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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:07 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)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)
47. Valis II (TurboGrafx CD)

48. The Song of Saya (Steam)
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Within the great and wide world of visual novels, Saya no Uta (or The Song of Saya, which is a literal translation) occupies its own little niche. A Lovecraftian tale of terror and romance (using the term "romance" loosely here), it's undoubtedly the most "extreme" VN to receive a mass-produced mainstream release. Written by Gen Urobuchi and developed by Nitroplus, several variants of The Song of Saya have been made available since it was first unleashed in 2003. As of 2019, it's easiest to obtain digitally. The Steam version is censored, naturally, but a patch that restores all cut content is available from Jast USA. And one can simply elect to bypass Steam and download the uncut game from Jast directly, of course. Note that the patch costs money, but the Steam game itself is discounted -- this means that both uncensored variants end up the same price.

The game's opening pulls no punches. A screen-filling blob, deformed beyond recognition, begins screaming at the protagonist (and, in turn, the player). Its speech is represented by an incoherent string of characters. The screaming is unceasing, but eventually letters begin to take shape and form somewhat lucid sentences. Something about a ski trip? It's here that we're introduced to the decidedly unlucky protagonist: a medical student named Fuminori Sakisaka. Prior to the events of the game, Fuminori suffered severe neurological injuries from a car crash that left his parents dead. Despite receiving some experimental treatment, Fuminori is left coping with an extreme form of agnosia. To him, the once "normal" world is now a disgusting mess of decaying ooze, slime, and rotted meat. Fellow humans are similarly disfigured, quivering gelatinous chunks of bloody flesh. All sounds have morphed into unpleasant screeches and all food tastes rotten. As such, Fuminori finds himself repelled by his friends and the once-mundane daily activities. He lies to his doctor who's shrewd enough to suspect that something's gone awry.

The only relief for Fuminori lies in something even more insane: Saya. Taking the form of a young woman (using the term "woman" loosely here), Saya first encounters Fuminori during his hospital stay. She's the one thing that violates the rules of "meat vision" as she appears as a cute and perky female. But if she looks beautiful to Fuminori that means that in the "real world" she's obviously... something else altogether. Saya, while initially presented as mischievous and endearing, is soon revealed to have an insatiable bloodlust. And her influence on Fuminori is undeniable.
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The story is taut and well-written, with plenty of twists and little filler. Technically speaking, the game employs the "NVL" style of presentation, with large blocks of "storybook" text covering the screen, as opposed to frequent back-and-forth bits of dialogue/thoughts. It suits the narrative well, as The Song of Saya tends to lean towards the descriptive with lengthy stretches of character silence. The game flirts with some moral quandaries. Fuminori is like the classic tragic vampire: malicious but lamentably so, due to circumstances beyond his control. And as for Saya herself, she's an "alien" who surely can't be bound to the human concept of morality, right?

At least that's how things are presented initially, though Fuminori's quick transition to the "dark side" along with the unrepentant Saya leaves little room for sympathy. However, this feels like an intentional move by the author. Fuminori isn't designed to be relatable or the typical "stand-in" for the player. His first-person narration progressively gets more absurd, the rantings of an absolute madman. And as the viewpoint deftly switches to third-person we're left looking at two pathetic perverted creatures. The typical themes of "cosmic horror" are present here -- the terrors of incomprehensible phenomena, the unveiling of uncomfortable truths, the fragility of sanity -- but The Song of Saya works best as a cautionary tale, of the dangers of unbridled egoism and maladaptive codependency.

