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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:15 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)

30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
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Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is one of the earliest RPGs released by Nippon Ichi Software, the same folks behind Disgaea and Phantom Brave. Since its initial release, Rhapsody has received an enhanced port (in Japan), a DS remake, a bonafide "part two" sequel (in Japan), and a few spin-offs (in Japan). The game is also loosely related to the PS2 title La Pucelle: Tactics. What strikes me immediately about Rhapsody is its box art. Publisher Atlus thought it'd be swell to display nothing but a pretty (and seemingly apprehensive) anime girl (who does appear in the game... eventually). A bold move, even when one considers the slow rise in popularity of "anime RPGs" in the United States. Who exactly were they marketing to? Those who enjoyed Thousand Arms? Girls? Kids? Me? I did buy it -- eventually.

In any event, Rhapsody does indeed feature a female protagonist (not the gal on the cover). Her name's Cornet. She's 16 years old, adorable, a competent trumpet player, wears a silly hat with goggles. Cornet additionally has the ability to interact with puppets, who harbor human souls. Her constant companion is Kururu, a cute but sarcastic pixie puppet. A longstanding dream of Cornet is to marry a prince, and there's a specific one she has in mind. Though she manages to win the heart of the young man, the prince is soon abducted by Marjoly, a devious witch who also has the hots for royalty. As such, the game's main quest is dedicated to a sort of trope reversal, of the young female suitor attempting to save the high-status male.
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The localization is quite good, and this is a very loquacious game. Cornet and Kururu are imbued with charming personalities, and their back-and-forth banter is ever amusing. Though, in regards to other types of dialogue, at times it does feel like Atlus was trying to outdo Working Designs. There are numerous corny jokes, many of which don't land. The fourth wall is broken with advertisements for Thousand Arms and Tail Concerto. Hidden treasure chests sing an Atlus jingle. Thankfully, 90s pop culture references are nonexistent.

Rhapsody is one of those compact ten-hour RPG romps. The world map is cursor-driven, which leaves towns and dungeons as the explorable environments. Backtracking is easy, as once a locale is visited it can forever be "warped" to by selecting it on the world map. The game's pacing is all over the place. Rhapsody lacks FMV cutscenes, but will frequently halt gameplay in favor of lengthy "events" that unfold via huge chunks of dialogue mixed with minuscule player involvement (think of something like the Final Fantasy VI opera but exponentially less interesting). And while the game is decidedly linear initially, it "opens up" later on in a way that isn't particularly competent or interesting. Instead, Cornet and her pals are sent on a series of tedious fetch quests for various MacGuffin objects (magical stones, keys, and so on).

Navigational frustrations are amplified by the game's dungeon design, which is absolutely terrible. Only two types of dungeons exist in Rhapsody: caves and stone temples. Each cave (or each temple) looks identical to the next, with the exception of a change to the color palette. Dungeons are comprised of a series of single-screen rooms, with the occasional staircase leading up or down. They're mazelike in the most standard way possible, full of random dead ends and wraparound segments. It's a bit like Zelda, minus the puzzles, the challenge, the logical layouts, the memorable background details, the fantastic mapping system. Okay, it's nothing like Zelda. In contrast, the towns are nice homey places to hang out and chat with the locals.
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While Cornet is the constant head of the heroic party, she recruits many folks along the way. In the style of a Super Nintendo RPG, Rhapsody allows for four playable party members, and swapping characters in and out is allowed at any time outside of battle. Those on the sidelines do not gain experience points, however. Since Kururu is too shrimpy to effectively battle, Cornet relies on other puppet allies. These are found throughout the journey. Some are lying in plain sight, while others are well-hidden (and also wholly optional). Each puppet will have an additional sidequest assigned to them, which "releases their soul" upon completion. These quests are well-buried and typically not worth the trouble. They don't send Cornet and co. to any interesting new locales, instead they're predicated on dragging a new puppet to an old haunt. Different puppets are naturally proficient in different styles of attack and magic, though there's never any reason to consistently rotate and level up the mass of them. Best to simply find a party that "works" early on and stick with it. Inexplicably, as if the puppets weren't enough, the game also contains a "monster-raising" element. Specific foes may ask to join the party upon defeat. Monsters can quickly fill up the max character roster so the game allows them to be dumped off in towns. It's completely pointless. The monsters are almost always uniformly weaker than the puppets. Also, the puppets are cute and the monsters aren't.

