To Be Infinite - 2018 Games Completion Thread

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Vita) [PS1]

H/T to the Jolly Cooperation for the suggestion, and for @Karkashan for the code.

I am so divided on this game.

As Symphony kicks off (which includes a SM wink that doesn't seem to be there in Rondo), it feels really special. You start with a duel with Dracula, then you're thrown Alucard - who, it must be said, is Shounen-ai fabulous here - and everything is all kinds of badass. The moveset feels great, the music is fantastic, and the sprite work is bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful.

But, of course, that momentum can't maintain. This isn't some Platinum-style action game, or a Doom thrill-a-thon. The developers had to take their foot off of the gas to give way to the methodical, fill-in-the map exploration that is this game's calling card. And that, too, is quite good. I expected the quasi-circular/double-back map (since I had already played Circle of the Moon), but it's done pretty well.

Until the clock block. Outside of knowing that you play as Alucard, and that there's an inverted castle, I went into this game blind. Whew, buddy. That was not a great choice of how to block progress. I probably wasted an extra 4 hours looking for where I was supposed to go, because I'd inevitably walk back to that room, spend 20 seconds or so trying to flip some sort of switch that I was sure existed, and then I'd leave after not finding it. This wouldn't have been a great game design choice in 1987, let alone 1997.

But once you get through that, the game really hits its stride. The castle opens up, everything becomes reachable, it's all as 10/10 as the reviews suggest.

And then it abruptly ends.

Or, you have to use an optional power-up that you probably forgot even acquiring in order to find two hidden items to unlock your inverted castle. (This is the one place I truly did smack my head - "oh, this is where Hollow Knight got this shit from.")

Part of me wishes the game had ended. Because the inverted castle is...decent. It's an incredible idea that worked out, don't get me wrong. But making a room traversable in either spatial orientation kinda ensures that neither orientation is as great as it could be. And the layout of the rooms? Some of these long-ass corridors filled with damage-sponge enemies artificially inflate the overall difficulty. The combat is always very good (the one place it truly does top Super Metroid), but on a first play through, you're inevitably gonna take a few unnecessary deaths - right before you find the save room. You don't really find any power-ups that open up the castle further, either, so it kinda feels like a boss-filled trudge.

...but...

...when I think about playing the game? I just smile.

Yes, some of the room design can feel a little vanilla. Yes, most of the items are fairly useless (and why the hell power of wolf was included at all is a mystery). Yes, the back half of the game is technically just padding, really.

But I met one of my gaming heroes, and they didn't disappoint me. As a jaded old bastard, that says something about the enduring quality here, doesn't it?
 
Senran Kagura Estival Versus (PC)
Competent musou, you know. It runs well, there's a shitload of characters and unlocks, everyone plays fairly differently.
Reeaaaallly bad story mode. Every character is a trope taken to their most annoying level, and the amount and quality of the boob jokes are abysmal. Very disappointing, not even the awful mods I loaded in amused me enough.
 
Earlier this year I beat Horizon: Zero Dawn. I own the complete edition, but never did the Frozen Wilds expansion. I just finished it.

Horizon: Zero Dawn + Frozen Wilds (PS4)
Horizon: Zero Dawn (Complete Edition) (PS4)

Not sure which format you want, so you can copy/paste either.
 
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Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Wii U)

Wow. This game. It's just...really freaking good.

I hadn't played it in 16 years, so my memory of it was "good, if clunky". But coming back to it and starting it fresh? I didn't feel like it was stiff or clunky to move Nathan around at all.

Now, to be fair, the game is FAR too dependent on luck and RNG. Far too dependent on it. But when you get those sweet DSS cards and equipments and you can do some crazy cool combos...it's just amazing.

Good on ya, Castlevania 64 team, for coming back and making such a good game like this before you were disbanded.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Please put a star on Hyper Light Drifter (NS) for me, @Karkashan (just beat it again).

