World of Light - 2019 Games Completed Thread

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Metroid Fusion (3DS)

This was my first time finishing Metroid Fusion. Other than Federation Force, I have now beaten all Metroid Games. Metroid has solidified as my 2nd favorite game series. (After The Legend of Zelda)

This was a great game. I can see why some people would like the mission structure of it, while others would say that the mission structure took away from the isolation and search/discovery of other Metroid games.
I felt the controls were tight. Had no complaints on that. Some of the boss battles were quite challenging. I died a lot, and I felt very accomplished when I would beat some of the harder bosses. The graphics were good for what they were, and I appreciated the difference in the different areas of the space station. You could look at a background and know which section you were in.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
The Outer Worlds (PC)

I finished my The Outer Worlds playthrough, which was started because it was on Gamepass so I thought “sure, why not; I ain’t doing shit this weekend anyway”. All in all a very fun game with far more options than I'd ever need, but I appreciated that I had them nonetheless.

Pumping all of my skill points n shit into Persuasion, Science, and Stealth certainly made what combat I couldn’t avoid interesting at points. Still missed the mark on some late game speech checks but they didn’t seem particularly important so I just shrugged and moved on.

Sound Design was very well done, even if there were a couple of glitched sound effects and some weapons never quite sounded right. Music was great, though.

There was one, big, glaring CTD issue in the last 30 minutes of the game that I’m honestly surprised made it passed QA and seems to be making its way through the gaming journo circuit, so hopefull that gets patched fairly soon so most people don’t have to deal with that.

I should mention: This game has a lot of player freedom. A lot. Therefore it’s not going to take you a bajillion hours to get through it, I think it only took me roughly 16. However it is meant to be replayed, so if replaying games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age just to do the alternate choices is your thing, then I can’t recommend this game enough.
 
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sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Untitled Goose Game (NS)

Oh my goodness! I had so much fun with this game! The fact that there are buttons just to taunt people, it's so fantastic! I laughed so much while playing this. And there's even post-game content that ramps up the difficulty. While playing it, you think "I've never had so much fun being the villain", but then by the end you start to think "but maybe I'm the hero". lol
 
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (NS)

So before I talk about this game, just think about 2D Zelda. Picture some characters, animations, weapons, bosses, etc from the series. Got it? Now check out the trailer.


So, yeah, Blossom Tales is a lot like Zelda. I know the world "clone" is popular these days, and that word tends to carry a certain vibe when using it to describe a game, but I personally don't mind if the game is fun. Blossom Tales is certainly fun, but the first few hours are the best in my opinion.

First of all, I want to say I adore the story setup. It's a Grandpa telling his two grandchildren a story. So when you pick up a new item it ain't just a random text box describing it, it's the Grandpa telling his kids what it is. There are also times where you'll encounter a character and the kids will interrupt asking if it's a Ninja Master or a Pirate Queen. You then decide who that character will be. When you quit the game and boot it back up, the kids and Grandpa will talk about where you left off and what you're working towards now. It's super fucking charming.

The world reminds me of Termina from Majora's Mask. A central town with 4 regions surrounding it. I think the first area is the best. I had 7 hearts before I even beat the first temple. That area is pretty jam packed with secrets and whatnot. The second area is a sparse dank swamp, not as much happening, but it fits the theme of the area. The third place has more stuff, and the final area is a few enemy encounters before the dungeon.

I think the dungeons are simultaneously great and a bit disappointing. The first one was fun, but the next two are pretty similar. It's never a question of where to go, but mostly fighting the current batch of enemies or solving the puzzle in that room. The first three feel similar in structure, some puzzle types show up throughout and they don't take full advantage of the weapons and items you get. They weren't bad, and I get it's a small indie game, I can't expect Nintendo-tier stuff, but a bit more variety in how they're stitched together would be nice. Not a deal breaker by any means but something that was noticeable. The final dungeon was pretty great though.

Combat was good, but your spin attack seems to kill most things in one hit, so using your sword normally felt weak.

And that's pretty much that. Fun game with a charming as hell setup with lots of secrets to find. I'd recommend it, but if you're looking for 2D Zelda action on the Switch, chances are you just played or are currently playing Link's Awakening. Still, gotta support the little guys yeah?
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (NS)

So before I talk about this game, just think about 2D Zelda. Picture some characters, animations, weapons, bosses, etc from the series. Got it? Now check out the trailer.


