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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:01 pm

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch

Let the remake train continue! The 3D remake of Trials of Mana (aka Seiken Densetsu 3) is the perfect blend of familiar and update, not screwing up the core of the SFC original but instead adding its own garnish outside the expected graphical update. Add in a dash of positive rebalancing (you'll hit class change around the time you get to the Wind Manastone, enemies don't auto punish you using cool moves, smoother boss difficulty curve) and you have something that pretty much eclipses the original.

The Trials remake starts by taking the original game and making all the characters and environments 3D, with a behind-the-back (but repositionable) camera. This meant they needed to tweak all the outdoor areas to better suit a 3D adventure, so while the general field layouts haven't changed, they've added in platforms you can jump on, the occasional side area for more treasure, and things of that nature. It still will feel the same (and the town layouts are 100% the same), just more detailed, if you will. And this is a running theme through the changes.

The combat system has been tweaked to be a bit more interesting. Instead of one button to attack which builds up super moves after X hits, instead you have a weak and strong attack, and a rudimentary combo system (chain several weaks into a strong and the strong will have different effects based on the number of weaks). You can lock on to enemies, but the game pretty fiercely auto-turns your character at enemies, so it isn't super necessary. You can jump at flying enemies (and can knock them to the ground with enough damage). The game no longer has pauses for things like level 2 techs and spells; everything happens in real time and is targeted. So you can dodge enemy magic and skills now, which is a major part of improving the balance. Enemies can, but for the most part don't, do the same to you; really it ends up being that sometimes they wander out of the edge of an aoe but your primary target still takes it on the face. The special attacks also have been changed in terms of how you build to them. Like before you gain meter from attacking, but now it's a more gradual "fill up each bar" when you attack. You start off with a stock of two bars, and can end with four bars, and each special takes one or more bars. Most importantly, you keep charge between fights, so the top end specials are much more usable (and can be a great way to just insta-win a fight to keep yourself rolling). Fights now draw a circle around you; you can escape by running against the edge, but otherwise it despawns enemies outside the circle until the fight is over. This gives you an arena to fight in while still being seamless, and is a compromise given the fact there are no longer a ton of screen transitions in a large contiguous area.

The other major change worth pointing out is the change to stats and leveling. They removed the agility stat (which was broken in the original anyway, so they would have had to invent a bunch of stuff for it to actually do) and combined magic attack and defense on the INT stat, so now that's one less buff/debuff spell to cast (as, like Pokémon Gen 1, affecting one affects the other). Instead of leveling a stat by one at level up you instead get a series of skill points (only one at the start, then you start getting more as you get in the higher levels). These can be assigned to each of the five stats, and hitting certain milestones unlocks something. This might be an increase to the raw stat, or it might be an equippable passive skill. These passive skills are the other major change; they might be things like "your damage is increased by 10% when hitting weakness" to "item drop rate increased by 10%" to "increase spell damage by 30% by spending 5% of your health". You have a limited number of skill slots, so choose wisely. The milestones for skill points is also where you learn your spells/abilities you gain from the spirits and your classes. This actually impacts Angela the most (of Angela, Riesz, and Hawkeye, my party) because unlike the other two her spells are split across all five spirits (whereas originally it was just crank INT and go). You end up having to make decisions about how to level her that are trickier than the other party members, though you can pay to respect if you don't like what you've done.

Otherwise, the game is an extremely faithful translation of the original. Everything will be very familiar, including the dialog. This was more of a touch up project rather than a full remake like the FF7 remake. And personally I'm happy to see that; I'm hoping this will help show Square that the classic Mana games still can hold their own gameplay-wise and maybe we get some more in the series that hew closer to the SoM/ToM formula, rather than trying to branch it out like they were doing.

Oh, one final thing to point out. Once you beat the game you unlock a post game dungeon which is about 2-3 hours to get through (with ample points to save and quit, and two spots to return to the entrance) and a final boss. This also comes with another class change (which is basically just a statistical upgrade, no new abilities) and some story segments for each character which give them a bit more closure than the quick vignette in the credits. Only after beating this bonus boss do you unlock new game plus, which carries over all your items, gear, and unlocked skills (plus some special skills for beating the game with your party and a +300% exp skill). I'm not sure how far the gear carry forward goes, as most gear is character locked and I only went to the first save point in the new game. I'd need to get further to see what the character who was in my old party has equipped (maybe she keeps her class as well?)

Recent times have been really heavy on the remakes, but frankly they've been knocking it out of the park with them, unlike that period in the PS3/360 era where they were focused on rebooting franchises without understanding why we enjoyed them. The Trials remake can sit on the shelf with all the other remakes that take a classic, update it, but still keep what makes it great.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:30 pm

@Ack

Time to clean it up!!!