Getting back to the plot itself, some foils to the Fuminori/Saya blood-soaked rampage present themselves, in the form of three concerned friends (one of whom is the aforementioned "blob") and Fuminori's physician (who may have some ulterior motives of her own). This group works, separately and cohesively, to uncover the mysteries of Fuminori's newfound mindset and the nature of the "thing" that's been driving him into madness. These interpersonal conflicts drive the tale forward, to a riveting climax... maybe? The Song of Saya, though mostly a "nothing but reading" VN, does contain two choices and three possible endings. The first choice can lead the player to a premature ending, while the second choice leads to one of two "final" endings that are about equal in length. In contrast to most visual novels, there are no definitive "good" or "bad" conclusions here, as all are uncomfortable in their own way. One ending is marked by feelings of impending paranoia, while the other is bizarrely extravagant and grandiose (perhaps a bit too much). Some could argue that that "premature" resolution is the best, as it spares a good many humans from inevitable carnage.
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Okay, time to address the, uh, "selling point" of the game: The Song of Saya contains a heaping of sex, violence, and sexual violence. It's graphic, it's uncompromisingly brutal, and, yes, it's mostly "necessary" to advance the plot. The "h-scenes" are undeniably the most disturbing part of the entire experience, owing to the fact that Saya doesn't exactly resemble a grown adult. It's a purposeful juxtaposition, that between the innocent and the profane. As Fuminori plunges deeper into the relationship and ups its intensity we're left wondering if perhaps the human element here is more twisted than the "alien" itself. Note that much like other "great" dysfunctional relationships seen in media past, the game is totally unapologetic about this one, leaving the acceptance or revulsion completely up to the observer.

The game's aesthetics are extremely striking. The character art is great: it's certainly "anime" but everyone looks wholly realistic and proportional. The backgrounds are incredible. Fuminori's "meat vision" is finely detailed, his world a dripping oily mess of red and pink pustules, twisting entrails, blood in various states of clotting. And the "normal world" (as seen by everyone else) is additionally unsettling, as the characters travel to an arrangement of drab, burned-out, broken-down, skeletal locales. In a (morbidly) humorous way, it's oftentimes Fuminori's world that looks the most engaging and comfortable. As for the soundtrack, this is one of the best heard in any visual novel. Every song (they all start with the letter "S") is fundamentally spooky, albeit in various fashions. There are industrial pieces that verge on being intentionally "annoying" used to highlight some of more manic episodes. Fuminori's treks through vomitous urban wastelands are aided by the presence of electric guitar: heavily distorted and slowly played, accompanied by some seriously gorgeous delay and reverb. But it's those literal "songs of Saya" that rule over all: catchy, synth-driven, with creepy vocalizations that sound as if they may be emitted by the alien dame herself.

Strangely enough, despite the persistent horror, I often see The Song of Saya recommended as a "starter" visual novel. This is likely owing to its length. Fast readers will blow through this in a matter of hours. It's a single-day visual novel (though a single "sitting" may be pushing it). And that's just fine: stretching this one out could/would cross a line from properly disturbing to an overindulgent gross-out marathon. As it stands, this may not be one of the elite all-time best VNs, but it's certainly unforgettable. Highly recommended to some, hesitantly recommended to most.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:49 pm

First 50:
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
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC

After Wasteland 2 successfully brought back the franchise that begat Fallout inXile knew they could keep things going, and so we have Wasteland 3. While Wasteland 2 was split between Arizona and California in exploring the post-apocalyptic wasteland of America Wasteland 3 takes us to the snowy wastes of Colorado. Daylight is almost unheard of and exposure is a surefire way of executing someone. Your team has been sent as part of a program to help out the man who rules Colorado take care of some personal affairs in exchange for badly needed supplies for Arizona. But in a world with no saints you will have to make hard choices about how to apply your strengths to the region, and your final choices will have long reaching consequences for Colorado.

Like the first game you build a force of four player created rangers and can take on two more NPC companions. You'll want to spread out your selection of non-combat skills, as they provide important tools for acquiring loot, solving quests, and managing dialog options. And you can't max them all; a given character will be able to max out four skills (including a weapon skill), and there is no respec option. This ends up making things a bit harder for the later joining companions, as they will already be fairly specced into a skill that you might already have on another character, basically costing you skill points. Since skill point costs increase as skills go up this means the early companions are effectively blank slates; at worst they have a level or two of "wrong" skills. Also, in a weird decision, the last two companions available are unlocked at the tail end of the game, so in addition to the specialization issue they just don't get much time with your team (especially notable in that the last major area before the end REALLY encourages you to use specific party members).

