World of Light - 2019 Games Completed Thread

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#51
Astebreed (NS)

A four-season anime, or a 40-hour JRPG, just happened in the span of 40 minutes.

This game makes up for being the shortest JRPG of all time by being the most JRPG of all time. All the things occurred, in exclamatory all-caps. FRIENDSHIP! MECHS! SPACE OPERA! FAN SERVICE! ASS SHOT! SUBTITLES ONLY! JPOP!

And I...am exhausted and don't understand any of it. This is, of course, not sold as a role-playing game. But it's really a JRPG trapped in a shooter.

As a bullet-hell shoot 'em up, it's...well, not. Don't get me wrong, there is TONS of stuff onscreen. This game drips with action. But it's kinda illusory. You'll read people compare this to Radiant Silvergun, but they're full of shit. Treasure, somewhat famously, had to hire pro players to debug Radiant, because they couldn't beat it themselves. But Astebreed? You'll have a good chance of beating it on your first try.

Why? OK, so follow me here. A game like Ikaruga feels complex because you have to be aware of two different types of shots. Well, there are three types of shots in Astebreed - but you can block two of them. There's so much action onscreen that I might have this messed up, but I'm pretty sure it goes like this. If an incoming shot is purple, you can shoot it to destroy it. If an incoming shot is yellow, you can use your sword/melee attack to destroy it. (Might have those backward.) The only thing you absolutely have to dodge are red shots.

So you'll watch the game in motion, and it looks super hectic and incomprehensible. But at any given time, you can probably block close to all of those projectiles. (With a catch...)

OK, so that brings us to combat. As in any normal shoot 'em up, you have your standard beam attack. You have your sword for close-range work. You have a scatter/burst shot (it can work both as a radar in which you send attacks out to all enemies you target onscreen with the right analog stick, or you can focus on one enemy). You have your special attack...which can be targeted at one enemy, multiple enemies, or none. Oh, and there's a dodge you can use with your sword that works as a lunging attack that provides invincibility frames.

Like I said...this is a 40-hour game trapped in a 40-minute game's body.

TBH, this is...yeah, needlessly complex. A game that can be beaten this quickly has no reason to have this many interlocking systems. It's really just the developer showing off. They could ditch one color of enemy attack, do away with the ranged burst attack, and be way better off for it. They needed an editor here.

And I haven't even gotten to the camera angles. So the game environment is constructed of 3D polys, so you're thinking "it's a 2.5D game." Sure enough, you jump in, and you have a horizontal shooter, all action taking place on a 2D plane. Then it shifts and you are in a vertical shooter. Cool. But then it shifts to a head-on view, and you're in a 3D shooter. And yeah, that's not very good, as it's damn hard to judge distances, so you're better off dodging. Thankfully, the head-on views don't last long. Still, some of the enemy locations in the 2D plane sections aren't laid out great. There were one or two spots where the enemies were basically at the perimeter of the screen, and it felt like that should be a vertical shooting area, but...it's not. So there are enemies behind you, and your only way to dispatch them is to use the sword-dodge going backwards.

Still, I had fun. I mean, how could you not? This game throws more stuff at you, more quickly and in a shorter run time, than maybe any other game ever made. As confusing as it sounds, when you play it? It clicks. It works and really does make sense. [EDIT: And if you want a high score, you have to play this as a traditional STG; abusing your sword/block kills your multiplier. That's the catch.]

I beat it on "easy," and will replay it on normal and hard, probably. Not because I'm good at shoot 'em ups (I'm not), but because in addition to being able to block shots, you have a shield that takes damage - and recovers when you're in the clear. Astebreed looks like it's a modern reimagining of Thunder Force 4, but it has just as much in common with Vanquish. It's not as good as Vanquish, but it's a wonderful attempt at making a cool arcade shooter accessible to more people. I give it high marks for that.
 
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#52
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS3)

So yeah I'm pretty much full of shit and played it this week. I remember when I first finished this game years ago the last boss fight left me pretty salty. My hopes going into this game was essentially ''I hope I can appreciate it more this time around''. Whatever magic the series is now pulling on me is working, Snake Eater is a great game. Any game that can end with me tearing up a bit must be doing something right.

As I said before, I use to unfairly compare the series to Splinter Cell but now I just embrace what makes this series tick. Unlike previous games that had enemies show up on your radar with their field of vision clearly laid out, this one is all about using the proper camouflage to blend into the environment. It even goes a little Hitman at some parts where you can wear a scientist uniform, just don't get spotted by other scientists. After years of same-y open world games where stealth is just a bullet point and is usually basic, it's very refreshing to play a game where any tall grass can be used to blend in rather than the designated stealth grass. Seriously, as someone who has a boner for good stealth games, it's beyond dumb how a lot of games you can be lying down in grass but still be spotted because it's not the correct stealth grass.

Anyways, because you don't have an effective radar, the scope, thermal goggles, motion detector, etc are all way more important and I actually prefer it this way. Often I found myself looking at the radar in 1 and 2 more than the actual game at points, so for 3 to dump you in the jungle and say "your on your own" is fantastic.

Speaking of which, you'll be spending most of the time in the jungle but it didn't get old because when you come across a base, or a supply warehouse or cabin, it feels nice to change up the pace and scenery. This game in general has good pacing in that regards, and I feel the boss fights are some of the best because of it. Unlike in 1 where it's most clunky combat, this one lets your run loose with using camo and your items. The sniper fight with the end may be my favorite. That said, while The Fury and The Pain can lose track of you sometimes, there fights are more just "shoot them when they're not looking". Still, there not too bad when you get the pattern.

I think my biggest issue of this game is the pacing of the story. The opening seems to take forever to get a good grove going and when you start the climax with the Shagohod it goes to shit for a bit. Hop on a motorcycle to shot some guys, cutscene, shoot some more guys, cutscene....repeat. Then fight two phases, cutscenes....then shoot some more soldiers on the motorcycle, cutscenes. I was a bit tired by the time you get to the final boss, who of course has to give a speech before you fight.

Thankfully, the story is great. After 2's mindfuck-a-palooza, they scaled back. I heard the comparisons to 007 and yeah, that fits. Even the main theme ends with a Bond-esque sendoff. There's enough depth here with characters and motivations to keep me hooked, but you don't need a whiteboard to keep everything in line. The thing that sticks out to me is throughout the game I found myself smiling/chuckling at Snake's voice actor. Now I love me some David Hayter but in some emotional scenes his voice can be a bit comical with how gravelly it can be. Then the final bit with the last boss and ending cutscenes (it shows how long the ending is when the game asks you if you want to save AFTER the final boss fight) happen - he barely speaks. For PS2, the amount of emotion they made him show with facial expressions and body language is amazing. He just soaks it all in. I can't really do it justice because there's a lot of character development and whatnot, but the ending shot of Big Boss looking over a certain grave and shedding a tear after learning the true motivation of said character...fuck man.

Finally, the last boss fight is on a timer, 10 minutes to be exact. There is not on screen timer, instead the boss will shout out how much time you have left. Once the 5 minute mark hits, the game starts playing the main theme. It's one of those moments where it just works, the boss, the music, the visuals, the emotional impact of everything...perfect.


edit: When I beat 4 I'll try to keep the post moderate in length, these Metal Gear write ups are getting out of hand
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#53
Please put a star by Astebreed, Kark.

Beat it on normal, and hoo boy. Yeah. That escalated. There are more red projectiles that you can't dodge in this mode, and when they land, they seem to do a lot more damage. It's more challenging, but fair, and although I wasn't breezing through, I was still making it.

...until the final form of the penultimate boss, which got me stuck for a day. And then all three forms of the final boss got me stuck for another day. Those are the points where Astebreed stops fucking around and makes you use everything at your disposal. I had thought the homing/radar shot was borderline useless, but nope, you're gonna have to use the heck out of it in those fights. The very final form is a full-on bullet hell, and you can't simultaneously use the sword to block yellow projectiles while also using the dodge to dash through red projectiles. (And you have to deal with two types of reds; attacks that aimed for where you were, and attacks that aim for where you are. So if you were in the middle of the screen, then dodged to the bottom, have fun.)

