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[OC] Are you horribly bored? Are your weekends now hollow without football? Are you fed up with angrily debating what might happen to football leagues across the world? Perhaps this could help a little – I made a list of over 100 football documentaries to help pass the time.

Looks like we’ve got quite a few weekends coming up without football. We’ve had recent posts about the best old games to watch, but now we’re getting a little bit into mindless shitpost territory. Well, here’s a big list of documentaries to hopefully help us pass the time. Everything in blue is a clickable link, but please let me know if any of the links don’t work. Aside from the last two documentaries in the “From around the Globe” section, every documentary is either linked, available on Netflix, available on Amazon Prime for free, or for no more than $5. Please also comment your favorite documentaries and I will do my best to add them to the list.

13-part series on the history of football

1: Origins
2: Football Cultures
3: Evolution of the European game
4: European Superpowers
5: Brazil
6: South American Superpowers
7: For Club and Country
8: The Dark Side
9: Superstars
10: Media
11: Africa
12: A Game for All
13: Future

”Football’s Greatest” Series

Before the 2010 World Cup there was a series called Football's Greatest. A bunch of 30-minute episodes about the 20 or so greatest players ever. Richard Keys, who isn’t exactly the most popular figure these days, is the narrator, but he sticks to the script and doesn’t detract from the episodes. Here are the ones I can find on Youtube. Since this was made in 2010 both Messi and Ronaldo appear in “The Contenders” episode – basically an episode on all the players who narrowly missed the cut. Also, if you just enter “Football’s greatest” into youtube you’ll see videos for more players than are covered in this list.
The Contenders: The great players who didn't quite make the cut of top 25 best ever
Ronaldo Luiz Nazario
Pele
Maradona
Zico
Eusebio
Ronaldinho
Zinedine Zidane
Roberto Rivelino
Gerd Muller
Michael Laudrup
Raul Gonzalez
Marco van Basten
Ruud Gullit
Franz Beckenbauer
Paulo Maldini
Garrincha
George Best
Bobby Charlton
Alfredo di Stefano
Michel Platini
Johan Cruyff.
Football’s Greatest International Teams
Hungary 1950-56
Brazil 1958-62
Brazil 1970.
Netherlands 1974.
West Germany 1972-74.
Brazil 1982.
France 1984.
Netherlands 1988.
France 1998-2000.
Spain 2008-12.

The World Cup

North Korea: The Game of their Lives – Superb documentary on the 1966 North Korea team and their incredible upset over Italy.
Kevin Allen’s World Cup Video Diary – An excellent fly-on-the-wall documentary showing the fans side of Italia 90. Allen is an England fan and this traces his experience in Italy during the tournament and captures what it was like to follow England in a major tournament during a time when English teams were banned from European competitions.
One Night in Turin - Follows England's fairytale run to the semi-finals of Italia 90 and the problems between English fans and Italian police whilst abroad. Available on UK Netlfix. I live in the US currently and it is difficult to find online. If someone finds on online version I would be grateful.
Les Bleus - Wonderful documentary that parallels the turbulence of both French football and French society between 1996 and 2016. Available on US Netflix.
Becoming Champions - Very detailed 8-part series on each of the nations to have won a World Cup. Available on US Netflix.
G’ole, Official Movie of the 1982 World Cup - Narrated by Sean Connery. Available for free on US Amazon Prime.
Hero, Official Movie of the 1986 World Cup - Narrated by Michael Caine. Available for free US Amazon Prime.
BBC review of Italia 90
BBC review of USA 94.
All goals of France 98.
Ronaldo’s Redemption – Four years on from the heartbreak of France 98, the world’s best player made an extraordinary comeback.
World Cup Heaven and Hell - Fun documentary on some of the worst scandals to have ever hit the World Cup.
World Cup Goals Galore - Goofy BBC show narrated by comedian Sean Lock on some of the best goals ever scored at the World Cup.
ITV's Top 50 World Cup Goals.

Four 'Top 20' documentaries made by ITV in the early 2010s.

These are a little Anglo-centric but good watches to familiarize yourself with football's biggest events.
20 Goals that Shook the World
20 Managerial Appointments that Shook the World
20 Transfers that Shook the World
20 Refereeing Decisions that Shook the World
ITV's top 50 Champions League Goals - This was made around 2011/12 so it's a bit dated, but still an easy watch.

