God Shattering Star - 2020 Games Completed Thread

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC)

Overall, a pretty good game. I do enjoy this new direction the Tomb Raider franchise is going, but it's definitely turning into a Assassin's Tomb Raider kind of thing. It has more to do with all the little nuggets, and extra things you can find in the world, which is all fine and dandy, but personally think it distracts from the overall experience. I feel Tomb Raider should be about the story, the platforming, and of course the tombs with all the puzzles. I'll even give a nice nod to the relics, and document stuff, but the other stuff? The stashes, and caches for example are nothing but filler, and they distract you. Unfortunately, they give you extra XP, so you almost have to find them, but after awhile, you just get bored trying to find everything.

It's kind of weird though. When I'm being more adventurous in a Metroid kind of way, it's usually pretty methodically thought out, and for the Prime games, the extra stuff in order to help expand the whole universe works quite well. I just think in Tomb Raider, it's not quite the same. The document findings are ok I guess, but usually I find myself skipping the dialogues, and only occasionally reading through them. Again, I got bored. Perhaps there were simply too many of them scattered around, so the feeling of uncovering new information about the area got lost over time.

That's not to say the game is bad though. I do like the platforming, the locations, the story, the gun/bow play, but all the extra stuff again got distracting, and I felt the game wasn't as focused as it could've been.

Dare I say it, I wish Rise of the Tomb Raider was a bit more Uncharted, and less Assassin's Creed if that makes any sense. I do have to give @simplyTravis props for gifting me a copy though. Good guy, Travis!

I might at some point try out Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but I want a more focused experience, and less of the filler stuff.
 
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC)

Overall, a pretty good game. I do enjoy this new direction the Tomb Raider franchise is going, but it's definitely turning into a Assassin's Tomb Raider kind of thing. It has more to do with all the little nuggets, and extra things you can find in the world, which is all fine and dandy, but personally think it distracts from the overall experience. I feel Tomb Raider should be about the story, the platforming, and of course the tombs with all the puzzles. I'll even give a nice nod to the relics, and document stuff, but the other stuff? The stashes, and caches for example are nothing but filler, and they distract you. Unfortunately, they give you extra XP, so you almost have to find them, but after awhile, you just get bored trying to find everything.

It's kind of weird though. When I'm being more adventurous in a Metroid kind of way, it's usually pretty methodically thought out, and for the Prime games, the extra stuff in order to help expand the whole universe works quite well. I just think in Tomb Raider, it's not quite the same. The document findings are ok I guess, but usually I find myself skipping the dialogues, and only occasionally reading through them. Again, I got bored. Perhaps there were simply too many of them scattered around, so the feeling of uncovering new information about the area got lost over time.

That's not to say the game is bad though. I do like the platforming, the locations, the story, the gun/bow play, but all the extra stuff again got distracting, and I felt the game wasn't as focused as it could've been.

Dare I say it, I wish Rise of the Tomb Raider was a bit more Uncharted, and less Assassin's Creed if that makes any sense. I do have to give @simplyTravis props for gifting me a copy though. Good guy, Travis!

I might at some point try out Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but I want a more focused experience, and less of the filler stuff.
I haven't played Rise since it came out on PS4, but I've already played Shadow 4 times. I think Shadow is my favorite of the trilogy because it offers more of what I like about the franchise. It still has a lot of side content, but the optional tombs are great. The main story also involves more caves, crypts, tombs, etc so I was happy with the amount of puzzle solving and exploring to do. There is a hub city in Shadow with side quests, so more distractions, but often they involve another tomb to explore so they're not all mindless. Some are though, one involves just talking to NPC's around town, which is pretty lame. They got a version with all the DLC included which goes on sale pretty regularly, so I'd say give it a go.

Also, if you haven't I'd also recommend giving the second series a go: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. They were released in the mid-2000's so expect some jank, but they're linear with a stronger focus on action and puzzle solving without all the Ubisoft stuff getting in the way.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I haven't played Rise since it came out on PS4, but I've already played Shadow 4 times. I think Shadow is my favorite of the trilogy because it offers more of what I like about the franchise. It still has a lot of side content, but the optional tombs are great. The main story also involves more caves, crypts, tombs, etc so I was happy with the amount of puzzle solving and exploring to do. There is a hub city in Shadow with side quests, so more distractions, but often they involve another tomb to explore so they're not all mindless. Some are though, one involves just talking to NPC's around town, which is pretty lame. They got a version with all the DLC included which goes on sale pretty regularly, so I'd say give it a go.