If you aim for a high score, you can't spam the sword to block yellows. This plays like a proper, more "traditional" STG, but only when you want it to. Turn off the voice acting, skip the cut scenes, and this could be a remaster of a classic Saturn shoot 'em up.
When I beat 4 I'll try to keep the post moderate in length, these Metal Gear write ups are getting out of hand
You're doing something right, because you're making me wanna play the games, and I've never played a MG.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#54
Okay, I kept getting distracted by other things, but at last I've finished Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PS4)

I did Terra, then Ventus, and finally Aqua, and the game got progressively easier as a result. I don't know if that was due to the movesets of the characters or my figuring out which spells were broken and understanding the mechanics more.

Anyway. BBS was a game I had always wanted to play super, super badly (female key blade master, hello yes I'm all over that) and have a large collection of fanart from it saved to my PC and a lot of fanfic bookmarked as well. But for whatever reason, I never got around to it (this is a running theme for me for the KH games that aren't 1, 2, or CoM).

Ended up having to refight Ventus' final boss 3 times because of missed Xehanort notes (mistook X's Letter for Report number 1 in the archives and then realized only after I had beaten Vanitas again what the problem was). Also had to do Terra's again since, well, I never bothered with the Mirage Arena. The boss to get that report was harder than Terra's final boss, imo.

praisegrima
 
#56
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Been meaning to replay this one for awhile. It was surprising how little I remembered of this game, so it was nice having a fresh experience again. Truly a great game and arguably the last time Mario really blew me away despite having good titles since. I got 120 stars and got three green stars but I don't think I'll bother with the rest.
 

SkywardCrowbar

Twintelle's loyal Husbando
#57
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

A charming and surprisingly tough adventure through a whole region instead of just one mansion. The humor is top notch, and the game does a great job of making you feel like you're on a wacky adventure and it's up to ole' Luigi to save the day.

Not a masterpiece, but a darn fine sequel.

8/10.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#58
Xeodrifter (NS)

I tend to be pretty wary of Metroidvanias (hence my qualified praise of HK), but this was on sale for $2 on Switch about a month ago. Two-flipping-dollars. So of course I bought it.

...and was immediately disappointed. Because it follows - painfully - the usual indie logic for this type of game. "Oh, you really like Super Metroid, right? OK, great! So what we've done is made a game with movement and shooting mechanics much more like the original Metroid. Enjoy!" Why the shit independent developers have done this for so long boggles my mind. I think pretty much everyone acknowledges that original Metroid was made redundant when Super launched. Doubly so since Zero Mission.

So, yeah. I thought this kinda sucked. And I'm a simple dude. You know how hard it is to disappoint me when I only spent two-measly-dollars?

But...I came back to it, because...I mean...it was there? And I wanted to at least get past the eye-ball-death-ray guy. Imagine my shock in finding a game that, despite its overly-floaty mechanics, still manages to be pretty good when you dig in. It scratches the Metroidvania itch a bit. Then it plays its Ace: the foreground-background shift.



Gahdam that's good. It's a mechanic so good that it deserves a better game than this. I talked with @CitizenOfVerona about the history of this mechanic a little bit; this isn't the first game to do it, but boy, does it kick ass in a Metroid-type game. It's a second layer of exploration, buried in parallax scrolling. The possibilities for retraversal exploration are immense. It's too big a concept for a game this small. Super Xeodrifter needs to exist, because this is a truly great idea.

But...this is not that game. This works as a proof of concept, and it's a good way to spend 2-4 hours, depending on how many times the boss fights kill you. Needs a better checkpoint system (this uses the "indie hard" rationale for inflating the time you'll spend with it). Good soundtrack, decent visuals. In the post-HK/HLD era of indie games, though? This feels small, almost quaint. Yes, it turns out that it's certainly worth $2. But with grander and more ambitious level design, it'd be priceless.

I really wasn't a fan of how this game ended at first.


That's not how I wanna feel when I beat a videogame, man. I want to conquer the game and beat the enemy in a fair fight. I don't want to do an Old Yeller on the boss, and destroy it while it is defenseless and whimpering on the ground. That's just cold. But. I do concede that Jools has a point here. It's a hipster/indie-movie point, but it's legitimate, nonetheless. You just show up in this solar system. Maybe those creatures have seen your kind before. Maybe they're stealing your stuff because they know about the wreckage your kind causes. You're the intruder here. They didn't ask for your tourism, and maybe you're a piece of garbage for ruining all of their lives just so you can claim a couple of spare parts. Are you less of a hero if your murdering spree ends this way?

It reminds me of the Parts Unknown episode where Bourdain goes to Portugal. As part of a feast/festival, they slaughter a pig. And the episode makes you watch it. That poor pig gave out the most desperate, blood-curdling scream you'll ever hear. If you're not willing to see the cost of your feast, maybe you should. I eat meat; I'm no PETA vegetarian, but it helps to realize that your food isn't an abstraction that arrived on your plate, ready-made for the fall harvest. It's bloody and doesn't end well for one half of the equation.

We don't live in the future, but maybe one day game A.I. will be something more than an if-then-else script represented in onscreen pixels. Maybe it will have a rudimentary form of awareness. How good are you going to feel when you shoot it? Probably worse than I felt shooting that poor bastard in Xeodrifter.
 
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Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#59

I beat Devil May Cry 5 (XB1) today. No joke, this is one of the best action games I've played. Easily the best DMC game, it's not even a contest.

They went fucking ham with the lore in this game, pulling references/callbacks to both the Light Novel and the Anime. Which, as a nerd, I fully endorse and love.
 
#60
Paper Mario (N64)

One word: delightful. It has been years and years since I played this, but it's still a joy to play. The music is fantastic and the writing is perfect. One thing I appreciate more of now than when I was a kid is how after every chapter, all the citizens in toad town say something different, usually about the next chapter. It makes them feel more engaging than just a batch of generic toads.

Also, I like how before the final cutscene you can walk around part of the town talking to everybody. Besides Earthbound, I can't think of any other game that lets you take your time before the game ends proper. More games should.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
#62
Super Mario World (Wii U)

Basically the perfect video game. I admit the nostalgia is high with this one since I believe it was my first video game ever. Still, can't deny how brilliant everything is and how well it holds up.

The credits theme is also one of the most nostalgic things ever for me.

Super Mario World truly is a perfect game. I've 100% it multiple times.

I know it's not the game, but I still know the words to the Super Mario World cartoon theme song.
"Super Mario World - it's a blast from the past.
In Super Mario World - you've got to move fast.
Mario and Luigi - are doing what they can.
Yoshi and the Princess are giving them a hand...
in new Super Mario, super mario, Super Mario...World."
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#63
Alien: Isolation (PC)

I didn't expect the second time I played through Alien: Isolation to be more terrifying than the first.

When I first played the game three years ago, I basically beat it in a single sitting. I had sat down with the game after sunset one evening and didn't get up from my seat until I beat it the next afternoon. I have a theory for that: the rush of adrenaline combined with the desire to see what was around the corner pushed me through the exhaustion until the game finally released me. As much of a reach as it seems, I think it actually gave me some mild form of trauma, as I had bad dreams (not quite nightmares) about the alien for about a whole year. Sometimes I'd be having a not-quite-normal dream, one of those where a chair speaks with my grandmother's voice and gives me cryptic life advice when suddenly this jerk would show up, chase me, kill me, and kill me over and over again every time I respawned until I woke up.

Having replayed some missions in between that time and this one, I thought replaying the whole game a second time would be easy. But knowing what was coming ahead of time actually made it worse - curiosity turned into dread. After every tense scene, I would take long breaks before going into the next, more horrifying one. Because of this, it took me a whole week to get through it.

It's worth mentioning that part of what made the game different this time - besides the beautiful 1440p, 144hz visuals I was able to see with my new monitor - was playing it in the hardest difficulty with the "unpredictable alien" mod. In nightmare mode, the alien basically operates on a very tight leash around you, giving no room to breathe. This is justifiable by assuming that the alien can smell you, or use senses that humans don't have, to find you - but it's still an annoying design decision, as there is no mechanic for outsmarting the alien in any other way than sight and sound. The mod makes the alien operate on a larger radius and with more randomness than normal so that it essentially loses track of you and may leave the area for longer periods of time. Or it might come back more quickly than usual, hence the unpredictability. Overall, the effect was a more challenging experience with scarce resources but more breathing room from the alien, while also providing new surprises. Still, I'd rather recommend the standard hard difficulty mode coupled with the unpredictable alien mod for those that aren't masochists like me.