Great Night Slashers review. It’s the video game equivalent of Evil Dead 2, and I think it’s become one of my favorite beat ‘em ups.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:53 pm

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)

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21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)

I pulled this game out this afternoon for April's Together Retro, themed on 1980's Sega Genesis titles. I played a bit of Revenge of Shinobi and Truxton earlier in the month, but wanted to participate a bit more. This is another title that I played the first few levels in single player mode, but never finished it. When I was younger I had only played this through emulation, as I wasn't aware of it when originally released, but last fall I picked up a nice CIB copy at a local game store.

I think the graphics are well done for a title originally released in 1989. The boss sprites are particularly impressive, with a few bosses taking up most of the screen. Also, the main characters and enemies look good for an early Genesis game. The graphics in the cut scenes between levels and the moments while in the shop also include large character sprites. The soundtrack is decent, I really like the music to the first level, but afterwards I don't think the themes of the later levels are as memorable.

Gameplay wise, I found this game to be pretty challenging. You are usually being attacked from enemies on every side and have to manage dodging enemy fire, collecting the money they drop (would be nice if it was just automatically added to your total), and rotating your character to shoot at other enemies. The control scheme's inclusion of rotating the character to aim by holding down a button can be tough at times, if you misjudge your timing you might be firing in a totally different direction than intended. Each level includes a shop or two where you can purchase armor, info, and upgrade your weapons. This is a nice touch, as you can customize your weapons a bit, but I seemed to always be just short on money to get the best upgrades. The game includes seven levels, but is actually quite short and can probably be completed in less than an hour.

I enjoyed this title, and think most other fans of run and guns or shooters will too. This is definitely game that's better in co-op, and as long as someone's still alive, the game doesn't serve you with a game over, so it's easy to complete. I really appreciate short pick up and play titles, and this fits into that category for sure. I hope to revisit this with a friend down the line!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:06 pm

lmao at Popo finishing Trials of Mana before my pre-ordered copy even arrived in the mail.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:22 am

BoneSnapDeez wrote:lmao at Popo finishing Trials of Mana before my pre-ordered copy even arrived in the mail.

With the postgame content it's about 22 hours. An easy thing to knock out in a weekend.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:28 am

Games beaten 2020:

1. Ys: The Oath in Felghana PSN Vita
2. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch
3. Super Mario Party Switch
4. Moss PSVR
5. Paper Mario: Colour Splash Wii U
6. The Firemen SNES
7. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SFC
8. Kuukiyomi: Consider It! Switch eShop
9. Valkyria Chronicles Switch eShop
10. Illusion of Time SNES
11. Trials of Mana Switch
12. Undertale Vita
13. Rastan SMS
14. Rainbow Islands SMS
15. River City Girls Switch *NEW*
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch *NEW*


River City Girls

It has been a long time since I played River City Ransom, but I had a lot of fun with it. Beat ‘em ups are a genre I occasionally enjoy (Streets of Rage 2 is one of my all time favourites) but the biggest reason I tend to enjoy them nowadays are because they are a genre which I can normally convince my wife to play with me. We’ve played through a few over the years – Castle Crashers, Sailor Moon, and most significantly, Scott Pilgrim, which was a favourite of hers. River City Girls is a lot like Scott Pilgrim so it was a good fit.

The style of River City girls is great, with pleasing visuals and good animation, and good animated cutscens in between. The character interactions are sometimes amusing, although in standard WayForward fashion they can try a bit too hard to be funny as well. Combat is fairly satisfying, especially once you start buying new moves at the dojo – although a downside is that it takes a good way through the game before you really start getting the money to afford that.

Difficulty balance is pretty decent overall, with a nice challenge, although we found a few of the boss fights to be a little unfair – particular the fight against Noize and her almost impossible to react to guitar hero attack patterns. I found the character balance felt a bit off, and it seemed to me that Kyoko was obviously better than Mizako, but maybe that’s a matter of preference.

Still, overall we had a good time with the game, and cleared it over a handful of sessions. Both of us enjoyed it, especially the soundtrack which we thought was excellent. I’d recommend picking it up if you like the genre.




Animal Crossing: New Horizons

This has been my life for the past month or so, with 165 hours invested so far, making it my second most played Switch game, just narrowly behind Sega Mega Drive Classics (where I cleared all 51 games), and very likely to overtake it soon.

The last few Animal Crossing games haven’t done much for me – I adored the Gamecube original, but each successive game added too little to previous entries for me, and it became a slog rather than something fun. This one felt different though, and I think it’s a combination of the starting set-up, new flexibility and the outside world that are the reasons why.

First off, the new structure of starting on a deserted island and building it up over time is immediately gratifying, begins the game feeling very different to other entries in the series, and really gives you a sense of progressing goals that are ultimately very satisfying. Going from a starting point of just trying to find enough sticks for a fishing rod, and being unable to explore 2/3rds of the island, up to building new traversal tools and setting up a shop, right through to micro-customising your now thriving island is great, and it really gives you a feeling of ‘I can spend time making this better’ and always having a new goal.