Also, if you haven't I'd also recommend giving the second series a go: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. They were released in the mid-2000's so expect some jank, but they're linear with a stronger focus on action and puzzle solving without all the Ubisoft stuff getting in the way.
Good to know. Quite honestly, I didn't really mind the sidequests in Rise. I did not do all of them, but the ones I did do, it still gave you the opportunity to explore. Like you said, it did not feel really mindless as there was a clear objective in mind. And I think this is turning out to be my biggest beef with open-world style games. It's the mindless stuff. And there isn't really much pay off in finding much of that stuff with the exception of more XP. I would love it if the game took a more silly approach to unlocking stuff like one-hit kill weapons no matter where you hit, or an auto-aim arrow where the moment you draw the arrow, it directly aims at the enemy's head, or the animals' heart. But you would require finding certain items in order to unlock it, but there would be a massive pay off. Where's the DK mode with massive heads, or golden guns, or hell, even a paintball mode. I miss those days of games like Goldeneye where it didn't always have to take itself so seriously.

Even a New Game + mode where maybe some stuff resets, but you can play the game with all your weapons and such (Heck, Resident Evil 4 did this back in 2004!).

One thing I did particular enjoy in Rise was the open-world style. It slowly progressed in a way that it opened up the locations as you played them vs. everything is unlocked at once. That made progression I think a lot more dynamic without forcing too much on the player at once (I've talked about open world progression a lot the past few years).
 
Deus Ex (PC)

Seeing as how immersive sims are one of my favorite genres you'd think I would have played this one earlier. Oh well, still a great game. The fact that it's still enjoyable despite me playing System/Bio Shock series, Prey, Thief trilogy, and the modern Deus Ex's, is a testament to how well designed it is. That said, I think the last few areas aren't as strong as the rest of the game. I love it when you're in a city block, or a building with civilians so you can really solve your missions objectives in a lot of ways. The last few areas are most sneaking by or fighting bad guys so your options aren't as plentiful.

Also, the plot is pretty relevant in 2020 with a pandemic, riots, and inequality.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
Deus Ex (PC)

Seeing as how immersive sims are one of my favorite genres you'd think I would have played this one earlier. Oh well, still a great game. The fact that it's still enjoyable despite me playing System/Bio Shock series, Prey, Thief trilogy, and the modern Deus Ex's, is a testament to how well designed it is. That said, I think the last few areas aren't as strong as the rest of the game. I love it when you're in a city block, or a building with civilians so you can really solve your missions objectives in a lot of ways. The last few areas are most sneaking by or fighting bad guys so your options aren't as plentiful.

Also, the plot is pretty relevant in 2020 with a pandemic, riots, and inequality.

I love Deus Ex, I might be up for another playthrough this year.

You've probably heard about how Invisible War is a disappointment and so on and so forth, but honestly I think it's also a great game, if not in the same way. Invisible War is actually closer to Human Revolution in that you explore several hubs filled with NPCs and do various quests while acquiring gear and upgrading your abilities, while occasionally going through enemy-filled areas. The obvious downgrade over the first Deus Ex is that it has smaller areas due to being developed for the original Xbox instead of PC, but personally I think each area has more detail than before. If you pick the female protagonist she has better voice acting, too. The dialogue is also just as good as in the first game, though it's a shorter, less "epic" game.

I don't know if you've played Human Revolution but it's also great. Then, Mankind Divided is a great "part 1" game that ends on what feels like the first act, but part 2 might never come out because Square Enix put Eidos Montreal to work on the Avengers.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Deus Ex (PC)

Seeing as how immersive sims are one of my favorite genres you'd think I would have played this one earlier. Oh well, still a great game. The fact that it's still enjoyable despite me playing System/Bio Shock series, Prey, Thief trilogy, and the modern Deus Ex's, is a testament to how well designed it is. That said, I think the last few areas aren't as strong as the rest of the game. I love it when you're in a city block, or a building with civilians so you can really solve your missions objectives in a lot of ways. The last few areas are most sneaking by or fighting bad guys so your options aren't as plentiful.

Also, the plot is pretty relevant in 2020 with a pandemic, riots, and inequality.
Dude, you are so right about the relevance of Deus Ex in today's 2020 society, and I hadn't considered that. Looks like someone has to reinstall Deus Ex once again, and play through it.
 

I love Deus Ex, I might be up for another playthrough this year.