From Around the Globe

Next Goal Wins - If you ask me to recommend only one documentary from this list, I would choose this one. This film looks at the plight of the infamous American Samoan football team during the 2000s and their quest to no longer be the worst team on the planet. One of the most heartwarming documentaries I’ve ever seen. Available in HD on Amazon Prime for $5 too.
The Other Final - On the same day as the 2002 World Cup final is taking place "The Other Final" is also played. An exhibition game set up by a couple of Dutch film makers between the World's two lowest ranked sides, Bhutan and Montserrat. Very heartwarming and uplifting.
A Fragile Dream: Football and Hope on the Streets of Rio – An intimate look into Rio’s favelas and how football is used as a social tool.
Tragedy to Triumph: The Story of Zambian Football. In 1993 a plane carrying the Zambian national football team crashed into the Atlantic, killing all on board. In 2012, Zambia won the African Cup of Nations. This brilliant watch traces Zambian football from disaster to triumph.
Socrates and the Corinthians Democracy - The story of Socrates, the intellectual Brazilian genius of a footballer who helped implement a democracy at Corinthians in the 1980's, a stark contrast to the military regime in Brazil at the time.
Faces of Africa: King George Serves his Country – The story of George Weah, from poverty to football superstar to Liberian presidency.
Asia’s Notorious Match Fixers – Indonesia and the Philippines are not the first place one thinks of when thinking about football. But this thorough documentary goes undercover into the shady and bizarre world of match fixing across these nation’s leagues, and how certain authorities have a firm vice on the outcome of football here.
Maradona by Kusturica – Pioneering look into the life of Diego Maradona.
Johan Cruyff - En Un Momento Dado - Documentary on the influence and genius of Johan Cruyff in Barcelona during the 70s. An excellent in depth look into one of football's most unique men.
Coach Zoran and his African Tigers - Fantastic documentary equal parts tragic and comedic that follows the national team of South Sudan after their independence in 2011 following the longest civil war in African history. Not just a movie about the birth of a new national football team, but also about the birth of a new nation.
Once in a Lifetime: The extraordinary story of the New York Cosmos - Great documentary that follows the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos, the superstar heavy NASL team in America during the 70's and 80's who of course featured the legendary Pele.
A Nation’s Glory – Behind the scenes look at the US Women’s Team run to the 2019 World Cup trophy.
Planet FIFA - Corruption, scandal, deceit. An in-depth look into the origins and growth of FIFA and their intertwining with Swiss banks. A concerning feature into football’s governing body. Available for free on US Amazon Prime.
Take The Ball Pass the Ball - A brilliant piece from Copa 90 about the team that changed football for good in the 21st century: Pep Guardiola's 2008-13 Barcelona side. Featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with players, it is a great watch. Available on Amazon Prime.
Puskas Hungary - Biographical documentary about one of football's greatest players, the brilliant Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. Wonderful look into a man who achieved near god-like status in 1950s Hungary. This used to be on Dailymotion but I can no longer find it. It’s a brilliant watch and I’d be grateful if anyone found an online link.
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait - A dozen or so camera's focus solely on ZInedine Zidane for 90 minutes. A very intriguing watch. This used to be on youtube. I am struggling to currently find it. Many thanks to u/Cloudy_Customer, who linked the documentary, Click here.

ESPN 30 for 30 Documentaries

ESPN’s “30 for 30” series have largely been outstanding documentaries.
The Two Escobars - In my opinion the best 30 for 30 ESPN have ever done and perhaps the best football documentary period. Award winning and critically praised it chronicles the intertwining stories of Andres and Pablo Escobar; One a humble footballer, one a notorious Colombian drug lord. Pablo Escobar's grip over Colombian culture during the 1980s extended all the way into football, and this film reveals the often tricky situation Colombia found themselves in during this time. Andres Escobar infamously scored an own goal to knock Colombia out of the 1994 World Cup, and was murdered a few weeks later in Colombia at a bar in cartel related activity. I have linked to a youtube link that allows you to buy the documentary. It is also available for $1.99 on Amazon Prime. Search “ESPN 30 for 30” and select Season 1, Episode 27. It won numerous awards and is a truly extraordinary film.
Hillsborough – Outstanding and utterly harrowing documentary on the Hillsborough disaster. The best I’ve seen recounting those tragic events.
White, Blue and White - The story of Ossie Ardilles and Ricky Villa, two Argentines who played in England during the Falklands war of 1982.
Maradona 86 - The heroics of Diego Maradona at the 86 World Cup.
The Oppostion - Chronicles the scenes that took place in 1973 Chile after Augusto Pinochet took power. Chile, the Soviet Union and FIFA are all involved in one of football's darkest moments.
Ceasfire Massacre - Set to the backdrop of The Troubles in Northern and the Republic of Ireland. There was a horrifying massacre at a pub in Ireland where fans were watching the Republic in the 94 World Cup. Another great watch.
The Myth of Garrincha - Very moving story of Brazilian hero Garrincha, football's most flawed genius, and arguably football's most intriguing figure. u/MarcoshLA is also the director!
Mysteries of the Jules Rimet trophy - The story of football's holy grail, the Jules Rimet trophy, is an incredible one. FIFA, the Nazis, a dog, Bobby Moore, and thieves in Rio all play roles in this story.
Barbosa: The man who made Brazil cry - The sad story of Brazilian 1950 goalkeeper Barbosa, who was blamed for Brazil's shock loss to Uruguay in Rio de Janerio that year.

