Top 10 Video Games 2019 (That I Actually Played)

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What a great year to be a gamer

I had a better year for Video Games than I initially thought. I didn’t realise I spent a lot more time on one platform more than the others, and by a fair margin.

Spoiler, but for the first time in a VERY long time, I haven’t really played a game on PC. It makes sense. Usually when I sit in front of the computer I am getting ready to work, and if I am playing on the PC I always have work in the back of my mind. That will change in 2020 as well 🙂

Similar to my Board Game list, I have added a couple of cheat entries. Well, I call them cheats, becuase I haven’t finished them yet! They are weighted down thr lidy becuase of this, but the small amount of play I had still put them over other entries.

Enough explaining – on to the list!

Number 10 – Astral Chain (Switch)

PlatinumGames are evil. Here I am, a mid-40’s grumpy old man that can’t play twitch reflex games like he used to. Somehow though they manage to pull me back in to play another one.

I am enjoying the world-building of Astral Chain, and the story exploration is enough without being too grindy. Well, up to Chapter 5, where I am. And that is where I got up to.

I think it was PAX Aus prep after the site redesign that derailed me on this one? I am not sure. But if you like action games at all, you need to check out Astral Chain. It’s only number 10 because I haven’t finished it.

Oh, and if you want to play on the move, the Hori Split Pad Pro controller will do nicely 😀

Astral Chain

Number 9 – Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)

A classic game remade. I skipped a lot of the Nintendo consoles, with the original Gameboy being my only console until the DS a couple of years ago. Because of this, I missed a lot of classic NES gaming, including the Legend of Zelda series.

Now before a lot of people go berserk that Link’s Awakening is at the bottom of my list, I have two reasons. Firstly, I haven’t finished it. So it’s in my top 10 unfinished. Secondly, even though it’s my first time through the game, at its core, the game is 25 years old!

I am genuinely enjoying Link’s Awakening, and now that I have finished Pokemon Shield I intend to go back and finish it. But the older gameplay mechanics that drive the game, even though they hold up, keep it lower down on my list, most likely even if I had finished it.

Links Awakening

Number 8 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

Fire Emblem on the DS was terrific. Huge story to explore, character interactions, permadeath – it was a turn-based RPG geeks dream. Fire Emblem on the DS was like Valkyria Chronicles for me on PlayStation – I can’t get enough!

And on a work trip, I got just far enough into it to know I didn’t have the time to invest in it just yet. I knew that the world was involved and you had to keep on top of what was happening. But in the DS version, you only had to worry about that at particular times. Quests were manually triggered, so you soon knew when to close it.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses will let you play this way, but only to an extent by what I have tasted. The between battle interactions are on track to take up 40-60 hours on their own!

If you enjoy turn-based strategy, pick up Fire Emblem: Three Houses for yourself. The casual mode will let you pick up and play no problem, and is still quite a challenge.

Fire Emblem Three Houses

Number 7 – The Jackbox Party Pack 6 (Switch)

Yes, it’s a collection of silly mini-games. It also let me run and join in for a games night with zero prep time.

For those that don’t know, the Jackbox Party games are just general games where the audience votes on winners. You can be designing T-Shirts, redefining the English language, or finding evil alien stowaways!

Buying the pack on a console (or PC, Apple TV, Pretty much anything) lets you host the game, and everyone uses their own devices with a web browser to join in. Then you follow the prompts!

Setup is easy, fun is great, and there is plenty of variety, so replayability is there. If you have groups of people that appear, this is an excellent standby as a group activity.

Jackbox Party 6

Number 6 – Untitled Goose Game (Switch)

Proof that gameplay trumps graphics 😀 Untitled Goose Game came out last year on PC, but not they are on consoles the game’s popularity has soared, and the Switch is where I got to enjoy it 🙂

Like any great simple game, from the description, it doesn’t sound great. Be a goose and do tasks that appear on the screen. They can be anything from finding a flower, all the way to terrorise a child enough to hide in a phone booth.

And it’s hilarious.

I played it in small bouts while travelling and needed something I could turn off without consequence. I thought it would be perfect. Word to the wise – losing progress bites :p

If you haven’t seen it, play someone’s copy now. I am sure they will let you. Twenty minutes later, try to give them back their Switch/Controller without honking at them – I dare you :p

Untitled Goose Game

Number 5 – Pokemon Sword and Shield (Switch)

So missing a lot of the Nintendo early consoles, I only played a few Pokemon games. Yellow, Ruby, Moon, Let’s Go and now Shield.

A lot of fans are annoyed and vocal. Competitive play has already banned Dynamaxing, a new battle mechanic. Apparently, DS assets like sounds and models have been reused, which people feel ‘cheated’ by.