I started replaying this because I was kinda curious on what the actual length of the game is. My first play through listed "74 hours," which...is not possible without a DeLorean and a Flux Capacitor, so it was counting time when it was idle. This time? 8 hours. Not counting all of the deaths, of which there were many. Tack on another 2, maybe.

So I was kinda peeved restarting it, because of a faulty timer bug. But...I'm really glad I did. Played it on "normal" difficulty this time, but I couldn't tell you what the difference is, because it was easier. Not because there's something wrong with the level difficulty, but because I was simply better at the game, and I had a firmer grasp on how to exploit its mechanics. The game makes the mistake of listing its two integral power-ups second in their respective unlock menus. See, there are stores where you power up in a central hub town - you "talk" to the store clerk, and up pops your menu for upgrading. There is no text* anywhere (just pictures of what the upgrade does), so it looks like you have to sequentially power up your sword and dash. One, then two, then three.

Nope. You can skip straight to two, if you want. And you should, because the game really sings with those. The second sword power-up allows you to deflect projectile fire back to whoever shot it. The second dash power up gives you a brief invincibility dodge. Put those together, and you can beat the living crap out of this game.

By the time I had unlocked them in my first playthrough, I already had a playstyle - I was fighting everyone in a phone booth with my sword, and that's how I beat the game. No freaking clue how I did, either, because HLD is obviously meant to be played with those two power-ups in mind. I ripped through encounters that had me stuck for 30 or 40 minutes before. Two bosses that gave me fits last time were still challenging here, and still killed me a few times, but I figured out new strategies for them based on exploiting these skills.

This was a far more enjoyable experience. I've come around on this game, and I probably wouldn't have even bothered if the timer on my initial save file didn't mess up.

Still, the power-up menus are a rather large mistake, IMO. That's just some gaming hipster nonsense, where they toss in an accidental layer of difficulty that didn't need to be there, and call it "indie." But with a 9-person development team, I can forgive some skinny-jean wearing, artisinal vaping, gaming-hipster bullshit. Because the pay off is a genuinely good take on 2D Zelda.

[*Legible text. The monoliths can be decoded, apparently.]
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Wii U)

Wow. This game. It's just...really freaking good.

I hadn't played it in 16 years, so my memory of it was "good, if clunky". But coming back to it and starting it fresh? I didn't feel like it was stiff or clunky to move Nathan around at all.

Now, to be fair, the game is FAR too dependent on luck and RNG. Far too dependent on it. But when you get those sweet DSS cards and equipments and you can do some crazy cool combos...it's just amazing.

Good on ya, Castlevania 64 team, for coming back and making such a good game like this before you were disbanded.
I think playing COTM first kinda ruined me on Symphony. That's how good Circle is.
So what's JC's next game that we're all gonna beat?
Well, I'm on Portrait of Ruin...
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
Hollow Knight - NS

Man, I really f*cking hated this game. Everything about it. What a huge pile of jank shit troll garbage. Terrible terrible game. But I'm so stubborn, I made myself play through to the end. The nicest things I can say about this game are a) that the music is great, and b) that the art looks nice. Everything else, I thoroughly despised.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Hollow Knight - NS

Man, I really f*cking hated this game. Everything about it. What a huge pile of jank shit troll garbage. Terrible terrible game. But I'm so stubborn, I made myself play through to the end. The nicest things I can say about this game are a) that the music is great, and b) that the art looks nice. Everything else, I thoroughly despised.
See, this is why I was so reluctant to recommend HK. I liked it a lot, but I see how easily it could be equally disliked.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
Hollow Knight - NS

Man, I really f*cking hated this game. Everything about it. What a huge pile of jank shit troll garbage. Terrible terrible game. But I'm so stubborn, I made myself play through to the end. The nicest things I can say about this game are a) that the music is great, and b) that the art looks nice. Everything else, I thoroughly despised.
Please elaborate, Devil's Third style.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Last night I finished Dark Souls: Remastered (NS)

At first I tried not to grind and just follow a build to make my life easier.

Then it turns out I'm not good at Dark Souls so I needed to grind extra anyway, lol.
 
