being Weavile and Gallade.

Sinnoh finds itself near the bottom of this list as there were so many Pokémon that I just didn’t like. The worst offenders here would have to be Wormadam, Lickilicky, and Probopass, but you can see some of the others that I disliked below.


#6 – generation 7 – alola

Alola saw us going to more tropical climes on our Pokémon journey, and also found a number of ways to challenge the conventions that have been held sacred by the main games of the series up to this point.

The starters were a great bunch for me, I really liked all three (but Rowlett and Litten have the edge over Popplio) but one of the things that set them apart from the others is the unique typing! Rowlett becoming Grass/Ghost, Litten becoming Fire/Dark, and Popplio becoming Water/Fairy. And all three reflected these types in their designs superbly.

The Legendary Pokémon, Solgaleo and Lunala … ehhh? While I liked the Sun/Moon theme they display, that’s pretty much all I like about them. There’s not much else I can say about them, I just don’t find them very memorable or iconic, unlike so many Legendaries that came before this pair.

Alola had a lot of tropical Pokémon to show off, some of the designs were really enjoyable to see.

Alola was the first region to introduce regional forms! A number of Pokémon originally from Kanto were revitalised with these new forms, and these are my favourite of the bunch.

There were only a small number of Pokémon from the seventh generation that I didn’t really like, and here they are.


#5 – generation 8 – galar

The most recent generation, as I write this, Galar took inspiration from the country that I call home, the United Kingdom. I simply love some of the designs that can be found in this generation!

Galar’s starters boast an interesting theme, Grookey representing musicians, Scorbunny representing football players, and Sobble (eventually) representing secret agents.

Possibly one of the biggest reasons for Galar being so low on the list, Zamazenta and Zacian just … were’t my cup of tea (couldn’t resist the phrase here). When I look at some of the Legendary Pokémon that we have had in the past, I can’t help but feel like although the story behind them was fleshed out and interesting, the actual design of the pair was found lacking!

Although I found the Legendaries to be disappointing, there were plenty of regular Pokémon who left a lasting impression on me, here’s a few examples!

Not only did we get a whole host of new Pokémon to feast our eyes on in Galar, but also a few Galarian forms of Pokémon we already know and love! The list of these new forms is quite small, and if I had to choose the best of them I would go with Rapidash, Farfetch’d and Corsola.


#4 – generation 3 – hoenn

Hoenn being a tropical region brought us lots of exotic Pokémon, and the designs of these new Pokémon definitely reflect that, with a truly exotic feel to them.

The starters for this generation were quite strong, but only two of them kept my interest for the whole evolution line! Mudkip was the only one whose evolutions I did not particularly like.

The legendaries were particularly strong in Hoenn, Kyogre holding dominion over the seas, Groudon over the landmasses, and Rayquaza being the neutralising force who can calm them both.

So let’s take a quick look at the best of the designs found in Hoenn, according to me.


#3 – generation 6 – kalos

I really liked a lot of things about the sixth generation, I would say that there was an incredibly solid design behind most of the new additions to the Dex. And of course, Pokémon X & Y and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brought us more than new creatures, it also brought us Mega Evolutions! This new feature revitalised some of the older designs, meaning that some old favourites had newfound viability on the competitive battling scene.

The starter Pokémon had a really strong theme behind them which I thought was quite imaginative. They were based on typical classes found in Fantasy RPG genres, Warrior, Mage, and Rogue. But although I liked the idea, I didn’t like all of the starters. I didn’t like the Chespin line, I loved Fennekin and Braixen, but not Delphox. However, Froakie’s line I thought was great at all three stages.

I also thought that the legendary Pokémon of Kalos held a very strong theme, life and death, and particularly liked the design of Xerneas, clearly representing the iconic idea of a “Life Tree”.

As I said before, there are plenty of Pokémon that I want to point out for their designs, so let’s have a look at them!