I had fun with it. The story isn’t really anything amazing (nothing new there). The battles are fun, and I enjoyed cooking a meal for my Pokemon. The inclusion of the Wild Area I thought was fun. Yes, online has issues, but I also didn’t need it to complete the game.

If you enjoy Pokemon, to me Sword and Shield are excellent additions to the series. If you are new to Pokemon but want more than the Let’s Go series ‘simple’ gameplay, it’s all here and more. And because Pokemon were cut, there is also the benefit of not having so many Pokemon to learn, so your learning curve is only steep instead of a vertical wall 🙂

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Number 4 – Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)

How long have I waited for Kingdom Hearts 3? And was it worth it? Mostly 😀

I love the series, but the timelines and retcons are crazy. Basically, I tell anyone trying to play the game to go with it, it’s much more manageable. What kind of timeline shenanigans are we talking about? Well at the start of 2019, the first Kingdom Hearts game is about the sixth in chronological order. It also includes movies, games, browser games and even concerts as authoritative entries.

That is not including most entries have been released and re-released with changes and story updates at least once. Usually as a full-priced game.

Bottom line though, I loved Kingdom Hearts 3. I would come home from work and work some more before going to bed just so I could get a solid 8-10 hours on Saturdays.

Everyone can play it, very few can understand it all, but a lot of fun no matter how you look at it.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Number 3 – Tetris 99 (Switch)

Well, talk about left field. Nintendo introduced one of my all-time favourite games and added Battle Royale. I thought they were mad. I thought it wouldn’t work.

Yeah, I was wrong.

With new play modes and little Grand Prix events always adding a bit of a carrot to come back, Tetris 99 still manages to be in the first few tiles of my Switch menu.

If you don’t know about Tetris 99 by now, check out my review. Better yet, if you have Switch Online, just jump on and play it. Really.

Tetris 99

Number 2 – The Outer Worlds (Xbox One)

So my first ever platinum trophy was Fallout 3. This was after voicing concern to my gaming group at the time that I was worried about bringing back Fallout and in a new game style to boot. In my defence, the previous couple of spin-offs weren’t great. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t wrong, though.

Flash forward to the next game from Obsidian Entertainment called Fallout: New Vegas. I was playing on PC, but that is putting it kindly. New Vegas was a bug-riddled mess of frustration. A year later, and after a lot of coaxing from friends, I said hello to my favourite Fallout game of all time.

Yep, the same team that made Fallout: New Vegas made a Fallout like game in space, and it’s fantastic. The multi-branching story, unforeseen consequences, and a relevant overarching story arc make The Outer Worlds a game I basically hoovered down. And it’s on Game Pass (hint, hint).

Playing it through the first two weeks, it wasn’t perfect. But it was far from an unplayable mess. The most significant bugs I met were apparently I was supposed to be given some more quest options. Still, I didn’t notice they were missing – the story made sense, and I could continue on.

Seriously, if you have Game Pass, put this on your drive (PC or Xbox). If you don’t, play it anyway. And apparently, it’s coming to Switch this year!

The Outer Worlds

Number 1 – Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4)

Usually, as you can see with Link’s Awakening earlier in this list, I put a big negative in terms of weight for remasters and sequels. But then you get a remake that changes almost everything about the game, and for the better. This year, that game was Resident Evil 2.

You have the same characters, with some tweaks. The A/B Scenario system remains in place. And of course, item management and puzzles are still a concern.

Oh, and you still have good old Racoon City, the most magnificent collection of disasters of a city that never was.

Pretty much everything else is different though. Camera styles, combat, AI direction, even the Tyrant/Mr X – if you think you can use the same old tricks, be ready to reload your save.

I still remember playing this during the year, sitting on the couch with Rabbit reading/playing with her phone next to me. Hearing Mr X’s footsteps, she looks up to see what is making the noise. Then she sees him come through a door and lock on to me. “What the f#!* is that!” she yelled out, and it was at that point I knew just how well Capcom had nailed the remake.

If you haven’t played Resident Evil 2, then grab the new demo from your digital store of choice. That’s right – the ‘new’ demo. Capcom has started baking in Resident Evil 3 easter eggs into RE2, which is impressive in itself. Can’t wait for that to come out this year!

Resident Evil 2

Honorable Mentions

Tie – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4)/Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (PS4)

So here are two very different games that share one thing in common – I played them enough that I can’t put them on the ‘I wish I played’ lists, but didn’t play enough to fairly put higher on the list.