Battles occur randomly, are over quickly, and are waged via a very rudimentary grid-based "tactical RPG" system. During each participant's turn they are allowed to move (within a given range) and execute one additional command (a range-compliant attack or magic spell, item, run, etc.). Occasionally, terrain comes into play, with boulders or other obstacles blocking the most direct routes to the enemy. Unfortunately, any "tactics" are rendered virtually moot by how easy the game is. Enemies are extraordinarily weak, with pitiful amounts of HP. Thus, moving along the grid to close in on an enemy feels pointless, as the foe is then subsequently killed with a solitary blow. "Moving" just feels like wasted turns. And NIS apparently agreed: in the DS remake of Rhapsody the grid was dropped altogether in favor of a more traditional JRPG battle system. Additionally, some of the puppets, like Sharte (stifle the laughter please) and Terra, eventually possess powerful target-all spells that decimate entire enemy armies at once.

The game box advertises the inclusion of "hilarious" special attacks that can be executed by Cornet. Initiating these attacks is a bit confusing. Cornet has to first charge up a musical meter by repeatedly playing her horn during battle, within the vicinity of puppets (the grid is used here). After some charging, Cornet can then topple enemies with flan or pancakes or some other food. Seriously. It is funny, but a questionable tactic, as Cornet has to slowly work her way up to unleash attacks similar in scope to those Sharte can consistently unleash every single turn. And, remember, most enemies die in one hit. Bosses may take five or six. Outside of the battle system, every other aspect of Rhapsody is suitably dumbed down, ostensibly in the player's favor. There's no reason to ever use healing items, as HP and MP are both recovered at every level-up, and characters consistently level up after every third or fourth skirmish. Status effects technically "exist" within the game, though enemies never seem to cast the spells that cause them, rendering the remedying items worthless. "Weapons" and "armor" do not exist, though each character can equip three stat-boosting accessories. There are no restrictions here; any character can utilize any accessory.
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The graphics are quite good, boasting some beautiful 32-bit 2D visuals. Animations are smooth and numerous. There are even "jiggle physics" that pertain to the female characters, which feels slightly weird in a game that's otherwise so kid-friendly. Portraits are displayed when characters speak. These are well-detailed and hysterical, predominantly displaying all the classic anime clichés: the giant sweat drop of embarrassment, the wide open-mouthed frustrated scream, the arms flailing in rage and exasperation. Gorgeous full-screen art scrolls can also be unearthed, tucked away in dungeon chests.

Rhapsody is billed as a "two-disc" game, though this is somewhat misleading. Open the game case to observe that disc 1 is the game itself while disc 2 is actually a bonus soundtrack. Which leads us to the "musical" part of this adventure: Rhapsody contains a series of songs -- with complete English vocals and lyrics -- sung by the various cast members at pivotal moments. These songs are sappy, overwrought, and often downright silly. They're also catchy and upbeat and fun to listen to. The narrative is driven forward by these tunes, and having a separate CD available to revisit them was quite the smart addition. Unfortunately, the "normal" instrumental music in the game isn't nearly as exciting as those bombastic sung tracks. While the presence of voiced songs is a pleasant oddity, note that the game contains no voiced dialogue.

The final few hours of Rhapsody are marked by a tonal shift where the game becomes less silly and more sad and bittersweet. These emotions are driven by some seriously poignant tunes and accompanying story revelations. This "tearjerker" stuff is pretty jarring, but anyone who's familiar with old Japanese RPGs has come to expect this kind of thing. All told, the game is sort of a mess and all over the place, in terms of both theme and design. The goofy charm can't make up for the dreary gameplay it's juxtaposed against. It's pretty apparent that NIS wasn't experienced with crafting fully-realized competent RPGs at this point. Rhapsody is a game with an identity crisis: it feels like it doesn't exactly "want" to be an RPG. What it wants to do is drive home an emotionally riveting narrative, but it stumbles with devising a presentation that would allow for such a thing. Still, some will find this enjoyable. It exudes that "dated but in a charmingly nostalgic way" vibe, and certain folks will surely become attached to these characters. We could all use a little Kururu in our lives.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:52 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:I bought it on sale for $2, beat it in almost exactly two hours, and promptly deleted it from my Switch.