LA Noire (PC)
I got mixed feelings about this game. I am a big fan of the investigations and interview gameplay, it is basically Phoenix Wright and that's pretty awesome. I like all the performances and acting, save the facial stuff in interrogations because that shit looks ridiculous almost all the time. That's all fun. I also enjoyed driving around, surprisingly enough. The cars are from the 20s so they are basically tanks, it's fun taking them for psuedo-jumps and mowing over everything with it. There's also a lot of flavor text when you drive wrecklessly, and Cole's retorts are adorable.
Now the bad. Gunplay is adequate. There's way too many dull chase sequences that lead to forced execution style gunplay. Also a lot of car chases, and that has worse rubberbanding than the most heinous high-level Mario Kart play.
The story also bugged me. Each case is its own thing to solve, but for maybe 4 or 5 chapters (everything besides the first chapter) you are always only half-solving each case since the real villain is always left as a twist in the end of each chapter, and they almost always get away with it. And there's a real cliche downer ending where shit is half complete and notable evil fucks get away with it. I get it, it's a noir, but I still hate it. Makes all my effort feel pointless. The ending sequence itself is bad, it's just a very long shootout, and not the actual good interrogation stuff.
Soured my experience but there is some charming and wonderful stuff here, I would like a more videogames sequel. Speaking of, this game must have been insanely expensive to make. The sheer amount of actors and voice acting, holy hell it's no wonder the studio went bankrupt
 

SkywardCrowbar

Twintelle's loyal Husbando
Star Link: Battle For Atlas (NS)

I had a good time with this one. The feedback loop is pretty satisfying once you get the hang of it, and there's a bunch to do. The story and characters were severely lacking. However, on Switch you can really just pretend this is a new, open world Star Fox game, so do that and you'll be fine.

7.75/10.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)

Whenever I'm back home for the holidays, I bust out my old GBA SP (in its snazzy NES-badged color scheme). Since I had already beaten Fusion recently, I went for ZM.

Everything about this game seems focused in one direction: portability. It's kinda weird to go back to this design ethos in the Switch era. Now, we just hit the sleep button on our Xenoblade-sized games. Then, you had to build a game around quick play sessions, so the world is compact, funneling you between save points, with an idiot dot to guide you the whole way.

That sounds like it would suck, but Nintendo was so effing good at this style. ZM is so polished, that you can never be mad at the game for feeling a little too straightforward - it's too satisfying to run across the screen, grab a ledge, and shoot back over your shoulder. The mechanics are effing baller, man. They don't have the depth of Super, but they are so freaking sharp. Some of that may be illusory: I don't remember the game feeling quite this good on the big screen, but again, that's why Nintendo was so good at portable gaming. This game feels tailor-made for the small GBA screen because it was.

The only real complaint I had while playing is that the game felt too easy; Kraid and Ridley go down like chumps. Mother Brain actually caused a few deaths, though (that's what I get for skipping E-tanks), and Mecha-Ridley can wear you out if you don't use super missiles.

Great little game. I've probably beaten it a dozen times or more by now.

(Next up: that Castlevania GBA double pack.)
 
Ys: Oath in Felghana (PC)

This is my third game in the series and I really enjoyed it. It kicked the shit out of me and the last boss was pretty insane, but it does have that "look at me, being good at video games" feeling. As hard as it is, the bosses do have tells and whatnot so you do learn the more you throw yourself at them.

I look forward to playing more of the series but I don't want to burn out on them since from what I gather, they're all pretty difficult. I might get the next one in January or so before Kingdom Hearts 3.


edit: Whoops, since posting music from Ys is my tradition I'll just leave this one here. It's not the starting area like the other ones I posted, instead it's the "shit is getting serious" moment before the climax. If Ys keeps this up I think I have another favorite franchise.

