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dust_hound
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dust_hound Sat May 23, 2020 8:01 am

I also loved PSO at the time on Dreamcast, but despite playing it for at least 10-15 hours I never felt engaged enough to pay serious attention to my character or to progress through the story. I think I lost out by only doing singleplayer but have never been one for playing online.

This year so far I've actually only properly finished two games:
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS VITA)- amazing graphics, decent story, but it's like 10 hours too long and several boss fights and stages are repeated ad nauseam due to the overlapping way the story is told. Despite there being 5 different characters, I never explored their individual skills enough to make myself feel that the gameplay changed distinctly each time. Others probably had a very different experience to mine, though.

Persona 3 Portable (PSP) - great characters, good story. Horribly boring and repetitive gameplay - just my opinion, and I know lots of people love it. I know it's a JRPG, but the main location where most of the game's "active" gameplay takes place is a tower with almost 300 floors, divided into 6 blocks which are pretty much just palette-swaps of each other. I mean, come on! Then there's the usual JRPG trope of the repetitive enemy encounters.

I also "finished" Eco Fighters (PSP Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded) by credit-feeding (42 credits) through to the end on the hard setting. OK, I know that's not technically finished, but a 1CC is far far beyond my age-addled skills, and I'm happy to have even reached the end in any way.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 24, 2020 1:20 am

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
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4

Zodiac Age is the HD remaster of the International Zodiac Job System update of FF12 (which, contrary to the name, was only released in Japan). It adds a bunch of quality of life improvements on top of what IZJS already added, but there is still a lot of roughness that can't be corrected without a full from-the-ground-up remake. Still, this is definitely the definitive edition of the game, and it isn't BAD by any means.

Zodiac Age takes the license board jobs of IZJS and now lets every character learn two jobs. Since the jobs are very uneven in terms of capability being able to use two means you can use all the jobs the game provides across the six members of your party and makes every character much more well rounded, while avoiding the "do everything" nature of the original License Board. You can either combine jobs to double down on a strength or use two unrelated jobs to gain a real breadth of capability.

The game rebalances the overall difficulty and item progression. They mostly unfucked the treasure system, though top gear is still in chests with a low spawn rate (but if it does spawn you'll 100% get the item). The Diamond Bracelet now turns every chest into either a Knot of Rust or a Meteorite, so no more juggling it to try and get gear; put it on when you want Knots and Meteorites, take it off when you want useful stuff. And those chests that give you an item 100% of the time? That overrides the Diamond Bracelet. There is still one overworld area of the game that uses the old mechanics of rolling the dice and seeing what happens with the Bracelet on, but it's also completely unnecessary; none of the items are best in slot. The game also gives you the various Gambit conditions MUCH earlier, so you can get to programming your team right away. And that's one of the game's strengths; letting you put together a combination of Gambits and then letting the battle roll without undue micromanaging.

They added a 4x speedup in addition to the 2x speedup of IZJS, but it's basically unusable. 3x would have been better; at 4x you move too fast given how much crap there is in the terrain to get hung up on. And 2x still feels a bit too slow in town because they decided you should move slower in town for some reason. And this is the first of things that are problems the game has.

The bigger problems are a bit more fundamental. The game's story is quite light; less focus on characters, more on the larger geopolitical situation. And these story bits are quite spread apart. You might go through two large open areas in between even minor character dialog, and many cutscenes have minimal dialog, just characters walking. It's a weird choice, and it hurts things overall. Similarly, the way the terrain is set up is reminiscent of MMO design, so you have these large areas with a lot of areas to go in but not a lot of reason to. It's sort of like the problem OoT's Hyrule Field has, where about a quarter of the map you never visit unless you specifically want to search for an extra piece of heart or something, but now imagine that is every single area. The game's MMO leanings also come from some of the boss mechanics. Some bosses will just straight up become immune to magic or physical (or both) when their AI script tells them to, and it'll last for a good two minutes. This is the sort of thing that you might see in an MMO boss to encourage a diverse party and to indicate that there is something else to be attended to (e.g. new adds, the people who can't hurt the boss deal with them). Since this game isn't actually an MMO this ends up just being frustrating, and potentially a source of cheap deaths.