And I have to include the Mega Evolution designs here, here are my favourite Megas.


#2 – generation 1 – Kanto

It’s probably not a surprise to find the original 151 so high on this list! These guys are of course very nostalgic to me, I was around 6 or so when I was first introduced to Pokémon Red. I didn’t understand an awful lot of what was going on, but I loved the Pokémon I was seeing, and a bit of patience led to me eventually getting the hang of it!

There are some here and there that I don’t much care for in the original 151, but on the whole I think the designs that have been used here are pretty phenomenal.

The starters are absolute classics – I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love a good Charizard! And Mewtwo? Can you really get any better than the original legendary Pokémon found after a grueling trek through Cerulean Cave?

There are many Generation 1 Pokémon worthy of some attention, and I could list so many more than what I have. Instead of just showing you a filled out Pokedex, let’s look at a small selection!


#1 – generation 2 – johto

There’s no doubt in my mind about Johto being my favourite generation. I’ll admit that part of this is down to nostalgia, I can still remember the excitement of finding out that the games that I had instantly fallen in love with were getting a sequel! And that there were going to be another 100 Pokémon? Amazing! I never would have guessed that the franchise would grow as much as it had done, but I couldn’t be happier to say that it has.

The second generation was a total success in my eyes – The starters are without a doubt my favourite from all generations, Chikorita and Cyndaquil in particular, and I feel the same way about the legendaries – Lugia is one of my all time favourite pocket monsters.

And there are plenty of regular Pokémon besides who I feel need to be mentioned, so here are some of the stand-out examples!


Posted in Game Lists

My Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters

The recent release of Final Fantasy VII Remake has brought the franchise back into the limelight for many of us long-time fans, and seeing the characters revitalised with so much expression and detail has got me thinking about the different characters through all the games I have played, and which of those are my favourites! This will be a list focusing on the protagonists and party members of the games, and not other important characters, so without further ado, here’s my ranking of the best Final Fantasy characters!

10. Garnet

Someday I will be queen, but I will always be myself.

Garnet Til Alexandros XVII of Final Fantasy IX is the princess of Alexandria, adopted daughter of the maddened Queen Brahne, and love interest of protagonist Zidane. One of the most remarkable things about her character is the personal growth that she goes through as the game progresses.

She and Eiko are both white mages and summoners, so many players will probably lean towards one or the other instead of using both equally. Personally I always found Eiko annoying, so Garnet was always the white mage for me! Considering her role in the party and the story on the whole, she is certainly one of the best party members in IX in my opinion.


9. Terra

What am I feeling? What’s going on? Please… tell me. Who am I? Who!?

I always found Terra to be an intriguing character, with so much personal growth and development. She suffers from amnesia, so you actually get to know her as a character as she gets to know herself and discovers her past.

I think you really get invested in Terra as the game progresses, and honestly I think that’s a pretty impressive feat considering the low tech nature of Final Fantasy VI. Without 3D models and cutscenes with voice acting, you are largely left to your own imagination to flesh out the characters, creating a character in your head where you decide how they sound and how they look, so the fact that Terra and her story continue to be one of the main characters that stand out for me simply has to be mentioned.


8. Freya

To be forgotten is worse than death.

Freya is another character from Final Fantasy IX, and she is my second favourite character in the entire game. I have always loved the Dragoon class in the series, so I was instantly taken with her as a party member – but I also think she has a great design. Considering that her race means that she is in fact an anthropomorphic rat, she actually looks really mysterious and stylish.

She is a character who has faced her own fair share of tragedy having lost both her true love, and her hometown. A large segment of the game is focused on trying to save Burmecia, and then Cleyra after the former fell to the attackers. I would even go so far as to say that this part of the game that was so heavily focused on Freya and her people is one of my favourite parts of IX, if nothing else it is definitely one of the parts that sticks in my mind the most.


7. Lulu

No matter how dark the night, morning always comes, and our journey begins anew.