King.


:lol:

And...my god...you just beat Rhapsody. You’re like one of, what? Nine or ten people in the world who’ve beaten that?
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:01 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)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)

I know the title is Still Life 2, but this is actually the third game in a trilogy, the first being titled Post Mortem. The series revolves around FBI agent Victoria McPherson as she works to solve the crimes of various serial killers, some of which tie back into her own family's history of law enforcement back when they lived in Prague a century before. The series is composed of low budget titles from a French developer, so don't expect to be wowed by spectacular graphics or entirely accurate translations, but when it works, Still Life 2 works wonderfully...and when it doesn't, it shows us some of the worst tendencies of the genre.

In the final game in the series, there are several different plot threads, such as the ongoing hunt for a serial killer in New England from both Agent McPherson's point of view as well as news reporter and eventual kidnapping victim Pamela Hernandez, as well as the finale to the previous game, Still Life. Yes, Still Life ended on a cliffhanger, so it was nice to finally resolve that outcome...but I don't think shifting it over to the third game was necessary. The second could have wrapped up on its own with the big reveal and not taken away from the third title, as it just doesn't feel like the two need that connection. If anything, the time jumps are jarring, despite them potentially serving as some kind of PTSD flashback for McPherson.

One thing that the game does get very right is using music to build suspense. There are several tracks with a rapid pace that kick off in disturbing locales, such as the killer's favorite killing rooms, which quicken the pulse and drive you to want to get through a room and get out, if only because the beat is driving the tension. I ended up liking the soundtrack quite a bit; it was the highlight for me.

Where the game has ups and downs is in its puzzle solving. On a high point, McPherson receives a forensics field kit which enables her to collect and test evidence. This makes some puzzles easy and drives a rewarding sense of uncovering clues to the crimes. You also often spend time calling a favorite forensics expert for additional insight, a fact that I appreciated because it showed the need for an outside expert and didn't just make McPherson into a one-woman supercop.

Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the game from employing moon logic to resolve certain puzzles, and you'll often find yourself effectively hunting pixels for the object you couldn't see. What do I mean by this? Well, here's an example: for one puzzle, you have to use codes to open fake morgue doors to check toe tags. The codes are actually dates from audio files the journalist has put together over time, but there is no prompt in the game that would make you put the two together. Worse yet, this may well be during a lethal puzzle where you have a time limit before death. In this particular case, you must gather circled letters on the toe tags, which are H, E, and P. Then you go to a sign that says PRESS HERE and press the P, the E, and the H. Which E? It doesn't tell you, so I pressed the first. I don't know if pressing any of the others would have mattered, but you've got 3 in there, so...yeah...

This would be less of an issue if the game wasn't also prone to bugs. Sometimes the camera will jump to a view you normally will not see. Sometimes motions of characters seem twitchy in a way they shouldn't be. Sometimes the assets simply won't load. This is by far the worst, because they can be instigated by you doing puzzle solving out of the game's specific order, and since this game is 12 years old, and the dev has since been owned by a couple of different companies and seems infinitely more focused on its Syberia series, I'm doubting we'll ever see a bug fix. This particular bug kicked in and forced me to drop back to an old auto-save and wipe about half an hour's worth of progress, then forced me to do it again when it happened again, until I sought a guide for the exact specific manner of doing things to get past the issue. My opinion completely soured at this point, and it's why I won't recommend it to you.

That's right, I don't recommend Still Life 2, because having a game-breaking bug that requires you do complete a point-and-click adventure in a very specific manner or effectively crash the game just ruins things for me. This isn't even Sierra's bullshit necessary passable item difficulty, it's just poor development. Hence, no, avoid Still Life 2. As much as I enjoyed Still Life, this has ruined things for me.

If you want to play it, sure, though I recommend tracking down the earlier games instead. And if you have played the previous games and want to know what happens after Still Life's cliffhanger ending, sure, play it. But I wouldn't. The hassle is just too much.
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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:32 pm

87. Hellboy: science of evil (xbox360)
88. Shantae: half genie hero
89. Claws of Furry
90. Power Blade 2 (nes)
91. Streets of Rage 2 (genesis)
92. Low G Man (nes)
93. Mega Man 2 (nes)
94. Super C (nes)

87. Hellboy Science of Evil: Found this game on a top 10 worst 360 games list and it more or less lives up to that. It is a pretty mediocre beat em up with some absolutely broken hit detection, limited move set, some of the worst boss fights I have ever played, and dark muddy graphics. I have played worse games but this is definitely not something you should waste your time with, even if you are a diehard fan of the source material.

