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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 31, 2020 1:02 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
27. Sakura Wars - PS4

Do you enjoy anime? Do you enjoy visual novels? Do you have no strong objections to the occasional bit of musou gameplay? If so, then Sakura Wars is the game for you. The sixth main game in the series and the second to be localized, Sakura Wars gives a slick presentation but I personally found the overall gameplay lacking (due to the changed combat)..

Sakura Wars as a series has always been about 80% VN and 20% other gameplay. Entries up until now had that be a strategy game for doing your once-a-chapter battles. This game instead makes it an action game that feels very musou. This unfortunately makes everything extremely easy outside of a handful of boss fights (it's about 50/50 on whether the boss fights take effort or not). So you're left with the VN stuff as the primary gameplay.

The premise is this is an alternate timeline, where instead of WW1 demons invaded. And we fight them off using steam powered mecha that also require spiritual power. For reasons never explained it's mostly women who can generate the necessary spiritual power, so you have the stage set for a harem; the PC is the rare male who can pilot and all his subordinates are ladies. And when they aren't battling demons they serve the community in other ways; the primary squad in the various games are a theater troupe, but this game shows other groups have their own way (one group runs a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo).

The game is divided into eight chapters which are each basically an anime episode; you have a progression of getting to know a particular teammate, discovering they have a personal problem, solving that personal problem, and then wrap it up with a mecha battle. They even have two intermissions and a "coming up next" segment after each chapter. And when I say anime, I mean this is the most troperiffic thing on the planet. Get out your bingo card before playing.

You also have lots of opportunities to interact with people outside the main plot thread. These are mostly for character building and giving you a chance to build up your relationship values with everyone. This will raise your combat effectiveness (global stat boost that isn't really noticeable) and eventually builds to you being able to make one of the party members your girlfriend (though it really isn't properly cemented until the post credits scene). You also get a ton of chances to perv on them; you basically get to decide if you're a chivalrous harem protagonist or a pervy harem protagonist.

The story is fairly well told, with one unexpected twist and multiple expected twists (I guarantee you'll guess one of them four chapters before it actually executes). But there's nothing groundbreaking about it; it's your standard defeat evil with the power of friendship and working together story. Overcome adversity, learn to believe in yourself, learn who your true friends are, etc.

And then there's the combat. It's pretty button mashy; you have a dodge that you almost never need to use because most enemies get stunlocked easily. You really only use it on certain bosses, and even then you can just bust out a super and drop their HP by half in the blink of an eye. Multiple times I'd finish a battle halfway through the dialog because of it. More frustrating is the light platforming elements; they aren't hard, but they tend to slow things down when they show up (either because you didn't notice and dashed off a cliff or because you're waiting on moving platforms). Given how fast the mecha scenes move otherwise it should have been cut. It's obvious they didn't expect anyone to go "I play Sakura Wars for the mecha combat", though the weird thing is the combat simulator has a TON of battles in it, for no real reward (doing enough of them gets you in game pictures of characters, weee). And the weirdest thing about the combat is the controls; X is jump, triangle is heavy attack. Sounds familiar, right? Guess which button is light attack? If you said square then you are a normal person and are also dead wrong. It's circle, with square being deploy super move. The really egregious thing is that circle also skips dialog, so if you're attacking enemies and then there's a dramatic entrance you immediately cut it off.

While I don't think I would pick up another game in the series it's entirely because what it is isn't what I'm interested in. It executes well what it is, and if you're a fan of VNs then I highly recommend it; the combat is just a minor break in things and isn't hard enough to be any sort of roadblock.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Sun May 31, 2020 10:14 am

MrPopo wrote:Sakura Wars as a series has always been about 80% VN and 20% other gameplay.


Ah, the golden ratio.

You play the original Saturn game Popz??
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 31, 2020 1:27 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:
MrPopo wrote:Sakura Wars as a series has always been about 80% VN and 20% other gameplay.


Ah, the golden ratio.

You play the original Saturn game Popz??

No; I've only played the US releases.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 31, 2020 1:44 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
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch

Stela is an indie atmospheric platformer in the same vein as Limbo; no dialog, various death traps, very ambiguous story. Stela is a very uneven game; while the music and sound are used extremely well to provoke appropriate feelings in the player the mechanics and level design are hit and miss. It's definitely a "get on sale" game, as I don't think it warrants its base price tag.