Calm, collected, and cool, This is the best way to describe Lulu the black mage of Final Fantasy X. She is a guardian to the summoner Yuna, but also has a deep personal relationship with her, acting in many ways like a big sister to the young pilgrim.

She is a poster girl for goth mages everywhere with her all-over black style, and she is undeniably cool when battling! In battle Lulu will often make amusing little quips to her opponents as she casts powerful spells at the. “Anyone thirsty? Need a light? Don’t look so shocked. Let me break the ice.” These are just some of the quotes that Lulu can use as she casts her water, fire, thunder and ice spells.


6. Yuna

I’ve… learned how to smile… Even when I’m feeling sad.

Oh Yuna … Final Fantasy X was the first FF game that I really got into. I had played others before but this was the one that reached into my heart and put Final Fantasy among my most treasured franchises. Yuna was a big part of that.

Quiet and meek, but strong-willed, Yuna really was an amazing character. As a summoner, she could call mighty Aeons to her side to assist in battle. This was something I always loved to do, particularly for the amazing summoning sequences, and the amazing special attacks they could pull off! She also acts as the white mage for the party, but thanks to the Sphere Grid levelling up system, you really could mould her into whatever character you wanted her to be. I personally liked to make her a white/black mage hybrid so that she could heal the party and then deliver devastating offensive spells!

I loved her role in the story, particularly as I think X has one of the best plots that we have seen so far in Final Fantasy. The summoners were tasked with making a pilgrimage across the land to pray for the strength to defeat Sin, an ever-present threat who haunts the world. This is the basis for the story as you travel from temple to temple to collect the Aeons who sleep there before eventually making your way to defeat Sin, and making some shocking discoveries!


5. Aerith

I won’t let you do it! The future is not only yours!

So originally I had 9 characters in mind and was trying to think of the 10th. As much as I like Aerith, I wasn’t sure if I wanted her on the list or not. After playing through quite a lot of the VII Remake, not only is she absolutely on this list, but she is No. 5!

If you know anything about the Final Fantasy games, then you will probably know what happens to Aerith, but I won’t mention that here – just in case. I liked her in the original game, but I think that’s all I could realistically say about her. She was a nice enough character, but I certainly didn’t feel like she was all that useful in the party. Her combat skills were always somewhat lacking so I would always find myself choosing other party members over her.

But all of that changes now. VII Remake has given Aerith a whole new lease of life, with her combat potential completely reworked, and I actually really enjoy switching to her in combat to make the most of her magical abilities.

Combat isn’t the only thing that has been fleshed out for her! Seeing her with so much vibrant personality is a real treat, and I feel the remake has really done her justice! In particular, playing through the Wall Market chapter has been such a pleasure, and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for Aerith’s entrance after getting all dolled up for presentation to Don Corneo!


4. Vivi

How do you prove that you exist…? Maybe we don’t exist…

Vivi, the best character in Final Fantasy VIII without a shadow of a doubt. Rocking the classic Black Mage appearance of a shadowed face with glowing eyes, blue coat and pointy brown hat, his story is one of existential crisis. He doesn’t know what he is or how he fits into the world.

Vivi starts off as very shy and withdrawn, completely lacking confidence and even being quite clumsy. He grows to be brave and more than capable by the end of the story. The relationships he builds with the other party members are strong and meaningful, Zidane becoming like a brother to him, and even the arguably unlikeable Steiner formed an endearing bond with the little mage.


3. Auron

Guard your emotions first, then guard your summoner.

My favourite character in Final Fantasy X, Auron is quite frankly … one tough cookie. An experienced warrior, a previous guardian of Yuna’s father who was also a summoner, and a quiet but assured bastion of strength and experience for the rest of the party.