88. Shantae: Half genie hero: If you have played the other Shantae games you more or less know what to expect here, great graphics, tight controls, a silly cutesy story, fun transformations, and lots of backtracking in areas to find hidden items and upgrades. I really enjoy this series and this is another solid entry, definitely recommend for fans of metroidvanias/2d platformers

89. Claws of Furry: A simple 2d beat em up where you play as a ninja cat trying to rescue your mouse sensei who has been kidnapped by a giant dog. The game itself is very short, I think I beat it in under an hour, but this is a game that is meant to be replayed over and over to unlock more upgrades, increase your score, and try harder difficulties. I bought it on sale for a dollar and I don't regret it but there are better beat em ups out there

90. Power Blade 2: One of the most expensive games on the NES, a loose cart goes for several hundred dollars, and while I do not think any game justifies a 500 dollar price tag, this is definitely an under appreciated game and something that absolutely everyone should play ( on emulator)

The game is a 2d sidescroller that has you playing as an arnold type character who uses a boomerang as a weapon and can slide like megaman. Killing enemies drops all sorts of power ups that let you throw more than one boomerang and make it faster and stronger. Every level has a suit upgrade that you unlock, once unlocked you can change into them at any time by pausing. Each suit has a unique ability, one lets you cling to walls and ceilings, one lets you swim, one gives you a jetpack, and the last suit gives you rotating shields and is built for combat. The suits all use a shared energy bar so you can't just run through the levels in any given suit, but you definitely get enough energy where you can spend a good deal of time in the suits.

Gameplay is broken up into 7 levels, with a pretty smooth difficulty curve, it definitely picks up in challenge towards the end but it never feels cheap or too hard. The levels also do a good job of exploiting the suits, you dont ever need to use a suit, but I cannot imagine beating certain sections without them and they are clearly designed with the suits in mind. If you haven't played this game and like nes platformers than this is definitely a game that you should check out.

91. Streets of Rage 2: Nothing to say about this game that hasn't already been said, 20+ years later it is still one of the best beat em ups ever made, I'm sure everyone here has played it, and it is a game that I literally never get bored of.

92. Low G Man: This is one of the weirdest most unique platformers on the nes, it was a game I owned as a kid and something that I literally never hear anyone talking about.

As the name implies your character can jump really high (hence the name low gravity man), your starting jump is nearly a full screen in length and as you get power ups you can jump well over the height of one screen. In addition to that your gun is a freeze gun, when you shoot an enemy it turns blue for a short period of time and at that point you can either stand on it or under it to kill it with your spear. It is an interesting game mechanic that is used well and is very unique. Even bosses must be frozen and killed this way, most bosses take anywhere from 5-7 shots to freeze but the weaker you make them the less shots they take to freeze, you always know a boss is close to death when they get frozen in one hit.

Enemies drop all sorts of things when you kill them, they drop jump upgrades, spear upgrades, freeze gun upgrades, and several different types of sub-weapons. They also will randomnly drop potions, blue potions heal you and red ones injure you and the game definitely has a tendency to drop red potions more than anything else which is definitely annoying. The sub weapons come in 4 different varieties and can be used to straight up kill enemies without having to freeze them. And of course, since this is a nes game, when you die all your power ups are removed and if you have to continue (you get infinite continues) you lose all the ammo in your sub weapons.

The challenge here is pretty high, there are no checkpoints so whenever you die it is back to the begining of the level, which is not too bad as the levels are typically not that long. The final boss is definitely considerably harder than anything else in the game and I managed to get lucky in finding a random safe spot to spear him to death.

Low G Man is not perfect, the controls are a bit janky, the graphics are mediocre, but it is a unique game that is worth playing for NES fans

93. Mega Man 2: nothing to say here either, you probably all have played it. I love this game, as a mega man snob it is definitely not the best mega man game as many say it is, but no mega man game has more nostalgia for me than this one does and it is an excellent game.