Mechanically you don't have much; you can move, jump, climb ladders, ledge grab (with very forgiving stickiness), and climb into objects/scenery in the background. This last point is the main mechanical innovation; if there's a box you're running in front of you can push up to climb onto it. One thing you will notice is that your jump has about a half second delay to it. I suspect this is due to them using the animation itself to cause the ascension; I ran into a similar sort of behavior when I used a free Unity asset in a game jam that included a jump animation. The animation shows that you can't just get a good jump without some sort of windup, but it ends up making things very unresponsive. The problem comes in that sometimes the game demands you to jump at precise moments (either right at the end of a ledge or in response to a sudden collapse) and you will almost undoubtedly miss the first time, usually leading to a death.

The game is split into eight levels, each with their own core mechanic. This is where the other bit of unevenness in the game comes out; the first level throws you in the deep end by being a series of essentially quick time events without prompts. You spend it being chased by a lethal swarm and at various points you have to quickly do something to stop the swarm temporarily. But since you have just started the game you won't even recognize the possible options for doing so. After the first level things settle down and have a much better curve to them; introduce things, then tighten up requirements or add a wrinkle. You'll still have deaths due to not being sure what is expected of you, but it should click after one or two tries. So running through the rest, the second level is hide and seek, the third level is regularly hide from a lethal screen wipe, the fourth level is dealing with traps (with lots of interacting with the background layer), the fifth level is a slow chase where you frequently need to wait for the environment to be manipulated in a favorable way. The sixth level is "staying on the ground too long is death", the seventh level is using switches to manipulate the environment in your favor to get around hazards. The eighth level is moving around key items to open doors and get through hazards, and the last level (not including a playable epilogue) is about low gravity. It keeps the gameplay relatively fresh by mixing things up.

The ending is quite vague, as is the nature of these games. It's certainly not a "and people lived happily forever," but the specifics are left to your interpretation. I'm not sure it serves as a good payoff to the game, either. It really serves more as an art project.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 31, 2020 5:55 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
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC

With a break in my games to play list I decided to pick back up my save of THPS2 that I had been working on I think last year. I had reached the point where just mashing wasn't getting me enough score to get the Sick score in levels and never came back to it. Picking it back up forced me to think a bit more about the mechanics and I was able to fairly quickly knock out the last three stages.

THPS2 takes what THPS1 does and then amps it up. The main mechanical addition is that you get the ability to do a manual to continue a chain of street tricks; this serves as either one more trick to up your multiplier, a way to link together grinds, or a way to finish off with a vert trick (if conditions are right). THPS3 will then add in the revert as a way to link a vert into street tricks (revert into manual) and give you the ability to just do a two minute long trick if you can execute properly. This puts THPS2 in a middle ground between the relatively grounded THPS1 and the "fuck it, let's just have fun" of THPS3.

Level design in THPS2 is larger than the first game and completely ditches the downhill levels; now every level is a form of skate park. This is important for hitting the score goals, as there is usually one or two good spots to just do verts over and over again and a few lines that are good for doing a long series of street tricks. The amount of goals has doubled; in addition to the two score goals, collect SKATE, secret tape, and a level specific "do X things", there is now a third score goal, the do X things is split into do X tricks in specific spots and collect Y things, there is a "do a specific trick on a specific gap", a goal that sometimes is just getting a specific gap and sometimes is interacting with the environment in specific ways, and full clear the stage (all goals and cash). The game still has the three competitions, and you will need to collect all cash in the competitions to full clear the game.

Unlike THPS1 you now get to control your character's stat development through spending cash. Each increase in your overall stats costs an increasing amount of money (e.g. $100, $150, $200, etc). It doesn't matter which stat you're pumping, so you're free to go all in on a handful first, rather than going well rounded. The way you spend your cash can affect your ability to full clear a stage; some goals may be neigh impossible without high enough stats. But if you're full clearing you should always have two levels open to yourself (levels unlock based on career cash or medal requirements), so you can always do another level and come back later.

The game also ends up being just a little crazier than the first game in terms of what you're able to pull off. This is fun, but you should be prepared for high flying and long uphill grinds being expected of you. Overall it's the perfect sort of sequel; it takes what the original did, does it better, and drops the parts that weren't so good from the first.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:59 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)


I have recently beaten two more games, one fantastic, one absolute but still entertaining crap.