The game also has a lot of harder than the final boss content. I don't call it post-game because you can do it long before the final boss and there's no "after final boss" save like some games (e.g. recent Dragon Quest games). Doing this content will leave you massively overleveled compared to the final boss, so it becomes a pretty big stomp that sort of undermines what might have otherwise been a cool series of fights. I ended up just berserking the team (including my healer) and let them go to town; I was taking off 10% health per hit. And I didn't even do all the content; I decided doing the Pharos Subterra stuff wasn't worth my time, as it's really only to power yourself up for Yiazmet, that gigantic time sink (he's got approximately 100x the HP of the final boss).

It's well known that 12 had a very troubled production, and you can definitely see the signs of it. It isn't quite as bad as Xenogear's "oops, we ran out of money, here's a PowerPoint interspersed with boss fights", but it still ends up being one of the weaker entries in the series. You can definitely see the potential there, and I wonder what game we might have gotten had production been smoother. But if you are going to play it, definitely play Zodiac Age.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 24, 2020 10:22 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
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC

Maneater is a game with a simple premise; you are shark, eat and evolve. But sometimes the simplest things are the most fun. The game is one giant exercise in catharsis and carnage that executes on its premise perfectly and ends right before it would drag, giving you a well executed power curve and an end game of feeling like the most badass thing in the sea. The designers achieved exactly what they set out to do, and we all benefit from it.

Now, the game has a fun framing story. There's a Deadliest Catch-esque reality show called Maneater, and the game starts off with the show's camera crew following around Scaley Pete the shark hunter. The show includes the slightly shaky camera angles, the occasional boom mic falling into the shot, and the random hashtags in response to things people say in an attempt to be hip. It also features Will Parnell as the show's narrator, and this serves as your primary feedback through the game. Obviously as a shark you don't do any self introspection. But the narrator is happy to describe what you're doing in a bunch of well written anecdotes about sharks and the game's environment that are just slightly exaggerated for parody.

You start off (after the intro) as a baby shark and need to eat your way into maturity. Eating creatures restores your health and gives you resources; fat, minerals, protein, and in rare cases mutagens. Consuming resources in general serves as your exp bar, while individual resources are used to upgrade specific body parts and organs. Progressing the story will move you through the lifecycle; baby, teen, adult, elder, and mega. Each jump in lifecycle gives a noticeable increase in capability, and when you hit elder many of the previous enemy creatures can now be nommed on like the food creatures, rather than needing to get involved in an attack duel.

The game has a fairly simple loop to it. The world is divided into several aquatic areas that are shoreline adjacent (bayou, harbor, seaside golf course, etc), each of which has a home base (where you go to upgrade yourself), three primary objectives, three repeats of each of the primary objectives, an apex predator, three kinds of collectables, and finally a trigger to move the story forward. In two instances that trigger includes a boss fight (once midgame, once end game). The missions all involve destruction, and are in three categories. The first is a population reduction; eat X of a certain creature in a certain area. Once you do it a total of four times you unlock the apex predator that normally eats those creatures and you need to duel to the death. Winning the duel gives you an equippable mutation. The other two are to eat a bunch of humans/kill a specific enemy, then repeat several times. The repeats are optional, but they also give you lots of mutation resources, so they're worth doing. The collectables are to find license plates (bragging rights only), to find crates of food (woo resources), and the third is to find various landmarks; these are a source of various cute jokes and finding all of them in an area unlocks a mutation.

One final thing to mention is your interaction with humans. As you nom them (and they are the most valuable in terms of food) you build up a panic meter; filling it causes shark hunters to come after you. They will infinitely respawn but can be evaded; think of them like GTA's wanted meter. But there's a twist; killing hunters builds up your infamy meter, which is a long term thing. Every time it ranks up a unique hunter will spawn, who tends to be better equipped than what you're facing. Killing the unique hunter unlocks a mutation. Additionally the shark hunters are now permanently upgraded in damage and toughness. It's always at the right level that unless you go out of your way to grind their level up early it never feels overwhelming; rather as you get more deadly they get a bit tougher to compensate, but you will stay on top because you are the best shark.