English/Scottish Football

Orient for a Fiver“You, you little cunt, when I tell you to do something, and you, you fucking big cunt, when I tell you to do something, do it. And if you come back at me, we'll have a fucking right sort-out in here. All right? And you can pair up if you like, and you can fucking pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your fucking dinner. 'Cos by the time I've finished with you, you'll fucking need it." - The now classic fly-on-the-wall documentary following Leyton Orient during their disastrous 1994-95 campaign in England’s Second Division. The Club, dealing with severe financial difficulties hired John Sitton as manager the previous season, and this charts Sitton’s descent into Orient hell as his now legendary half-time rants get increasingly more bizarre, funny, and bleak.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Us and Them – Fans on both sides of the divide of English football’s biggest rivalry take you through just what this match means.
Sheffield United: Promoted. I watched this recently and was pleasantly surprised by this excellent NBC look into what Sheffield United’s promotion meant to its supporters.
Football’s Fight Club – Hooliganism: the dark side of English football during the 1980s. This looks at the rise of this culture and how it culminated in the tragedy of Heysel 1985. An important and harrowing watch.
Heysel 1985: Requiem for a Cup Final – English football’s biggest scourge – hooliganism – comes to a tragic head with the events of May 25, 1985.
The Class of 92 – The still famous documentary charting Manchester United's youth prospects of 1992 who went on to establish a period of United domination.
Keane and Vieira: Best of Enemies – Chronicles the heated rivalry between two of the Premier League's greatest players, Man Utd's Roy Keane and Arsenal's Patrick Vieira.
An Impossible Job – A remarkable fly-on-the-wall documentary following England’s ill-fated qualification for the 1994 World Cup under Graham Taylor. Equal parts darkly funny as it is tragic, this documentary has an enduring legacy in English football, and some would argue has unfairly tarnished the reputation of a great man.
Busby, Stein, and Shankly – A provocative look at the lives of three legendary scots, whose managerial achievements changed English football forever.
The Crazy Gang – The infamous 1987-88 Wimbledon team, known as much for their brutal challenges as for their football. This goes behind the scenes for a personal look into the lives of the players of this infamous team.
Clough: The Greatest Manager England Never Had. Fabulous BBC documentary on British football’s most intriguing character – the enigmatic and legendary Brian Clough.
Lord of the Wing - 30 minute BBC documentary on Jimmy Johnstone, one of Scottish footballs greatest players. Features interviews with Brian Clough, Dennis Law, and Alex Ferguson.
Football’s Most Dangerous Rivalry. Vice documentary on the passions and hatred ignited by the Rangers-Celtic rivalry.
The Invincibles. Win the league without losing a match, a feat only done once in England since 1900. This is the story of Arsenal's legendary 2003/04 season. Must watch for all Arsenal fans.
The Four Year Plan – Can you take a club from near bankruptcy to the Premier League in four years. That was the plan for QPR’s new owners in 2007. Award winning documentary.
Bobby Robson: More than a Manager - The legendary Sir Bobby Robson. Diagnosed with cancer in 1995 he lived another 14 years, managing the whole time right at the pinnacle of football. His influence is still felt today in the dozens of managers currently coaching who all got their start under Sir Bobby. A gentle, kind, and funny man, this takes you behind the scenes into Robson's life, featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with his family. Available on Netflix.
All or Nothing: Manchester City - A high production behind-the-scenes eight episode series looking at Manchester City's record breaking 100 point Premier League season in 2017/18. Narrated by Ben Kingsley and widely acclaimed, it is available on Amazon Prime.
Sunderland Till I Die - The classic eight part award winning series following Sunderland behind the scenes during their relegation from the Championship in 2017-18. Available on US Netflix.
89 – Interviews with former players and managers, this documentary relives the unbelievable end of the 1988-89 season between Liverpool and Arsenal. Available on US Netflix.

Movies

Mike Bassett: England Manager – It’s quite simply the greatest football story ever told. Also available for free in HD on Amazon Prime.
Looking For Eric – A down on his luck Mancunian named Eric can’t catch a break in life. When things begin to go really awry for him he begins hallucinating the one man who could potentially help him – his idol, Eric Cantona. Moving, well acted, bleakly funny, even the hardest Scouser would enjoy this one.
The Firm - An actually good version of Green Street Hooligans. Starring Gary Oldman, this is the most in-depth movie depiction of football hooliganism during the 1980s. Has since become a cult classic.
Bend it Like Beckham - The timeless classic. Teenage hormones, cultural commentary, good laughs. Available on Amazon Prime for $3.99.
The Damned United - Based on David Peace’s famous novel, Michael Sheen is excellent as Brian Clough, English football’s legendary manager. This movie charts his rise with Derby County in the early 70s to his disaster with Leeds in 1974, along with his long time rivalry with Don Revie, and his long time friendship with Peter Taylor, excellently portrayed by Timothy Spall. On Amazon Prime for $3.99.
United - Television Film on the tragedy on the 1958 Munich Air Disaster which killed 23 passengers, including 8 members of the Manchester United first team. Starring David Tennant, this movie charts United’s rise from tragedy following 1958. Available for free on Amazon Prime.
Fever Pitch - Based on the best-selling novel of the same name Colin Firth takes us through the life of an Arsenal fan in the late 1980s. I cannot find this on Netflix or Amazon Prime but it's a great movie.
Escape to Victory - Michael Caine, Pele, and Sylvester Stallone team up as Allied POWs in a French prison during WW2 to beat their Nazi guards at footy and plan an elaborated scheme to escape. Available on Amazon Prime for $2.99
Goal – A poor Mexican kid risks it all to fulfill his dream of playing footy with a bunch of Geordies. Available for free on US Amazon Prime.
And lastly, don’t forget about that one time where Frodo inexplicably finds himself befriending West Ham Hooligans
Enjoy: If anyone is looking for recommendations, my top 5 personal recommendations are Next Goal Wins, The Two Escobars, Les Blues, Coach Zoran and his African Tigers, and Mike Bassett: England Manager.
submitted by Adrian5156 to soccer

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2019 Report - 89 games down!

2018 report
2017 report
Despite the solid number, this was a bit of a mixed year. Free/nominal fees for subscription services meant I spent a fair bit of time on games which were not on my backlog (albeit most were on my wishlist, so I can treat them as a preemptive elimination!). I also had a few timesinks which I regularly went back to as I found many new games to be unsatisfying.