Both games are graphically impressive (personally, Sekiro more than Fallen Order but it’s not a huge difference). Both have a control system that requires practice and gaining skill (again, Sekiro more than Fallen Order). And both games have been raved about since release.

I have played enough of both to know I want to play more. I have also played enough of both (about 3-4 hours each) to realise I need to be playing when I am fully alert. And when my joints don’t already betray me.

I honestly think at least one of these games would have pipped Link’s Awakening for number 10 except for one thing – I can’t just pick either of them after 6 months and know the timing. The controls are not brutal, but the nuances are.

So while I think I will love both of these games, when you don’t see them on my ‘I Wish I Played’ list don’t think it’s because I don’t like them. On the contrary, at least one will appear in another article soon.

If you have any interest in either pick it up. Yes, you will need to practice and ‘Git Gud’, but no one has said otherwise. All I can say is from what I have seen, I think it will be worth it.

What do you think? I couldn’t believe how much the Switch dominated my gaming this year. But with the portable nature of the console, it does make sense.

What about your favourite games of 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,


Last Week’s Gaming – March 4th, 2019

20190304 Jessie Jaws

Chronicles of the World Championship Kung Fu Zoo leads Sherlock to call Cahoots between the 1643 Galaxies involved

Yep, that intro stretched the board game title gag, but wow apparently I made up for last weeks lack of board games with a vengeance!

So there are a lot of games to get through, so let’s get started!

Chronicles of Crime

Another case in and this one was advertised as a hard one.

It did not disappoint.  We mostly got to where we needed to be, but there was some time critical elements that we missed and got let astray on.

Lesson learned – do not let just Harls read out the crime scene :p

Just from the base game experience (I have not pulled out any Kickstarter specific items or expansions yet), this is getting a great run – a couple more games and I will be ready for the review!

20190304 Chronicles of Crime
The new mechanics and possibilities of this system are amazing!

World Championship Russian Roulette

This was a fun little filler experience between Chronicles of Crime and Tiny Epic Galaxies.  Hadn’t played it for ages, so it was fun to pull off the shelf.

Yes, the theme of the game is dark and not something that should be joked about lightly, but if playing with people with a dark sense of humour can be a fun game experience still.

We played three players which worked fine, but it did bring home really wanting the higher player counts still.

20190304 World Championship Russian Roulette
Still a fun simple game to pass a little while. Three was fun, but want more players.

Tiny Epic Galaxies w/ Beyond the Black expansion

Talking about games that haven’t come off the shelf for a while, we ended games night with Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black.

There was a forgotten lesson relearned – if you don’t remember the flow of the game, it goes for a long time.  A really long time.  A 45-minute game went for the better part of 2 hours!

But even with this and a couple of initial rule missteps, we still had a lot of fun.  And that’s what playing games is all about, isn’t it?

20190304 Tiny Epic Galaxies Beyond The Black
It may take a lot of table room, but Tiny Epic Galaxies was the first Tiny Epic game that clicked with me

Sherlock: Last Call

You heard about this not long after we played it in yesterday’s Ramblings.

A novel yet brilliantly simple premise, you have a bunch of cards and you need to play out the important clues to solve a case.  It’s like playing Bridge but instead of playing for points, you play for much higher stakes – information.

After Alpal showed this one to me, I will be looking out for more in the series as I am sure she will.  For around $15 on the pricey side, how wrong can you go?

20190304 Sherlock Last Call
It's hard enough putting the clues together without making a game of bridge out of it!

Kung Fu Zoo

Another Alpal special, and a game I wouldn’t have looked at twice.  Kung Fu Zoo is a king of simplified Strike if you know the game.

Players have a number of dice that get flicked into the ‘arena’.  You can flick dice in from the centre point of any side, but it must be in the centre.  You are trying to be the last player with dice outside the cage (i.e. now knocked down the corner holes) or with their dice paws up.

I can see this being more fun with 4 players, but playing just with Alpal and I was still a fun and interesting experience.  You try to knock dice onto different sides while pulling off billiards shots – definitely something to get the crowds coming for a look!

20190304 Kung Fu Zoo
This lot was living on the edge, but mixing dexterity with dice values made for a fun experience


So I have enjoyed games like The Game and The Mind.  Having a relatively simple task before you to be completed with the limitation of not being able to freely communicate is an interesting experience on multiple levels.

Cahoots keeps this kind of experience alive but adds a kind of quick progression system to the game.  In The Game, it’s not until the end you know how well you went.  In The Mind, you go up levels and have a goal with the previous successes behind you.

In Cahoots, you have a number of objectives that must be met in order to ‘win’, so you always feel like you are accomplishing something.  It was a lot of fun, but I wish the colours had suits on them as well as I had trouble with a couple of the colours.

