The Shackled Wolves - 2021 Games Completed Thread

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
SteamWorld Quest - The Hand of Gilgamech

I love the SteamWorld games. Their art, their humor, their gameplay. But I wasn't too sure about Quest. I'd never done a true card rpg before, excluding Paper Mario: Sticker Star which I hated with a passion.
I had enough time to play this before Pokemon came out, so I decided to give it a go.

I was more than pleasantly surprised. It was a fantastic game. It had all things I loved about other SteamWorld games, and it made the card mechanic something I could understand and eventually master.

SteamWorld Dig is still my favorite in the series, and I hope we get a third. And I definitely want another SteamWorld Heist game. But this was so much fun and definitely worth the price.
 
SteamWorld Quest - The Hand of Gilgamech

I love the SteamWorld games. Their art, their humor, their gameplay. But I wasn't too sure about Quest. I'd never done a true card rpg before, excluding Paper Mario: Sticker Star which I hated with a passion.
I had enough time to play this before Pokemon came out, so I decided to give it a go.

I was more than pleasantly surprised. It was a fantastic game. It had all things I loved about other SteamWorld games, and it made the card mechanic something I could understand and eventually master.

SteamWorld Dig is still my favorite in the series, and I hope we get a third. And I definitely want another SteamWorld Heist game. But this was so much fun and definitely worth the price.
Same boat as you, I'm not sure if there's a faster way to get me un-interested in a game by saying "deck building". I liked it too but it's probably my least favorite of the series. I'm personally holding out hope for a Heist 2.

Did you hear they're making a brand new game though? Only got a trailer that doesn't say much, but it's going to be a 3rd person game.


They're also making a game called The Gunk which comes out next month I believe.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Same boat as you, I'm not sure if there's a faster way to get me un-interested in a game by saying "deck building". I liked it too but it's probably my least favorite of the series. I'm personally holding out hope for a Heist 2.

Did you hear they're making a brand new game though? Only got a trailer that doesn't say much, but it's going to be a 3rd person game.


They're also making a game called The Gunk which comes out next month I believe.
OOOH! I want to know what this new game Headhunter is about. The trailer got me excited. Thank you for sharing!

The Gunk looks fantastic, but Damn, it's for XBox which is the system we don't have. Steve2 has a gaming PC, so maybe I could play it on there.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom


Shin Megami Tensei V (NS)

What if a JRPG had huge, intricate maps full of elevation, jumping puzzles and the like?

What if a JRPG focused less on quirky characters, and more on big idea beats for its story?

What if a JRPG was more about the gameplay than the narrative?

What if a JRPG was designed to kick you in the shins with its difficulty?

Then you'd get Shin Megami Tensei V.

There's no "hoarding items cause maybe I'll need them then never use them" in this game; items are just as much as a vital component in winning battles as the demons you level, fuse, and bring to your party. Stat debuffs/buffs are literally game changing; there's no "I won't need that, I'm on Normal" here with regards to non damaging status moves like in Pokemon or most other JRPGs.

Nothing is given to you for free in this game; even healing at save points costs money. Also yes, there are save points; and no checkpoints. If you're MC dies, you lose all the progress you had since your last save. (There is a super easy Safety difficulty that apparently has checkpoints but you have to download that separate; I haven't tried it myself but apparently it breaks the game in such a way as to it becoming unfun and boring) That being said, you always have the tools and time available to you to overcome any obstacle.

Whether it be talking to an enemy demon and convincing them to join your party, fusing your demons together to create powerful new combinations, finding respawning relics to get more money or a quick health/MP boost in the world, or finding a Korok equivalent called Mimans to help unlock permanent passive boosts in the environment; so many options are there for you to dig your teeth into.

This isn't a game to get attached to the characters in while they make lighthearted moments by the campfire, it's a gameplay loop first kind of game. And honestly, it works really well. It may not be for everybody, but it was a great time for me.
 
Journey to the Savage Planet + Hot Garbage (XB1)

Picked this up on sale and really enjoyed it. Just one of those games I never got around to until now and I'm glad I did despite some issues. I think it had a lot of inspirations but I believe the game it took the most from was Metroid Prime. First Person exploration based with platforming and upgrades that help unlock new areas and find new items. You have a scan ability for documenting enemies, flora, alien tech, etc and can be used to activate switches. There's a grabble beam too. It's not 1:1 though, you can get a ground pound and seeds/plants to use as bombs or an electric attack. One seed can be tossed onto certain walls to make your own grabble points. Most of this is unlocked via skill trees, so while some are mandatory, how you want to unlock the rest can be up to you.