You've probably heard about how Invisible War is a disappointment and so on and so forth, but honestly I think it's also a great game, if not in the same way. Invisible War is actually closer to Human Revolution in that you explore several hubs filled with NPCs and do various quests while acquiring gear and upgrading your abilities, while occasionally going through enemy-filled areas. The obvious downgrade over the first Deus Ex is that it has smaller areas due to being developed for the original Xbox instead of PC, but personally I think each area has more detail than before. If you pick the female protagonist she has better voice acting, too. The dialogue is also just as good as in the first game, though it's a shorter, less "epic" game.

I don't know if you've played Human Revolution but it's also great. Then, Mankind Divided is a great "part 1" game that ends on what feels like the first act, but part 2 might never come out because Square Enix put Eidos Montreal to work on the Avengers.
I’ve played Human Revolution and Mankind Divided before. Really enjoyed them. Invisible War is the only main line title I haven’t played yet. I will one day. I got a few other games I want to replay, like Bayonetta 2, Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Black. I also watched a Thief video last night so I guess I gotta install that again too.

I’m pretty sad Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are both tied up on that Avengers game. Last thing I want is for them to be forever tied to it like how Raven Software and Treyarch are slaves to COD.
 
Second playthrough of Resident Evil 4 this year.

I've played this game so many times I decided to do a playthrough with no merchant. No buying weapons, no upgrading inventory space, no upgrading weapons. All I had was what I could find in the environment and the president daughter's ballistics.

Really fun. I died 34 times because I tried saving as much ammo as I could for mandatory fights. I used my knife a lot more than usual. I did the first section of U3 knife only (second phase didn't work as he turns weird and hits you if you're just close enough).

It was a fun spin on the game. Having to think about what to carry and how much of it. A lot of rooms involved me wondering how many enemies I should kill versus how many to run by. Good stuff.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
Second playthrough of Resident Evil 4 this year.

I've played this game so many times I decided to do a playthrough with no merchant. No buying weapons, no upgrading inventory space, no upgrading weapons. All I had was what I could find in the environment and the president daughter's ballistics.

Really fun. I died 34 times because I tried saving as much ammo as I could for mandatory fights. I used my knife a lot more than usual. I did the first section of U3 knife only (second phase didn't work as he turns weird and hits you if you're just close enough).

It was a fun spin on the game. Having to think about what to carry and how much of it. A lot of rooms involved me wondering how many enemies I should kill versus how many to run by. Good stuff.
That’s bad to the bone!
 
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (Wii U)

I enjoy this one overall. I got a bit frustrated with it at times though. Having two castles with the same layout to travel through can be a bit of a pain for backtracking and exploring. For example, a hallways that has a solid wall is blocking your progression, better go to the opposite castle to break the wall, then come back again to progress or get an item. Other than that, it's a pretty safe entry in the series. Not a lot of story, the bosses are pretty standard, as are the upgrades, but these games just have that it factor that makes them fun to play even regardless.
 
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS)

I'm struggling to remember if I've ever replayed an open world game before. I've replayed RPG's and other Zelda's numerous times, but a sandbox I can't recall. Most of the time I finish one I tend to think I would have liked it more if it wasn't open. Watch Doggos and Horizon Zero Dawn come to mind. Games like Infamous are the exception where it would be a worse game if it limited the scope of your environment since your super powers are so fun to mess around with.

BOTW was another example of a good open world to me, but I haven't played it since beating the main game and the dlc. I did want to give it another go before the sequel, but I was always curious if part of the enjoyment was the unknown. "What's over that mountain?", "what's across the desert?", or stumbling on Eventide Island. Now that I knew the map I was afraid that the game wouldn't be as enjoyable the second go around. Well, fuck all that, I started playing it and could not put it down. If anything, I like and appreciate it more this time.