Sometimes characters in Final Fantasy can feel quite similar to previous characters that have been seen, or at least follow very similar trends. But I feel like Auron really stands out as one of the unique warriors of the series. Auron appears similar in many ways to samurai, as he wields katanas, uses bushido, and seems to have many other traits and quirks that link up well with samurai.

I have always considered Auron to be one of the strongest characters, both in terms of literal strength and as concept of character.


2. Quistis

You know, the boys often choke on this test when I come with them. I guess my charm makes them nervous.

Quistis was an instant hit with me. She means business in battle with her whip, she looks cool and stylish, and as a blue mage she is able to learn many different abilities from the many enemies found in the game, which makes her one of the best characters to keep in your party if you ask me, particularly once you get Quistis to learn … Bad Breath!

At the beginning of Final Fantasy VIII she is an instructor in Balamb Garden, where Squall is her difficult and hard to approach student. She frequently finds herself failing to get him to open up to her, demonstrating an awkward relationship to start with. Although she loses her position as an instructor, she maintains her somewhat authoritative figure in the party by acting like a big sister towards the others.


1. Squall

Everyone has to take care of themselves. I don’t want to carry anyone’s burden.

Squall is without a doubt my favourite character from the Final Fantasy franchise, and I’ve often felt like he is so under-appreciated. His weapon of choice – the Gunblade – is a gun and a sword in one, he has a stylish appearance, a great rivalry with his fellow classmate Seifer, even an epic opening cinematic that shows them battling and giving each other matching scars!

But the best thing about Squall is his character development in the game. He is quiet and standoffish, never letting himself get close to anyone. But over time he warms to the people around him, opening up more, and slowly learns to express his true feelings to those around him.


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 Game Lists

My Top 10 Antagonists

One of the key aspects of story-based games is of course the antagonists! They can take many forms, whether they’re just annoying people who turn up occasionally to get in your way, or an evil overlord who wants nothing short of world domination.

Here are my 10 favourite antagonists, the ones who you just love to hate!


10. Micah Bell

Red Dead Redemption 2 was my first foray in the Rockstar’s classic cowboy franchise, which means that I did not have any insight of events that existing fans of the series had already. For me, the gang’s downfall was a gradual observation, rather than an inevitable conclusion.

As the game progressed I became more and more suspicious of Micah, disliking him more every time he opened his mouth. He seemed to be too much of a loose cannon, and it felt as though his presence would end up being detrimental to the gang’s well-being.

Micah also appears to have a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to Arthur – as Arthur’s health gets worse, Micah frequently refers to him as “Black Lung” – but even more baffling is how no other gang members ever challenge him on his disrespect towards one of the key members of the gang.

There are few games that force you to spend so much time with the main antagonist – the usual format being occasional meetings and battles. It is always refreshing to see a game that challenges the usual formats.


9. Scott Shelby

Heavy Rain featured three playable characters that the game would switch up from time to time, so players get to know all three at roughly the same pace. Scott Shelby is a Private Investigator who appears to be looking into the deaths caused by the Origami Killer.

Early on Scott meets Lauren Winter, the mother of one of the killer’s victims, and she accompanies him on his investigations. The pair develop a very close relationship as the game progresses. But then a major plot twist reveals that Scott Shelby is in fact the Origami Killer! For first time players (or at least, for me) it was a huge shock to find out that you had in fact been controlling the killer all along.

This impressive twist is what makes Scott one of the most memorable antagonists for me.


8. Seifer Almasy

The rivalry between Final fantasy VIII’s Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy is one that I have always loved. They both grew up in Balamb Garden, and have frequently come to blows.

Seifer is eventually recuited by Sorceress Edea to be her knight, taking a completely different path to Squall who is given the mission to assassinate Edea. Seifer appears a number of times throughout the game to hinder the party’s progress .

My favourite battle with him triggers the appearance of Odin, a powerful GF (assuming you have recruited him). Odin has a small chance at the beginning of every battle to use his powerful Zantetsuken skill, which will cut all enemies in half, instantly winning the battle. But when Odin goes up against Seifer, the skilled swordsman in fact manages to strike the GF down, putting him out of commission for good!

