Whalee's 2020 Grouvee Challenge

I’ve been incredibly excited to start this challenge, below is a link to my sheet on google drive.

I play a lot of games, so many of which are just your generic releases, that mixed with my huge backlog, my goal is to 100% this challenge. I think there a lot of games out there I have never given the chance and this will be a great push to change that.

I won’t fill in the list until I search for a game to fulfil it, so far I have been using Grouvee and Giant Bomb to reduce the ‘it’s just in my backlog’ effect.

Looking at some of the post from 2019, I will ensure to update commentary with every game I complete as others similar commentary has already led me to learn of games I never knew.


Game 1! When this challenge was being created I thought ‘Magic Satchel’ would be way to specific and impossible, I knew of the bag of holding and found a list of all games that contained them. There were your Baldurs Gate and Never Winter Night games but I already knew of these games. It would be an easy addition.

So I went with the game I have never heard of - Heretic. I posted about it on the main Grouvee page, but I will repeat - The game blew me away. I have always avoided the old FPS games because I presumed the graphics would also represent the controls - in a way they do, they are old but not nearly as clunky. To anyone who has ever put it off for similar reasons, I urge you to give it a try, it will be far more enjoyment than you could imagine. (I now look forward to trying the others like Doom or Wolfenstein!)


Behind The Scenes - Crowd Funded Game

Star Citizen
I picked up Star Citizen to give it a try, honestly I don’t know of many crowd funded games anymore as a lot of moved to early access. Knowing all the ‘drama’ around the game I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have loved it so far - while it cannot be finished, I have put in 30 hours in 4 days haha.

It is far less polished, and less ‘content’ that something like Elite Dangerous, but there is no experience like it. Going from space trucking to FPS combat, or exploring a cave is such a surreal experience. I wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone as it lacks a lot of content and always has the risk that it won’t come out, but if you’re in the position where you can spare $50 USD (75 AUD) and enjoy space games, then it is worth trying it out.

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Behind The Scenes - Early Access

Escape from Tarkov
Escape from Tarkov is a game I heard about years ago due to my love of S.T.A.L.K.E.R games, when I found out it was multiplayer I lost interest and never looked into the game. Recently, I had a look and so far I am loving it. The concept works so well, you have small instances of fast combat, base management and slowly progress yourself with gear and game knowledge. Each time you enter the game there is a chance you can lose everything, you improve this by practice and knowledge of the systems (maps etc).

As someone who does not like multiplayer games that frequently (I play them on and off but mainly stick to SP games) I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys FPS games, especially the realistic approach.

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The Setting - Post Apocalyptic

Fallout 2
Fallout created a pretty solid base but fell short, Fallout 2 takes that base and creates a really solid story/stories within the world. I enjoyed both games, but their dated engines and UI can at times become exhausting to deal with. The ending slides showing outcomes of your decisions is such a simple yet effective way of displaying ‘choice that matters’


The Genre - Platformer

Alice: Madness Returns
Basic game, the platforming is alright and there are many sections that change the pace to keep the loop from getting bland. I found there are too many instances where the camera was taking away from you to show where to go, this should have been shown in level design as it go annoying having to wait for it to end. The PC port is sub par being capped at 31 FPS (if you disable hit boxes can become iffy - 60 fps doesn’t present too many issues but 120fps does)

Overall if you enjoyed American Mcgees Alice then this will provide some enjoyment. If you’re after a platformer there are definitely better options out there (should also be said, there would also be a lot worse out there too)


Behind The Scenes - Debut of Developer

Outer Wilds
Probably the best exploration game I have ever played. No hand holding but everything available to figure out direction. Once things start to slide into place it can really hit a “wow” moment, I found myself reminded of Myst with the puzzles ‘clicking’ feeling - but it is far more difficult, and results in far more satisfaction.

If you only like action/combat games this wouldn’t do anything to change it, but if you enjoy story/exploration games this is more than worth you time.


Behind The Scenes - Ubisoft or Sega or Focus Home Interactive

Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Wildlands is the perfect embodiment of Ubisoft’s ability to transition games into an open world without completely changing the game. The story is bland, the characters are stiff but damn the world and sandbox nature is fun. I played this game entirely co-op and my friend and I loved every moment of the 60 hours. (Unfortunately it seems Ubisoft failed initially with Breakpoint, but I do have hope it will match similar levels of Wildlands with time)

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Game Elements - Historical Real World

Total War: Shogun 2
As a child I played Medieval Total War and Shogun Total War endlessly, as I got older and had more games to play I never really stuck to the games that much, I played them but never really completed them. (After recent discussion in the forum with the idea a game can be ‘completed’ without a story campaign) The change in mindset has let me spend more time on certain games, so I have finally finished a campaign - This has led me down a rabbit hole of TW games finishing Empire and Napolean. While initially I thought Shogun 2 was a bit too difficult and harsh I now realize the mechanics make the game challenging the whole way through - rather than the initial build up before you snowball steam roll the map. For anyone who likes Grand Strategy games, any TW game is easy to recommend - just never auto resolve battles if you don’t want to lose all your troops :’)


Game Experience - Overcoming the Monster

Ashen was a great step into the ‘Dark souls’ feel without the huge commitment to learning attacks, dodging or items. As someone who has not yet been able to stick to a Dark Souls game it provided satisfying combat but far more forgiving. The co-op works well, but is incredibly pedantic as to when you can co-op (cannot be at different quests etc). It does lack some depth, but in doing so also makes it far more enjoyable for those of us that can’t ‘git gud’ - definitely recommend for anyone interest in the style of game but cbf for the unforgiving nature.