20190304 Cahoots
Quick, challenging, and gives you a sense of progress as you play.

Claustrophobia 1643

A fine example of two-player dungeon-crawling done right.  Claustrophobia 1643 is a reprint and refinement on the game Claustrophobia, a highly regarded and sought after game for many years.

The catch with the initial run though?  Only a few thousand copies were being produced, and they were limited even further by region.  Alpal got in first with the Oceania pledge, and I lucked out when a few more were allocated.

It’s a great, fun and hectic experience that has been incredibly streamlined.  But I won’t go too much further into it here, because the last 2,500 copies are going up on Kickstarter on March 12th! If you missed out, here is your chance.

20190304 Claustrophobia 1643
I want to talk about this game, but it's REALLY hard to get. Look on Kickstarter March 12th!

Kingdom Hearts 3

Yes, I platinumed Kingdom Hearts 3 the week before, but I haven’t finished the game.  Not yet.  Not the way I want to.

Even though I played through on a lower difficulty, I kept flying around in my Gummy Ship and picked the first galaxy as clean as I can of combat, items and challenges.

One down, two to go.  Finding these blueprint crystals is hard, even with the radar!

20190218 Kingdom Hearts 3 Black Pearl
Captaining the Black Pearl in Kingdom Hearts 3 😀

Resident Evil 2

So now that I ‘finished’ Kingdom Hearts, it was time to go back to another game that I was looking forward to playing – the Resident Evil 2 remake!

I had finished the Leon A campaign before Kingdom Hearts 3 was released, but yesterday I got to smash out the Claire B campaign in one hit.  Well, a few deaths and reloads because of some “Come On!” moments, but all was done on Sunday.

Now that I have finished the story as such I can start with The 4th Survivor modes as well as some of the free what-if Ghost Survivors scenarios.  Even before I begin trying for those S+ rankings, I have a lot more game to play!

20190304 Resident Evil 2
Wow. And this was the shorter chapter. I did clear out the police station this time though 🙂

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,


Last Week’s Gaming – February 4th, 2019

20190204 Resident Evil 2 Results

A Tale of Lemonade and Blackmail

Board games this week took a hit playtime wise, thanks largely to two Video Game releases at the end of January.

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been taking a lot of my playtime, and I am loving every second of it!  But I am jumping ahead – let’s talk about what I played last week!

That’s Not Lemonade

Waiting for some people to arrive on games night, That’s Not Lemonade was a great bit of filler to begin the night with.

As I said in the review, it’s a light bit of fun that let us pass a bit of time.  No lengthy rules explanation and even the player that was fighting the pizza menu on his phone could join in with minimal downtime.

After a couple of rounds and confirmation that the fourth player would be longer than originally guessed, we moved to a slightly meatier time killer.

20190204 That's Not Lemonade
Taught and the first game played in less time than it takes to order 3 pizzas with a vegan option - on a mobile!

Archer Once You Go Blackmail

Love Letter is a great game, and as said previously the Archer version is still the hardest for me to categorise.

It still has the base Love Letter rules but changes the burn card to becoming part of the game, similar to Lost Legacy.  This changes the game just enough that I don’t call it pure Love Letter anymore, but not enough to change it to the big box premium versions.

That aside, the game did what it always does – the three of us had a great time playing until the fourth player arrived.  Another reliable light fun filler that will take about 20-30 minutes to play.

20190204 Archer Once You Go Blackmail
My only issue - first round Archers with calls of 'LAAAANNNNAAAAAAA' :p

Mythos Tales

The third investigation has finally been played!  While I had played the first two games with Harls, this week I decided to make it the main game for games night, introducing two new players for a four-person case.

Overall, it worked well.

The case itself said scoring was harder, but that said we beat the case well with a score of 15.  We didn’t get the ‘Beat Sherlock’ style score for the first time, but all four of us still had a great time.

20190204 Mythos Tales
New rules and a teasing of increasing difficulty through the cases makes me look forward to the next game

Resident Evil 2

So Monday night, I finished Leon’s campaign (Scenario A – Leon for the veterans).  Under the circumstances, I was pretty happy with my run – a B ranking (apparently saves don’t count anymore for your score so yay!) and I found a few bits and pieces.

I was exploring a bit, but when I found I could massively backtrack I just let it be.  Resident Evil 2 is amazing.  End of story.

I might just restart on Assisted mode (Easy mode) later and try for a Platinum run, because on Tuesday the next game came out…

20190204 Resident Evil 2 Results
Mix between enjoying the new visuals and getting through the story, not bad for a first result I thought

Kingdom Hearts 3

Well, I haven’t hidden how much I have been waiting for this series, and it is everything I was hoping for.