Just, almost everything works. Many times throughout the game I caught myself thinking how great it is. Firstly, I actually love this story. My favorite stories in games tend to be ones where you have to piece shit together after the fact. Bioshock, Metroid Prime, System Shock, Prey 2017, Alien Isolation, etc. Games where the big event already happened and you're late to the party. Reading about Talon IV, or Rapture always enthralls me. BOTW is no different. I absolutely love how they build up Ganon, 100 years ago (and 10,000 years ago), and how you got to find your memories to learn it all. I've always loved how Zelda can have a sense of humor and quirky characters but I also love how...sad this game feels. I think a big part of it may be because it's Zelda and I have decades of nostalgia for it. Seeing Hyrule Castle Town in ruins, or exploring the decrepit halls of the castle with that spine tingling music in the background, well shit, I spent decades exploring Hyrule and now you're telling me Ganon essentially won? I admit it's most likely a bias, but still. I know in Ocarina we get to see the castle and the Market be in ruin, but nothing on this scale. My only issue with the story is Link. This may be my favorite Zelda as a character but Link not reacting to major plot points is weird. While he doesn't have a voice actor, he does speak to characters in game and can be funny. Koko in Kakariko Village needs ingredients, so Link says "Voila, raw meat". The dude can be funny. Also speaking to Zoras we learn he use to play with them as a kid a lot, but when a Champion or Zelda talks to him, static tv screen. Urbosa talks to him, gives him a wink, and Link does nothing. Wind Waker Link would have winked right back at her. I know why he rarely talks (even if Zelda in her journal says he talks to her), but it also kinda makes him a creepy guy sometimes in the memories. Oh well.

The game though is just too much fun. I love the shrines, the Divine Beasts, the exploration, pretty much everything. Even NPC's were better than I remember. There's a lot of heart to a lot of characters like Kass. If you dig deep enough and don't skip talking to people, Kakariko Village is fleshed out enough to make them stand out. They have their relationships, some have backstories. Good stuff.

I use to be kinda down on a lot of side quests, but I since learned to appreciate them in a way. Lots of them boil down to generic "find me 10 bear asses" and the such, but since I explored everything, often times I already had enough asses on hand anyways. They're just quick ways to get money or items, so no harm. I would have liked to see more Majora's Mask-tier quests. Nothing like the Anju and Kafei, or the three day long quest line of the ranch comes to mind. I guess Tarrey Town, but that's about it. The shrine quests are great though, fun ways of including more puzzle solving.

Other than that, just little things really. I would like to have a weapon wheel instead of scrolling through a horizontal bar. Maybe include a few more combat maneuvers like Wind Waker or Twilight Princess?

As for the sequel, jeez I don't know. I don't envy the developers are all, they got a mountain of hype and expectation to deal with. I don't just want more of the same, but I do at the same time. I would like for it to have it's own identity other than BOTW 1.5 like so many Assassin's Creeds are. I would like to see the return of more multi-floor dungeons with keys and such. Some more items and tools as well. I'm just thinking of past Zelda games, an underwater exploration like the Oracle games could be neat, maybe a magic meter for things like Din's Fire. Story wise, I imagine it's mostly gonna be about the present more so than learning about history, although it is Zelda, so there will be something like how Ocarina explains the sacred realm and whatnot.

Gosh, what a game. What a game indeed.
 
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Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
@CitizenOfVerona I don't know if you'd read about this, but in the Japanese version of BotW the adventure log is written from Link's point of view, so it does a better job of characterizing him. But I agree, it would be nice to see more reactions from Link during his interactions with other characters or the environment.
https://vadnyl.tumblr.com%2Fpost%2F165075103289 Edit: whoa, I didn't expect the whole tumblr post to get embedded.
 
@CitizenOfVerona I don't know if you'd read about this, but in the Japanese version of BotW the adventure log is written from Link's point of view, so it does a better job of characterizing him. But I agree, it would be nice to see more reactions from Link during his interactions with other characters or the environment.
Wow, I didn't know that. I would have loved that. I just thought of when you can read Paya's journal, and the text is "must not read, must not read". More of that please. I think I would be more okay with it if they didn't actually give an in game reason for it though. Having him reactionless is one thing, drawing attention to it in-universe is another.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Finished Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4) That certainly was a video game. About as textbook 7/10 as you can get, tbh.

For every thing it did right it did something completely nonsensical to balance it out.

The final boss was a pain right up until my co op partner, CitizenofVerona, and I unlocked the ancient art of .... circle strafing, where up until that point that kind of play was highly discouraged

Also this game hella felt like a spinoff to a nonexistant Wolfenstein The New 3.
 
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4)

Possibly the weirdest designed game I've played in awhile. The art of pointing at the Nazis and clicking the Nazis away is really fun, but the game around it? I'd like to see that design doc.