So, yeah, Blossom Tales is a lot like Zelda. I know the world "clone" is popular these days, and that word tends to carry a certain vibe when using it to describe a game, but I personally don't mind if the game is fun. Blossom Tales is certainly fun, but the first few hours are the best in my opinion.

First of all, I want to say I adore the story setup. It's a Grandpa telling his two grandchildren a story. So when you pick up a new item it ain't just a random text box describing it, it's the Grandpa telling his kids what it is. There are also times where you'll encounter a character and the kids will interrupt asking if it's a Ninja Master or a Pirate Queen. You then decide who that character will be. When you quit the game and boot it back up, the kids and Grandpa will talk about where you left off and what you're working towards now. It's super fucking charming.

The world reminds me of Termina from Majora's Mask. A central town with 4 regions surrounding it. I think the first area is the best. I had 7 hearts before I even beat the first temple. That area is pretty jam packed with secrets and whatnot. The second area is a sparse dank swamp, not as much happening, but it fits the theme of the area. The third place has more stuff, and the final area is a few enemy encounters before the dungeon.

I think the dungeons are simultaneously great and a bit disappointing. The first one was fun, but the next two are pretty similar. It's never a question of where to go, but mostly fighting the current batch of enemies or solving the puzzle in that room. The first three feel similar in structure, some puzzle types show up throughout and they don't take full advantage of the weapons and items you get. They weren't bad, and I get it's a small indie game, I can't expect Nintendo-tier stuff, but a bit more variety in how they're stitched together would be nice. Not a deal breaker by any means but something that was noticeable. The final dungeon was pretty great though.

Combat was good, but your spin attack seems to kill most things in one hit, so using your sword normally felt weak.

And that's pretty much that. Fun game with a charming as hell setup with lots of secrets to find. I'd recommend it, but if you're looking for 2D Zelda action on the Switch, chances are you just played or are currently playing Link's Awakening. Still, gotta support the little guys yeah?
Ayy, I reviewed this game a while ago (it's been two years already? JFC; slow down, time): https://www.nintendoenthusiast.com/blossom-tales-sleeping-king-review-nintendo-switch/

I, too, liked it.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
The Last of Us Remastered + Left Behind (PS4)

It was good to revisit this, as well as play through the DLC portion for the first time, although despite my love of the storyline, and characters, this go around was nowhere near as memorable, but I guess I expected it. Still though, the intro still hits you quite hard, and I'm sure many others who first experienced it felt similar. Troy Baker is phenomenal as Joel, and I can't speak enough about Ashley Johnson as Ellie. Both did a fantastic job in their respective roles, and the supporting cast does not disappoint either.

Yes, the level design is very linear, and the gameplay mechanics are not the most engaging, but it gets the job done. I wish the AI were a little less dimwitted, but perhaps if I played it on a much harder difficulty, that could change. Overall though, I'm glad I replayed through this, got to experience Left Behind, and had more insight to Ellie's backstory, and makes me more excited for Part 2 coming next year.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
Batman: Arkham City (PC)

My least favorite of the Arkham games, but it's still an Arkham game and therefore pretty great.

It's kind of amazing playing this in 2019 because the City, which felt so huge back then, is actually kinda small for a sandbox. I wouldn't necessarily call this aspect of it a demerit, however (in some cases it can make things much more manageable). It's just amusing to me that my remembrance of the scope of this game was a trifle different than reality.

The Catwoman DLC, upon replaying the game, really feels awkward and jammed in, and isn't all that fun to play. It's not bad, I just don't think it's good either. I didn't touch the grieving Harley DLC yet, will probably get back to that maybe later on tonight if I'm feeling up to it.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (NS)

So before I talk about this game, just think about 2D Zelda. Picture some characters, animations, weapons, bosses, etc from the series. Got it? Now check out the trailer.


So, yeah, Blossom Tales is a lot like Zelda. I know the world "clone" is popular these days, and that word tends to carry a certain vibe when using it to describe a game, but I personally don't mind if the game is fun. Blossom Tales is certainly fun, but the first few hours are the best in my opinion.