Right now I have 100 per cent on five worlds and am keen to get through the sixth world story.  I could be flying through the story, but backtracing a completed world and searching for treasures and other collectables is a heap of fun.

I will be talking about the game in more detail in a couple of weeks – I don’t want to spoil anything for new players.  If you want to know a little more, you can catch up with the last Blatherings and hear what I think 🙂

20190204 Kingdom Hearts 3 Memories 1
So much I want to show, but I don't want any spoilers less than a week in!

What about you?  I hope you have had a great week gaming.  Let me know! Feel free to comment below, or shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,


Last Week’s Gaming – January 28th, 2019


Welcome to Dragonvault!

It was a very quiet run for gaming this week.  Between work and getting other things ready, I didn’t get much gaming in.  There wasn’t even my normal games night this week!

The long weekend will help fix that though 🙂

Welcome To

A few rounds of Welcome To helped passed a bit of time 🙂

I know there is a way I can beat my best score of 101 – both Alpal and Rabbit have done it!  But I keep persevering – I will do it!

That is a big part of the reason I love Welcome To so much – even though the core of the game always remains the same, no two games are exactly alike.  And the challenge is so nicely weighted even with the luck factor of the deck it’s always great to give another go.

20190128 Welcome To
My first solo run through this week - and wow. That score hurt!


Part of The Legends of Dsyx series and available at, Dragonvault is a simple one page Roll and Write adventure.

Similar in theme to games like Boss Monster and Dungeon Master, you play a dragon guarding their hoard from the annoying heroes.

Roll three dice, and decide to lay a trap or work towards upgrading more areas and magical traps.

Dragonvault wasn’t anything to set the world on fire, but it was a bit of fun and worth a look – especially for USD$3 and a single page printout!

20190128 DragonVault
Not a bad first game! I don't know what I was expecting, but a bit of fun.

Super Mario Odyssey

Not too much progress this week.  I finished the Sand Kingdom last week, and now I have finished the Snow Kingdom.

The bounce race was interesting, but playing it late at night before sleep I feel I could be getting better times.

Honestly, the Snow Kingdom has been my biggest let down for areas to date.  I am hoping the rest of the areas pick back up but it might be a week or two before I come back to Mario, between the next entry and Kingdom Hearts 3…

20190128 Super Mario Odyssey
I finished this area last week, but the snow isn't really as fun to show off!

Resident Evil 2

So I finally got to start playing the full proper Resident Evil 2!  Just like my experiences with the 1 shot demo, so far everything I wanted in the remake has come true.

I have heard a lot of comments already about the darkness in the game.  Yes, it’s dark and you have a lot of trouble seeing in front of you.  But I am actually appreciating this more and more – it means I have to explore slowly and carefully.  This is how I had to play the original, trying to explore without triggering camera changes and the like!

If you are on the fence, play the demo – it’s available for a little while longer, and will help you make your decision one way or the other.

20190128 Resident Evil 2
Had to go through a bit more to get here this time. No uniform yet either. Leon is slacking :p

What about you?  I hope you got more gaming in than I did!

Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,


Resident Evil 2 – 1 Shot Demo Review

Resident Evil 2 Cover
Resident Evil 2 Cover
Released 2019
Platform PS4 Pro (Reviewed), XBox One, PC
Publisher Capcom (Website)
Developer Capcom (Website)
Homepage Website
Players 1
Category Survival Horror

One more time around the block has taken on a whole new meaning

I am a Resident Evil fan – to a point.  The series kind of died for me after Resident Evil 4.  The more ‘run and gun’ style of 5 and 6 just didn’t quite do it for me, but Resident Evil 7 definitely took steps to bring me back to the fold.

And so it has been with great interest I have been following the news on the Resident Evil 2 Remake.  Remaking a game that pushed so many boundaries with a technically impressive engine was always going to have my attention.

But something other than just a new shiny coat is being applied to Resident Evil 2.  We are getting a true remake of a masterpiece.

The roots of the game are more or less identical, but the details are being tweaked and new puzzles and mechanics introduced.  Things that just couldn’t happen in 1988.

The police station is being expanded, story elements are being cleaned up, and the puzzles and paths will be new.  If you think you won’t have trouble because you have mastered the original game, think again!

Resident Evil 2 That Timer
30 minutes. It sounds so long, and then you start playing.

So what is the 1-Shot Demo?

It’s more or less exactly what it sounds like – a demo that you can play once.  For 30 minutes to be exact.

Now there are plenty of workarounds to this, mostly consisting of starting up with multiple accounts, but there really doesn’t seem to be too much incentive to do this.