On the mutation front you have five body slots and three organ slots. The body slots have one of three options, one optimized for damage, one for speed, and one for defense, with each being useful in different situations. You get a set bonus for equipping the same parts (starting with two), and so you're encouraged to stay homogenous. They unlock approximately one per zone; defense parts come from killing apex predators, speed parts from finding all landmarks, and damage are at various unique hunter kills. There's more zones than parts, though, so a handful of those award organ mutations instead. Organs are your sort of catch-all passive benefits. All of these are upgraded using one of the three main resources, with the two highest levels of upgrade also needing some mutagen resource.

The game controls well, though some of the jumps to get to humans/collectables can be tricky. As a hint, equip the speed parts when you want to do those, as they make a noticeable difference. Your primary attack is naturally to bite, and you can also do a tail swipe. You can do a dodge in all four lateral directions and can do a dash forward. Chomping a prey animal lets you keep nomming, while sometimes in fights you can grapple which is a similar thing (though you can also be grappled in return, so be prepared for that). Humans come at you in boats, and you can either smash them to pieces or jump up and nom them off the deck. In fact, you have pretty decent ground mobility; it hits that sweet spot of feeling that yes, this is not what a shark wants to do but still being able to do things like scoop up humans and hit collectables. Just make sure you pay attention to your air meter, since you need water to breathe.

The whole thing took me about 9 hours, which is about right for an experience like this. At that point you've seen everything there is to see, and there aren't really any tricks left for combat. You power your way through and show that you are the biggest, baddest thing in the sea. And speaking of the sea, they did a great job with the environments. They're pretty to look at, and they do a good job in the underwater caves of using differently colored plants to indicate where room exits are, so it feels natural while still being good signposting.

Not much more to say; you can basically tell if you're going to enjoy the game or not based entirely on the trailer.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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SamuraiMegas
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by SamuraiMegas Sun May 24, 2020 11:28 pm

I beat sunset riders tonight. Took 26 continues. It used to take me 5-10 when I was 12...
Hobie-wan wrote:Milk the banana for all it's worth.

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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Tue May 26, 2020 3:30 pm

78. Ghost Squad (wii)

Ghost squad is a Sega made light gun game that feels like an updated virtua cop. Graphically the style is the same with enemies that display a targeting reticule before they shoot and hostages around that incur penalties when you shoot them, It wouldnt surprise me if this game started off as another virtua cop game and then sega changed the name for whatever reason.

Ghost squad is an arcade game, there are 3 levels that can be tackled in any order, and one play through only takes about 20 minutes or so but sega has done a nice job of keeping players incentivized to replay levels. Like any good sega light gun game there are branching paths in each level that add a nice degree of replayability, as you complete different paths your level completion percentage increases and when it hits a certain threshold more options open up to you and each stage levels up. Each level a stage earns increases its length, number of branching paths, and number of options available at each path, so you can play each level quite a few times before you see everything the level has to offer. You also level up your character as you complete levels which unlock a pretty huge arsenal of unlockable guns which alter the feel of the game.

In addition to standard shooting baddies, there are also several mini games that the game randomnly launches you into, including hand to hand fights, knife fights, sniping, disarming mines, and a few more. These mini games are simple to control and are generally fun to play, successful completion or failure almost always leads to a cheesy cutscene which is equal parts humorous and cringeworthy.

Keeping in the tradition of sega light gun games the plot is completely over the top, the dialogue is nonsensical, and it will leave you laughing at how bad some of it is, the animation of your character when you fail the hand to hand fight got a nice belly laugh from me, and although it does not match the camp of house of the dead 2 it is very satisfying in its own right.

Ghost Squad is a great game, it is a lot of fun to play, offers a nice degree of replayability, and features really nice and tight shooting with the wii mote. I bought this game at gamestop for $3 and for that price it is an absolute steal, any wii owner who is into light gun games absolutely needs to check this game out.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Tue May 26, 2020 11:57 pm

1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)


Donut County is a short, charming game in which you, a raccoon, use a donut hole to swallow objects. As objects are swallowed, the hole becomes larger and can, therefore, swallow larger objects. The level is over when the hole consumes everything. It’s a lot like Katamari Damacy, but there are no time limits or failure states. The “hole” experience lasts a little over two hours, and it saves its best gameplay ideas for the last level. (I’m looking forward to a sequel that picks up, from a gameplay perspective, where this game leaves off.) It is brimming with charm, however, and you can’t help but grin the entire time you’re playing it. Recommended.