Completed Games

Game Hours
The Lion's Song 4
AER Memories of Old 3
Mad Max 35
Quantum Break 11
Hitman - The Complete First Season 12
Grim Fandango Remastered 6
The Deadly Tower of Monsters 5
Overfall 12
Rock of Ages 2 5
Battlefield 1 6
Soul Gambler 1
Stikbold 3
Cultist Simulator 14
Ziggurat 5
Tyranny 18
Orwell: Ignorance is Strength 3
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure 10
Train Valley 8
Rakuen 6
Dangerous Golf 7
Mutant Year Zero 13
Dishonored 2 18
Finding Paradise 5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GoTY 85
SteamWorld Dig 2 6
Batman: Arkham Knight 30
West of Loathing ~15
The Flame in the Flood 7
Monster Prom 7
Yakuza 0 38
Dominique Pamplemousse 1.5
South Park: The Fractured But Whole + DLC ??
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice 8
Pizza Express 8
Yoku's Island Express 6
The Darkside Detective 4
Tales of Berseria 47
The Outer Worlds 21
Agents of Mayhem: Day One Edition 26

Other Games

Game Hours
PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy 4
Action Henk 2
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse 4
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition 5
Sheltered 12
Sid Meier's Civilization VI 31
Porno Studio Tycoon 3
Aarklash: Legacy 2
Intergalactic Bubbles 2
Tom Clancy's The Division 21
Kingdom: New Lands Royal Edition 4
Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition 9
FIFA 18 22
Seven: The Days Long Gone 7
Age of Wonders 3 12
The Dweller 1.4
Out of the Park Baseball 19 30
Niche: A Genetics Survival Game 3
Royal Heroes 4
Endless Space 2 - Digital Deluxe Edition 41
Monster Slayers 11
Dark Train 0.5
State of Decay 2 ~5
The Banner Saga 3 ~2
Gremlins, Inc 5
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf 8
Strider 2
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 9
The Painscreek Killings 2
Road Redemption 8
Moonlighter 7
Shelter 1
Mainlining 2
Reassembly 5
12 Labours of Hercules V: Kids of Hellas 3
Aaero 2
Purrfect Date 5
Space Hulk Ascension 3
Super Daryl Deluxe 8
Think of the Children 2
Legend of Grimrock 2 4
FIFA 19 18
Out of the Park Baseball 20 1
Oriental Empires 6
Iratus: Lord of the Dead 9
Into The Breach 5
There Came an Echo 1.3
World of Mixed Martial Arts 5 ~120
Star Trek Timelines ~180
Football Manager Touch 2019 ~80

Favourite games of the year

1) Rakuen
2) Finding Paradise
3) Monster Prom
4) Witcher 3 GotY
5) Yakuza 0

Most disappointing games of the year

1) The Outer Worlds
2) State of Decay 2
3) Warhammer 40,000 – Space Wolf
4) Purrfect Date
5) Tom Clancy’s The Division