94. Super C: One of the most under rated games on the NES, if not the most under rated game. After playing this and the original contra annually for about 30 years I still can't decide which I like more. Today was also the worst run of this game I ever had in my entire life, I had to continue to beat the game and finished it with only 2 lives left, that hasnt happened in years, I hope I'm not getting too old to play these kinds of games anymore.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:07 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:I bought it on sale for $2, beat it in almost exactly two hours, and promptly deleted it from my Switch.


King.


:lol:

And...my god...you just beat Rhapsody. You’re like one of, what? Nine or ten people in the world who’ve beaten that?


*Raises Hand*

Great write up Bone! I loved that game when I played it several years ago.
Probably my top Guilty Pleasure game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:59 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
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC

Well, the original Halo turned out to play much better than Reach, which now has me worried. I'm going to be going into every game wondering if this is the one where they fuck up the gunplay. Though with any luck it won't be until Halo 3, just looking at engine progression. Or maybe Reach is just an anomaly? Which is not to say that Halo 1 lacks flaws; it certainly has a lot. They just aren't outshined by the generally solid performance otherwise.

So the game starts by tossing out some excuse plot told through dialog that has terrible volume balance, which will be a running theme. While Reach's vocals were intentionally radio garbled here the vocals are just too soft compared to the rest of the audio. And again, no subtitles. You'll get the sense as you go through that the story was retrofitted onto the game as an excuse to have you shoot stuff, rather than taking an approach of the game serving the story like you see in Mass Effect. But the basic premise is the alien Covenant is chasing your ship and you crash on this weird ring-shaped artificial world, and in the process of rounding up survivors discover that the Covenant think the world is sacred and maybe there's a weapon that can win the war and oops it actually will eradicate all life in the galaxy so we gotta stop it.

But no one played Halo 1 for the plot (that came with later entries as I understand it). They played it for the, at the time, impressive gameplay. And I have to say, overall things are solid. All the guns feel reasonably powerful with their own important niche, and you'll want to regularly swap things, but the game also is pretty good about giving you ammo so you don't tend to feel forced to use one particular weapon. The game introduced the regenerating shields mechanic and here it is tuned a bit better than it felt in Reach; about a half second faster before the regen kicks in which makes a big difference. There's pretty good enemy variety who have their own behaviors which keeps combat interesting. My gut feeling with why Reach felt bad was they generally reduced magazine size in that game and increased bullet damage, but not by enough. So, for example, the assault rifle is 60 rounds in Halo 1 but 35 in Reach, so almost halving it. I'm guessing bullet damage was increased by 50%, but that means a clip in Reach does less damage than a clip in Halo 1. Also, the Halo 1 guns just feel more chunky and sound better.

The other thing Halo 1 was notable for was the seamless vehicle integration. Many of the levels are large and open and almost require you to get in a vehicle to complete in a reasonable amount of time, and you could get in and out with a smooth transition to third person. However, they were still getting their feet wet with the concept, so the vehicle physics are pretty janky. Everything is extremely floaty (which you REALLY notice in the final escape the explosion in the jeep segment) and the slightest touch counts as running something over (including you). Also, the AI doesn't yet know how to drive if you get in the turret which makes the jeep levels a bit of a pain due to the AI's gunnery with the turret being terrible (though if a sniper rides shotgun you're in business).

The game also has some incredibly lazy level design; several of the levels involve a LOT of copy and paste and a couple also are just way too long. And when you take a step back you realize that you basically do every level twice; some of them are a backtrack from the end to the start to trigger the next level while others are revisited in the reverse order due to the story. Which kind of ruins the otherwise interesting architecture and the couple of grand vistas they have.

Still, it's a solid enough title and it's clear to see how it got popular. I still feel that the PC contemporary titles at the time were better games overall but I can't call this a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:52 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
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC

After Halo proved to be a hit Bungie went about making Halo 2. At this point they've clearly been given the green light from Microsoft to go hog wild with the notion that there would be as many more games as they could produce, so Halo 2 ramps up the story content something fierce. The game has a pretty coherent story (though one point near the end has the events be a bit hand-wavy) that moves the universe forward to a major climax. Meanwhile, the game improves the gameplay of the predecessor to produce exactly what you want out of a sequel.