Donkey Kong Country 2 is a solid platformer I played for the summer games challenge, and I wrote more about it in the summer games challenge thread. I also expect to write even more about it once I finish up its sequel.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed May 27, 2020 3:06 am

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
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC

Chimera Squad is an XCOM spinoff set after the events of XCOM 2 and unlike the other spinoffs of the series it's actually a good game. The secret is they keep it as a turn based strategy game, though they focus more on characters and worldbuilding and less on the strategic elements. They also made a pretty major change to the combat; now turns are interleaved. This ends up causing you to have to use new tactics, as managing the turn timeline becomes the new thing combat revolves around.

The basic premise is that in the aftermath of XCOM2 there are now a bunch of aliens and former Advent (not to mention people who had their psionic power teased out) still living on Earth, and integration needs to begin happening. The city on the forefront of this movement is City 31, though at the start of the game it is rocked by an assassination on the mayor. Chimera Squad is the nickname of XCOM Reclaimations; a unit designed to track down and contain dangerous alien tech. But with the mayor's assassination they also get called in to help with the city's unrest; the police are overwhelmed and the attack couldn't have happened without some of the tech that is Chimera Squad's mandate.

Unlike previous games you are given bespoke characters for your squad. You start with four, and will gain four others (out of a total of eleven characters) through the course of the campaign. They are a mixture of humans and aliens and each has a unique battlefield role. Claymore the human is a demolitions expert who tosses out grenades left and right, while Verge the Sectoid uses a variety of mental powers to manipulate enemies. And of course, who could forget Torque, the snake lady who can show enemies how it feels to be pulled from halfway across the map and bound. Like before your soldiers will level up over time, splitting between fixed abilities and levels where you get to choose one of two abilities. Unfortunately most of the time the choice is pretty obvious; it would have bee nice if they had more "well, both choices are good in different situations" abilities.

Using fixed characters allows them to engage in a lot of worldbuilding. In between missions there are a mix of audio from TV/radio broadcasts talking about the current events you are dealing with, advertisements for products in an integrated world (BIIIIG CRUNCH! The cereal that writhes!), or dialog between your squad members. The squad stuff is especially well written, humanzing them and going into all the interesting details of this new world. For example, a large amount of human food is poisonous to Sectoids, so Verge asks a squad member if he will eat a cheesesteak from a new restaurant and let him mind link so he can experience the sensation without harming himself. There's other little touches too; one of the maps is a snake strip club showing how the races are settling down, and some of the missions go into details about the other races (e.g. Archons live in a virtual world to escape the body horror they suffer).

I touched on the combat changes. In this game missions play out as a sort of SWAT simulator. So instead of creeping through fog of war you will burst through various entry points which differ per map. Sometimes you can even make your own with the right gear. This is the breach mode segment; it ends up being not too dissimilar from setting up an ambush from stealth mode in XCOM 2, but is more dynamic. After choosing where you'll breach and in what order (which can have bonuses or penalties attached) you will get a chance to shoot once with every single squad member, in the order you picked. Enemies can be in one of three states at this point; unaware, cautious, or aggressive. After taking all your shots the cautious enemies will be able to use defensive abilities like hunkering down, while aggressive enemies will fire back. So target prioritization is important at this point. A good breach can drastically reduce the odds against you (or on the early missions with some good damage rolls completely take out the opposition). After the breach you go into regular combat.

Now this is where the interleaved turns come into play. After a breach the game will divide things up so that each side has their turns being taken at about the same rate. So if you have equal numbers it will go you, them, you, them. If they have twice as many it will go you, them, them, you, them them. And so on. But once this order is set it is fixed, even if people die. So by killing an enemy whose turn is set to come up next you'll be able to get two turns back to back. There are other ways to manipulate the timeline as well; one character has a skill that pushes an enemy down the timeline and you get a once-per-mission ability to move a character so that their turn is now always after the current character's turn. Planning your actions around this mechanic allows you to minimize the damage you take and sets you up for success.