One thing I was delighted to see was that every weapon type is viable. The devs did a lot of skill combining (which also applies to some noncombat skills) which gives you a bit of flexibility. So pistols and shotguns share a combat skill, same as assault rifles and SMGs. Since each character can equip two weapons this lets you swap between weapons as needed for a given job. Every weapon has a strength and in their strengths they all do comparable amounts of damage, so having a broad selection means you can manage combats better and that you don't get starved for upgrades. They redid damage types and armor this time around; armor is a percentage damage reduction that kicks in if your armor is higher than their penetration, with a minimum of a 20% reduction if you are even one point higher. There are elemental damage types which have full penetration (the hard number is higher than any armor value in game) but have a 30% damage bonus/reduction against organics/mechanicals. So it pays to run the numbers quickly in your head to see if it might still be better to use a "bad" damage type against a particularly highly armored target.

The game is built on choices in how you manage the encounters, and a lot of times you will be picking between which faction you want to piss off. You can talk your way out of a lot of combats, but you certainly can't do it every time. The factions are colorful; the best is a faction of Reagan worshippers called the Gippers. Without spoiling anything their storyline gets more and more amazing as you progress through it. It was the highlight of the game for me, and it's clear the writers had a ball with it. The choices you make will affect things mid game as well as end game; the final showdown depends on your ultimate choices and the description of what happens to everyone depends on what you've done. There are a lot of unintended consequences of your actions and there is no golden playthrough. Pick with what feels right to you and own your choices.

Overall it's another solid RPG that takes what made the previous games good and gives us more of it. It will be interesting to see if they decide to make a fourth which way they decide to go with things, both due to the nature of the possible endings and the general idea of what the rest of the country is like.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:54 am

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

1-50
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)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)

56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)

This is largely known as one of the best of the classic Casltevanias, and it's honestly one of the biggest reasons I got my PCE Classic. I played through it for our Birds are Jerks Together Retro, and at Maru's pushing I then went and 100%'d the game, rescuing all the maidens and finishing all the stages. I'm gald he did, because it was really worthwhile! It's not the longest game in the world, nor is it the hardest Castlevania game out there, but it's still well worth going through.

The story is pretty bog-standard for a Castlevania game, Dracula's back and you gotta go give him his lumps again, but this game does spice things up a bit by adding some animated cutscenes with spoken dialogue using the POWER of the PC Engine's CD add on. An intro in German (with Japanese subtitles) as well as cutscenes and voicelines throughout the game help bring the story to life in a more entertaining way than prior Casltevania games. A lot of them are especially entertaining because the VA (when you can hear it, as it's very quiet due to PCE CD voice clips just not really emulating properly on modern televisions) is quite campy and silly (like how all the maidens Richter rescues are SO thirsty for him XD) and the animations used in them is often uncanny and unintentionally funny as well. It's a story that does the job of adding the set dressing, and it was fun to indulge in as someone who knows enough Japanese to know what they're saying.

This is a PC Engine game, so sadly the ability to throw a subweapon with a shoulder button is lost due to there only being 4 face buttons (including "run" and "select"), and the ability to whip in 8 directions is also scrapped from Castlevania 4, but the game plays great. It's still the case that there were a lot of times I ended up throwing weapons when I didn't mean to due to how the PCE's controller is a bit fiddly, but Richter always controlled well. This game even adds a second playable character, Maria, and once unlocked, she's basically an easy mode. She can double jump, has a weapon that does way more DPS, and has a sliding dash she can do. While it's a shame you need to unlock it, it's really awesome to have accessibility options, of a sort, in an old action game like this. And as an added cherry on top, Maria even gets her own versions of all the cutscenes for rescuing the other three maidens and beating Dracula.