Halo 2 picks up with Master Chief returning to Earth just in time for the Covenant to invade. Though, weirdly, it's with a tiny fleet compared to what they used to burn Reach. As the story unfolds it turns out they weren't attacking Earth the homeworld of Humans, but rather going to a random planet that has some buried Precursor technology and get repulsed. You jump aboard right before they escape, you find another Halo ring, and shit goes down.

Meanwhile, you spend half the game as one of the Elites, now disgraced for letting the original Halo be destroyed. You deal with some other Covenant forces who are trying to break away and discover the true purpose of the Halos, and eventually this kicks off a major civil war within the Covenant. The gamer will bounce back and forth between Master Chief and the Arbiter, and it actually ends with the Arbiter as the final controlled player character in an enemy mine situation as you stop the second Halo from wiping out life.

The game mostly builds on the previous game; it swaps out the assault rifle for a zoomable three round burst battle rifle which is just flat better in every way. It also lets you pick up enemy energy swords to fight dudes (and weirdly they have ammo) and to dual wield any combination of one handed weapons. This ends up being a mixed bag of a feature; it prevents you from swapping weapons and throwing a grenade or meleeing makes you drop the offhand weapon. But for certain parts of the game it is vital, as those are the parts where you are forced to use Covenant weapons exclusively while fighting Covenant. And Convenant weapons against Covenant doesn't feel great due to how the damage works in the game. You'll cherish the times the Flood comes in and provides Human weapons, as they are universally better in general.

The end of the game, though, is a major cliffhanger. Story-wise you're expecting one final level to cap off the current plots but instead the game cuts to credits. And that's unnecessary, given there's still a major plot thread revealed at the end that would have been the perfect "tune in next time". You don't have to put two massive dangling threads when one will do. I'm assuming that there will be more twists and turns when we pick up what should have been one final level in Halo 3. But since so far the first two games have handled much better than Reach I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop; maybe 3 is where they screw things up in the gunplay to go with the generational leap.
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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:11 am

97. Soul Calibur Legends (wii)

Soul Calibur Legends is a 3rd person beat em up/hack n slash game that takes place in the soul calibur universe. I am not familiar with the soul calibur franchise in general, I did play the original soul calibur a fair bit back in the day, but I don't know much about the lore or the story beyond the fact that there are 2 super powerful swords that everyone is fighting over. This game takes place in between soul edge and soul calibur and serves as a prequel to soul calibur. If you are into that series this game will serve as some nice story filler, but knowledge of that franchise is not necessary as the game does tell a story that can stand on its own.

You start the game as Siegfried, who you play as for the vast majority of the game. As you beat levels you get to unlock a few other fighters from the series including Ivy, Sophitia, Asgaroth, Mitsurigi, and Taki. In Soul Calibur tradition, you also get a cameo from a character outside the series; Lloyd which is the main character in some prominent RPG of the time (Either arc rise fantasia or tales of Symphonia, I forget which one). Most levels allow you to take 2 characters with you, Siegfried is usually mandatory, and then you can choose one other character, who you can switch back and forth with anytime in that level. Each character has their own health bar which definitely comes in handy as the difficulty of the game progresses.

Gameplay is what you would expect from a beat em up, you run from place to fight, fight hordes of enemies, break crates to find health/power ups, and usually fight a boss in the end. This game was met with pretty terrible reception when it was released and I do not understand why. The combat in this game is a lot of fun, each character has a wide range of moves and special moves, and all the characters feel different enough that it does matter who you take into each level with you.

Combat is handled with the wii mote, and the character will emulate the motion you make with it, swinging the wii mote left to right, right to left, up to down, down to up, and poking forward all produce different moves and combos that are useful in different situations. There is also a special button that you can press to give you access to a variety of powerful special moves and are powered by a separate energy bar. There is a block button and if you thrust the nunchuck while you hold the block button you perform a parry which can block almost anything and stuns the enemy allowing you to get some free hits in.

This is a decent lengthed game, it took me about 8 hours to play through it but environments repeat a lot. There are about 8 or so levels in the whole game and you have to revisit the environments many different times, each time the level layout is different, as are enemy placements, enemy types, traps and so forth so the levels are different but the environments do tend to get a bit repetitive.