At the strategic level the game is divided into three campaigns that can be tackled in any order. These are a series of missions against three different troublemaking factions that might have been involved in the mayor's death. Beating a faction gives you access to two research projects to get tech related to them; otherwise tech is based entirely on a simple tree that does not require you to scavenge anything from the field. You can also send agents on a special ops mission (they are unusable for a period of time, then come back with resources/some other benefit) or put them in training (which give them passive stat boosts). The general flow is that you are taking things one day at a time, and days alternate between a combat mission and a show the flag event; the latter is just you picking from two options and getting a reward (each option is a different reward). The city is divided into nine districts, and missions you don't do in a district (and there are always two, so you always miss one) will raise unrest; when unrest in a district maxes out the overall city anarchy rises. This is the doom meter that forces you to engage in missions, though you are given enough tools to manage it that it only becomes an issue if you just start skipping missions to move the timeline forward (and you have to do that A LOT for it to become a problem). After so many days have passed the story mission becomes unlocked, after a few story missions you unlock the final mission to wrap things up. Repeat twice and then do the end game scenario.

Since the game is so character based they have also changed how death works. When a character runs out of HP they always start bleeding out; at this point you can either finish the map or have someone run over and stabilize them. Once this happens, and assuming no explosions land on their body, they will be evac'd and replaced with an android (that you have to construct) to finish out the mission (missions are between one and three encounters). But if you don't stabilize them and the bleed counter finishes (or again, a grenade falls on them) then it's game over. So turning on hardcore difficulty (mission failure is game over and your save is erased) is a bit more harrowing than ironman was in the previous games; you could still recover from a botched ironman mission, but that isn't the case here.

The game plants a bunch of seeds for what can come next in the XCOM universe, and I hope to see an announcement of XCOM 3 in the near future. It's a solid title in its own right; definitely shorter, but with a price point to match. If you want more strategy action I recommend it.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
Juan Aguacate
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Juan Aguacate Wed May 27, 2020 10:35 pm

Maneater - PS4

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So this is basically Jaws the Video Game. Supposedly, there was a PS2 game similar to this called Jaws Unleashed that people keep incessantly bringing up whenever this game gets talked about. Don't know anything about it, but Maneater is an open world game with some minor RPG elements. The advertising for this game calls it a full blown RPG though. Seems like every game that comes out these days gets the RPG label slapped onto it.

So, this game has a lot of problems. One being that it's almost as buggy a game as Mad Max. It can delete your save data, happened to me 2 or 3 times. Supposedly some trophies aren't popping for some people, though I didn't encounter that. Keeping back up saves are a must (one of the reasons I hate the Nintendo Switch, where you can't do that). The controls are a bit awkward and take some getting use to. The game has an AWFUL targeting system, making much of the combat more annoying than it needs to be.

Speaking of combat, it's a bit shallow. You'll be mashing the right analog stick a lot as enemies are always darting past you forcing you to hit R3 in order to get your shark to turn around and face them, at which point you'll be mashing R2 and hoping that the flimsy targeting system will lock on so your shark hits them. Fighting bounty hunters is equally shallow. They are so overpowered you'll have to mash the evade button constantly to avoid their nonstop gun shots as well as the explosives they throw in the water. You never get a moment to breathe when fighting them. Fortunately, one of the game's upgrades lets you do damage while evading so you can get some damage in while mashing R1 and eventually whittle down the bounty hunter boats with damage until they sink.

Maneater definitely has balancing issues. Right at the beginning of the game you'll get mauled by alligators eight levels higher than you and the aforementioned bounty hunter fights can get pretty hairy and unfair until you get the evasion damage upgrade I mentioned. Eventually though, as you level up and upgrade the game does reach a point where it's pretty easy. So the difficulty issues go away eventually. The game is repetitive too with missions consisting of you doing the same 4 or 5 things over and over again.

Despite all these complaints, the game has things going for it. It really FEELS like you're Jaws sometimes. When your fin pierces the water, hearing the reaction of nearby humans is immensely satisfying. Then, once you go berserk, pandemonium ensues. Screams, blood, and a big giant shark flying out of the water high into the air with a human corpse flailing about inside its giant maw as people run in terror. And while the bounty hunter fights can be annoying, it's fun when things start to go in your favor. Your shark will pop in and out of the water, occasionally with a body in its mouth, blood everywhere, while you're hearing things like, "My arm!", "Oh my god, it's literally eating me!", "Where she'd go, is she right under us!". It's awesome when you take out a boat, and watch the bounty hunters all fall into the water where they become helpless snacks for you. Occasionally, if you're lucky, you can dive out of the water and snatch someone right off their boat, and into the water, which is awesome