First of all, I want to say I adore the story setup. It's a Grandpa telling his two grandchildren a story. So when you pick up a new item it ain't just a random text box describing it, it's the Grandpa telling his kids what it is. There are also times where you'll encounter a character and the kids will interrupt asking if it's a Ninja Master or a Pirate Queen. You then decide who that character will be. When you quit the game and boot it back up, the kids and Grandpa will talk about where you left off and what you're working towards now. It's super fucking charming.

The world reminds me of Termina from Majora's Mask. A central town with 4 regions surrounding it. I think the first area is the best. I had 7 hearts before I even beat the first temple. That area is pretty jam packed with secrets and whatnot. The second area is a sparse dank swamp, not as much happening, but it fits the theme of the area. The third place has more stuff, and the final area is a few enemy encounters before the dungeon.

I think the dungeons are simultaneously great and a bit disappointing. The first one was fun, but the next two are pretty similar. It's never a question of where to go, but mostly fighting the current batch of enemies or solving the puzzle in that room. The first three feel similar in structure, some puzzle types show up throughout and they don't take full advantage of the weapons and items you get. They weren't bad, and I get it's a small indie game, I can't expect Nintendo-tier stuff, but a bit more variety in how they're stitched together would be nice. Not a deal breaker by any means but something that was noticeable. The final dungeon was pretty great though.

Combat was good, but your spin attack seems to kill most things in one hit, so using your sword normally felt weak.

And that's pretty much that. Fun game with a charming as hell setup with lots of secrets to find. I'd recommend it, but if you're looking for 2D Zelda action on the Switch, chances are you just played or are currently playing Link's Awakening. Still, gotta support the little guys yeah?
I need to finish this game, but I really liked it too. I loved the Grandpa with the kids aspect of it. That pushed the charm level through the roof.
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
Astral Chain - NS

This is a thoroughly excellent game. I feel like it's flying under the radar a bit; I'm not seeing a great deal of talk about it, but my goodness, it certainly warrants being talked about! It's just so comprehensive, so extensive. It's way closer to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 than I ever imagined. It's like 70% XC2 and 30% Wonderful 101. Actually, I think it's more like 60% XC2, 35% W101 + Bayonetta, and 5% Batman Arkham City. Specifically, the detective work aspect of that game.

Man, it's such a great game. I'm not sure if it's my favourite Platinum game (W101 would have something to say about that) but what it lacks in pure action, it makes up for in other gameplay elements. RPG elements, systems layered on top of systems, customisation options, detective work, side quests...

I remember a quote from a P* guy from years ago (maybe Kamiya himself) talking about how the first playthrough of a P* game is all about learning how to play the game and subsequent playthroughs are where you really get to unleash your skills, and this game is definitely showcasing that philosophy, given that I was still figuring out pretty basic concepts and strategies in the final level of the game!

I played on Platinum Standard difficulty and finished up with a low B rank overall, so it's definitely more forgiving than the other P* games that I've played; I was surprised on more than one occasion to earn an S or even S+ rank on a mission where I tanked a load of damage. Not that it's an easy game, by any means - much like my delightful ex girlfriend, I had to swallow an awful lot of D's before I stopped sucking so bad - but it certainly is a lot more accessible for non- action game veterans.

I've already started back at the beginning again, and the progress I've made is astonishing - I'm whipping through these earlier, easier enemy encounters with speed, style, and precision, S+ ranks falling like rain, and that is a great feeling. A Platinum kind of feeling.

I love it.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Astral Chain - NS

This is a thoroughly excellent game. I feel like it's flying under the radar a bit; I'm not seeing a great deal of talk about it, but my goodness, it certainly warrants being talked about! It's just so comprehensive, so extensive. It's way closer to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 than I ever imagined. It's like 70% XC2 and 30% Wonderful 101. Actually, I think it's more like 60% XC2, 35% W101 + Bayonetta, and 5% Batman Arkham City. Specifically, the detective work aspect of that game.

Man, it's such a great game. I'm not sure if it's my favourite Platinum game (W101 would have something to say about that) but what it lacks in pure action, it makes up for in other gameplay elements. RPG elements, systems layered on top of systems, customisation options, detective work, side quests...

I remember a quote from a P* guy from years ago (maybe Kamiya himself) talking about how the first playthrough of a P* game is all about learning how to play the game and subsequent playthroughs are where you really get to unleash your skills, and this game is definitely showcasing that philosophy, given that I was still figuring out pretty basic concepts and strategies in the final level of the game!