NecroVision: Lost Company

NecroVision: Lost Company is a prequel to the generally unmemorable NecroVision. It's a horror game set during WWI which involves a German medical doctor and retired soldier returning to the front line to personally deliver a plague antidote to his friend. Unfortunately, along the way he discovers that the plague is being intentionally spread and that it turns people into zombies, super soldiers, demons, monsters, and whatever else random crap the devs felt like throwing in. At one point, I got attacked by a wolf that suddenly turned into a massive werewolf, which I quickly brought down by pumping full of rounds from my BAR. Suck it, Legendary, this game has much better werewolves.

Let's get something straight immediately: NecroVision: Lost Company is not a good game. At all. Enemy AI is janky and stupid. The game's physics are just as likely to propel an enemy across the room as they are to suddenly launch you across the same room, and you can actually escape enemies by jumping on their heads to evade them. While there is a wide array of weapons, many of them feel ultimately outclassed and pointless. And the plot is batshit crazy. But it also let me use an old biplane to fight a dragon, so it's got its positives too.

Don't play this game to be serious. Play this game because it gives a limited amount of regenerating health and then relies on healthkits during an era of FPS design where everything was brown and usually set in the Middle East. Don't pay attention to the bad voice acting and the grammatical errors, instead understand that you get bonus points for blasting off a zombie's head by jumpkicking it in the face and then pointblanking it in the dome with a trenchgun. Even better, this game has a challenge mode where you do things like shoot flying zombies out of the air as they are launched via springboard and somersault their way into the combat zone.

That's pretty much all you need to know about NecroVision: Lost Company. To take it seriously would be to do it wrong.

Icewind Dale

I got Baldur's Gate with a new computer back around...2000 or so. I wasn't sure what to expect when I installed it off four CDs, but the game served as a formal video game introduction to 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules, which is also around the time that I learned to play tabletop. 3rd Edition followed shortly after, and I successfully made the jump for pen and paper, but 2nd Edition remained a thing of beauty and love for me in gaming.

However, despite loving Baldur's Gate, I never managed to snag a copy of its more combat-oriented cousin, Icewind Dale. It's not the same thing as BG; there's less emphasis on seeking out party members and role playing adventures, while there is much more on creating your own dream team from scratch and then building an understanding for how the combat system works to better take on the game's numerous challenges. Icewind Dale is what occurs in the frozen north, and it's a place that loves a good fight, so don't expect to talk your way out of many encounters...or really any. Icewind Dale wants to punch you in the face.

Now I love Nordic settings in video games, where the mountainous terrain is every bit as hostile as the creatures from Scandinavian folklore. Hard lands breed hard people, and considering I generally favor the tank characters in a session of D&D, I definitely prefer the tough power fantasy types. Here, I slay trolls, take down giants, and rage against fiendish necromancers. I listen to druids who tell tales of nature and stare into the depths of civilizations collapsed into barbarism. I do it with an axe in hand against fiendish beings from beyond time and space. And I love it. It is this focus on combat that makes me love Icewind Dale, and I admit that I think I now prefer this one to the open-ended Baldur's Gate if only because it is the setting that I want and a direct path to the forces which wage war at the end of the world.

It's also a game that demands an understanding of your magic and your tactics, because the same party can just as easily get slaughtered as it can completely route a force with a little set up. If you don't use the right buffs or take the right position, odds are you're gonna make things a lot harder than they need to be. The game's also no slouch about rewarding you well, so by the time I had bested the final boss, I was sitting on a heap of gold that would make me a very rich man indeed.

Does it have problems? Well, yes, I admit that there are flaws in 2nd Edition which nowadays I struggle with, such as the invention of THAC0 or the fractional strength stat. Yet still, most of the best D&D video games, at least in my opinion, are set in the 2nd Ed. rule set, so as I play through more, it's become somewhat comforting to me. Perhaps I'm just a weary grognard.

Eh, regardless, I love putting my troops in a T formation, my back forces slinging spells and stones as my tanks hold the line against whatever foe arises. Let the cold wind blow in Icewind Dale, for it blows the songs of my victory.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:00 pm

80. Resident Evil 6 (xbox 360)

I have long defended RE6 but havent played it in years and I have been on a resident evil kick lately so I decided to give it another shot and see if my opinion on the game has changed.