The game plot is literally "Okay girls, you need to rescue Blow Job but you're not a high enough level so go out and grind yourself up to around level 34". There are 4 main levels, stretched out between revisiting the same sections of Paris, fighting the same group of Nazis, but this time you're collecting a brief case, or rescuing a hostage, killing a certain enemy, or if the game is feeling really excited, collecting an item after killing an enemy. Safe to say 2 hours into the game I was already tired of seeing certain areas in the game. There's only so many times I can joke with Kark about re-visiting Little Berlin and how excited I was (didn't stop me from beating the joke into the ground though).

The game gives you really fun weapons that also act as ways to open new pathways, so the game could have been a fun Metroidvania throughout the streets of Paris while you hunt for the three bosses before the final level. But nah, that sounds like too much fun, we gotta numb those players into buying cosmetics. Shame, these environments are really pretty. Going back and forth as is wouldn't even be so bad if the enemies didn't level scale with you. If you could re-visit early areas and mop the starting enemies up it'll be fine, give you a sense of becoming more powerful, but no, gotta drag this short game out.

And like Kark said, this feels like it should have been the expansion campaign for Wolf 3. There's a huge time skip between 2 and this, and the shit they just casually drop in loading screens of all places sounds like an important hypothetical game 3 we never got. This feels like more of a set up for Wolf 4.. Just adds to how weird this all is. There's also another game called Wolfenstein Cyberpilot, which in Youngblood they reference, but the dialogue makes is sound more of a commercial than anything. "Golly that Cyperpilot sounds awesome, I wouldn't mind checking that shit out, better buy it". Sure enough I looked it up, it takes place a week before Youngblood.

Speaking of dialogue, the tone is just so all over the pace. The Old Blood, a game with Nazi Zombies falling from the sky, has a more consistent tone than this. One minute they're nervous about having to kill their first Nazi to the point of tears, then they do it and it's suddenly a slap stick comedy that mind as well have a slide whistle sound effect. 10 minutes later they're bragging at how good they are killing Nazis. Some cutscenes are very grim, the next one will be whacky. Also hard to feel any threat from the Nazis this time around.

But yeah, the actual gunplay and movement mechanics are all fun, I think they should have been attached to a better game. This isn't bad, despite me bitching, but the biggest thing is ultimately, it's a pretty mind numbing game most of the time. When your fighting your way through those main levels, shit is so good, but when we were visiting those districts once every 10 minutes to do another side mission, I started to zone out a bit and talk/joke less over voice chat. It was certainly a way to spend two nights until 2 in the morning.
 
Mega Man X (Wii U)

I wanted to do this since Kark did it at the beginning of the year, so today I randomized the order in which I fought the robot masters:

Launch Octopus
Boomer Kuwanger
Flame Mammoth
Storm Eagle
Chill Penguin
Armored Armadillo
Sting Chameleon
Spark Mandrill

Good stuff getting Launch Octopus before Boomer, always had trouble with him without his weakness. Pretty fun doing stages I normally have the dash in as well.
 
Momodora (PC)
Momodora 2 (PC)
Momodora 3 (PC)
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (PC)

Normally I like to play smaller games after a big one like Breath of the Wild, and you can't get much smaller than the first three Momodora games. I started this series weeks ago, I just wanted to talk about them all here at once. The first two are free on itch.io, which I never used before. You can leave a donation to the developer though which is good, gotta support the small guys. These remind me of flash games back in the New Grounds days. They look very similar to Cave Story, don't have a lot of story, and are just simple side scrolling games. Very short as well. 1 takes less than an hour, 2 a bit longer because it's a Metroidvania, but still very short. Fun and charming though, I had a good time.

3 and Moonlight are on Steam. 3 goes back to being a linear game like the first one while Moonlight is another Metroidvania. 3 is also very short but still fun. Moonlight is the beefiest of these games, took me around 5-6 hours. It's pretty neat seeing how the games got bigger and better as time, and I imagine, experience the developer had. The first one has a melee weapon but is mostly about the guns you find. A bit weird in this fantasy game with magical Maple Leaves as melee weapons you straight up find a Colt .45. Moonlight puts more focus on the melee weapon and a bow and arrow.

Moonlight also has more story, lore and NPC's to talk to. That's all present in the others too, but it's more fleshed out and memorable here. The story reminds me of Demon's Souls in that you go to a city that was once flourishing but is on the brink of destruction. The once good Queen is spreading a curse, most citizens are either dead or ran away, the city is rotting, the curse is spreading to other lands, and you can read item descriptions for some more lore. Characters re-appear in past areas with new things to say, and there's an atmosphere of dread and sadness. It's not as dark as Demon's Souls, but it was in my mind. Demon's Souls doesn't allow you to turn into a cat.