The level design is top notch, and you never feel like you're getting horribly dicked over like so many of the earlier Castlevania games can feel like. Checkpoints feel fair as do bosses, and there was never a point I was frustrated to the point of wanting to just give up. After beating the game with Maria, I even went back to play most of the stages as Richter and had a lot more fun than I thought I would. There are a total of 13 stages (if you wanna count the prologue and the one that's just the Dracula fight as "stages") and they're all totally worth playing. Four of those are even hidden stages that you need to do certain requirements in each stage to find your way to, and the bosses guarding the secret stages are different from those guarding the normal stages. The hidden paths and cutscenes give the game a feeling of of being this sort of missing link between games like Castlevania 4 and later Castlevania games like Symphony of the Night, and that's really neat~.

What also makes this game feel like a missing link is the presentation. For the music, it's a greatest hits of the best of the old tracks as well as a bunch of new great ones. The soundtrack is heckin' excellent, and easily one of the highlights of the game. Looking towards the future, the graphics in this game are excellent pixel art, and it's art so excellent Konami would keep on using a LOT of them for as long as Igarashi was making Castlevania games. It was really uncanny seeing so many familiar sprites, from bosses to the simple medusa heads, that I knew so well from games that came out well over a decade after this one, and it just goes to show how well the presentation holds up (and how well asset reuse can serve those who wish to indulge in it, I suppose ;b).

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a game that I can easily say deserves its reputation as the height of classic Castlevanias, even dethroning my old favorite of Castlevania IV. Konami really outdid themselves with this one, and this is absolutely a must-play if you've already got a PC Engine Mini in some form, and if you don't have one of those already, then this is a pretty darn good reason to think about picking one up.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:01 pm

First 50
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)
36. Quell+ (iOS)
37. The White Door (iOS)
38. Grizzland (Switch)
39. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Switch)
40. Silent Hill (PS1)
41. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio (Switch)
42. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
43. Stories Untold (Switch)
44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)
45. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
46. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior (Switch)
47. Duck Souls+ (Switch)
48. Daggerhood (Switch)
49. Gravity Duck (Switch)
50. Biolab Wars (Switch)

51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)

Legends of Amberland is a beautifully pixelated tribute to classic WRPGs like The Bard’s Tale, Dragon Wars, etc. You roll out a party of seven characters, and embark on a first-person, grid-based quest that consists of slaying hordes of monsters, going on fetch quests, exploring both a large open world and various caves, dungeons, and towers. You also spend a lot of time fiddling with your equipment to make sure you have the right combination of immunities and stat boosts. Monsters don’t regenerate, and it took me a little under 17 hours to render all of Amberland devoid of life. (Unlike old WRPGs, this game has an abundance of quality-of-life features, such as auto saving, fast, travel, and streamlined combat, that make it play extremely quickly.) I had fun with this game, and it wasn’t that tough on “normal” difficulty. Accordingly, I recommend it to anyone, like me, looking to dip their toes into this genre.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:17 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)

Legends of Amberland is a beautifully pixelated tribute to classic WRPGs like The Bard’s Tale, Dragon Wars, etc. You roll out a party of seven characters, and embark on a first-person, grid-based quest that consists of slaying hordes of monsters, going on fetch quests, exploring both a large open world and various caves, dungeons, and towers. You also spend a lot of time fiddling with your equipment to make sure you have the right combination of immunities and stat boosts. Monsters don’t regenerate, and it took me a little under 17 hours to render all of Amberland devoid of life. (Unlike old WRPGs, this game has an abundance of quality-of-life features, such as auto saving, fast, travel, and streamlined combat, that make it play extremely quickly.) I had fun with this game, and it wasn’t that tough on “normal” difficulty. Accordingly, I recommend it to anyone, like me, looking to dip their toes into this genre.


I like these new streamlined WRPGs.