Seifer as an antagonist isn’t inherently bad, but rather he is a skilled and ambitious young adult who doesn’t quite fit in thanks to his rash and rebellious nature, until he was manipulated by the Sorceress.


7. Sin

Another entry from the Final Fantasy franchise – Sin of Final Fantasy X.

Sin is a gigantic monster who is best described as a calamitous force in the world of Spira. When the settlements of the world get too large, or start to rely too heavily on Machina, Sin will appear and destroy whatever it can find.

Final Fantasy X has a huge religious theme, and as you might have guessed, Sin is portrayed as the “divine punishment” to the people, and the reason why they must try so hard to atone. Each encounter with Sin is full of tension and intense pressure, as the possibility of destruction is so real once it turns up.

For those unfamiliar with the story, summoners will travel to temples across Spira to complete a pilgrimage, and at the end of this pilgrimage the summoner will call the Final Aeon, which will fight Sin. The hope is that it defeats Sin for good, but that will never happen as there is much more to be told about the origin of Sin.

Sin also has a very bizarre design – one which you don’t get to fully appreciate until much later in the game, as in the early stages of the story it appears in the water most of the time. And as for the actual creation of Sin, there is a very elaborate backstory behind how it came to be, and how it keeps coming back after being defeated.

I think Sin makes for an incredible antagonist. As you travel through Spira, you will see a lot of destruction caused by Sin, and you will meet people who have been affected by it, and the journey to destroy Sin feels like a truly epic tale – one that won’t be forgotten by me any time soon.


6. Zachary Hale Comstock

You’ve all played Bioshock Infinite right? You all know what the deal is with Comstock right? If this information has some how passed you by and you want to play Bioshock Infinite to discover what happens for yourself, MOVE ON.

So, we’ve had the guy who was in our gang, who we spent time with, who then turned on us.

We’ve had the guy who we played as who then turns out to be the killer.

And what do we have now? The guy, who is you but from a different universe!

I don’t think my mind has ever been blown as much as it was when I played this game, and the penny dropped the Comstock was in fact Booker Dewitt, and that Elizabeth was in fact Booker’s daughter, Anna Dewitt.

Again, this is an antagonist with religious overtones, but instead of divine punishment, we have a prophet – you will hear a lot of his prophecies and beliefs as you play the game. The story-crafting here really is phenomenal, with countless tiny details all adding up to make an elaborate backstory.

The uniqueness of Comstock’s backstory and identity truly make him one of the most unforgettable antagonists out there.


5. Skull Kid

This is in fact two separate characters; Skull Kid and the spirit of Majora.

Skull Kid, much like Seifer, is a troubled character, who is corrupted and manipulated by a powerful force. He steals Majora’s Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman, but the spirit sealed within starts to control Skull Kid, causing him to wreak havoc across Termina, the world that Majora’s Mask is set in. This ranges from poisoning the swamp, freezing the home of the Goron’s, blocking paths with boulders, to forcing the moon to fall from the sky.

I first played Majora’s Mask when it was released in 2000, when I was 7 years old … at such an age, this game felt a lot scarier than it actually is. The themes throughout the game are much darker than what is usually expected of a Zelda game, and Skull Kid felt particularly menacing. I wasn’t actually able to complete the game as a child because there were some parts of the game that I just found too frightening to tackle! (Of course, now I can breeze through with ease)

As you get closer to the end of the game, you learn that Skull Kid is just a kid who misses his friends, and that he isn’t actually an evil character. By the time I reached the end of the game, I actually found him to be quite endearing.

The spirit within Majora’s Mask eventually abandons Skull Kid, leading to a very surreal final boss battle.

Skull Kid will always be memorable to me, partly for how disturbing and creepy he was when I was younger, and partly because of how I feel about his character now that I have seen his story.