I played on Platinum Standard difficulty and finished up with a low B rank overall, so it's definitely more forgiving than the other P* games that I've played; I was surprised on more than one occasion to earn an S or even S+ rank on a mission where I tanked a load of damage. Not that it's an easy game, by any means - much like my delightful ex girlfriend, I had to swallow an awful lot of D's before I stopped sucking so bad - but it certainly is a lot more accessible for non- action game veterans.

I've already started back at the beginning again, and the progress I've made is astonishing - I'm whipping through these earlier, easier enemy encounters with speed, style, and precision, S+ ranks falling like rain, and that is a great feeling. A Platinum kind of feeling.

I love it.
This is on my must-play list. I don't have a ton of time to play games, and Steve2's favorite series is Pokemon, so we'll be playing that together this next week. Then it's Luigi's Mansion 3, then Astral Chain. My goal is to get to it before Christmas.
Glad to see another person review is positively.
 

Karkashan

Married to Chrom
I played on Platinum Standard difficulty and finished up with a low B rank overall, so it's definitely more forgiving than the other P* games that I've played; I was surprised on more than one occasion to earn an S or even S+ rank on a mission where I tanked a load of damage. Not that it's an easy game, by any means - much like my delightful ex girlfriend, I had to swallow an awful lot of D's before I stopped sucking so bad - but it certainly is a lot more accessible for non- action game veterans.

I've already started back at the beginning again, and the progress I've made is astonishing - I'm whipping through these earlier, easier enemy encounters with speed, style, and precision, S+ ranks falling like rain, and that is a great feeling. A Platinum kind of feeling.
.
Astral Chain's ranking system is actually based on the variety of attacks and strategies you use, not on damage (not) taken. So that's why even if you die once during an encounter you can still get a pretty good rank out of it.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Super Metroid (NS)

3:39 / 65%

I have had zero time to play games lately. So to dig back in, I went to comfort food.

I wondered how Super would stand up to a relatively close replay. It's just as great, of course.

Believe it or not, this actually started as a quasi-speedrun. I watched a video of the record run and decided I'd try to play as fast as I could. That lasted about an hour before I couldn't stand it. Just not my bag, fam. And yet, rushing a little bit at the start knocked a full hour off of my prior play-through time, anyways.
 
Tales of Vesperia (NS)

I really love a good RPG but most ones I play tend to be from Square Enix. In elementary/high school, I didn't have high speed internet or magazine subscriptions. If I didn't see a commercial for a game or hear it from a friend, all I had to go on was box art I saw at the rental store or on the very rare trip to a game store that was an hour's drive away. Because of this, I missed out on quite a lot of games I've since went back to, and it's also because of this, I just simply wasn't aware of a lot of non-Square Enix RPGs. I knew of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, and my sister had a PS2 so she had few RPG's outside of those series, but it's only lately that I'm realizing just how many non-SE RPGs there is. So after Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 leaving me a bit cold, up comes Tales of Vesperia riding it's motorcycle, coolly saying "this guy boring you baby?". It makes me think just how many good RPGs are out there that I know next to nothing about.

This was a great time. A good story with great characters and a fun combat system. It's pretty classic in terms of structure, with an overworld, towns, dungeons and bosses. I only really have two gripes with this game. First is that animations outside of combat are pretty lackluster. Cutscenes involve very stiff robotic animations. I must have seen the same few animations dozens of times. Sometimes the action will happen off screen while the camera stays fixed on a barely moving character. It's not the best, especially since combat and victory screens have pretty fluid movements and whatnot. Lip syncing is also possibly the worst I ever seen. It's distracting but I did get use to it. Next time I play a game with mo-cap actors I'll shit myself.

The ending is also pretty abrupt. There are illustrations during the credits showing what life is like after the final battle, but I'd still like to see it in a cutscene or something. Oh well.

I also feel like I didn't make the most of combat. There's a lot to tinker and play around with, you can even play as any character in your party, but I stuck with the main character and yeah combat did get a bit tedious after awhile. The skills and spells other party members where learning seem way cooler than the main character. It wasn't until very end game I realized I probably did a few things "wrong" in terms of leveling up and whatnot, but hey, I beat the final boss first try so at the end of the day it all worked out. I'd love to see a pro or speed runner play this.

