World of Light - 2019 Games Completed Thread


Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
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 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,'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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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


Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
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.


Married to Chrom
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.

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.


Twintelle's loyal Husbando
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.



Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
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 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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Married to Chrom

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.
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.


White Phoenix of the Crown
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."


All mods go to heaven.
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.)
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.


All mods go to heaven.
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.