I'm sure we all have some games that give us the same feeling that our "comfort food" gives us. For example, Dark Souls is one of those games, for me, where I can start playing and immediately feel the real world melting away. By the time I snap out of it it's dark outside and I haven't eaten all day. Super Metroid does that, too, as do a few Zelda games. Well, Alien: Isolation does it too, in a twisted way. This game is for me as much nightmare fuel as it is comfort food. When I have my headphones on, am hiding under a desk, and hear the alien stomping around the area as it looks for me, I feel completely immersed in the world, like I belong there. But I don't want to belong there, because it's a damn scary place to be, and as much as I love the alien he needs to fuck off to another part of Sevastopol Station.

I love this game, and I'll replay it again in a few years when I've upgraded once again to a 4K monitor, or a VR helmet, or whatever more immersive medium has come around. By the way, a big shout out to the crazy people that played it on an Oculus Rift. Those guys are fearless maniacs and I wouldn't ever want to piss them off.

(Spoiler warning, don't watch if you want to go into this game fresh.)
 
#64
When I played Alien years ago there were moments I was nervous or jumpy, but I mostly blame the fact that at the time I could basically recite the movies from memories for the lack of true horror. That universe is so ingrained in me that I loved the game more for the exploring a space station.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#65
Dead Space 1 (PC)

I believed that this game would still be a lot of fun, and I was right. I first played it around 2010, soon after getting an Xbox 360 from my brother. At the time, I had gained an appreciation for "derelict spaceship" movies like Alien and Event Horizon. These are movies where space is a threat, some mysterious entity is methodically killing the crew, everything is dark and metallic, and there is nowhere to escape. It's not a utopian or dystopian vision of the future - just a look at the dangerous margins of civilization in whatever that future is. Dead Space fit into that mood perfectly.

Back then I was impressed by the sound and graphics, and I quickly associated the roar of a necromorph as it burst out from a vent behind me with a particular sensation of panic - especially if I was out of ammo. Today, it still holds strong. The graphics have aged well, in fact, when displayed at a much higher resolution and framerate than originally intended. The developers put just enough geometric detail into the U.S.G. Ishimura so that a 1440p resolution feels just right for it.

But more than that, Dead Space still plays really well. Moving Isaac around feels just a touch tanky, but still close enough to a modern standard that I can't tell I'm playing a game that is more than a decade old. The gun variety is great, but, like always, I stuck with the Plasma Cutter because of how it feels, and how practical it is. The game doesn't get boring with a single weapon type due to the large enemy variety, with different monsters having different weaknesses and strengths. This seems like an obvious trait of good games, but it's worth mentioning because the sequels forgot the importance of it. But I'll talk of those later.

The game really comes together in the zero-gravity, no-oxygen sections. First, I lose sound to empty space, and can't tell whether enemies are coming behind me. Then I have to spin around a zero-G room to solve a puzzle while monsters leap at me from all directions. No longer able to rely on my sense of hearing and the layout of the area, panic slips in and I find myself frantically missing shots and using more medkits than I need.

Another thing I noticed while playing this game is how little of the lore is explained. With every bit of information that the game reveals, it creates more questions. Why are people turning into monsters? Are the monsters intelligent? What is the Marker, exactly? Why have humans started worshipping it? Are they being controlled? Is Isaac being controlled? Is the government in on it? Do they really know what they're dealing with? What is that final boss thing? Are there more of these Markers and monsters somewhere else? This game offers only a small glimpse into an unfathomable cosmic terror, and the entirety of it lingers dreadfully past the credits scene. That is, until the sequels answer all these questions, ruining the mystery.

Overall, I was still really pleased with this game. But I might never replay it again, with the exception of one case: if it comes to the Switch. If it does (it won't), I'll have to do my duty and let EA know this is the kind of game I want. Otherwise, I've played it enough times that I'm afraid I'll wear it out if I play it once more.
 
#66
It's been awhile since I played Dead Space 1 & 2 (never played 3) but I remember being pretty dang confused at the end of 2 for inconsistencies in the story and all that marker stuff. Maybe everything got explained more in 3 but I love 1 for the tight little horror package it is. Too good for EA apparently...

Anyways.

Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Kirby Nighmare in Dreamland (Wii U)

Dreamland is just one of my favorite games. Which is weird considering my feelings on the series as of late. Kirby's Adventure (Nightmare in Dreamland being the remake) was usually one of my least favorites for the sole reason it took me ages to beat it. I never did work up the enthusiasm to beat it until I believe the 3DS re-release or the anniversary collection on Wii.

I mention Dreamland being one of my favorites as weird because that's the basic Kirby template, you can't even copy abilities in it. Also, it takes me less than a half hour to beat. I'm not exactly sure what draws me to it, maybe nostalgia but it's just such a perfect ''snack" of a game. No matter what, I can count on Dreamland to give me 30 minutes of fun.

I never owned a NES so I only experienced Adventure after Crystal Shards (n64). My favorite Kirby games are ones that are loaded with side activities. One of my favorites is Return to Dreamland on Wii. Collectibles in the stage, extra challenging rooms, and specific challenge courses for numerous copy abilities that can be pretty challenging. It's the complete Kirby package. Squeak Squad is a very safe Kirby game but it also has unlockables and collectibles to flesh it out. Rainbow Curse, Epic Yarn, Crystal Shards all have unique experiences in the core mechanics but also unique ways to flesh out the side stuff. Rainbow Curse has challenges that make me curse fittingly, Epic Yarn has the gem count that encourages holding onto as many as possible, and Crystal Shards encourages combining two abilities to find all the shards in the levels.

Adventure has...the first time Kirby could copy abilities. Some stages has a hidden switch but even they don't make the most of the abilities most of the time. I bought Nightmare in Dreamland since it was a remake, I heard it included new abilities and mini games so I figured this would make me appreciate it more (I do like Adventure don't get me wrong). Once I played Nightmare I think I really figured out why Adventure never hooked me like others, the levels aren't that interesting. Quite a few of them feel like introductions to bigger better levels. Some are great, and some hidden switches took me awhile to figure out. All that said, hot damn I love how the GBA/DS games look. Kirby is just so fucking cute and the artstyle and music just charms me to no end. The stage intros are always smile worthy.


Another big ol' checkmark is the music. Always loved Kirby's music. One of the best ever, fight me.

Overall I do like Adventure and Nightmare does make it more interesting, but I still think future titles are better. That said, while I love Return, after the two 3DS games having the same graphical style/physics/controls/etc, I'm not that excited to play Star Allies on Switch. From what little I've seen, it looks more of the same. In recent years I tend to like the experiments more, Mass Attack and Rainbow Curse comes to mind. Also, Dedede Drum Dash is a dope ass mini game.



Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

Was feeling nostalgic for the gamecube, and I guess I'm still on the Mario kick. I got all 120 Sprites and had a good time overall. Some missions are meh, some one-off levels are pretty jank though. The camera can be a stickler but I just like this game. I think it's the environments. I always look forward to the Hotel level, and Delfino Plaza may be my favorite hub area ever. I always pick it when I boot up Smash Bros for a few rounds.

The Blue Coins are just unnecessary though. The final boss occurs when you beat all the Shadow Mario levels, regardless how many Sprites you have so you could just not get a single blue coin. Get all 120 Sprites and you're rewarded with a ending screen. One NPC mentions how it's the end of the game which is funny, but considering how there's 240 of the fucking things, it's bragging rights. I didn't mind too much as I really do just enjoy taking in these levels.


...My write ups are becoming quite large.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#68
I finished my replay of Kingdom Hearts 2 (PS4) today. It's kind of amazing how much I straight up forgot about this game over 13 years since I first played it.

Fuck Xigbar, Xaldin, and that one fight with R-kun near the end of the game. Frickin' wonky as hell and harder than they needed to be.

Still, though, it's a lot of fun, and now I'm one step closer to finally being ready for Kingdom Hearts 3.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#69
Dead Space 2 (PC)

It's true what they say about these sequels:
that they are never, to their firsts, equal.

I would have thought, with scenes this bombastic,
I'd have a game that's truly fantastic.

But this much action is smoke and mirrors,
diverting (yes, it's fun) from how it's worse.