And speaking of micro-customising, having the ability to terraform your island, drop furniture outside, move buildings and more is a big step up. It gives you so much more to do on the island because you can just decide ‘today I’m going to turn the area outside the museum into an open air café – and then you spend an hour setting down paths, crafting furniture and positioning it just how you want it, and it provides some real satisfaction seeing your handiwork afterwards.

And then of course, the elephant in the room. There’s something positively uplifting about Animal Crossing, and it’s entire premise of going outside and spending time socialising with your neighbours, and it’s only enhanced by the fact that no-one can do that in real life.

New Horizons is fantastic, and whilst I have some nitpicks with it, and there’s still content from GC that should have returned by now, I’d be comfortable declaring this the best in the series, and a must own title for Switch. I’m running out of big goals now – I’ve got 5 star island rating, paid of the house and finished the main plotline – but I’ll likely still be playing this for some time yet.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:39 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *

27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)

With the new Animal Crossing coming out around a month ago, I thought it'd be a fun idea to stream some of the original N64 game (which I did this past Saturday~). However, when I picked it up a few weeks back, I was met with the realization that while the save battery in the cart worked, the time-keeping battery did not. My appetite for classic Animal Crossing had been not been satiated though, so I finally broke down and got a Gamecube controller so I could finally play GC games on my Wii. I recieved my golden statue in front of the train station earlier today, so I'm calling this game "beaten" in that regard, and I did this pretty casually over the course of a few weeks.

Doubutsu No Mori is the original N64 game that got a straight up port to Gamecube in Japan with the same title. Doubutsu No Mori+ is a fairly significantly upgraded version of the same game, and it's also the game that would serve as the basis for the international release a few years later: the game we in the West simply know as "Animal Crossing" (and that game would then in turn lead to Doubutsu No Mori e+, which was a further modified version ported back to Japanese from the international version). This upgrade that '+' brings to the table brings the N64 original far closer to what we know with Animal Crossing, but there are still some interesting differences between them.

The biggest additions to the N64 game are the Able Sisters' shop as well as the Museum. Another house upgrade or two (namely the basement) have also been added along with 16 more bugs and 16 more fish to catch. You also have a calendar now so you can know when which holidays are! The framerate is also WAY smoother, which is something I didn't even realize until I played them back to back XD

Things it lacks compared to the American version that would follow it are 8 bugs and 8 fish, as well as many fossils and paintings (there's like half as many of each in this version), another couple house upgrades, e-reader functionality, and some American holidays like the Thanksgiving and Christmas-themed ones. The main reason to play this over the American Gamecube game would be the inclusion of several Japanese holidays and aesthetic designs that the American version would take out (like the trees turning pink for cherry blossom viewing), as I think they make this game feel more different than it actually is (aside from, you know, it being in Japanese instead of English XP), but they're still very close to the same thing.

Other than that, it's still classic Animal Crossing. The village is divided into 5 rows and 6 columns of acres, you can do chores for villagers with a direct action with them, and you catch lots of fish and bugs to pay off your loans and make your house bigger. Your town is immutable, for the most part, and you're just someone who lives there. You aren't some hot shot mayor or island owner like the newer games. I wouldn't say it's better in that regard, just different and clearly created with a different gameplay loop in mind. This isn't really supposed to be a game you play for untold hours at a time. It's more something you give an hour or two every day, or every few days.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. In an age of far more in-depth and customizable Animal Crossing games, I think this far more passive, relaxing experience is still worth going back to. I have a lot of nostalgia for the series, but if you want a relaxing time with no Nook Miles or such weighing on the back of your mind, classic Animal Crossing is still as good as it's always been. Even if it may be a bit dull at times, it's still a nostalgia piece that will always be close to my heart <3
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:11 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:@Ack

Time to clean it up!!!

Great Night Slashers review. It’s the video game equivalent of Evil Dead 2, and I think it’s become one of my favorite beat ‘em ups.

You caught me off guard!

Yeah, I am glad I picked this up. I can see myself returning to it again and again.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:41 am

MrPopo wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:lmao at Popo finishing Trials of Mana before my pre-ordered copy even arrived in the mail.

With the postgame content it's about 22 hours. An easy thing to knock out in a weekend.


My man. And here I am splitting Super Castlevania IV into three play sessions. :lol:

Nice to see NIGHT SLASHERS getting some love on this forum.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:42 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:My man. And here I am splitting Super Castlevania IV into three play sessions. :lol:

Nice to see NIGHT SLASHERS getting some love on this forum.


Lol, that's great.

I also couldn't finish a 22 hour game in a weekend, but I respect it. Could maybe fit in 15 to 16 hours of game time at most.
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