Thoughts on each game

The Lion’s Song
Quite an interesting little game. It manages to link stories about music, painting, mathematics and war in a clever and engrossing way. The choices are genuinely impactful and make for tough decisions at times.
AER: Memories of Old
A short game, but quite relaxing and pretty – especially in the flight sections. I had no interest in the story, but the relatively gentle puzzles and enjoyable flights made it worthwhile.
Mad Max
Much like Mafia III, this is a 10-hour game elongated into a 30+ hour game by copy-pasting tasks. While in theory most tasks are optional, the slow progress and gating of upgrades essentially requires completion of much of them. This becomes a grind, and the gameplay isn’t quite enough to keep it interesting.
Quantum Break
A mediocre story and a mediocre shooter, yet somehow more than the sum of its parts. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the days of FMV integration in games, but this wound up being quite entertaining.
Hitman – season 1
My first and only other Hitman game is Absolution, which apparently was a departure for the series. That leaves me in the position of finding this return to normality for the series as rather jarring. I prefer the linear and tighter nature of Absolution – since I don’t care enough to go back and complete them in different ways, it felt like a bit of a thin and shallow experience with a threadbare story.
Grim Fandango Remastered
I’m dreadful at P&C puzzle games, and quickly realised I wasn’t going to get far without a guide. As such, I cheated my way through most of it and just played it for the writing. Thankfully, the writing is so good that it was still fun. I wasn’t keen on Full Throttle, which I played last year, but this was amusing throughout.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters
A fun concept – a B-movie spoof – combined with surprisingly forgiving platforming mechanics. I’m not a fan of platformers generally, but the frustration-alleviating features and general sense of humour in the game made for a good experience.
Overfall
Solid roguelike tactical combat, marred by some sloppy writing [I don’t think English is the first language of the writers, but at least a spell-check would have helped], a wonky interface [pertinent information like resistances is obscured] and a strangely harsh unlock system. Not a bad game by any means, but could have been better with a bit more care.
Rock of Ages 2
Bizarre concept, even more bizarre writing, but entertainingly so. It’s surprisingly good-looking and quite fun, but five hours was quite enough for me.
Battlefield 1
I haven’t played a Battlefield game since Vietnam, so this took a bit of adjusting. The campaign is very well presented and offers a nice bit of variety, but it’s over so fast. I had no interest in multiplayer, so this made for a brief, if fun, experience.
Soul Gambler
A very brief visual novel, but at least it had distinct story paths. The writing was decent, if a bit awkward. My main gripe was that you had to individually click through each line on subsequent playthroughs, which is something many visual novels these days manage to avoid.
Stikbold
A rather strange dodgeball game. I didn’t find the strangeness nearly as amusing as Rock of Ages 2, but it was a moderately entertaining experience with a bit of variety through the different settings and objectives.
Cultist Simulator
I’m a bit mixed on this. On one hand, it had a surprising amount of content and complexity to it. On the other, it drastically inflated the complexity by veiling basic gameplay aspects. That could mean a lot of wasted time – or worse, inadvertently wrecking a multi-hour playthrough - because it wasn’t clear what you should be doing next. Walkthroughs and guides were essential. While there’s merit to a game which rewards experimentation and discovery of mechanics, there is a point at which it’s just too obtuse, and at times the game did go a bit too far in that respect.
Ziggurat
A quite clever blend of roguelike and FPS. I’m not much of a fan of the latter, but the gameplay was fun and the roguelike elements softened the blow of failure.
Tyranny
I disliked Pillars of Eternity and went into this with some trepidation. Fortunately, it was a more enjoyable and accessible experience. Where Pillars just threw a mindnumbing amount of lore at me, this offered a relatively comprehensible story doled out in appropriate chunks. While it did have some of Pillars’ mechanical issues, like poor pathfinding in combat, they did not seem nearly as bad (perhaps due to the smaller scale of battles). The base management stuff seemed tacked on, confusing and wholly unnecessary. It was far from my favourite RPG, but solid enough – and didn’t overstay its welcome.
Orwell: Ignorance is Strength
I enjoyed the first Orwell game and initially found this a similarly good experience. The few changes were worthwhile ones, and the story seemed to be building up well. Then it suddenly ended. Surely I done something wrong and met an early endgame? Nope, that was it – a mere few hours of gameplay, with an ending so abrupt that I had no idea it was one until the credits rolled. There are different endings, requiring additional playthroughs, but after that disappointment I wasn’t interested in going back to it.
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
This was my first game in the series, and I found it enjoyable. I only had to cheat a few times (which is remarkably good by my standards!) and the cheesiness of it was all rather endearing. The sequel is now on my wishlist (though it seems to be a fair way off).
Train Valley
A decent puzzle/strategy game, which quickly escalates from rather placid to chaotic. The simple concept still requires a fair bit of thought to succeed, and while I bumbled through somewhat, it was fun.
Rakuen
Beautiful. One of my favourite games, evoking the spirit of To the Moon by dealing with weighty topics in a whimsical manner. Wonderful soundtrack and great design.
Dangerous Golf
I enjoyed this more than I’d expected. It’s all a bit messy, as one would expect from a heavily physics-based game, and almost throws in too many variations, but it is fairly satisfying. In some levels it’s all too easy to get a platinum medal through sheer luck, but in other levels it takes a fair bit of skill and thought to get a good score, which is rather more satisfying.
Mutant Year Zero
This was frustrating. It has the ingredients for a solid game – great presentation, imaginative world, decent writing and voice acting and the core of a solid tactics game. The problem is that it is structured essentially like a puzzle game. The odds are so intensely stacked against you in a group battle that you must pick off enemies one by one. This makes for a slow and tedious process, especially when combined with the impact of RNG and the unsatisfying ending.
Dishonoured 2
I felt a little let down by this. Presentation was good, story was fine, but the powers were mostly unengaging and the combat was frustrating. The combat issues were partly my fault in that I tried a non-lethal run, but while there were a few more non-lethal options, I would have loved an option to just punch someone in the face rather than having to stand around waiting to parry in order to launch a non-lethal attack.
Finding Paradise
This had a lot to live up to – To the Moon and A Bird Story are among my favourite games – but once again Kan Gao delivered. Touching, funny, surprising and engrossing.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – GotY Edition