I played through as Chris, for those of you who don't know, RE6 has 3 different characters, each with a different story, with some intersection and different playstyles. Chris is geared more towards action, but I decided to play through it with him because I just finished 5, and read some possible spoilers about his involvement in 8, so I wanted to see his story play out.

The main complaint that this game gets is that it does not "feel" like resident evil, and while I do think series need to change and grow to stay relevant, most hate this game because it took the series far away from its roots, and I do get where the purists come from. Here is a list of things that happen in Chris campaign which are definitely not typical RE fare:

1) you start the game with an assault rifle and pistol with a good amount of ammo for each
2) There is a cover system, much like gears of war chris can hug walls and duck behind cover and pop out to shoot
3) there is a melee attack, which is extremely strong, this is not a weak desperate move to use when cornered, this is something you can use aggressively and I often found myself charging enemies to body check them and them pummel them into bits
4) there is a running body check
5) the knife is badass, if there are 2 zombies feel free to not waste bullets and just slice them up with the knife, it will work better than your guns in many cases
6) there is an on rail shooter section
7) there is a car chase section
8) there is a section where you are controlling a plane shooting at an aircraft carrier
9) Enemies drop ammo, lots of ammo
10) no save typewriters, the game just saves like most action games
11) the vast majority of enemies in chris campaign have guns, the zombies have guns, the spiders have guns, the moths have guns, definitely weird
12) there are quick time events, lots of quick time events
13) there are no puzzles (at least in chris campaign, I believe Leon had a few)

thats off the top of my head, I'm sure I am leaving some out

Having said all that, it still feels like a resident evil game to me. The gameplay is ratched up but the story, characters, setting, enemy types are all right at home. I enjoyed the story here, and with the spoiler that Chris may be the antagonist in RE8, it was interesting playing the game with that in mind, there is a good portion of the game where Chris goes down a very dark road, and while he does redeem himself, it certainly does make a possible heel turn make sense if they do go down that road.

Gameplay wise, RE6 is a good game, the action here is well done and killing enemies is very satisfying, while the game is fast paced it still does maintain a horror vibe to it as you are often thrust into situations with huge mobs of zombies and some other huge OP monsters.

After a 2nd playthrough of this game I like it just as much as I did the first time, I don't know if people genuinely hate this game because they think its bad, or if they just hate it because it is not what they perceive a resident evil game should be.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:47 am

Ack wrote:Does it have problems? Well, yes, I admit that there are flaws in 2nd Edition which nowadays I struggle with, such as the invention of THAC0 or the fractional strength stat.

I agree that Fractional Strength was a bad idea; while the goal was to make fighters better at dealing damage than non-fighters it only happened when you already rolled the highest strength so it didn't come into play for most characters (that aren't rerolling a ton) and was then completely invalidated by any magic effects that set your strength to 19 or higher; 3rd edition and beyond would instead given Fighters special moves to make them better at killing. But THAC0 is literally the same as modern D&D roll plus your modifiers vs. enemy defense; all that's changed is the sign on the modifiers.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:15 pm

The problem with THAC0 is just that it was hard to calculate against AC quickly and easily. I mean, the math wasn't fundamentally hard, but so unlike any other math in the game, just this one-off calculation that seemed oddly out of place, and sometimes caused hiccups in game flow. Even the very disciplined would sometimes stumble over it briefly just because.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:29 pm

marurun wrote:The problem with THAC0 is just that it was hard to calculate against AC quickly and easily. I mean, the math wasn't fundamentally hard, but so unlike any other math in the game, just this one-off calculation that seemed oddly out of place, and sometimes caused hiccups in game flow. Even the very disciplined would sometimes stumble over it briefly just because.

It definitely is a case of "why was your brain working in the way it did to come up with this?" but it's mostly a case of someone talking in roundabout language. Since both systems start with a naked AC of 10 you end up being able to take something from AD&D monster manuals and run a simple calculation (20 - AD&D AC) to get a modern D&D AC. The most confusing part is it being THAC0, rather than an attack bonus. But a THAC0 of 20 is the same as an attack bonus of 0, 19 is 1, 18 is 2, etc. It's fundamentally the same system.

Honestly, THAC0 is New Math.
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