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When you get to a point where you're high level with lots of upgrades and evolutions, you feel like the king of the underwater jungle. Certain types of underwater foes that once gave you trouble will now find themselves in your maw in seconds as you thrash their corpse about ripping it into pieces before swallowing it all with a satisfying gulp and a spray of blood. You actually get bigger as you level up which helps makes fighting certain tough enemies easier over the course of the game. Size matters in this game. The site of a great white shark helplessly caught between your teeth as you're chewing it to pieces feels reeeeeealllly awesome. There are things called apex predators in the game too and taking them on when you're strong enough feels good. They'll show up after you eat a ton of the local wildlife, as you are stealing their food sources. Then it's a fight to see who is as the top of the food chain. You also build up infamy when fighting bounty hunters. There are certain famous ones that will show up when you cause enough of a ruckus and build up enough infamy and taking them out feels good as your becoming known far and wide as an aquatic terror

The game is full of interesting easter eggs, references, collectibles (that help you upgrade and level up), and a pretty good sense of humor. A lot of the references and jokes revolve around finding collectibles known as landmarks, so it feels worth it seeking them out. Plus, you get XP and materials for upgrading. It's kind of fun exploring the game's environment too. Lots of interesting things to see above ground and underwater. In the early parts of the game exploring always has you on edge a bit as you never know when something will attack you. The game really portrays the waters as danger territory where it's eat or be eaten. The whole game plays out like some documentary with a narrator providing lots of funny commentary as you play the game. He's really good and his commentary typically reflects whatever you're actually doing in the game (kind of like Bastion) The first time you decide to go on a man eating spree he says, "Sharks are not known for attacking humans" as you finish swallowing one whole in front of a terrified group of swimmers LOL. Later in the game, after you've gone on a few human killing sprees, the narrator says, "When faced with a gigantic predator chasing after you, maybe it's easier to just surrender and accept the sweet embrace of death". LOL. The game is a good mix of humor and bloody, disturbing violence

Hard to say if the game is worth it at forty bucks. It has fun, memorable moments, but lots of issues too. It's definitely a buy if it's ever on sale though. Devs have announced DLC for it, for better or for worse. It's pretty clear they don't actually know yet what the DLC will be. So we'll have to wait and see if it's good or not. This is one of the many reasons I don't usually like DLC, you don't even know what you're going to get in some cases. And while it's easy to say, more content is always a good thing, sometimes it's not. See Final Fantasy XV
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Fri May 29, 2020 10:28 pm

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)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *

30. Maken X (DC)

This isn't the only Dreamcast game I've ever beaten, but it's one of the few I have. It's a game I owned back in the States and tried for a bit but never played too much of. I bought a Dreamcast really cheap for the TR this month, and this was a game I also found cheap a few months back. This isn't nearly as much of a second chance as a lot of games I've beaten over the past year, but it was still a long time coming. However, this was certainly a game where finishing it became more of a matter of principle after a point, because the 4-5 hours I spent with the Japanese version of it were notttt the best time of my life XD

Maken X is a first-person sword fighting game as well as one of the few straight-up action games Atlus has developed and published themselves. You play as the spirit of a magical weapon called the Maken (in Japanese the kanji mean literally "magical sword"). Maken has been acquired by a secret research lab who are studying its ability to merge souls with people, and the research director's daughter, Kei, is visiting with her friend on the day that they're attacked by a mysterious organization. The sword master who was going to use Maken is killed while defending Kei, and Kei grabs Maken and chases after the weird robot/gorilla/soviet thing that stole her father after merging with Maken. It only gets weirder from here in a way that is very definitively "Atlus" XD

The story and presentation themselves are interesting and honestly one of the game's stronger points. It shares a main character designer with Shin Megami Tensei 2, and it really shows (particularly with some of the later boss enemies). The story itself has several branching paths with it and you can get an assortment of different endings based on a series of moral questions Kei (to Maken inside her mindscape between stages) and other characters ask you, very much like an SMT game or an earlier Persona game. It's not really anything to write home about, but it's more than serviceable. The presentation and enemy design is also constantly really weird and quirky for no real reason (TONS of not at all secret Nazis in what is supposed to be modern day-ish setting, I think, and that's never narratively addressed at all), and this weird style is definitely one of the most charming parts of the game.