I went into this with a bit of trepidation, having strongly disliked the first two games in the series. While I am a big fan of the books, the gameplay never clicked with me. This was an improvement to some degree, but I still found the combat in particular frustrating and relatively shallow. I wound up just playing it as a story, and it delivered in that respect – even many of the side quests were more memorable than the main storylines of a lot of other RPGs I’ve played. While I certainly won’t be joining the “Praise Geraldo” crew, I at least had a better experience than I did with the other games in the series.
SteamWorld Dig 2
I loved the first game. This was certainly enjoyable but did not reach quite the same heights; perhaps through lack of ambition if nothing else. Solid enough, but lacking the impact of its predecessor.
Batman: Arkham Knight
This felt like the weakest of the three main Arkham games (I didn’t like Origins much at all, but that is somewhat separate). The combat, setting and presentation were all as interesting as ever, and the story got genuinely interesting towards the end, but the damned car seemed to drag down everything it was involved in. From puzzles to battles, it always felt a bit wonky to me – a particularly sharp contrast to the famously smooth and refined movement and combat the series is known for. Unlike Asylum and City, I didn’t complete the Riddler challenges. This was primarily due to the car, which I was thoroughly sick of by the end. Perhaps I was rendered a bit grumpier than usual by that, but I also found the Rocksteady tendency to lead the player by the nose at some points, and then leave things utterly oblique at other times, to be particularly grating.
West of Loathing
Genuinely funny at times, and I loved the art style, but it did drag on a little.
The Flame in the Flood
Quite an atmospheric and appealing game. The presentation is gorgeous, albeit marred by irritating pop-in even on a GTX 1080. The gameplay is pretty easy to pick up, and while it can be frustrating in the way that a survival game with randomisation inevitably can be (and why the hell can’t I boil water to remove the bugs?!), the checkpoint system is generous enough to ameliorate this.
Monster Prom
I am not usually one for VNs, but this is great. Entertaining characters, often hilarious (and oh so wrong) writing and easy enough to play through in 15 minutes (it says the short game is 30 minutes, but it doesn't take me anywhere near that). There is plenty of content, some of which is unlockable, meaning there is substantial replayability.
Yakuza 0
The first in the series for me, and quite enjoyable. It was funny at times, though the main plot did cause me to drift off towards the end – I wound up doing crosswords during some of the interminable cutscenes. The combat got a bit repetitive, but it was easy enough to get the hang of. I didn’t enjoy it enough to get stuck into the numerous side activities, but the main game was decent enough.
Dominique Pamplemousse
This is a curious game. It is brief (barely an hour long) and linear. The puzzles are simple. Much of the dialogue is sung, for no apparent reason - and not particularly well. The art style has been described as "claymation noire"; there's little er..."mation", and it all looks a bit muddy. Writing is fine. I chuckled at a few bits, but it's hardly memorable.For all that, I quite liked it. It's original and there's heart to it. In a sea of lazy asset flips, generic AAA games with no respect for your time and visionless projects, here's an example of people actually daring to have a go with a unique vision.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Not nearly as well-written as its predecessor, but with significantly better combat. The badge progression system was clumsy, and at one point I was left with a stack of grinding to do. Generally a solid experience, though.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Wonderful presentation, with some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in games. The gameplay itself was decent. Combat was a little too simple, and puzzles could be frustrating at times, but it’s really all about the experience.
Pizza Express
I feel a little silly having spent a lot of money on a gaming rig when I use it to play stuff that looks like something out of the early ‘90s. Nonetheless, this was good fun – amusing story, addictive gameplay and a surprising amount of content.
Yoku’s Island Express
Cutely presented and an interesting concept. It can be infuriating at times, requiring a degree of precision which is perhaps best not associated with pinball, and getting around can be a bit confusing. Overall, though, it’s quite fun.
The Darkside Detective
A pretty simple point & click adventure (aside from one strangely hard instalment), broken into small episodes to make it easy to get through a portion at a time. Nothing exceptional, but a decent way to spend a few hours.
Tales of Berseria
A surprisingly engrossing tale. It's frequently funny and features likeable characters. The voice acting is excellent - it's a tour de force for Cristina Valenzuela in particular.
That helps mitigate a convoluted combat system. It was still throwing tutorials at me after 15 hours; I wound up ignoring them and button mashing, which seemed to work fine on Normal difficulty anyway.
Performance is rock solid. Smooth FPS, fast loading and limited pop-in.
I have never played a Tales game before, and may not play another one, but it doesn't take a love for the series to enjoy this game. Perhaps the group best warned to stay away are achievement hunters - some of them seem to take a heck of a lot of work.
The Outer Worlds
Disappointing. The simplistic combat not only makes that portion of the game dull, but also weakens the RPG aspects since you can pour all your upgrade points into speech skills, making those challenges a breeze. The writing is one-note (everyone is quirky, snarky or both), the choices are binary and rarely provoke thought (indeed, the hardest choice was one of the very first) and the characters aren't particularly interesting - nor are they given much chance to be in their shallow quests. It also performed poorly on a decent rig - though that's to be expected from Obsidian.
Agents of Mayhem
It's...not that bad. Sure, it's flawed - repetitive quests, buggy at times and nowhere near the level of Saints Row's writing - but it has an enjoyably distinct set of characters (sadly enough, the character missions were more interesting than those of Outer Worlds) and the combat is enjoyably free-flowing.
PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy
I liked the idea of discovering ingredients and turning them into various products, but it quickly became centred around ever more complex process designs which were of no interest to me.
Action Henk
A fun runner; gorgeously presented. I sucked at it though!
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Presented in an enjoyably light-hearted manner, but it felt like it was dragging on even after four hours.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition
I was quite excited to play this, since it featured three of my favourite actors – Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle and Jason Isaacs. That’s the only reason I managed to last five hours. I hated pretty much everything about it; the shoddy fixed camera, the tedious fighting, the cringeworthy writing… The sad thing is that I bought another two games in the series.
Sheltered
A solid little survival management game. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Zafehouse Diaries or Dead State, mainly because the RNG was a bit too impactful. It’s far too common for a game to simply be unwinnable due to a lack of rain and/or the distribution of resources in nearby locations. When things are fairer (or the difficulty is lowered) it becomes quite a grind – with no real winning condition and little in the way of variety (there are a few shallow quests of minimal value or interest) tedium ensues.