You can’t save from what I can work out, so nothing is going to travel across to the ‘real’ game.  There may be a way to get an item as a bonus in game, similar to the dirty coin in Resident Evil 7, but I don’t think so.  The Resident Evil 7 demo was a long drawn out evolving experience, this is 30 minutes on the eve of the formal release.

But I could be wrong.

So I start the demo and instantly miss the booming ‘Resident Evil’ as you start.  Ahh well, it is only the demo I suppose.

Playing the Demo

There is a way apparently to ‘finish’ the demo with both Leon and Claire but I came nowhere near doing this.

I was having way too much fun exploring the police station instead of trying my best to ‘solve’ the game.  That said though, I played enough to be excited about the full game coming out on the 25th!

The demo opens at the front desk of the Racoon City police station.  Immediately I was enjoying the light work and feeling of the building, just like I did at the start of Resident Evil 7.

Resident Evil 2 Demo Begins
Ahh. Raccoon City Police Department. The years have been kind!

The controls were the same more or less as 7, so I started running around and exploring immediately.  On-screen prompts began appearing, so if this was your first time playing a Resident Evil game you would know what you were doing pretty quickly.

The updated controls were definitely welcome.  The old ‘tank’ controls were a staple, but that doesn’t mean they were great to play with!

Moving around and looking at everything in the over the shoulder view was amazing, and instantly removed a lot of the fixed camera angle frustrations we all had with the original games.  Want to look behind the screen?  Move behind the screen and look – it’s that simple.  No more ‘walk behind and click like crazy hoping you hit the right spot’ shenanigans of the old days.

Resident Evil 2 Whats behind the desk
If you can see it, you can probably walk to it. The footprints also may be a clue someone can walk there.

Wandering around the foyer, I was taking my time and slowly examining everything.  I was enjoying the graphical treat of my eyes, and even playing with the sound coming from my TV I could hear nuances in the footsteps that made me smile.

In the middle of the area, a huge statute with three circular impressions was clearly visible.  I wonder what needs to be put in here?

And this is where some people lose it with Resident Evil.  Why are there three medallions needed to open a secret chamber in a police station?  Why is everything protected by items that require backtracking and weird logic?

Because.  It’s not a great answer, but it is the best I can come up with – sorry.  If these sort of puzzles annoy you, don’t play Resident Evil, at least the earlier ones.

Resident Evil 2 What Goes Here
Location for 3 empty collectable pieces. It's either a secret passage or a big reward.

Later titles seemed to have easier puzzles overall, but the insane security and inventory management is a series staple – you can either roll with it or go mad trying to work it out.

At this point, I smiled.  I got a warm feeling inside, and I stopped for a minute.  This was indeed taking me back to the Resident Evil I fell in love with, and I was only a couple of minutes into the demo.

My brain had already fallen back into the old style of thinking.  I was actively looking for the clues and areas that just don’t fit to find the medallions I needed for the secret passage I already knew was there, even before the story told me about it.

I found what I knew would hold one of the three medallions straight away – a shield with a curiously round central area and a combination lock. conveniently close to the central area.  Again, this is a staple of the series – multi-part puzzle?  The first piece is right next to you, but you will have to go elswhere to work out how to unlock it!

Resident Evil 2 What could be found here
I need round things, and this obviously has a round opening. Could it be connected?

And where would you go?  To the big door that says ‘Keep Out’ obviously.  True, this is partial knowledge from trailers and other players talking about their experience.  But really, if you have finished any Resident Evil game, you know what to do.

And from here I will stop explaining what I was doing and thinking as I worked my way through the game.  If you are smart, you won’t spend the first seven precious minutes looking around the first room of a timed demo like I did.

But I loved every second I spent doing it!

Resident Evil 2 Now where should I go
Keep Out. Good advice. No one would ever leave anything in here I would need later.

What was right

The controls were great and felt even more responsive that Resident Evil 7.  Audio, as I mentioned, was fantastic barring a couple of hiccups I am hoping are demo related.

There was an area of wet floor that you splash as you enter, then have ‘normal’ footsteps in water up to your ankles.

As I said, hopefully it was just demo related, but playing Resident Evil 2 with the PlayStation Surround Sound headphones is going to be amazing if Resident Evil 7 is any indication!

Graphically the series has never looked better.  I enjoyed the look of Resident Evil 7, but the same run-down areas got a little boring after a while.  Looking through one floor of the police station, each office and room had its own particular feel.

Sometimes it was visual, like the administration area or locker room.  Sometimes it was the audio again – wooden floors vs tiled for example.