It used to be, you see, that Zero-G
unnerved, disoriented, befuddled me.
But now I flew around with a jetpack -
my senses, no more, did confidence lack.

Guns were better, the monsters were stronger,
and they came at me in greater numbers.
But this fun was shallow and didn't last
and made me wish to see the credits fast.
 
#71
@Juegos

I've beaten Dreamland 3 once on the anniversary collection. When I looked up info for the game I found that reviewers at the time were a bit disappointed in it for how simple it was since it came out after the gold standard of Kirby games (for most accounts) Superstar. I liked it. I'll describe it as I described the first one: a fun little snack of a game.

Also, I think my biggest issue with Dead Space 2 is how much more linear it felt. I loved how DS 1 was almost System Shock-esque. Each floor was pretty open to exploring and whatnot. 2 went for the more linear bombastic style. Still a fun enough game though. I really should play 3 just for completions sake.

@Karkashan

Yeah, Xaldin always gave me trouble, until I learned that if you do the Pirates revisit first and get Duck Flare. That move utterly makes Xaldin trivial. If R-kun is who I'm thinking of, than yeah, by the hardest fight in the game. It's such a big difficulty spike, it feels like they put a hard mode boss in normal mode.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#72
Hollow Knight (NS)

Now that I have the dogbone 8Bitdo controller, I wanted to replay this with a proper D-pad.

Most of the stuff I said about the game on my first playthrough from last year is still true here. The art is bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful (only Muramasa is a prettier 2D action game, IMO). The music is almost as gorgeous, and the sound design is top notch (I fucking hate going to Deepnest, just because of the sounds). The controls are 95% perfect - only the down slash causes the odd hiccup, an issue more to do with the Unity engine than Team Cherry. And the exploration is the stuff that causes you to sit and think "man, I wish more games were like this." The way the areas interlock, the slow unfurling of the world, the new environments that surprise you...I mean, the only other game that has given me those feels in recent years was Breath of the Wild. My praise can't get higher than that, can it?

The combat has a bit more room for improvisation than I thought, too. There are attack windows I tried to air-dash through this time that I wouldn't have dreamed of before. One fight in particular was super satisfying, because one perfect air-dash completely turned the tide.

Hell, the time-sink factor is even more reasonable than I thought it was. I put in 35 hours on my first time with 56% collection, and I thought "damn, there is so much more to see." This time? 20 hours with 57% (and one fewer health mask). There really is still more to see, but the main portion of the game is beatable in an eminently reasonable amount of time.

OK, deep breath.

All of that said? I totally see where Bob was coming from. Far, far more than I did on my first playthrough.

There is stuff in this game that is just unforgivably cheap. Why are there platforming sections dependent on down-slashes if the down-slash isn't reliable? Why are there stalactites falling from ceilings when your lantern lighting doesn't give me enough info on the room to know if I can up-slash in time to block? (Your lantern lighting is getting old with hiding death spikes on the floor, too.) Why is my shadow/shade a full floor down from where I actually died? Why is it chilling in a room with enemies I hadn't even seen before? Thus I don't know their patterns, and there's no way back out, because you locked the door behind me. Me with 2 life points and 4,000 Geo on the line. Thanks.

And then there are the utter hose-shit RNG bosses. I thought that since I'd been playing some harder games lately, that these encounters wouldn't bother me as much. I was right. They bothered me more.

The Watcher Knights and the "final" boss are such crap. With the Knights, having an RNG sequence that spaces one rolling attack between one bouncing attack is just dumb. You can't dodge that with any degree of reliability, because the window for dodging is always different, spaced higher or lower. So just like last time, I cheesed them with quick focus, spore shroom, and grubsong. Which makes the fight super-unfulfilling, but at least ends it. The "final" boss? Not as bad. The RNG occasionally creates scenarios where the bastard will forever be right on top of you, though. And the projectile attacks can suck a dick. But this is also why I get a kick out of reading some of the "hardest bosses" lists for this reason. The "final" boss has given me fits because I keep getting unlucky with its brand of RNG. OTOH, the Mantis Lords? I love that fight. Everyone thinks it's harder, and it has random attacks, but because the Lords' moveset is more limited, it's more about your reflexes and skill.

So I get where you were coming from @BobSilencieux (and this is an abridged list; I'm not even getting to some of the down-slash dependent platforming, or why the freaking hell that in a game with this much lore there's no better hints on finding the shade cloak - I've beaten HK twice now without it).

But.

This is still a great game, in my view. After playing a few Castlevanias in a row, I concede it is far less special than I initially thought - Hollow Knight literally does absolutely nothing new. But the exploration and art are so good that it doesn't matter if the chef isn't original here. They still make the best pork milanese you'll ever eat. And the map has so many secrets and optional areas...I mean, sure, maybe you don't want hors d'oeuvres, dessert, cocktails, and coffee, but it's here if the mood strikes you. I'll go back for dessert with this save file and try to find some new areas. Maybe even get the real final boss, if I'm feeling spicy.

You're a few balancing tweaks away, Team Cherry. So close.
 
#74
Hollow Knight (NS)

Now that I have the dogbone 8Bitdo controller, I wanted to replay this with a proper D-pad.

Most of the stuff I said about the game on my first playthrough from last year is still true here. The art is bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful (only Muramasa is a prettier 2D action game, IMO). The music is almost as gorgeous, and the sound design is top notch (I fucking hate going to Deepnest, just because of the sounds). The controls are 95% perfect - only the down slash causes the odd hiccup, an issue more to do with the Unity engine than Team Cherry. And the exploration is the stuff that causes you to sit and think "man, I wish more games were like this." The way the areas interlock, the slow unfurling of the world, the new environments that surprise you...I mean, the only other game that has given me those feels in recent years was Breath of the Wild. My praise can't get higher than that, can it?

The combat has a bit more room for improvisation than I thought, too. There are attack windows I tried to air-dash through this time that I wouldn't have dreamed of before. One fight in particular was super satisfying, because one perfect air-dash completely turned the tide.

Hell, the time-sink factor is even more reasonable than I thought it was. I put in 35 hours on my first time with 56% collection, and I thought "damn, there is so much more to see." This time? 20 hours with 57% (and one fewer health mask). There really is still more to see, but the main portion of the game is beatable in an eminently reasonable amount of time.

OK, deep breath.

All of that said? I totally see where Bob was coming from. Far, far more than I did on my first playthrough.

There is stuff in this game that is just unforgivably cheap. Why are there platforming sections dependent on down-slashes if the down-slash isn't reliable? Why are there stalactites falling from ceilings when your lantern lighting doesn't give me enough info on the room to know if I can up-slash in time to block? (Your lantern lighting is getting old with hiding death spikes on the floor, too.) Why is my shadow/shade a full floor down from where I actually died? Why is it chilling in a room with enemies I hadn't even seen before? Thus I don't know their patterns, and there's no way back out, because you locked the door behind me. Me with 2 life points and 4,000 Geo on the line. Thanks.

And then there are the utter hose-shit RNG bosses. I thought that since I'd been playing some harder games lately, that these encounters wouldn't bother me as much. I was right. They bothered me more.

The Watcher Knights and the "final" boss are such crap. With the Knights, having an RNG sequence that spaces one rolling attack between one bouncing attack is just dumb. You can't dodge that with any degree of reliability, because the window for dodging is always different, spaced higher or lower. So just like last time, I cheesed them with quick focus, spore shroom, and grubsong. Which makes the fight super-unfulfilling, but at least ends it. The "final" boss? Not as bad. The RNG occasionally creates scenarios where the bastard will forever be right on top of you, though. And the projectile attacks can suck a dick. But this is also why I get a kick out of reading some of the "hardest bosses" lists for this reason. The "final" boss has given me fits because I keep getting unlucky with its brand of RNG. OTOH, the Mantis Lords? I love that fight. Everyone thinks it's harder, and it has random attacks, but because the Lords' moveset is more limited, it's more about your reflexes and skill.

So I get where you were coming from @BobSilencieux (and this is an abridged list; I'm not even getting to some of the down-slash dependent platforming, or why the freaking hell that in a game with this much lore there's no better hints on finding the shade cloak - I've beaten HK twice now without it).

But.