I mean, Might and Magic is dope, but it takes like a month to complete.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:27 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)

Legends of Amberland is a beautifully pixelated tribute to classic WRPGs like The Bard’s Tale, Dragon Wars, etc. You roll out a party of seven characters, and embark on a first-person, grid-based quest that consists of slaying hordes of monsters, going on fetch quests, exploring both a large open world and various caves, dungeons, and towers. You also spend a lot of time fiddling with your equipment to make sure you have the right combination of immunities and stat boosts. Monsters don’t regenerate, and it took me a little under 17 hours to render all of Amberland devoid of life. (Unlike old WRPGs, this game has an abundance of quality-of-life features, such as auto saving, fast, travel, and streamlined combat, that make it play extremely quickly.) I had fun with this game, and it wasn’t that tough on “normal” difficulty. Accordingly, I recommend it to anyone, like me, looking to dip their toes into this genre.


I like these new streamlined WRPGs.

I mean, Might and Magic is dope, but it takes like a month to complete.

Yep.

<-- Put over 200 hours into Witcher 3 this summer.

<-- Currently has over 50 hours logged in Morrowind from the last couple of weeks.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:39 am

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

1-50
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)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)

57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)

The 5th R&C game made by Insomniac, and a fairly early PS3 title, this game provides a very welcome return to form for the series after the strange, arcadey experiment that was Ratchet: Deadlocked. Not only that, but they really go above and beyond to try and imagine not just Ratchet & Clank as you've always known it, but Ratchet & Clank + a little bit more. It took me about 12 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game over the course of a couple days.

R&C Future's story starts at kind of a reset, but I mostly only mean that in terms of how this just starts with R&C hanging out in the city, repairing an old ship. It's very reminiscent of the first game in that regard, but it's notable in that this is the first Insomniac-developed game in the series not to pick up more or less directly from where we last left our heroes. They receive a distress signal from Captain Qwark as the city is suddenly under attack by a mysterious unknown force. On their way to meet Qwark, they're surrounded by these mysterious invaders and approached by their leader, the eccentric Emperor Tachyon, who informs them that not only is he only here to kill Ratchet, but that Ratchet is also actually the last of his species. They outsmart Tachyon, steal his spaceship, and end up in the system where Tachyon is originally from and embark on a quest to stop him.

R&C Future's story isn't just a reset to distance itself from the not very well received Ratchet: Deadlocked. It also marks a point where Insomniac are actually trying to tell more a more engaging and developed story beyond the buddy cop comedy that usually fill the runtime of the dialogue of these games. That's not to say the game isn't funny, but it's nice to have the game actually explore the motivations of Ratchet, Clank, and even their side characters and villains in a less binary way than past games. I didn't see the day coming when I'd suddenly care about the story in a Ratchet & Clank game, but here we are! XD

Mechanically, this game continues the (usually) consistent upward trend of each game improving on the last one. After four games you can FINALLY use the shoulder buttons to lock on and fire, meaning you can actually play without claw-handing the controller to hit both the face buttons to fire as well as using the right stick to turn. The guns are also a great balance of "situational" and "just damn good" that makes them all really fun to use (and you'll probably need all that firepower to survive, really). Ratchet also still plays great, the Clank sections are more fun than they've ever been before, and the Star Fox-esque spaceship parts are actually really fun. Most of the other games have at least one "oh heck, this part" moment, but R&C Future really doesn't and I love it. The game is pretty hard though, and I was routinely surprised at just how much damage I would take during the occasions I'd get hit ^^;

This is another R&C game, like 3, that actually has some pretty darn good music in it. My personal favorite was the pirate level theme, but overall I felt this game had a few more memorable tracks than the past games have. It's also a very pretty game, having a simple yet effective art style despite being such an early PS3 game. It has a physics system and some destructible terrain, which honestly feel more like they tax the PS3's CPU than anything (the intro level especially having some very noticeable framerate issues), but the game generally runs just fine despite the occasional enemy getting caught in a wall when it dies. Only once did I ever have to save and load due to a flag to progress not triggering, and that's an acceptable margin of error for me.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Ratchet & Clank land onto the PS3 generation in a big splash and an excellent return to form. It has me super excited to play the next one, which I've heard is even better in just about every way. You don't need to play the previous games at all to appreciate this one, as Captain Qwark is really the only returning character who isn't one of the titular characters Ratchet & Clank, and this is probably one you can find under $10 that will be well worth your time if you like action platformers.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:59 pm