I tried Moonlight years ago and wasn't feeling it. I either wasn't in the mood or I had other things to do. I'm glad I gave it another go though as I really enjoyed it. It's a prequel to the others so anyone can jump in and play it, which I recommend. One of the better indie Metroidvanias I played, even if it's still pretty "safe" in the grand scheme of things. Granted, I know EvilTwin is still waiting for me to play Hollow Knight.
 
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Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
Momodora (PC)
Momodora 2 (PC)
Momodora 3 (PC)
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (PC)

Normally I like to play smaller games after a big one like Breath of the Wild, and you can't get much smaller than the first three Momodora games. I started this series weeks ago, I just wanted to talk about them all here at once. The first two are free on itch.io, which I never used before. You can leave a donation to the developer though which is good, gotta support the small guys. These remind me of flash games back in the New Grounds days. They look very similar to Cave Story, don't have a lot of story, and are just simple side scrolling games. Very short as well. 1 takes less than an hour, 2 a bit longer because it's a Metroidvania, but still very short. Fun and charming though, I had a good time.

3 and Moonlight are on Steam. 3 goes back to being a linear game like the first one while Moonlight is another Metroidvania. 3 is also very short but still fun. Moonlight is the beefiest of these games, took me around 5-6 hours. It's pretty neat seeing how the games got bigger and better as time, and I imagine, experience the developer had. The first one has a melee weapon but is mostly about the guns you find. A bit weird in this fantasy game with magical Maple Leaves as melee weapons you straight up find a Colt .45. Moonlight puts more focus on the melee weapon and a bow and arrow.

Moonlight also has more story, lore and NPC's to talk to. That's all present in the others too, but it's more fleshed out and memorable here. The story reminds me of Demon's Souls in that you go to a city that was once flourishing but is on the brink of destruction. The once good Queen is spreading a curse, most citizens are either dead or ran away, the city is rotting, the curse is spreading to other lands, and you can read item descriptions for some more lore. Characters re-appear in past areas with new things to say, and there's an atmosphere of dread and sadness. It's not as dark as Demon's Souls, but it was in my mind. Demon's Souls doesn't allow you to turn into a cat.

I tried Moonlight years ago and wasn't feeling it. I either wasn't in the mood or I had other things to do. I'm glad I gave it another go though as I really enjoyed it. It's a prequel to the others so anyone can jump in and play it, which I recommend. One of the better indie Metroidvanias I played, even if it's still pretty "safe" in the grand scheme of things. Granted, I know EvilTwin is still waiting for me to play Hollow Knight.
I liked Momodora 3 and Moonlight a lot. Haven't played the other two.
 
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country (NS)
Sin & Punishment (Wii U)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)

Kark, ET and I were chatting on Discord the day I beat Xenoblade. This was a couple of weeks ago mind, and they asked me my thoughts on it. I said I would wait until we were on voice chat to do so, but minutes later when we were on voice I completely forgot. I even forgot to write in this thread, so I guess that speaks for itself.

I liked this game well enough but it didn't leave as much of an impression as the other mainline titles. I know it's a prequel expansion, but still. I guess the main culprit is the story. There's not much here that wasn't explained in the base game. It was nice seeing Adam and Lora outside of cutscenes, and Lora is best girl btw, but the actual plot itself isn't really anything to sneeze at. Most of it is "we have to go from Point A to Point B, but we need X to get there, let's do some fetch quests". It gets pretty on the nose when before the climax you're forced to do a lot of side quests to get your Community level up.

In terms of gameplay and everything though this was great. I loved how streamlined everything is compared to the base game. No grinding Blades for specific skills and spending minutes hopping in and out of menus. Your party is set so leveling everyone up is more enjoyable. Exploring is as fun as always in these games even if it does reuse an area from the base game. It's a good RPG snack, took me a bit north of 20 hours or so. I really liked it, but stories are pretty important to me in RPG's. That last boss fight though was pretty hype.

Speaking of hype though: Sin & Punishment. What a bizarre artifact of gaming history. Final boss has you defending the Earth from an artificial Earth in your Kaiju form that was made so you could be used as a weapon against and ancient alien race. Hype levels off the charts.

Every now and then a game will come along I'll get on sale and when I finish it I'll think to myself "shit, should have bought this at full price". Monster Boy is one of those games. The reason I didn't was because I'm not a big fan of the Wonder Boy/Monster World series. I mentioned this before in my Monster World IV write-up. I enjoyed the Dragon's Trap remake, and MW IV is just delightful, but the others are a bit too archaic for me. I'll most likely try them again after this game.