This is still a great game, in my view. After playing a few Castlevanias in a row, I concede it is far less special than I initially thought - Hollow Knight literally does absolutely nothing new. But the exploration and art are so good that it doesn't matter if the chef isn't original here. They still make the best pork milanese you'll ever eat. And the map has so many secrets and optional areas...I mean, sure, maybe you don't want hors d'oeuvres, dessert, cocktails, and coffee, but it's here if the mood strikes you. I'll go back for dessert with this save file and try to find some new areas. Maybe even get the real final boss, if I'm feeling spicy.

You're a few balancing tweaks away, Team Cherry. So close.
I can't remember the last time I've been so unsure of whether or not to play a game. The last two that really comes to mind is when Matt convinced me to give Wonderful 101 and Monster Hunter a go.


Semi-related: I forgot to mention in my Kirby write up that Amazing Mirror for GBA (also on Wii U) is a game that might interest you. It's a Metroidvania game where the copy abilities are your means of progression and discovering secrets. Sometimes you have to leave certain areas to find the correct ability and hold onto it for awhile. It's been awhile since I played it, but I remember having a good time. It's not ball bustingly difficult, but like many Kirby games it is a fun romp. If you're tired of hard ass games, it might be worth checking out.

I do admit though my love of Kirby may make me like the games more than the average person, but eh, that's how it works in general I guess.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#75
I can't remember the last time I've been so unsure of whether or not to play a game. The last two that really comes to mind is when Matt convinced me to give Wonderful 101 and Monster Hunter a go.


Semi-related: I forgot to mention in my Kirby write up that Amazing Mirror for GBA (also on Wii U) is a game that might interest you. It's a Metroidvania game where the copy abilities are your means of progression and discovering secrets. Sometimes you have to leave certain areas to find the correct ability and hold onto it for awhile. It's been awhile since I played it, but I remember having a good time. It's not ball bustingly difficult, but like many Kirby games it is a fun romp. If you're tired of hard ass games, it might be worth checking out.

I do admit though my love of Kirby may make me like the games more than the average person, but eh, that's how it works in general I guess.
I'm 1,000,000% on the "you should play it" side here. After replaying it, the concern of a 40-60 hour Metroidvania being too much of a time-sink has pretty much been eliminated, IMO. It can be beaten in 15-20 hours. If you want to spend triple that time, you totally can, but it's all optional. And unlike MH or W101, you already know you like this style of game.

(I'll keep Kirby in mind. I started playing the one on NESflix last night. Hadn't ever played a Kirby game before.)
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#76
I have beaten Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PC) .

I no life'd the fuck out of this game. Which was a good thing because it's hard af and it took me 28 hours to finish it.

It's good. Really damn good. Smooth controls and wonderful tools that you can use to take down your enemies.

but fuck me it's hard. It's a 10/10 great game but woof, this one won't get put back on the backlog for a replay anytime soon.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#77
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)

Had to put this playthrough on hold because Sekiro, but I went back to it and spent 9 hour so hours straight finishing it up.

Very fun, very solid Kingdom Hearts game. Gameplay wise, it's up there with BBS as my current favorite.

Here's hoping KH3 lives up to at least 30% of my expectations.
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
#78
Turok (NS)

This was one of the first games to come out on the N64 (after Mario, Pilotwings, and Waverace) and IIRC, the first game to use the rumble pak. I loved it back then, and it is still a really really fun game to play 22 years later. Yes, 22 years. Game design has changed so much since then, and not all for the better [far from it, actually] so this was a breath of fresh air. Great, fun game.

Fun fact: in 1997, this game cost me £85 (70 for the game itself and 15 for the rumble pak). In 2019, it was £15.
 

simplyTravis

"A nice guy, but looks like a f'n Jedi!"
#80
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2 - TORNA!

Beat it in an hour after not playing for 4 months...whoops.

From the discord:

My thoughts regarding the end of Torna:
I am quite impressed with the ending after not coming back to the game in a while. Everything was wrapped up in a nice little bow, of sorts, and packaged well enough to make me want to start up XC2 all over again. The monster guy at the end was pretty creepy and I was not expecting to have another fight after Malos at all. Out of all the XC2 story I felt like the ending of this was very hard hitting and showed the depth of Mythra that you don't see as much in the first one. I think after Torna I might be enjoying XC2+Torna's story almost on the same level as I did XC1.
 
#81
Ys Origin (PC)

Y'know, playing this game made me think of how many other underrated or hidden gems are out there that I don't know about. I believe I got into the series from hankering for top down action games and my friend who also likes the series, and I'm really glad I did.

Ys (so far, this is my 4th one) is a series that just does everything it sets out to do right. Combat is simple yet a large monster pool and challenging bosses make it very fun. One attack button, three spells that you can charge, jump and a boost mode that halves damage and alters your attacks (in Origin and 3). It ain't rocket science but the game smartly balances it with its difficulty. Go into a new area and you're greeted by some pretty interesting looking monsters. Some may kill you but in no time you'll learn their patterns and you can start mowing them down. Bosses are similar - you enter the boss room brimming with confidence, only for that confidence (and your body) to be smeared across four dimensions. So what do you do? Hit that retry button and learn it's attack patterns and eventually overcome it? Or grind up a few levels than melt his health meter away? That's another thing I like about the challenge/combat, if you're good enough you can beat this game underleveled, but even a few points in defense or attack can make a noticeable difference.

I also really dug the story. Origin has three characters to play as and they each alter the main story. The third character's story is the canon one, but the other two does add to character motivations and other plot points so it's not like their useless. Certain characters I disliked on my first playthrough became one of my favorites in subsequent playthroughs. That said, this isn't like Resident Evil or Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. No exclusive levels, the items and gear are in the same locations and most of the bosses are the same (certain character boss battles do change, and one puzzle alters slightly). There is a true final boss for the last playable character which is fitting, but having to play essentially the same game three times just to experience the whole story is a bit tiring, but the game is great so I don't mind too much.

One thing I was worried about was how the whole game takes place in a tower. Past games (and I guess future games) have towns and an overworld to explore. I was worried taking that out would make it a bit more monotone, I guess it is in a way but the levels are distinct despite all being inside a tower. Still, I look forward to running around open fields in the next game.

Basically, I'm continually impressed with this series. That said, it's impossible for me to talk about Ys and not mention the music. Fuck sakes whoever composes these games aren't getting paid enough. I usually post a song that either sounds like final boss music but is actually the opening area's theme, or the first dungeon, or a song that happens when real shit's about to get serious. In the sake of tradition I'll post a track here too but at first I wasn't sure which one to post. There are some absolute bangers but then one particular scene happened. Now, I'm a bit of a sap, no secret there. Fire Emblem Conquest made me cry, and I swear whenever I beat FFX someone cuts onions nearby, and this scene made me say "noooo..." out loud. I didn't cry or anything but dang if it didn't hit me square in the feels.

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#82
AM2R (PC)

5:40, 60% collection. Most of the hours were spent filling in the map (probably another hour of using quick travel, because I could).

Man, has it really been 3 years since I played this? Damn. It's hard to say anything bad about this game. It's a 100% passion project, and it's free (and still available if you look around, although you should always be wary of where you procure it). And it's very, very good.

...but I'm not going to tell you it's above criticism. The frame pacing seems ever-so-slightly off, like there's a tiny image jutter here or there, that gave me a bit of eye fatigue along the way. I made the camera freak out on a few occasions. There's a strange mechanical hiccup where if you turn opposite and shoot, you...can't shoot. These are probably issues that would've been patched, but we don't live in a world where this game is patchable.

And the Metroids are just...meh. The music makes up for so much, to make it really feel like an event, but in the end? You're pretty much just face-tanking and missile spamming, over and over. It quickly goes from feeling like a bunch of boss fights into a series of missile sponge annoyances.

Moving beyond this particular iteration, though? The Metroid 2 design template really is "Go here, kill that. Next." This is easily as linear as Fusion or ZM (it's even more straightforward than Other M). And that's because Metroid isn't only a maze-like, retraversal-fest. Not to get on a tangent, but the fandom is stupid for thinking that's the defining feature. The defining features are: action game, platforming, upgrades. The rest is all negotiable. Anyone proclaiming "Yeah, this is a real Metroid game!" at the expense of other games in the series is part of the reason the Metroid fandom is the most intolerable in all of gaming.