I think the game is at it's best when your exploring at your own pace. There is a main pathway you can stick too, but the whole plot reason why you're on this planet is to determine if it's fit for human life and to catalogue everything. The environments are open ended that at most given points there are multiple ways to go. Once you leave the starting area you step onto a field with many ways to go and a mountain off in the distance. There's a lot to find too, health/stamina upgrades, alien alloys needed for crafting and lore logs/videos. The movement in this game is great especially towards the end game. There are some niggles, like not being able to grab onto some ledges to pull yourself up. I don't think it's explained, but it feels like some edges have a rounder hitbox that makes the game struggle with it, but who knows? Another issue I can see people having that didn't bother me too much is how upgrades are handle. Instead of just finding the grabble beam or bombs, you find a special item that'll make you able to craft it back in your ship. Every teleporter in the game is linked together including the one in your ship, so it's never too tedious. But these environments are fun to explore, once you think you got the lay of the land in mind (there is no in game map) you turn a corner and suddenly you feel lost again in a good way. The lack of map did throw me off at first, but it doesn't really need it. Every zone is distinct enough to know where you're too, and once you climb that mountain for example, you can look down and see everywhere. I do wish it had binoculars, but it's a great feeling seeing everything like this. In the end game area I had to go to a certain location, so I got to a high spot and mentally mapped out my route myself and it's satisfying.

Unfortunately I think the combat can be a pain but it's serviceable I suppose. The boss fights all mostly play out the same, but some normal enemies can be a pain and I think the reason is because this is the loosest lock on mechanic I encountered. So some enemies' weak point is behind them on their tail, but you can only lock on to the weak point and you gotta be damn near pixel perfect, but it's behind them so while they're running around I don't think you can lock onto to them at all. Maybe you can and I'm half a pixel off or something. It also feels weirdly easy for them to break the lock on. Scanning enemies can also be a pain since it's easy for them to move and disrupt it. I think the worst encounter had you fight these enemies in an arena with poison gas shooting up from the ground, and falling fruit from higher up while you're focusing on the monster. It's first person, I literally can't see where everything is coming from. One enemy can send shock waves up from the ground, but again, I can't see behind me or to the sides so how can I dodge this? Best advice, just throw sticky bile to prevent them from moving.

Thankfully, combat isn't what you'll be doing most of the time. Again, it's not awful, and I'm fully prepared to admit I could be doing something wrong or not understanding how the lock on works.

I also enjoyed the setup and comedic tone. The game takes gallons of piss out of capitalism and advertisements. Every time you go back to your ship ads will play on the tv, after most boss fights you have can file a report and your boss will send you a video. Most of these are done with real people instead of in game character models, and the actors did a great job. The few that aren't are pretty cheesy 3D models that are pretty funny too. Your A.I. companion also did a great job in my opinion, but if you find her annoying you can turn her down in the menu. You also get ads in your email, like one for a Plague-Be-Gone to help prevent the Black Death founded after the permafrost melted. It'd be funny if I weren't so scared of climate change.

Also, no pausing. Sure you can go into a menu, but it doesn't prevent enemies from attacking. I don't think even going into the Xbox menu pauses. To test it out I started a video on my ship, went to the console menu, waited a few minutes then returned to find the video stopped. The game also has co-op and I imagine it'd be fun, but I also imagine you'd need a partner with the same mindset as you, whether you want to fully explore or just do the main missions. I'd be interested in trying it out one day.

Hot Garbage is the DLC add-on. It's basically just more of the game with a couple of new upgrades. If you liked the base game and wanted more, than give it a go. It's pretty short but still fun.

I was sad to hear that the studio got bought by Google then shut down soon after, but thankfully they reformed into Raccoon Logic and got the rights to the IP as well. Consider me a fan of them and eagerly awaiting what they're making now.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary World Tour (NS)

For years, I have heard much about Duke Nukem, including the now infamous Duke Nukem Forever way back in the 90s, but up until now, I hadn't actually played the franchise before. Once World Tour came out on Switch, I knew I had to add it to my retro collection of digital Switch games. It did not disappoint.