All that said, there's a character in this game who is essentially a Looney Tune. She fights with toy boxes that springs a 10t weight, she flys on a rocket into space than crashes back down on a star, calls upon skillets and frying pans and can make magic with playing cards. 10/10 GOTY.

I just really had a good time with this. My friend tried to get my into the series awhile ago, but it wasn't until this went on sale last month I finally tried it. Glad I did, I now have another series to slowly pick at, and the newest game looks beautiful like holy shit.
 
Luigi's Mansion 3 (NS)

Overall was a very enjoyable time but some things did annoy me.

I feel the first half of the game is better. Each floor of the hotel has a boss ghost that needs to be defeated in order to progress to the next one, and every few floors tends to be a, for lack of a better term, "bigger boss" floor, where the level is pretty small. In the second half, these seem to happen more often making the pacing a bit weird.

Combat was okay, but doesn't evolve much at all, and it got to the point where it felt like it was just getting in the way of the real fun of puzzle solving and exploring. A couple of bosses weren't that great either. Every power up and mechanic that comes from Dark Moon is obtained pretty early in the game, so for a majority of the time it doesn't feel like anything is progressing mechanically. One new power up is given to you early and the other comes in the late game that's only used once for story progression and twice optionally for hunting collectibles. I'm mostly fine with this as I don't think every game under the sun needs an RPG/skill tree, but I think it wouldn't have hurt this time. I never stopped having fun with exploring, and I did find all the hidden stuff (sadly the rewards are lame), so the main gameplay loop was fun enough for me.

You collect money as well like always and I ended the game with more than $70,000 which only affects the end screen like Luigi's Mansion 1. There are three items in a store, extra lives, a gem finder and a boo finder. That's kinda lame too.

I love going to each new floor and exploring it so much that I'm willing to forgive some annoyances or lack of real innovation. It's pretty stellar how much fun and puzzles the developers can add to this gameplay. There are sections I think could have just been removed though, such as the two times you're required to backtrack to previous floors hunting a ghost that stolen a key item. This isn't RE1 or 2, or even Luigi's Mansion 1 backtracking, this is just the game padding out time needlessly in an already long enough game in my opinion.

Towards the end of the game I was reminded of No More Heroes. Each level has a unique boss fight and it's own style before you go on to the next one. I do miss the more interconnected mansion from 1, but if you just want a Luigi action/puzzle solver, it's great. Going for 100% and such is ultimately, not worth it unless you simply like completely everything in games, which I sometimes do. I don't mind getting as much money as I can in 1 because it's a pretty short game that I can replay so much, but the idea of replaying this and getting as much money as I did again is a bit tiring to think of.

I don't mean to be super negative or anything, I just think there are some aspects of the game that could be re-worked a bit to make a better experience overall. I don't want every game to play similar to each other like how a lot of AAA games are these days, but perhaps spending money on new items, tools, or powering up stuff like Resident Evil 4 (with hoping it's own merchant style character) would be the way to go.
 
Super Mario Odyssey (NS)

Shiieeeet. Don't know what I can say that I'm sure everyone who will read this doesn't already know. The last Mario game to truly wow me was Galaxy 2, despite enjoying the 3DS, Wii U and 2D games since then. Odyssey really did wow me. Only nitpicks is I was surprised to see most of the levels follow the traditional "grasslands, desert, water, ice, etc" level tropes. I don't mind too much, the levels were great, it's just with how much marketing was behind New Donk City (love how all the streets are named after DK characters btw) I was expecting a shake up in level themes.

Also, there's a lot of moons that are simply "go here" or "groundpound here", especially the post game stuff. On the one hand, they don't really add to the quality of the game significantly, but on the other, there's no wasted space here like so many other open games. Then again, all the green stars in Galaxy 2 are literally just added to the levels with no objectives tied to them so it's in line with Mario.

I did get 999 moons in this game. I enjoyed most every minute of it, but if I got the hankering to 100% a 3D Mario game again soon, it most likely won't be this one. I'd rather have 120 unique stars with objectives, or that alters the levels, etc rather than hundreds of same-y moons. But again, these are mere nitpicks in the grand scheme of things, and Odyssey certainly is grand.
 

sjmartin79

White Phoenix of the Crown
Pokemon Sword (NS)

Wow! Just wow! This was the best Pokemon game I've played. The QoL improvements really changed the entire game. I loved that they reduced the Pokedex, so instead of me just catching all the new ones and transferring the old ones in when it would allow, I actually felt like catching the full Pokedex was a justifiable and attainable goal. And I did it! All 400 of them. The graphics were the best of any Pokemon game yet. The customization of your character was tons of fun.
 