What makes that boss design even more excellent is the game's mechanic of "Bran Jacking", where you can gain experience as you kill enemies to level up Maken's ability to merge souls, and this allows you to hop into the bodies of defeated bosses and gain all new move sets. Granted, these move sets only really consist of different jump, speed, and power stats as well as new basic mash-A combos and charge abilities, but it really does change up the way the game plays in a way that keeps things really interesting. There is a very clear power-creep as the game goes on, and there's very little reason not to hop into the latest boss you've defeated (especially as some stages can only be completed while playing as a certain character) given how much stronger they tend to be than the character you just were, but it keeps the action for the game fresh at the very least.

That action though, and the overall playing of the game, is where the game really falls apart though. At the end of the day, Maken X's biggest problem is that it's a Dreamcast game, and an early Dreamcast game at that (released very close to launch). It's a first-person melee-based action game on a system with only one joystick. While there are other first-person games on the Dreamcast that play much better (a good FPS on DC isn't impossible or anything), the nature of the melee combat makes already less than perfect controls even worse to bear.

Given that there's only one control stick, you can't turn and move at the same time. You can hold R to strafe, and you can press Y to lock on to enemies, but that's it. Bundle that in with how you need to hold backwards to block (like this is Street Fighter II or something) and how overall poor the lock-on system is and you have a recipe for a game that is constantly frustrating to play. You are also very mobile in first-person, not only being able to strafe-hop around targets, but even jump clear over their heads to face them from the back (and you keep "eyes" on them the whole time), so at times Maken X can be downright sickening to play with how bad the head-bob is. I never experienced any problems with that myself, but I've read enough reports online of people having trouble with that that I felt it needed to be mentioned here.

Verdict: Not Recommended. Even though there is such a good deal of "good enough" in Maken X, I believe it is not a game actually worth the time of the staunchest Dreamcast fan. It's a pretty cheap game in either America or Japan, so it's hardly gonna break the bank if you just wanna try it as a curiosity, but it's just such a bad time to play that I can't recommend it in earnest. I think most people would be far better served just watching a playthrough on Youtube instead of playing it themselves, because all of the good things in Maken X can be partaken in without actually playing it yourself (and the VA in the English version is way more campy and fun than the Japanese version's is).
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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sat May 30, 2020 8:49 pm

@partridgesenpai: Maken X has always been a curiousity for me, I still own the original DC game and have always wanted to check it out but its doubtful I will ever get around to it. If you like the idea of a first person beat em up you should check out zeno clash (on steam) it is a solid first person brawler, pretty unique and lots of fun

79. 007: blood stone (xbox 360)

007: blood stone is a rare Bond game that is not based off a movie, it is set in the Daniel Craig Bond universe but is not related to any of the other movies, but it does feature his likeness and voice.

The plot seems right at home in a bond game and if there was a blood stone movie it probably would have been pretty good, there are lots of twist and turns, a new creepy bond villain, and all sorts of cool over the top set pieces.

The game is standard 3rd person cover based shooter, there is stealth, but it is never forced. Many sections you could go in guns blazing, but the stealth is done well and a lot of fun so I wound up trying to be stealthy as much as I can. Eventually shit goes down and levels turn into all out action sequences where stealth is not possible. The shooting here is very solid, and there are lots of things going in to keep you engaged, there are some mini games, some exploring, some chase scenes, some platforming and it is all done well.

There are also drving levels that typically involve bond chasing some baddy, I usually don't like driving stuff, but the controls here were solid, and the car chases were extremely frantic, I definitely died a lot more on these sections than in the shooting sections, but I also really enjoyed them.

The set pieces in this game really make you feel like bond, one minute your sneaking around a weapons facility in siberia trying to blow up the bioweapons, next minute your running through the factory while it is blowing up around you with enemies swarming in every direction, and the level ends with a high speed car chase through siberia with glaciers and ice breaking all around you. Every level features this kind of escalating action and they really make you feel like you are in an authentic bond movie.

This is a bond game that noone really talks about but it is really solid, the gameplay is nothing revolutionary, but the basics are done right and it really captures the essence of being bond.
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