So, caveats aside, as far as the more linear strain of Metroid design goes? AM2R is a freakin' good one. The fast-travel introduced at the end is neat, and that encourages you to look around, but it's really only alluring as a way to play tourist on SR388. What's really important is that the meat and potatoes are quite nice here (and they damn well should be; I know the story is "hey I putzed around in GameMaker," but...dude, this feels like the moveset from Zero Mission was ripped straight from the ROM). The music is routinely awesome. The spritework is surprisingly a lot better* than I remember. (This is also the part where I point out other artists helped out with this game. The mythical "one guy made this!" thing doesn't make it past the credits. I counted about 30 listed for AM2R. They also give the credits for the original GB Return of Samus, where I counted...27.)

The most important thing, though? Feel. Yeah, this nails it. This feels like a Metroid game. There is this weird magic between running, jumping, shooting, morphballing and bombing. I really do love the Igavania strain of Castlevania, and I enjoyed the hell out of Hollow Knight, but the moveset for a 2D Metroid is special. AM2R has that. I honestly wasn't enjoying my replay of this at first, because of some of the mechanical hiccups I mentioned earlier. But when the game locks in? Yep. It's Metroid.

Except it's not. It is, perhaps, the best fan game you'll ever play, though.


[*I'll say that this is also proof of people saying "pixel art never ages!" need to chill. Something like HLD proves you can make the aesthetic work for a modern sensibility, but AM2R looks like...a GBA game. The nicest touches are some neat lighting and explosion effects.]
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#83
Hyper Light Drifter (NS)

6 hours and change, only required modules (well...plus one).

Post shmup-fest 2019, I wanted to play some manageably-sized games with worlds I could get lost in for a bit. This one fit the bill, and as a bonus, I noticed an option for "New Game Alt." So I click it, and you get an alternate drifter. Instead of 5 health points, you only get 3, and I immediately regretted my decision...until I saw that the melee attack is flipping devastating. It reaches appreciably further* out than the original drifter's sword, and it either has a crazy hit box, or it does AOE damage. It doesn't completely change the game or anything, but it certainly encourages you to be playing on offense a lot, which does make the game's pacing feel a bit quicker. [*I think the dodge/dash moves further, too.]

My first-playthrough of HLD was good, but frustrating, because I pretty much brute forced it (still have no idea how I beat it when I hardly used any of the available skills). The second playthrough was pretty great, because I exploited what the drifter can really do. This one? Falls a bit in the middle. I still really enjoy this game, but whew, the menu-map is shit. Some of the modules are cheaply hidden, and a particular boss occasionally has a finicky insta-death combo (it's like if you're one step too close, curtains)...which is exacerabted here with the 3 health points. Still, it's fair, considering the offensive firepower you get with the Alt Drifter.

But the more I play it, the more I admire this game. It's like rye whiskey - kinda rough on purpose.

And it's one of those pieces of software that just feels right in handheld. I wish I could put my finger on why, but some games seem to have a really special quality when you're playing them on a smaller screen, close to your eyes. Don't get me wrong, it's still good on a big screen. But give me a Switch and a pair of headphones for this one.
 
#84
Streets of Rage (PC)

Streets of Rage 4 had a new trailer drop and it looks gorgeous. It's the same team who did Wonder Boy and the Dragon's Trap. I'm a sucker for hand drawn sprite work. Only problem? I'm just not big into arcade beat-em-ups. For whatever reason they just don't do it for me. 3D brawlers are fine, No More Heroes, MadWorld and others are some fantastic games. Still, I do own Streets of Rage 1 and 2 on Steam so I figured I'd give these a chance.

Today a friend and I did a co-op run and it was...fun. I was surprised actually. It's simple, basic even for the genre but I think the tunes elevate it. I'm the type of person who if the soundtrack is great it really ups the whole game. Mega Man 11? Great game. If it had a soundtrack on par with 2 or X, it'd be higher on the list.

Beating people up as a hot 90's cop in a pleasingly short skirt was just fun. We died on the final boss because he asks you if you want to work for him. My friend couldn't change his answer so I answered "no" but we still had to fight each other, wasting my lives and continues, then I had to fight him myself.

Aaaaand now I think I know why I usually don't like these games - the difficulty. When I got back home I level selected the last level and did it myself. Two enemies that were bosses in previous levels showed up again and they're just kinda bullshit. Previous bosses showed up but after awhile I figured out a good strategy. Two specific bosses just seem cheap. Maybe I'm missing something but man they just drain your health and took me a lot of lives to eventually get them. The last boss can also kill you in three hits on easy, his pattern isn't as bad though, even though he can attack you while he should be stun locked by your combo, which also seems unavoidable. I know arcade games were tough so you could keep pumping in more quarters, but this is easy mode...on the Genesis.

I'm pretty salty, but like Metal Gear Solid, I can't stay mad at a game with a soundtrack like this.

I'll eventually boot up SoR 2 and 3, but not right away.
 

FriedShoes

MLG
Moderator
#85
Ace Attorney Trilogy (NS)
THIS COUNTS AS THREE GAMES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU

Over 80 hours to go through these, the only good games in the series as far as I know, I've never played the 3DS ones and couldnt get over them making Phoenix Wright a hobo in Apollo Justice.

Anyhow, haven't played these games in a long time, so a lot of the logic puzzles, story beats, twists, characters, etc. all felt fairly fresh.
Whats new in this version is the "HD" upgrade, which is hit but sometimes miss, especially in some of the case opening animations. These are ripped, afaik, directly from the iOS version of the game, and it kinds just looks like they airbrushed some of the old GBA art to make it more presentable. Looked weird, but got used to it pretty fast and they eventually made good on the upgrade. I mean, look at my mans



The games, and this series, is just very unique, haven't played anything like it and there really isnt much similar aside from Danganronpa (never played it myself). It's part adventure point-n-click, part puzzle game, all completely accurate lawyer simulation.

The writing is, for the most part, very fucking good. Aside from some extremely awful dated references (Milkshake and The Harlem Shake and I guess some Twin Peak shit) and corny character names, the game knows when to be dramatic and meaningful. The game is all about high points and the lowest of low points, and is successful in worming your mind into its logic.
The logic puzzle design is pretty fair as well. The only problem is in this version you can save at will and save scum and bruteforce your way through every case, if you have the patience and lack of cerebellum. I did my best to save appropriately and sparingly in order to patch some honor into my bones. The only time I didnt was in Ace Attorney 2, which was noticeably more difficult, and caused me to hit a lot of game overs. There is also Case 5 in Ace Attorney 1, which is entirely skippable, and should be as it has one of the most infuriating 3D puzzles ever concocted. I nearly snapped my Switch.

The games are best played in bursts. Each game is divided into Cases, which is further divided into act breaks. I would take a breather here as binging through it all will tire you out.

A lot of reading required, the only voice acting present is the bombastic objections each lawyer has. Still, the writing is able to give each character a lot of personality, and the characters and and their art and animations all work together nicely.

The trilogy of games is not forced, all the games have threads that connect them in strong ways, leading up to some powerful shit in the final case of the last game. And because I now feel a vacant black hole in my soul again, I know for sure the game is that good. phew.

So give me three points on the scoreboard, yes thanks.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#86
Finished Kingdom Hearts 3 (XB1)

This game was super pretty, super smooth, and just a really fun time all the way through.


^ Favorite world, right there. It was like they stuck a mini Black Flag or Wind Wakerish kinda thing in the game. Least fave would be....San Fransokyo? Nah, it'd be Tangled. SanFran was just over way too damn quick, meanwhile Tangled really outstayed its welcome, imo.

It was weird being almost level 50 without any serious grinding in a Kingdom Hearts game. Most of the time I seem to be just shy of level 40 at most.

The Gummi Ship stuff had no need for that insane level of depth, Nomura. It really, really didn't. At least you made sure that it was mechanically more enjoyable than that straight up Starfox ripoff stuff from earlier games.

Most terrifying moment of the game was the Chair segment. People who've beaten the game will know what I'm talking about.
 
#87
Resident Evil 2 (PS4)

I finished the Leon-Claire run awhile ago but wanted to take a break before doing the Claire-Leon run, and tonight I finally finished it.

It's a pretty damn great game but apart of me still prefers the original. I'm not sure whether it's nostalgia, or the charm it has (survival horror but can be funny with it's voice acting). I don't mind fixed cameras and tank controls if the game is designed around it but I do like the over-the-shoulder style as well. I find some things is better in the original like Chief Irons. He had a fake niceness about him but you could tell he was a loose canon, then when you read his diary you find out how fucked up he is. In this one he's a madman from the get go.