MadWorld (Wii)
Bayonetta (Wii U)
Killer7 (PC)

Yeah, I was a busy boy.

I started Killer7 awhile ago but had to put it down frequently, it just didn't grab me the way I wanted it too. I'm all for off the wall stories, but this one just didn't make any sense. Had to read a summary part way through to understand what happened so far, then I'd play some more and I'd just be confused again. I did find the game itself fun though, and I'm very happy this game exists, Lord knows we know more variety and experiments in today's gaming scene.

When I found out Killer is Dead was unplayable on my laptop due to that common bug, I was still in the mood for action games, and part of the reason why I bought Killer7/Is Dead/Silver Case was to explore more of Grasshoper Studios' works outside of No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned. So I started playing Bayonetta again and this time I finished it. I tried a few months ago and stopped before the first big boss fight, but this time I couldn't put it down. Shit's tight yo'. It has some issues like getting hit off-screen and those fuck awful QTEs, but this game is just on another level. The first boss is more epic than a lot of final bosses in other games.

Similar to how I wanted to explore more of Grasshoper, I now wanted to play more of Platinum. Enter MadWorld. I hadn't played this game in a dog's age but it's still a lot of fun. It's very short, and in terms of mechanics, it's a simple beat-em-up at the end of the day, but the style, the in-game commentators, and one of my favorite soundtracks ever makes this a lovely game.

I will soon play Bayonetta 2, and I think Astral Chain will be a Christmas gift to myself as well, but right now I'm playing Okami. I know it's Clover and not Platinum, but Killer7 made me nostalgic for 6th gen Capcom stuff, and Okami is just an utter delight. I love Platinum, but I would love to see more non-hack-n-slashes too. I really hope they can get a greenlight from Capcom to do another Okami. Boy howdy would that be neat.

In short, games were so much better in my days.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Ultimate Doom (PC)
Sniper Elite 4 (PC)

A couple months ago, I dusted off my aging 5 year old gaming rig, and got back to work on why I loved PC gaming as much as I did. It really doesn't matter how old a game, or new the game is; it'll work on the fricking system. Truth be told, I completed Ultimate Doom a few weeks ago, and simply forgot to report on it, but at the same time, I booted up Sniper Elite 4, which I had bought on steam during one of the steam sales awhile ago. As it laid dormant until this point, I could sense some patience with it compared to Doom. Whereas Doom is all about running and gunning, while still traversing, and exploring the areas and getting keys, SE4 presents a much slower, and methodical approach to game design, as well as taking your sweet time. These games are as different as they are also the same. Both require lots of patience, and time, as well as a bit of skill to get the most out of it.

SE4 I had attempted on the much harder difficulties, and the moment you went high enough where no minimal, or any bit of hints you had except your map, and the location of yourself on the map, I knew this game had a lot more to offer. I would love to experience this again but on the most difficult setting to really see how my patience transcends throughout it. And the same does apply for Ultimate Doom, which btw I had not finished since playing the original GBA version way back in the day (which is still a good port to this day). Going through the different episodes, I knew how to make my way through the game, and yet still felt new, and also exciting at times. It's amazing to me that a game such as Ultimate Doom still has stellar level design that not only competes with some games of today, but surpasses it. Have game developers not learned since Doom on how game design should be done? Probably too busy making games look more and more pretty, shiny, and above all else, full of eye candy.

I find myself loving older games these days not only for nostalgic reasons, but also that game design was a result of the limits in technology. Developers were forced to get creative, and it shows. Whether it is the original Deus Ex, or Doom 1993, there is a lot to be learned here. Bringing this back to SE4 for a second, it has a lovely open-level design where the game is split between levels, but has multiple ways of accomplishing your tasks, which is not all dissimilar to what you do in Ultimate Doom. You're given choices, and more freedom to accomplish objectives, same with Doom. It's refreshing to go back once in awhile.