MB and the CK is just so fucking good. The gameplay is tight, the graphics and animation are wonderful, the music blew me away and I was surprised at how a near 24 hour long Metroidvania could keep me engaged for all that time. I was surprised at how much puzzle solving was in this. Some areas are like dungeons in a Zelda game. Transforming into the different animal forms are great, even if it has the age old problem of newer forms make old ones not as important. Still, I can't recommend this enough. Between this and the gorgeous Dragon's Trap remake, it makes me pretty disappointed that the Monster World IV remakes looks like this. My girl deserved better.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Witcher 3 Complete Edition (NS)

Last week, I finally finished Witcher 3, including all side quests, all points on the maps, and both DLC (Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine). All in all, about 3 kabillion hours in the game.
I have to say that I truly loved it! It was a fully realized world, and the DLCs were excellent!
Steve2 had played it on the PS4, but didn't play the DLC, but I only really paid attention when he was playing Gwent.
There was so much content in the game, it honestly felt like it just kept going. It was surprising when I had finally whittled all down to the final battle.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (PC)

Where do I start with this? To be blunt, it's the lesser game of the franchise. Overall, I enjoyed my time with it, but ultimately I felt it was more of a cash grab to capitalize on the success of the fantastic Human Revolution without really expanding much of the gameplay, or storyline. Sure, we get into the realm of Augs vs. Naturals, and given the current society of today, it does have some relations (I believe the early marketing had some controversy for this reason).

My biggest beef with MD was the lack of varied locations, and my dislike for the hub-styled world with the occasional off site mission that did not last too long. I could've sworn there were a lot more variety in missions in Human Revolutions, but maybe my nostalgia towards it is hindering my thoughts. Obviously, they tried to make some adjustments with having a psuedo-day/night cycle, and tried to make things less orange/yellow in the game, so I get that. If I'm honest, I recall the first Deus Ex had a blue-tint to it, so we did a reverse Incandescent to LED approach for the Kelvin temp I guess.

In terms of gameplay mechanics, it was more of the same compared to Human Revolution, although being a prequel to the original you can't really make it seem as though technology in the game world has progressed in the past. Some limitations would be required. Speaking of limitations, I felt the type of augments you could improve, including the extra augs that become unlocked I felt were mostly useless. All I ever added was the remote hacking, which proved super useful later in the game, but other than that, I found little reason to use my Praxis kits for that.

Let me change gears a bit, and say while I did some of the side quests, most of them just felt like filler when I finished them, and never really did much to expand the story, or give you a better sense of the world you live in. I did, however, like a couple of the side missions where you examine some object in the world, and it gives you clues about something. I really wished MD used this more, given Adam Jensen was a cop at one point, so that detective-esque feeling felt dimwitted overall. Did Human Revolution have as many side quests, because I don't recall that being the case?

I don't know, it's a good game overall, but when you compare it to Human Revolution, it feels like a step back. That being said, I did like how the game forced you to choose between choices that would affect the game in drastic ways, although it feels like the choices don't have THAT much of a difference if I'm honest. The first one has you choosing between going to a Bank, or saving someone, and I decided to do the Bank because I felt it was more integral to the storyline, and I think I proved it right. There wasn't a huge negative if you made a mistake, if there was one. Even the end of the game has you making a similar choice, but I found out I could do both. So why have the choice there in the first place if you can do both of them?

Again, the storyline choice elements felt more tacked on than a crucial aspect tied to the storyline. But this also being a Prequel, you probably could not have such divisive choices as to not have a time paradox with OG Deus Ex, and as a result, Invisible War also. You definitely feel limited from that aspect. This'll be a slight spoiler, but the end of the game definitely leaves you in a cliffhanger, waiting for the inevitable sequel, and possibly the conclusion to the Adam Jensen Trilogy. And as far as we know, a sequel to the prequel of Deus Ex is probably a few years away, if it ever comes out. Which is too bad, because I like the overall arc of Adan Jensen, and what he's dealing with and going through, but I would love nothing more than to have a Prequel to the original Deus Ex where you play as Paul Denton, leading up to the events of the first game at Liberty Island. I think there's a lot of potential in that for the future of the franchise.