Civilization VI
Quite liked the new mechanics and enjoyed playing as Australia (though Walzing Matilda is so distinctive that it gets a bit grating). Having spent many hours in its predecessors though, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking which compelled me to play more than a few games.
Porno Studio Tycoon
I’ll give pretty much any management game a go! Unfortunately, things weren’t particularly well explained and while there seemed to be a bit of depth, a lot of it was blocked off (to add to the confusion, the tutorial focused on mechanics which were blocked off for much of the early game).
Aarklash: Legacy
I normally like tactical games, but this was just too unforgiving and there was no ability to grind to reduce the difficulty.
Intergalactic Bubbles
It’s basically Bubble Bobble, which is fine. It’s quite nicely presented. The problem is that each level is meant to be completed in a certain number of moves, but since the bubble colours are randomly generated, it’s mostly down to luck – you might be able to wipe out half the bubbles on your first move, or might struggle to get any matches at all.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
I got fairly close to the end of this game but was just so fed up with it that I couldn’t push myself to get through it. The story was forgettable, the shooting mechanics were mediocre, all the extraneous gameplay elements were just an annoyance and I felt the game was balanced against me as a solo player (only twice did I find a co-op partner, and both of them screamed in Korean throughout). It looked impressive, at least.
Kingdom: New Lands Edition
I really thought I’d like this game, and had it on my wishlist from release. I love management games, and have no issue with passive management. It also looked gorgeous; this is one of the best-looking pixel-art games I’ve played. Unfortunately, it did not click at all. The AI was not bright, which is inevitably a source of a lot of frustration in a passive management game. Further, the gameplay was just dull. I felt like I was running back and forth endlessly for little reward – pretty though it may have been, I found myself wishing for a button to speed up time. The positive reviews suggest it is a relaxing and chill game – I just found myself frustrated with the AI and bored by the gameplay.
Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition
For some reason I thought this was more of a starbase management sim rather than a tactical space battle sim. The starbase elements are there, but they are pretty thin. Most of the game is about the tactical space battles, which were interesting and varied enough early on, but after nine hours and no end in sight I was sick of them.
FIFA 18
I haven’t played a FIFA game since ’98, so it was interesting to give this a go. The story mode was okay – quite well presented, but the player rating system was infuriating at times (the out-of-position penalties in particular). I did find that there was a huge gap in the difficulty settings – one was ludicrously easy (insultingly so; the AI kept missing from close range), but the next was a bit too steep for someone essentially new to the series. An option between the two would have been nice, or at least an easier difficulty which at least tried to mask how easy it was making things! I also tried management mode, but having been used to Football Manager’s detail I was not able to get into this.
Seven: The Days Long Gone
This was a frustrating experience. I really liked the concept of an isometric thief RPG, and did my best to give it a fair chance. It had its positive aspects; freedom of movement, decent voice acting and reasonable graphics. However, the freedom of movement also worked against it; confrontations with enemies often spiralled into circular chases suited to Benny Hill music and I lost count of the number of times I plunged to an untimely death through a misstep. Moreover, it didn’t really work to its premise. The game started with a tutorial centred around a stealthy heist, which seemed to be the central premise of the game. The next time I encountered a situation close to that was six hours later.
Age of Wonders 3
I loved Shadow Magic many years ago but struggled to get into this. Maps seemed to take an inordinately long time to the point that armies were monstrously large and there was no research left. Maybe I was too defensive, but the AI was very passive.
The Dweller
A decent little puzzle game with minimal assets.
Out of the Park Baseball 19
A slight improvement on its predecessor. The main addition was an online card-game mode, but I’m not sure that works well in a management game. My squad was rapidly full of high-end talent and I felt no real connection to the team.
Niche: A Genetics Survival Game
Nice concept, but a rather wobbly execution. The genetics aspect tended to be lost due to the fast paced and tough nature of the game; the focus was so much on just keeping any creature alive that genetics didn’t come into my thinking. Apparently the best strategy is to sit on the first island for ages and build up a tribe, but the tutorial didn’t make that clear at all.
Royal Heroes
A grindy and buggy mobile game.
Endless Space 2 – Digital Deluxe Edition
I thought I was falling out of love with the space 4X genre, having been very disappointed with the last few I placed – particularly Stellaris – but this hit the mark. The alien races are distinct, making for significantly different gameplay. The gameplay itself is always interesting; unlike Stellaris, it doesn’t hit a dead patch mid-game. I found the combat a little frustrating – seemingly even contests would often have completely one-sided results for no apparent reason – but aside from that it was a solid game.
Monster Slayers
An enjoyable little rogue-lite deck builder. While I normally prefer a bit more flexibility in deck building, tying cards to characters meant that each one had a distinctive feel which gave the game plenty of replayability.
Dark Train
This sounded interesting in concept, but was way too oblique for me.
State of Decay 2
This seemed like the perfect game for me – I love survival management and settlement building. Unfortunately, it wound up feeling rather like a shallow MMO – trite dialogue, grindy tasks and no real sense of purpose or direction. I just found myself engaging in long, dull runs between locations, engaging in the same shoddy combat over and over again.
The Banner Saga 3
I played the first two games in the series to completion and seem to recall enjoying them, but something about this did not click at all. I had zero interest in the story – the time between instalments has dulled my memory of it – and the gameplay just felt so flat. I’m not really sure what changed between playing the last two games and now, but I had no motivation to keep playing.
Gremlins, Inc
A reasonably enjoyable but forgettable board game.
Warhammer 40,000 – Space Wolf
This is a game plagued by odd design choices. It has turn-based combat (which I love), but it is deprived of so much of its strategy by the way it is designed. Enemies appear at arbitrary moments from arbitrary locations (including amid your troops) without warning or logic, meaning that success requires either a degree of fortune or grinding missions to know when and where enemies will appear. Perhaps this is to compensate for the weak AI, which is prone to boneheaded acts, but it just makes things irritating and dull.