Really I think it comes down to the legacy of RE2. I played it in high school with cheats cause I was a wimp when it came to horror, but even then I could tell it was special. Even my replay of it a few months ago without cheats, it just has this sense of a landmark title about it. It's really hard to top that kind of feeling with a game, unless it was a 1-1 remake like the Crash games.

Still, I love how it plays around with the familiarity of the original. The licker on the first floor west side is now on the second floor. Mr. X walking towards the camera only to pause and punch it out happens in the police station instead of the laboratory, that sort of thing.

But what's a Resident Evil game without those moments. The G monsters in the sewers are a bit annoying, and by the 4th time I fought G version 2 I was also a bit annoyed. Mr. X can be scary but sometimes when you're just trying to get an item and have to constantly duck into a save room it can be tiring as well. These are only nitpicks in an otherwise early contender for GOTY.

It's also Resident Evil 2, so obligatory Claire is best girl comment.
 
#89
Spyro The Dragon (PS4)

I played this game a lot as a kid but never finished it and I'm not sure why. I loved it but never did get to the final batch of levels. I picked up the Reignited Trilogy last week and just finished the first one. I still really enjoy it. I also made up for the lack of not finishing it as a kid by getting 120%, doing all the skill challenges and even getting a platinum trophy for it which is something I rarely do. Basically I just wanted to get as much as possible out of the game.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
#90
Okami HD (NS)

Clocking in at just over 43 hours, this is still in my top 10 games I've ever played. I love the story, I love the art. As you're playing, it is divided into 3 full acts, then a finale, and each act could be its own (albeit shorter) game. It was perfect playing it on the Switch in handheld mode - drawing on the screen was simple and intuitive.

That is definitely one series I would love to see them come back to again with another full size console game.
 
#91
Pokemon Red (3DS)

I've been in the mood for Pokemon lately. As a kid I sank an ungodly amount of time in Gen 1 and 2. I honestly don't know why I didn't get Gen 3 on the GBA. Either way, I picked up Red the weekend and basically didn't stop playing whenever I was home. I love it so much. I love replayability in video games and coming up with a new team every playthrough is a joy. This time around I picked some of my all time favorites but also went for two types I don't use often: Fighting and Ice. Here is my all-star rag tag group of bad motherfuckers

(Excuse the janky pics, I don't have a 3DS capture card)

shoulder.png
Primeape a.k.a @Shoulder

What a power house. I normally don't go for fighting types but I wanted to this time. Jokes on me, only fighting move he learns is Seismic Toss, which does damage equal to your level. It wasn't until I taught him Submission in Victory Road with a TM until he had a Fighting type move. That's a derp moment, but teaching him Rock Slide was smart decision. Flying and Fire types fear Shoulder, even Dragonite wouldn't actually attack him, just kept using barrier and agility (Glitch? Or paralyzed with fear?)

MVP moment: Evolving from a Mankey, going from "he's okay" to "brick shithouse"

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Dodrio a.k.a @EvilTw1n
You want to talk about brick shithouses? Look no further than possibly my absolute favorite Pokemon (what an honor!). Every time I play through Silver I always wait until pre-Elite 4 to pick one up. My last playthrough of Red/Blue also had one I believe many years ago. Drill Peck and Tri Attack are just unstoppable. Dragonair 10+ levels higher than me? Hold my beer bro.

MVP moment: Being a beast throughout.

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Vileplume a.k.a @FriedShoes
I have a soft spot for grass type Pokemon. If I had to play Blue I would have getting a Victreebel instead, but here we are. Petal Dance is such a good move and Toxic + Mega Drain...beautiful.

(I didn't know exactly who would be named what when I picked my team before playing, but catching an Oddish reveals him as a "weed". Weed...fried...yeah)

MVP moment: Destroying a Rhydon 19 levels higher than him

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Dewgong a.k.a @Juegos
Seel/Dewgong: The dogos of the sea. I was a bit surprised seeing him as just a Water type and not ice, but Ice Beam and Aurora Beam are great moves. Take Down also wrecked Pokemon that weren't weak to Ice. Every team needs it's mascot.

MVP moment: Dragon-Slayer

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Slowbro a.k.a @mattavelle1
Bro. One of my favorites as well and a reliable go-to from many playthroughs of Blue/Red and Silver/Gold.

Always there for ya, always ready to do what needs to be done. So strong, so unstoppable. Can't thank him enough for years of being there. Slowbro is pretty good too.

MVP moment: Amnesia + Physic = Unstoppable Badass (like seriously, it's disgusting)

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Charizard a.k.a @Karkashan
The leader (admin) of our JC discord group, felt appropriate to name the starter after her. First gym has rock type Pokemon? Pfft, get outta here Brock, I got this. Slap on Earthquake from a TM and watch as nothing can touch her.

MVP moment: Getting to high 20's (I kept Charmander for awhile) before I even captured the next permanent addition to the team pre-Misty fight
MVP moment 2: Never fainting throughout the whole game.


(Trainer name is Verona. I know there's more than 6 people on TNE, so I had to go OG of the OG crew and JC.)
 
#93
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)

Kept you waiting huh?

After tag teaming 2 and 3, I had to take a break before watching 4. I remember last Friday I said "I'll just play for an hour or so". Jokes on me, I literally sat and watched an hour of cutscenes straight. It was the end of Act 3 and the Mission Briefing for Act 4 back-to-back. I laughed a bit.

So yeah, that's why I had to wait a bit. As much as I do enjoy the story and characters, I got to be in the proper mood. Call me old fashioned but sometimes I want to play a video game. Jokes aside I do legitimately enjoy the gameplay of 4. I think it's a good mix of what came before with some further refinement. The camouflage from 3 returns but it's built into Snake's suit so you don't spend as much time in menus swapping camo. You can now crouch walk which helps keep the pace from getting too slow.

Quite a bit of the game involves sneaking around battlefields so the game can allow you to just go in guns blazing, and the amount of guns on offer is a bit unnecessary. To be fair I always find when a game gives you dozens of samey guns with minor stat changes a bit silly. I stuck to my tranquilizer guns and cardboard box. Although from Act 3 onward there is very little of sneaking around human soldiers. Act 3 involves tailing a guy to a hideout, an on rail shooter section and a boss fight. Act 4 is sneaking around machines, and Act 5 is mostly pre-alerted enemies (and it's pretty little of that too). It does seem like as the game goes on the cutscenes slowly take over more and more time. That bothers me a bit because I do love the gameplay here.

That said, I do enjoy the story here for the most part. I do find some scenes a bit too much. Some scenes also felt like they happened just to make a character cry. I'm just gonna come out and say it, I like Raiden from 2. I still like him here but it felt a bit too try-hardy to get people to like him (I am looking forward to playing Rising so what do I know?). I also think the true motivation of Liquid Ocelot is a bit confusing, not "I don't understand" confusing, just "really?...why?".

On the positive side of things, I think Snake may be the most interesting in 4. I always liked Snake but seeing him aging fast and on death's door from old age and FOXDIE mutating, made me pretty sad for the guy. There's one scene where he looks in the mirror with his shirt off prior to being examined by a doctor, and just the look on his face. Pretty heart wrenching stuff. Also, I could listen to Roy Cambell give me orders all day. Fuck it, get Roy Cambell to be in every game going forward. King of Hyrule teaching Link the basics? Roy Cambell. Lara Croft's dad in flashbacks? Roy Cambell. Princess Peach yelling for Mario? Roy fuckin' Cambell.

Another part I really liked was Act 4; you go back to Shadow Moses and when you go to certain locations audio from MGS 1 plays over as Snake relieves the memory. As entertaining as some scenes are, it's the quieter character moments that does it for me more. Big Boss saluting The Bosses' grave in 3, Old Snake looking in the mirror, Meryl being a babe, etc. It's one of those stories that is ridiculous as fuck with psychic powers, magical nanomachines, Liquid possessing Ocelot through his arm (or...is he?), but the characters ground the whole thing, and as poorly written it can be at times, it's still engaging. Minus Johnny, I am not a fan of that character.

Plus the music. The final boss may be a bit janky, but playing music from MGS 1-4 on each phase was a great touch.