One last thing I'll point out is the music felt not as impactful, nor memorable compared to Human Revolution, and by extension, OG Deus Ex. Btw, Deus Ex 2000 has one of the best soundtracks of all time in a video game. It is so varied with a lot of unique elements that give it both a futuristic feel, yet still feel grounded in ways you can still enjoy. I miss Alexander Brandon composing the music for the games. Mankind Divided felt like the Marcel Cinematic Universe of soundtracks where they mostly felt like filler than actual distinctive music. I mean, listen to Icarus from Human Revolution:


It is soooo good, and when you saw the trailer for the first time, it hyped you up the wall. And the rest of the soundtrack, even though the same composer did both HR, and MD, felt better overall.

By comparison, here's the theme for Mankind Divided:


It just feels more generic, much like the MCU music tends to be. There's not much that makes it feel distinctive like Icarus does. It's not bad by any means, it's still good, but it's not Deus Ex good I think.

And now, here's the original that started it all:


Oh yeah! So good, and Human Revolution had that same type of feel to it like I did for Deus Ex back then.


I think that previous comment of is it Deus Ex good, and I think that summarizes Mankind Divided in general. Compared to Human Revolution, and the original Deus Ex, Mankind Divided is certainly a good game, but it is not Deus Ex good. I played MD in "Give me Deus Ex" difficulty, and what I got wasn't Deus Ex. Instead, I got something more generic that shares the same name from the others in the franchise.

On a side note, I do have Invisible War, and I am looking to play that next since I never really played it at the time (my computer couldn't run it well, which shows you how long it's been). I know this was more "console-fied" compared the original, but it still has the same composer, so there's that, and I'm curious how the game overall plays and feels. Still, for a 2003 game, I'm not expecting Human Revolution levels of gameplay.

I'll leave everyone with one of the best ambient tunes from the original Deus Ex, New York Streets:


(even the combat tune is so good).
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Super Mario Sunshine (NS)

When I got 3D All Stars, I knew this would be the first game I played because it was the only one I never beat. Back in the day, the 3D platforming levels "All labeled Secret" destroyed me. Eventually I gave up. I pledged that this time would be different.

First, let me say that graphically, the game aged well. It's still very pretty. I loved the variety of the levels when it comes to aesthetic and style. The people were quirky and derpy in all the right ways. I truly enjoyed all the hidden Shines in the overworld.

This time, I stuck with it. Any of the platforming levels that presented a big challenge, I kept at it no matter how many times I died. In the end, I beat them all and collected all the Shines. One weird thing was that after a certain number of stars, it forces you into the final battle. Getting to the final battle through the cave was harder than the battle itself. After you beat the end boss, you can go back and finish getting any Shines you didn't get yet. And some of them really make you work for it. This is not an easy game.

I'm glad this collection came out so I could go back and play this gem that I never finished. Now on to Galaxy!
 
Silent Hill 2 (PS2)

Tried playing this on the PS3 last week but the PS3 needs new thermal paste, so I had to dig out the PS2. Last time it had trouble reading discs but not this time. Works perfectly.

I think it's been 7 years or so since I played it, but it still got it. The atmosphere is thicc as fuck and as such it's one of the most absorbing games I've ever played. Still ended up with over 200 handgun bullets and dozens of shotgun shells, but it's still the sound design and music that makes it as terrifying as it is. The town is also the perfect antagonist as you're in the hands of something you can't comprehend rather than a more human or human made entity.

That said, I'm wondering which one I prefer, 1 or 2. Apart of me finds the first one scarier while 2 is more somber. I don't think I'll settle on an answer as they're different in subtle enough ways to make them both top of the franchise. Granted, haven't played 3 in years also. I got a few games lined up for October, but I'll try and squeeze 3 in there.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Super Mario Galaxy (NS)

Made it through my second 3D mario Game of the collection.
And wow, Galaxy was even better than I remembered! The graphics are amazing. The controls were great.
One of the daredevil runs, I went through 35 lives, and I finally beat it on the last try. Insane, but boy did I feel accomplished when I did it.
I will fully admit that I didn't play through it again as Luigi to get the 120 stars again. I'm not that much of a masochist. lol
I'm taking a break from the Marios before going back to do 64.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
The Wonderful 101 - Remastered (NS)

I had honestly forgotten how hard this game was, but even with the difficulty, it never seemed unfair.
The visuals were stunning. The colors popped so much. The writing was amazing.
I still love this game as much as I did on WiiU. I'm so glad I got to experience it again.
 
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