It also has a card collecting and deck building mechanic (again, which I love). The distribution of cards, however, is bizarre – completing tasks in missions (which can take 30+ minutes each) will give a couple of low-level cards. In contrast, activating one of numerous codes from the forums provides a pile of high-level cards. “Legendary” cards are so readily available in this form that a deck can be filled with them with a few minutes’ effort. There is a clumsy system for upgrading each card, none of which is explained in the shallow tutorial.
There is also an upgrade path for your squadmates – again poorly explained – which is reliant on grinding missions. They don't use your custom decks, so while you're flooded with Elite and Legendary cards for the leader, you have to grind just to eke out a few more Uncommons for the rest of your squad.
There's really nothing else to recommend the game. Graphics and sound are serviceable and the story is barely there. It just feels like yet another Warhammer game pushed out for the sake of it.
Warhammer 40,000 – Dawn of War II
Another disappointing Warhammer game.
Again this had things I liked – a strategic layer with character progression, equippable loot, choice of missions and ebb and flow of the wider battle. However, I found this constrained by the limits placed on that strategy, with constant time pressure funnelling me into the key missions . I’m not sure how much that time pressure would have impacted on the outcome – would doing side missions result in overall failure – as it was never properly explained.
Moreover, I found the RTS gameplay really quite dull and repetitive, such that I didn’t feel compelled to continue.
Road Redemption
Incredibly dumb – horrible dialogue, clumsy gameplay (trying to aim guns while riding was a nightmare) and buggy (the one round which I won was as a result of a bug which caused me to be invincible for most of it), but it did have some entertainment value.
Moonlighter
Having spent 125 hours in Recettear, it's fair to say I am very much open to the burgeoning shopkeeper-by-day/dungeon-crawler-by-night genre. Unfortunately, this fell flat. Even after a relatively short period it became a dull grind.
Much of that is due to a distinct lack of charm; it looks nice in screenshots, but lacks any real character or presence in game. The absence of any decent writing is another problem; what there was of the story didn't interest me in the slightest. In contrast to a game like Recettear, filled with charm and heart, this was utterly bland. Add in the clumsy storage system, shallow shopkeeping, sluggish combat and irritatingly repetitive music, and seven hours was more than enough for me.
Shelter
Was rather surprised to dislike this. I found myself getting lost far too easily, which given that it was a very linear game meant a lot of frustration. The visual presentation was grating and confusing.
Mainlining
Moderately interesting hacking game, but too shallow, linear and not particularly well written.
Reassembly
Took a while for this to click, but once it did it was decent enough. I could have spent many hours playing this in the ‘90s, but it didn’t have enough of interest for me to do so now.
12 Labours of Hercules V: Kids of Hellas
Cute enough, I suppose, but quickly became repetitive.
Aaero
A music-based shooter with poorly explained shooter mechanics and music which was very much not to my taste. One track really stood out as effectively blending the music and game mechanics, but that should have been the standard rather than the exception.
Purrfect Date
This game is presented as a cutesy, tongue-in-cheek game and for the most part it pulls that off pretty well. If that was the sum of it, I'd be reasonably satisfied. Instead, there is a dark, unpleasant story underneath, with numerous descriptions of animal abuse.
It's utterly jarring - a game which is presented as being for cat lovers (not that kind of lover), yet featuring descriptions of them being victims of torture, experimentation and killing.
The closest thing to a warning on the store page is a reference to "black humour", which doesn't cover it in my view. There is no humour in these scenes, so it’s not “black humour”. I don’t know what it is, other than a simply bizarre choice. Even putting aside the lack of warning, it's an unpleasant and jarring experience. I'm at a loss as to what on earth the devs were thinking.
The writing is otherwise reasonably good. The structure of the game, however, is poor. It requires multiple playthroughs to get a proper ending, and there is no way to quickly skip the text. Prepare for RSI, clicking through page after page of dialogue, if you ever want to get to the ending.
Suffice to say, going through this once is quite enough for me.
Space Hulk Ascension
I normally love turn-based combat, especially with RPG progression, but this was just dull and frustrating. Not having a good year with Warhammer games.
Super Daryl Deluxe
All very QUIRKY, and constantly at pains to remind you of how QUIRKY it is, without ever being particularly amusing. The art style is at least eyecatching, and some of the music is decent, but the writing didn’t grab me at all. The combat was a grindy battle of attrition – the only thing worse than “kill x monster” quests are “collect x items which randomly drop from only a small percentage of monsters after you kill them” quests. Add in the ever-frustrating boss fights where you had to win through repeating an unintuitive set of actions several times, and I didn’t feel like going much further.
Think of the Children
Nice idea, and it’s good to play a locally-made game, but it’s dreadfully designed for a single player. Although it can have up to three co-op partners, it doesn’t adjust the difficulty in the slightest to cater for a solo player rendering it near-impossible.
Legend of Grimrock 2
Obtuse puzzles, clumsy combat and bland design made this quickly unappealing.
FIFA 19
I mainly just played for the story mode, which was fine. Didn't notice much of a difference from 18.
Out of the Park Baseball 20
No discernible improvement upon its predecessor.
Oriental Empires
Some nice ideas, but thoroughly dull. In six hours I was attacked three times by bandits and spent the rest of the time painstakingly building farms.
Iratus: Lord of the Dead
An enjoyable little strategy game. I will probably go back to it since it's in early access and is constantly being rebalanced.
Into the Breach
Moderately interesting strategy, but not enough to keep me coming back.
There Came An Echo
Iridium's previous game, Before the Echo (aka Sequence) was a flawed but enjoyable hidden gem.
There Came an Echo has a similar level of charm, but two fundamental problems.
The first is that it was simply unplayable on my PC. A black screen after loading; no way past it. Apparently it was due to an incompatibility with my microphone which is rather problematic when I don't HAVE a microphone.
The second is that (having used my partner's computer to run it) ultimately it's a very raw proof of concept. Like its predecessor it has charm in the voice acting and writing, but unlike its predecessor it is just not a lot of fun to play. Put aside the gimmick of giving voice commands and you're left with a short, clumsy, shallow and frustrating experience.
World of Mixed Martial Arts 5
As usual for the series (indeed, the dev in general), a stack of good ideas marred by fundamental flaws. Good as a hypnotic experience between other games.
Star Trek Timelines
I tried this briefly a few years ago and didn't get into it, but I certainly did this year. It's all pretty shallow, but as a fan-friendly timewaster it's decent enough.
Football Manager Touch 2019
Endlessly infuriating, and a bit buggy, but always manages to draw me back in.
submitted by Donners22 to 12in12