4. Demise

Demise is the final boss of The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and what a boss he is.

You will not see Demise’s true form until the very end of the game, as the main antagonist that you face throughout the game is in fact Ghirahim, but he only acts as a servant to Demise.

I really like Demise’s design, he truly emanates an aura of pure evil and malice. The final battle with him is quite simply … epic. Phenomenal battle music, a breathtaking battlefield, and a genuinely tricky but enjoyable battle against him.

But most importantly, Demise gives us answers.

The main villain of the Legend Of Zelda series is Ganon, and it was never incredibly clear to fans of the series why Ganon keeps appearing across the various titles … until Demise is defeated in Skyward Sword! It is at this point where Demise leaves his curse behind, claiming that his hatred will be reborn over and over to haunt Link and Zelda’s descendants in a never ending cycle – and this is the explanation for Ganon.

As a long time Zelda fan, I will always remember experiencing that battle for the first time, to then have that bomb-shell dropped.


3. Frau Engel

Wolfenstein’s Frau Engel is simply put … evil. She is a devoted Nazi, so devoted in fact that she states the Nazi agenda is more important to her than her own daughter.

You will bear witness to her evil personality a number of times throughout Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

The New Order features a disturbing cutscene where Engel’s face has been horribly disfigured, and she gets right into Blazcowicz’s face to taunt him, before being flung aside by B.J.’s companion controlling a robot mech.

In The New Colossus, she relentlessly hunts down the protagonist B.J. Blazcowicz, even going so far as to get his father to lure him into a trap, where she then captures him and beheads him on national TV.

There are probably few characters who you will find yourself hating more than this Nazi (which really is a testament to the character’s design), and so I would say that Frau Engel is one of the greatest video game antagonists out there.


2. GLaDOS

Now, if you haven’t played Portal, chances are you’ve at least heard of Portal.

GLaDOS is the main antagonist of the game, and wow, is she a good one. She hates you. She really hates you. She does not have a problem showing you how much she hates you. Never has there been a more sadistic, sarcastic, sassy character. She is always ready and prepared to chastise you for whatever action you’re about to make.

But everything she does is in the name of science, and if you cooperate you get cake. Right?

One more thing – Still Alive. Once you complete Portal and the credits roll, GLaDOS starts to sing. And as it turns out, GLaDOS can sing!


1. Ganondorf

Ganondorf of The Legend Of Zelda series, the third Zelda entry on this list … I wonder if that might be one of my favourite franchises?

Ganondorf is just one half of the character though, as he can transform into Ganon, which is his beast form. He appears across a number of Zelda games, and in each instance there is a powerfully unique design.

My first encounter with Ganondorf was in Ocarina Of Time, and I was instantly taken by him as an antagonist! He has such an obvious air of evil and power, which is fitting for the bearer of the Triforce of Power. Ganondorf feels like a truly epic force to overcome in this game, especially by the time you reach the second part of the game – seven years after he steals the Triforce and reshapes Hyrule as he sees fit.

In Wind Waker he is actually referred to as Ganon, even though he is still in his Gerudo form. His appearance in Wind Waker is a stark contrast to the bright, bubbly setting that is the Great Sea. Such a strong design, and an excellent final boss battle to boot – he absolutely left his mark on this game.

Twilight Princess didn’t reveal Ganondorf until later in the game, with the main antagonist appearing to be Zant – but Zant was in fact acting in service of Ganondorf, who he reveres as a God. Once again Ganondorf has an excellent design, but what truly stands out for me is the spectacular multi-stage final boss battle. First he possesses Zelda’s body and attacks through her, and then transforms into his massive beast form … the next stage is a heart-pounding horseback battle on a huge open field, until finally Link and Ganondorf face off in a one-on-one sword fight.

Ganondorf makes more appearances across the series, but for me these are the stand-out appearances that make him my all time favourite antagonist of all gaming franchises.