Game Elements - Open World

Assassin’s Creed: Origins
When it comes to open world Ubisoft has truly mastered the ‘setting(?)’ - I found origins far more enjoyable than previous entries however it did take a bit to click. Generally the level system isn’t an issue, and I found I was able to get through 3/4 of the game not needing to worry about it. The last sprint however forced me to do side quests I didn’t really care for to get my level up to allow my character the ability to do damage to higher level enemies. The story was alright and I actually learnt some things in history that I had no idea about (Very impressed how Ubisoft included some of these into the story cutscenes) - combat is fun and remains fun for most of the game (until you hit enemies above a level limit and suddenly can’t do damage?) - overall Ubisoft’s revision of Assassins creed was a good move and I am excited for Odyssey. (Also restarting the outside animus stuff was a good move)

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Game Elements - Cyberpunk

Deus Ex
I had never finished Deus Ex but always had fond memories. After finally completing the game; it holds up. The story was interesting (playing during the COVID 19 pandemic made some components far too relatable) and the combat/gameplay was passable. I like old unreal engine games as their movement and interaction within the world still feel solid - the gunplay however eats ass. If you can look past the graphics and ageing gunplay the game is an absolute must play.

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Game Elements - Nonlinear / Choices matter

The argument on whether choices in Prey matter could be debated, but as someone who doesn’t look at all other choice outcomes they felt substantial to me. I made decisions I regretted, and mistakes that led to negative results. I really enjoyed Prey and the story - combat towards the end of the game becomes simple as you snowball in power but it didn’t ruin the fun. I also found the game didn’t out stay it’s welcome - it ended before it became stale and remained fun the entire time.

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Game Elements - Point and Click

Blade Runner
I had never heard of the Blade Runner game, but loving the movies and setting meant as soon as I saw this on GOG I had to pick it up. I don’t have much experience with Point and Click Adventure games but I found Blade Runner to be far more grounded (saves were required frequently to avoid walking into a death room and losing hours of progress) but the puzzles were not throw 3 random items together to make super key etc - this made it far easier to approach than most in the genre I have tried. Really worth picking up if you enjoy the setting - the music is also pretty great (tho you can also chuck on the Blade Runner OST which suits it wonderfully)

Game Experience - The Quest

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
This game has aged horribly. It crashes a lot, can be iffy to get running and your character feels like they run on ice. That being said the combat in this game is just down right fun, I believe this is some of Arkane Studios earlier work (?) and you can really see their roots from other games that came after. Unfortunately one of the generic enemies are spiders which being arachnophobia af ended with me put god mod on and clicking until all of them died while hiding behind my hands - I later manager to get a no spider mod working so if you are in a similar boat google around for the mod! While I found this game an absolute blast it is difficult to recommend to anyone not prepared to mess around to get it running smoothly.

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Game Elements - High Fantasy

Bound by Flame
Spiders games get a lot of flack, I find most of it undeserving. We need more AA games that play with more ideas rather than the usual generic crap. The story was interesting enough (a tad bland) but the enemies were far less generic than your usual fantasy setting. Some of the enemy design was absolutely amazing! The downfall in the game would likely be the balance - you can go sword or dagger, the only issue being daggers are rather useless when compared to all skills within sword tree. This effectively limits your play style and even after that when fighting enemies they all result in nearly the same play style; Attack, parry, attack. (If magic maybe and a run out of way in there) I am not sure if I could recommend the game, but I am excited to try Greedfall with the advancements they have surely made. (after finishing technomancer)

Game Elements - Cooperative gameplay

Really fun co-op game - there is something about co op games with shitty controls that can be so fun. The levels were cool but disappointed with lack of options for the game, while it doesn’t need an excessive amount it didn’t have resolution options etc. The game was also over quite quickly, there is a “b side” to levels but the difficulty jump was quite substantial. If you wanna play with a friend, i’d wait until a sale.

Game Elements - Shooter

Always wanted to play this but could never wanted an xbox. I could have obtained through other methods but not a fan of that so I was quite excited to play. It has a story… predictable and i’d say bland but it is there. The shooting hasn’t aged well and the level design falls for the same trap of all old games, it’s the kind of game that makes you appreciate the advancements with level design in games. Overall hard to push through, but definitely possible.

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Game Elements - Stealth

Styx Shards of Darkness
Styx is a fun stealth game, fun when played co op too. The stealth is very “light” - it’s unforgiving if caught but it isn’t difficult to stealth in the game. This is the second in the series and seems to be quite similar to the original so if you’re after a casual stealth game it’s definitely worth picking up

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Game Elements - Contemporary World

Demolition Inc
Fun little puzzle game, not too much depth to it so it doesn’t have much lasting power but it can be fun to jump into and play for a bit. The game does start to draw out with the puzzles and based on the style can come down to chance for completion which can become infuriating.