Not sure what my next game is on my list as I've been dabbling back with Rise of the Tomb Raider, inFamous: Second Son, and then just today I booted up Bloodborne for the first time since I originally downloaded it. We'll see.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Red Faction (PC)

Ah yes, Red Faction. A game which spawned the idea of "Hey, what if we could destroy our environments at will rather than as a scripted event?" On the surface, it's quite intriguing, and I think it's one of those concepts that if done well, could really enhance, and at the same time, break a game. "Hmmm, there's a door that is locked. Lets destroy it!"

Unfortunately, RF does not really utilize this feature to its potential. There are a few areas which do help the game when destroying your environment, but the game never uses it enough to make it feel worthwhile. The game easily could have used those areas as a required area to destroy the environment, and it would not have made a difference in the overall game design. Sure, there are some areas where you can actually create access to certain areas, but this isn't a game where you even feel compelled to do so. It normally would feel like a chore, rather than a necessity in the design of the environments. Not to mention I already think the level design is decent enough to get the job done without really needing destructible environments. Again, non-destructive environments would not have changed the core design of the game in the end. It's mostly there for the sake of being there, and not challenging the full use of what you can do with your environment. Maybe the sequels have addressed this (I haven't played the others, so can't comment)?

Besides the lack of commitment towards destructive environments though, there are some good things about the game in general. Like I said, I think the level design has overall held up, but it is not without fault. There are still some areas towards the end where it feels like a mishmash of go to this area to unlock something, but unlike some games of its area, this one just doesn't feel rewarding. I understand the game is meant to be pseudo-open world ala Halo, but it doesn't feel like it benefits from that part of the design. But again, the game design is fine, but it tries to make it feel both open world with the destructive environment, and yet linear in that "do this at point A to get to point B." There isn't enough variety to make it feel it's utilizing its full potential. It's almost as though it doesn't know what it wants to be: Linear, or Open-world.

Two aspects of the game though that I do like are the weapons, as well as the soundtrack. Having not played this in well over a decade, I'd forgotten how good the music is. It's both incredibly atmospheric, and also really fits the design of the game. Naturally, it does reminiscent the likes of Total Recall, but it presents its own unique taste for its Mars location. The guns are also good, although I think the shotgun in this game is one of the most useless weapons, although part of that fault has to do with the A.I. More on that later. As good as some of the weapons are though, there are some things with regards to aiming that I think would give STALKER a run for its money in what is actually better. The Pistol, despite its great punch, suffers from endless times when you're aiming directly at someone, and the bullets sort of following their own trajectory rather than where you're actually aiming.

A lot of these aiming issues stem from the terribly aged A.I. I feel like the enemies of Ultor where taught in the school of serpentine, zigzagging back and forth constantly to the point where it sometimes is impossible to aim at them. Out of all the issues Red Faction has, the A.I. is the single worst part of it. The enemies are simply not that good, nor have they aged that well either. And keep in mind, this was a play through on Medium difficulty. Not as bad, but still worth noting though is the bugs/glitches in the game. On a modern system, there are frequent hitches, and stutters throughout the game, plus for some reason, I was unable to cap the frame rate at 60fps, so it was running at over 100fps. For some, this is fine, but for starters, I only have a 60Hz monitor, so any additional frames are irrelevant. Also, Red Faction was never designed to run beyond 60fps, so some aspects of the game run effectively in fast forward. There's one section where you disengage a submarine to drop it into the water, but because of the high frame rate, the submarine falls too fast, and simply explodes. There's also the issue during cut-scenes where the syncing of the mouths and voices do not match, so there's a delay of the voices when the lips are moving.

Overall, I was glad to revisit this, but I also believe Red Faction is in dire need of an overhaul, practically a remaster at this point. RF: Guerrilla has been reMARstered, so why not the original one that started it all? It would also be nice to update the game for native widescreen, so the field of view is not simply stretched. Seeing as I have a 1080p standard widescreen monitor, 1280x1024 is the highest non-widescreen resolution I can use (I've used this in other older games such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and MOH: Allied Assault. As a side note, some folks say to just force the game to run in your native resolution, but I do not like stretching the image so everyone looks fat and wide. You're not making anything look better except to simply fill the screen. So you have black bars on the side. Get over it.

All in all, I would like to try out the later Red Faction games, including Guerrilla since it feels more in line with the original vision of destroying everything, plus simply doing anything you want. Sounds like right up my alley.
 
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