 
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BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
Axiom Verge - NS

Still love the music, the lore, the ambience, the power-ups, the progression, the movement options in the late game. Slightly less enamoured on this play through with the way some items are hidden. Still, got 100% completion just like my first play through on the Wii U.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
The Legend of Zelda (NS) [NESflix]

I beat the proper version, not the one that gives you the white sword, magical shield, and a butt-ton of rupees to start.

So, the last time I tried playing Zelda, it was probably circa 2008, when I got a Wii. DL-ed the game, started playing it for a few minutes, and...felt that it had aged horribly. Pretty much just left it be and didn't come back to it.

A decade later, I replay it on Switch, can't put it down, and love it. Go figure. TBH, I'm kinda shocked by how good this is. You compare this to anything on the Switch online VC, and outside of SMB3, it absolutely stomps the living hell out of everything other game (yes, even original SMB). I was talking with @repomech a few days ago about how Mario 3 didn't land here until 1990, so if you owned an NES and lived outside of Japan, Zelda was the best game you could play in the 1980s.

I am legit gobsmacked by how well LoZ holds up. I suppose a decade ago, when I was really getting back into gaming, I was just enamored with Twilight Princess and Galaxy, so I didn't give the game a fair shake. But OG Zelda is a really elegant piece of design; the combat is beautifully balanced, and it really does have an RPG sense of progression as you up your heart count, then get the blue ring, white sword, and magical shield (that sense of progression wouldn't exist if you boot up the "Life of Luxury" version). I didn't find the power bracelet or magic skeleton key, and I almost missed the red ring.

The only time I looked at a guide was for finding the level 7 dungeon (completely forgot its location), and for re-finding Ganon (I accidentally got to Ganon without even attempting to and died, then forgot the route I took). The rest of the game just sorta came to me. Some of that is from buried memories, hours of childhood playing, but I think more of it is that the game's progression structure makes sense. You have to search for dungeons 7, 8, and 9 in fairly obtuse places, but up until then? You'll find everything you need in the natural course of exploring. It really is genius.

Nintendo kept refining the formula and ended up morphing it into something else, but they had it right the first time. That's why Breath of the Wild was so great - it took 30 years, but they finally nailed the 2D original's style in a 3D game.
Axiom Verge - NS

Still love the music, the lore, the ambience, the power-ups, the progression, the movement options in the late game. Slightly less enamoured on this play through with the way some items are hidden. Still, got 100% completion just like my first play through on the Wii U.
We're on opposite Metroidvania ends. I really dug Hollow Knight, but could not bring myself to get into Axiom Verge.
 
Rayman Origins (PS3)

Had a hankering for this. Been awhile since I played Rayman so I decided to pick up the PS3 version and just finished 100%-ing. At first I wasn't use to this game's physics but it clicked after awhile and it's still as enjoyable as I remember it. This and Legends really showed what Ubisoft can do if they stopped pumping out endless sandboxes that copy each other.
 
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EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)

Well, being marooned due to family obligations again means the GBA is on deck. Really enjoyed this one. So far, it's probably the most well balanced 'Vania, overall. The difficulty curve is a little more linear, fewer spikes. Great art, great parallax. The controls are sharp (unlike Harmony), but the combat feels a touch behind Symphony.

Quibbles? Chaotic Realm. I'll get to that one day, but I don't feel like soul grinding (this is the weakest part of Iga's "auteur" pretenses - and one of the drags on Hollow Knight, too, which took the same dumb finale path). And there are a few areas that seem like corridor Russian roulette (could be a save room, could be a teleport, could be some bullshit that will kill you and erase all of your progress).

But I dug it. Good times. There is a little less "I feel lost in a maze" and more "I can't wait to see what area might connect here in an unexpected way."
 

SkywardCrowbar

Twintelle's loyal Husbando
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard (NS)

Very entertaining piece of DLC. I love being a vampire hunter, and the new character that is added as a possible companion is fantastic. Some very nice lore building as well.

9/10.



The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn (NS)

I didn't get into this one as much, but it was still fun. I found the finale to be a little underwhelming, but it was well worth it to add some extra hours into one of the greatest games ever made.

7/10.
 
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