Also the zombies – oh the Zombies.  In Resident Evil 7, while characters looked great the Molded all looked very samey.  Here, each Zombie so far has had a distinct look that has been interesting to watch.

Resident Evil 2 Exploring the Station
You may wonder what is so amazing about the graphics here. Play it and see - trust me 🙂

There are also some new mechanics and tricks I either don’t remember from the original or have been added.

One such trick is you can now board up windows in the Police Station to stop Zombies from breaking in.  I am assuming this will come in handy later in the game, helping to create choke points so you don’t get overrun.

Not all changes help you though.  For example, your combat knife – a required tool to get past that otherwise indestructible yellow tape – know can break.  Yep, weapon destructibility (at least for one weapon) is now a part of Resident Evil.

I don’t mind a challenge, but items breaking is rarely something I appreciate.  It’s not enough to put me off at all, but I know players that won’t play Breath of the Wild because of items breaking.

And end game shenanigans remain in full force apparently!

Once you finish the demo, you get to see some new trailers.  One such trailer confirms Hunk returning, otherwise known as the 5th survivor.

This was a harder mode where you played a smaller story with all of your items given to you at the start of the game.  While you begin well armed, you need to keep your items close as you can’t pick anything up during the story.

If you can beat this mode, there is also one of the most ridiculous and hardest modes I ever remember playing – the Tofu survivor.

Resident Evil 2 Tofu Survivor
The toughest piece of soy product you will ever meet.

This may be a joke scenario and character in a lot of ways, but this is the hardest mission in Resident Evil 2.  Basically a replay of the 4th survivor, but you have only a combat knife and a few herbs for the whole game – only the best can finish this mode.

I was never one of them in my youth.

But everything I played in this demo confirmed my hopes and soothed a lot of my concerns.  Resident Evil 2 2019 is on track to be an amazing game for series veterans and newbies alike.

There is still plenty of opportunity for Resident Evil 2 to let me down.  You can’t rate an entire game on a 30-minute window of playtime.  But almost all of my concerns have evaporated.  I am truly looking forward to playing Resident Evil 2 again.

Resident Evil 2 Good Tidings
Such a happy place to come back to after all these years

I just hope Square Enix is taking note.  Want to rebuild a fan favourite?  Looks like Capcom has nailed how to do it.

Until next time,

Resident Evil 2 - 1 Shot Demo

Final Thoughts

It’s a free demo, available for another couple of weeks.  You can grab it on Steam for PC, or the PlayStation Store/Microsoft Store for PS4 and Xbox respectively.

If you are unsure of what a Resident Evil game is, grab yourself a copy of the demo.  If this doesn’t grab you, neither will the full game – that simple.

But for me, I still have one major regret.  Why does Resident Evil 2 have to come out 4 days before Kingdom Hearts 3?  Too many great games coming!



  •  Demo shows not just a nostalgia cash grab
  •  Taking an ambitious project to new heights with modern tricks


  •  30 minutes flies by
  •  It’s a Resident Evil game – not for everyone

Last Week’s Gaming – January 21st, 2019

20190121 Tramways Engineers Workbook

The Tramways guy Blurbled something about Conex to the Maximus?

It’s another week down, and another week of games played.  Not as many as I would have liked this week, but that happens sometimes 🙂

Slowly starting to work my way through the Video Game list of shame.  The same will be coming with Board Games in the next few weeks.  Organising all of this has been taking more time than I thought – but not enough to stop playing games completely!


I love playing games with Alpal.  While she will play a ‘serious’ board game once you teach her the rules, she knows what she likes to play.  This means she gets games that don’t even register for me, and Conex is once again an excellent example of this.

You have a hand of cards with different colours on it.  Some coloured sections have points.  If you can match that colour and white outline to a card on the board without touching another card, move that many squares on the scoreboard.

It’s ‘Mess – the game’ and it’s amazing.  Two players was fun, Four was fantastic!  This will be going in the ‘more please I want to review’ pile 🙂

20190121 Conex
What happens if you add a scoring system to making a mess? Conex!


Blurble is one of those great quick party games where you play by the rules you want to.

In a nutshell, one player ‘challenges’ another player by flipping a card in front of them.  Each card has a picture, for the example let’s say Grasshopper.

The first player to say a word that starts with the same first letter of the illustration wins.  You can’t use proper nouns though, so if one player shouted ‘Graeme’ and the other ‘Ground’, the Ground player would win!

Simple yet challenging, and a game you can drop players in and out of at any time.  Safe bet as an addition to many libraries here.

20190121 Blurble
We were having so much fun, I forgot to take a picture!

Gorus Maximus

As a general rule, I don’t like trick-taking games.  You may not know the term, but I bet you know a game like Hearts, 500 or Bridge – the backbone of the genre.