I really enjoyed this game but your enjoyment of it will be directly proportional to how much you like waggle controls. If you hate motion controls then you will hate this game as basically the entire game has you flailing your arm around, but if you enjoy pretending the wii mote is a sword and swinging it around to bash enemies than you will probably enjoy it. It is a well made beat em up and while not as polished as games like DMC or bayonetta, it is a fun and unique game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:56 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)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)

I'm not really sure what the 'Revelation' subtitle means. This has nothing to do with cataclysmic events, nor really even a major reveal. Huh.

Anyway, Myst IV is the fourth part of the Myst storyline, and while it pays a little lip service to Myst III and Riven, the plot centers on the eventual fate of the two imprisoned evil brothers from the original game. Twenty years have passed since Myst took place, and Atrus, the creator of the linking books and writer of worlds, is curious if his sons have reformed. Since neither he nor his wife Catherine are impartial, and their much younger daughter Yeesha is nowhere near mature enough to really understand what's going on, you get asked to come and check what the deal is with the boys Achenar and Sirrus. Unfortunately, things don't go to plan, an explosion rocks Atrus' home while he's away, and Yeesha vanishes. It falls to you to travel to the two prison worlds, Haven and Spire, and then Yeesha's favorite land, Serenia, to discover what is going on and whether the brothers are reformed.

PRO-TIP: One definitely isn't, but I'll leave that for you to figure out if you choose to play. The important thing here is that the Myst series was incorporating more visual quirks by this point, so more digitized actors moving around, more FMV running as you are moving through areas, more CG critters wandering around, and so forth. You also have a couple of special items, a camera which is useful for photographing puzzle information and an amulet which lets you recall memories in specific places, including important bits of information. In short, you have gear to help you solve puzzles. It does help.

To counter this, Myst 4 also features some devious puzzles too, and all the photos and memory recollections simply will not help in some cases. A new element is also added, timing, which is what irks me the most. While I got through it, several puzzles require you do things quickly or with a relative sense of timing, and the control scheme unfortunately just doesn't support this fluidly. You'll end up needing to memorize some information just because you don't have the chance to check your notes with how fast you need to move. To make matters worse, at least one of these puzzles requires a good deal of precision that I never felt I had; crystal frequencies and sliders are going to bother me for a while.

Oh, but you're not really playing this just for puzzles. You're playing a Myst game for the worlds! Well, don't worry, Myst 4 presents you with a variety of places that are polar opposites; a blue spire of rock and crystal in a storm cloud, a sandy, brown jungle near a shipwrecked coast teeming with life, and a beautiful land of soothing water and elements. There's also a dreamscape you'll have to navigate and...is that Peter Gabriel?

...holy crap, it IS Peter Gabriel!

Yeah, the music of Myst 4 is lovely, and at one point you're effectively treated to a CG music video of the Peter Gabriel song, "Curtains," along with his voicework for a character. Sadly no motion capture or digitization, but we can't have everything.

In terms of interesting worlds, Myst 4 is amazing, as is what I usually find with Myst games. I can't say all of the worlds were to me, but even among the weird CG animals of Haven I found locations that were spectacular. In terms of puzzles, it can be frustrating, but at the same time I still felt rewarded any time I solved anything, even something as simple as unlocking a door. I look forward to one day moving on to the 5th game and perhaps Uru to wrap up the series.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:37 pm

First 30
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)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)

31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)
34. Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (Switch)
35. Aggelos (Switch)

Aggelos is a marvelous side-scrolling ARPG inspired by Wonder Boy in Monster World (and, to a certain extent, Faxanadu and Golvellius). It looks wonderful, with large, chunky sprites and the flat, brightly-colored aspect of the best looking Sega Master System games. (This aesthetic is also shared by some TG-16 and early Sega Genesis titles too, and it’s nice to see it again here.) The game plays wonderfully, and the game’s world is incredibly well-designed. In addition to the primary quest, there are many optional side quests with satisfying rewards, a hidden boss, and lots of fun details and secrets that really bring the game world to life. Importantly, the game isn’t too long, and I beat the it in a little over seven hours with 97% completion. (I’m not sure what I missed. I feel like I went into the final battle with everything.) The entire experience was incredibly enjoyable, and I really can’t recommend this game highly enough, especially if you’re a fan of its inspirations.
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