It's certainly a dated game in some regards which I'll get to later, but overall it holds up remarkably well. Not to mention this comes across as a rather unforgiving game, but given it was designed for KB & M on PC back in the day, adapting a dual analog layout isn't the greatest, but motion controls do help mitigate some of the drawbacks. I wished the movement wasn't binary so if I wanted to slowly walk my way, I could do that, but running is either on or off. The aiming was also very twitchy to the point where I had to dial down the sensitivity by a good amount (less than half, which is less sensitivity than I normally set it at). This is why I feel all retro-styled PC shooters should be updated to include native support for a KB & M on your console. I feel the general design of these games are at a disservice when used with gamepads, and beg to be used on native controls. In a rather unusual situation, I actually turned on auto-aim to make the controls more manageable, which I don't normally do with shooters on console. This is also helped with the new ability in this version to rewind the game if you die (provided you don't use cheats which...I may, or may not have used them at one point...). I used to scoff at games that included a rewind feature, but now I kind of get it...

Level design is certainly a trope of "lets throw in whatever design choices our designers come up with," and it does not always lend itself to the most intuitive experience. The platforming aspects, with the binary on/off running means timing your movements correctly can be take some getting used to. Again, this is helped mitigated by the motion aiming assisting the dual analog in my opinion, but even still, movement feels very floaty, even more so compared to Doom 1993, which I felt was more grounded (think of the difference between playing with Mario compared to Luigi). There's a learning curve. Once you've done mastering how to run again, there are a ton of secrets to be found ala Doom 1993, and I did not find all of them, but did accidently discover many along the way. There were several times when I got lost, or it wasn't always made clear where I had to go. It definitely caused a little frustration along the way, but at the same time forced to really examine the entire level, and wonder if there was a breakable wall in a bathroom, or a tiny little hole just big enough to fit Duke's enormous, and bulbous...hair?

But anyway, drawbacks aren't that pronounced, though it does hold it back from total greatness. Enemy variety could've been better, although this might be a result of the technical limitations of the day. I wish the boss fights were more grandiose, and epic, especially giving this is a freaking alien invasion. Send in your biggest, and baddest dudes to fight against Duke Nukem (The final boss was a huge letdown quite frankly). I also would've liked if there was more variety in the levels themselves, although spending time in a ship in space was cool though. Same thing with weapons. I hardly used the shrinker, or the reverse version of that, nor did I use the fire weapon. It was normally the shotgun, chain gun, or rockets most of the time, plus the devastators when the moment called for it. A double-barrel shotgun would've been cool, and maybe a laser type weapon as well. And given this was designed for a keyboard, selecting weapons, or your items was not very intuitive. Several times I was trying to use a the jetpack, but prior I was in the water, so it defaulted to the scuba gear, and you had to manually switch back again to the jetpack. I believe with a keyboard, all the weapons, and items are tied to individual keystrokes, so that would make the experience more intuitive, and easier to manage.

As far as graphics are concerned, it's the same "3D" type game like Doom in that the 3D is faked, which also does cause a lot of distortion when you look up, or down. Thankfully, the developers tweaked this with a True 3D mode which uses a proper 3D calculation to eliminate the distortion. I want to say they added an actual Z-axis/buffer to the engine in this version, and allowing to switch between modes using a button prompt is more nostalgic than anything. I kept it on the new mode the entire time. Performance was mostly locked 60fps, although there were times when the performance did dip, but it was more the exception than the rule.

Still, great game, and could see revisiting it again from time to time. Given the amount of episodes, and levels there are, it is easy to pick up, and play, and maybe I'll tweak the controls again to see if I can make it control better.

I prefer original Doom to this.
 
Rules of Nature....I mean, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (XB1)

Before playing through this again I wasn't sure if this or Bayonetta took the top spot of Platinum Games, after this playthrough I may have to give the nudge to Bayonetta.

For the nitpicks, Chapter 5 is just part of Chapter 3 in reverse and Chapter 6 is just a boss fight, so the game feels a bit rushed toward the end. The camera can be a right bitch at times, spazzing out and having enemies attack off screen. Some enemies can also be annoying, granted though that's par for the course of Platinum. The first time through is you getting your shit bopped before graduating to the second playthrough where you become the master.

Getting in the zone and nabbing a S or A rank on some sections is damn satisfying. Ultimately, I just love how dedicated this game is to it's own style. It's beyond over the top with a suitable soundtrack to accompany it. I had a smile on my face the first few chapters pretty much non stop. I was ready for it to be done though, but I think that's probably because I wasn't fully in the mood for this type of game. I bought it on sale and didn't expect to give it a go so soon, but I did anyways. With these kinds of games you gotta have your big boy or girl pants on all the time, so any lull in my desire to play a high octane action game only meant more times getting hit.

Still, what a fucking game.

I prefer original Doom to this.
Them's fighting words
 
Top