So it was with some surprise to some I backed Gorus Maximus, a ‘trick-taking game with funny art’.

A turn is over when everyone plays a card from their hand, and a round is over when their hand is completely played.  Highest score at the end of the round wins the round.  Win 3 rounds – win the game.

Gorus Maximum is very simple and very quick to play.  Pick your group for that last one though 😛

20190121 Gorus Maximus
First player upgraded courtesy Alpal and her amazing minfig collection!

Tramways Engineer’s Workbook

An interesting little game is Tramways Engineer’s Workbook.

A better description to ‘game’ is puzzle book, with puzzles designed for 1 and 2 players.  You do not need to know anything about the Tramways game series to enjoy the Engineer’s Workbook, which was handy for me as I went in blind!

Solo play, you need to find optimal move solutions to reach a goal in a set number of turns.  I haven’t played with 2 players, but the puzzles change to a pickup and deliver style game – quite versatile really.

20190121 Tramways Engineers Workbook
If you just look at the puzzle, you will be lost. But the rules of the Tramways series are slowly introduced in a fun yet challenging manner

All are done on dry erase sheets (don’t use the sheets proper – they mark!) making replay or regifting really easy with the book.

I only spent a bit of time doing the first couple of episodes, but enough interest was sparked to keep me going.  Expect to see more on this in a few weeks.

Resident Evil 2 – 1 Shot Demo

I finally got a chance to sit and play the 30-minute demo of the new Resident Evil 2 remake.

Short version – I really want to play this next week.  I already have my copy preordered at EB Games, and this will be a blast to try.

My only issue with the Friday release?  The following Tuesday Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out!

I will tell you more about my experience tomorrow, where the 1 shot demo gets a review 🙂

20190121 Resident Evil 2
This was great. It was Resident Evil, no punches pulled. Looking forward to playing through the full game soon!

Super Mario Odyssey

You know that backlog of shame?  This is a big one for me.

On PAX Aus 2017 eve, when I was excited that I was going to PAX and Rabbit was coming the next night, I went out for a walk on the Melbourne City streets.  What I met was a midnight launch of Super Mario Odyssey, so I grabbed it.  After all, I had recently bought my Switch and what better way to start on a Mario game right?

20190121 Super Mario Odyssey
I'm with Cappy on this one. Dancing for a Moon? Disgraceful! :p

I finally started getting into it this week.  I haven’t gone too far, I just finished the ‘boss’ of the Seaside Kingdom.  I have been spending time making sure I collect all of the purple coins – I will do a Moon run later.  It’s been a great way to unwind each night, so a review will probably be coming later – as long as Kingdom Hearts doesn’t get in the way!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,


So the E3 Nostalgia Train continues with the Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake Feature

Another reason to relive a classic series

Resident Evil.  Like so many franchises I have written about this week, I have so many fond memories.

I remember jumping out of my chair and sending my controller the first time the dogs jumped through the window.  You know the scene.  Back when Resident Evil was still a horror franchise (or more correctly, creating the survival horror genre for many) I couldn’t get enough of these games.  This continued all the way up to Resident Evil 4.  It took Resident Evil 7 to truly reignite the spark for me.  And don’t listen to anyone else – the only way to play 7 is in VR.  It’s such an amazing experience.

But a few years ago, an announcement was made that many seem to have forgotten over time.

This got me really intrigued years ago.  Some games I have picked up and are low on the ‘go and play’ list are Resident Evil 0 and the Resident Evil remake.  I have yet to play Resident Evil 0 at all, and I have always meant to play essentially the GameCube Remaster.  On the Switch, I have the Resident Evil Revelations series to finally give them a go and are a bit higher on the list.  I started the original Revelations on the 2DS, but as a platform, it just didn’t quite cut it for me.

But last night (my time anyway), this was dropped during the Sony E3 presentation.

This looks amazing and is a real reason for me to elevate playing the remakes as soon as I can.

Resident Evil 2 broke a lot of ground back in 1998.  Back in the day, the graphics were amazing, but almost every part of the game just clicked.  The audio was that perfect level where you just forgot you were listening to a computer game.  The level design was unique and hid a lot of surprises for players.  The multiple storylines worked really well with the different characters.

Of course, there was also the cheesy voice acting that the series is infamous for, as well as the ever so popular tank controls and the like.  I mention this simply because the series had real faults that not everyone could get past.

But for me, the real thing that will delay me buying and playing Resident Evil 2 Remake?  Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out 4 days later on January 29, and I have been waiting a lot longer 😀

Until next time,