I'm not done with the series yet. I got Rising with Raiden and Peace Walker and 5 with Big Boss. I may even play the two 8-bit games, but this is the end of Snake's journey. I may have gotten on the bandwagon late, but it's hard not to feel like I've been on a journey worth remembering with Snake, and going by the last bit of dialogue between Snake and Otacon in 4, that's the whole point.




Sonic Mania* (PC)

Last year the Plus DLC came out with two characters and I started one character but never finished the playthrough I started. They re-designed the Metal Sonic boss fight and it was an absolute pig. I did it, but then stopped playing. I was playing Genesis games on Steam the other night, saw my Sonic games and got in the mood for Mania again. On the second playthrough of this year I learned of an easy way to deal with Metal Sonic. Derp.

I remember why I love this game so much. Out of all the throwbacks and nostalgic based games made these days, I think Sonic Mania may be my favorite. Hell I think it may be one of my favorite games in years. I did a playthrough (and got all emeralds) with all characters and I think even replayed some save files. I just love the music, sprite work, and the energy it has. I know it is Sonic and "gotta go fast" is apart of it, but it's the mix of style and charm along with the fast pace of it. It's just such a good package. Of course I think the level design is great, as is most of the boss battles.
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
#94
Yoshi's Crafted World (NS)

98% of this game is so insultingly easy, you could play it blindfolded. With both arms tied behind your back. Not that you'd want to play it blindfolded of course, seeing how God damn adorable it all looks. But still. On the difficulty selection screen, it defaults to Mellow Mode. Just take that in. So for 98% of this game, I assumed it was aimed at 3 - 4 year-olds, not 30 - 40 year-olds (yes I am still in that age bracket). Then when you get to the post game content, it gets really, really, surprisingly actually difficult. Figuring out how to beat the 'final' boss with the challenges active took an evening of sciencing. Then beating the real final boss with the challenges active took another evening of practice. So, in conclusion, yeah whatever.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
#95
I just needed a bit more KH so I bought 2.8, even though I already played DDD, just so I could play Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep - A fragmentary passage (PS4)

It's really short. But it does some inventive things and it does serve as a good bridge between Birth by Sleep and KH3 in terms of both story and mechanics.
 
#96
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2)
Shantae Half Genie Hero (PS4)

I bought Castlevania when I finished watching Season 2 of the show but only got around to play it last weekend. Shantae is a series I like and so far each one got better, but Half Genie Hero always kinda rubbed me the wrong way. It was a kickstarted game, one that I imagine was kickstarted by many fans of the series already but instead of making a game bigger and building on what Pirate's Curse did, it sort of went backwards on a few things and threw away other series' staples.

The reason I'm talking about both of these games together is because my enjoyment and gripes with each game is essentially the same. Curse of Darkness had a fun combat system with the extra layer of summoning monsters to help you out in a variety of ways. You can have a fairy for healing/support, a golem to lay the smackdown on fools (shout outs to this guy whose one form attacks by doing the can-can), a mage for magic spells, etc. Each one also evolves depending on what weapon you use. Swords, axes, lances, knuckles and silly special weapons all effect what they morph into, and each evolution learns different abilities. Each class of weapon also has different combos and sometimes within the same class too. Square is attack, Circle is final attack. So square square circle will be a different move than square square square circle. Some weapons in the same class also having different timing too. Add onto this the ability to steal and summon's abilities like gliding or sinking into the ground and you got a very nice system.

Shantae goes back to the animal transformations of 1 and Risky's Revenge. I miss the pirate gear from Pirate's Curse but I also love some of her animal transformations. It's Shantae the way I know it.

My issue with both of these games is level design and progression.

Castlevania reminds me of Dark Cloud in that each level is essentially cut from the same cloth. Sure this level you're in a castle and now you're in a forest but it's mostly narrow corridors with the occasional bigger square room. There are some changes sure, but you've seen most of it before long. Shantae ditches a lot of what made me like the other games. No more seperate dungeons, no more Metroidavania maps, it's like a Mega Man X game now. I know, something that's "like Mega Man X" should instantly give me a boner but the issue is that it retains of a lot of Metroidvania philosophy. This is a short game, 5 stages, the town hub and the final level. They're all linear with a lot of secrets. Going through the game requires multiple trips back to these areas so you can break down a wall for a random item someone wants in town who will then give you a map to the next stage. Again, where I like Mega Man X I'm use to replaying stages for a health pickup or whatever, but many times required? It's padding. There are optional power ups for your animals but some of them don't matter at all. The spider is only really used twice so finding it's upgrade is pointless.

The story in Shantae also didn't match the other games in my opinion. There is some funny dialogue still but there is basically no overarching plot. Each level is a "monster of the week" thing until the final level where something that was mentioned at the beginning of the game comes back. It's a bit lackluster. Castlevania meanwhile is pretty much exactly like the GBA ones where you occasionally run into side characters, I liked it for the most part, especially the early 2000's hammy voice acting.

I don't really like being down on these games. Coming from someone who enjoys Metroid Other M or Zelda Triforce Heroes with the JC crew, I'm not opposed to series' trying new things. In these cases though I feel like there were some step backs that make them not live up to their full potential. Curse of Darkness is a fun action game but the abilities like gliding are underutilized. Hell, one ability is your monster lifting a heavy door which doesn't happen often and is kinda...lame. The main character doesn't really gain anything substantial himself. I know Castlevania existed before Symphony of the Night, but if your gonna have upgrades and abilities, then make the environment more interesting so they don't feel like afterthoughts. Shantae just threw away the Metroidvania level design and dungeons but kept the mandatory backtracking to pad out the run time. If you just went from level to level, it would be one of the shortest games I've played in a long time.

I also opted for the standard edition instead of the Ultimate one with all the DLC cause I heard the DLC just alters the levels a little for the new playstyle. Considering how often I played these levels in the base game, I'm good thanks.

At the end of the day, I like these games. All I can really ask for is a game to be fun and these were. That said, I can't really shake the feeling these games could have been so much better, Shantae more so, especially after how good Pirate's Curse is.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
#97
SteamWorld Heist (NS)

I love the SteamWorld games! Image & Forms creates fully realized worlds that you just want to explore and be a part of. I was hesitant about this game after Code Name: STEAM, but I should have just trusted I&F because this was fantastic! The challenges were there, the levels were fun, and the boss fight at the end was no joke.

At this point, if there's a game with "SteamWorld" in the title, I'm going to trust Image & Form that it will be fantastic.
 
#98
SteamWorld Heist (NS)

I love the SteamWorld games! Image & Forms creates fully realized worlds that you just want to explore and be a part of. I was hesitant about this game after Code Name: STEAM, but I should have just trusted I&F because this was fantastic! The challenges were there, the levels were fun, and the boss fight at the end was no joke.

At this point, if there's a game with "SteamWorld" in the title, I'm going to trust Image & Form that it will be fantastic.
Heist is easily my favorite of the SteamWorld games. I like Dig and Dig 2 but I got to be in the mood for them. I've been meaning to rebuy Heist on an HD system because it's so damn fun.

I would have picked up SteamWorld Quest if it wasn't a timed Switch exclusive. If anyone can get me to like card based combat it's these guys.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
#99
Heist is easily my favorite of the SteamWorld games. I like Dig and Dig 2 but I got to be in the mood for them. I've been meaning to rebuy Heist on an HD system because it's so damn fun.

I would have picked up SteamWorld Quest if it wasn't a timed Switch exclusive. If anyone can get me to like card based combat it's these guys.
Quick question, why is it being a timed exclusive holding you back? Do you just want it on another system?

And yeah, after Paper Mario Sticker Star, I'm reluctant to do a card based RPG, but at this point, I trust Image & Form, so after I finish Shovel Knight Treasure Trove, I'm going to buy SteamWorld Quest.
 
Quick question, why is it being a timed exclusive holding you back? Do you just want it on another system?

And yeah, after Paper Mario Sticker Star, I'm reluctant to do a card based RPG, but at this point, I trust Image & Form, so after I finish Shovel Knight Treasure Trove, I'm going to buy SteamWorld Quest.
I just don't own a Switch. If I did I would have had a nice surprise purchase when I found out.

At this point I'll buy it when I buy a Switch or when it comes to PC/PS4, whichever happens first.
 
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