First 50:
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
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC

Iron Harvest is an alternate history RTS set in the world of 1920+, which posits that World War I saw the introduction of mechs instead of tanks and neither Germany nor Russia saw its monarchy overthrown. It picks up shortly after the end of the war as tensions brew over the state of the post-war world, but it seems that there might be more going on than simple national tensions.

The game is divided into three campaigns of seven missions each, one for each of the three factions. You start with Polania (Poland) inciting rebellion against the Russviet (Russia) occupation of their lands. By the end you are introduced to the fact that things are more than they seem, which leads to the Russviet campaign which follows that main thread. Finally, you have the Saxony (Germany) campaign which starts with several flashbacks to the Great War before pulling you to the present and seeing you embroiled in the events.

Mechanically the game takes Dawn of War as its base; you must capture resource points which provide passive resources over time and those can be upgraded to produce more. Infantry are the only ones who can capture it, which gives you reason to hang on to them. Infantry can garrison buildings or take cover behind things like sandbags or small walls, and since the game calculates trajectories instead of a binary hit/miss chance you can also get cover from hiding behind one of your mechs, as shots will hit the mech instead. Your vehicles are the mechs, which have a dieselpunk aesthetic which makes the large, boxy, and overall cobbled together. Similar to the jankiness of the early tanks compared to a modern MBT. The mechs come in a variety of sizes and roles.

One thing I found was that the infantry get pushed out pretty quickly; every side has at least one infantry hero unit and heroes are FAR more survivable. Infantry, while cheaper than mechs, aren't cheaper ENOUGH, especially when it comes to supply (which is shared between both unit types). A given infantry will cost you three supply, while mechs will be between four and eight supply. The biggest thing in infantry's favor is the fact that the main resource for mechs is oil, which collects very slowly, so you can pad out with infantry much faster. And this might be the way to go in multiplayer, but certainly not in the campaign.

The campaign is a mixture of fixed force missions and base building missions. For the most part the missions have a decent difficulty curve to them, but there are three that stand out as having issues. The least egregious one is the defense mission that claims that you need to fortify three points on the map, but really only need to worry about one with maybe a small mobile force to get any spillover that hit the other two. You'll realize this the first time you do the map and grumble and restart. The more infuriating mission is the one where you have to stealth around the map with a single unit. The thing is, you don't have any good indicator for enemy visual range (other than a "this is DEFINITELY out of their range") and you need to scrape by some narrow spots at times. Detection is an instant failure, so you will need to save a lot. But the most egregious mission is the last mission of the Russviet campaign, which has quickly become infamous amongst the playerbase. You need to destroy an objective at the end of the map, but complicating things is that scattered throughout the map are invincible enemy spawn points. The only way to deal with those is to surround them with fixed defenses, but those eat into your supply. And meanwhile the enemy is sending forces at you. You end up under a very tight timing for a lot of the map to get defenses up and attack vectors closed off or else things will snowball against you. And once you've stabilized you have to deal with the major horde guarding the final objective (and meanwhile you've spent half your supply stabilizing). After several false starts I was able to beat it, but my final runthrough took multiple hours.

Overall it's a fun RTS in an interesting world. And the story ends right as it's prepared to launch into a larger series of events, so there's room for them to grow the story more. I'm hoping we can see more with this property.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:15 pm

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

1-50
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)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)

58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)

Like with the Ratchet & Clank games, the Crash games (and the Spyro games too, still) are iconic Sony classics that I'd always thought looked/sounded neat but had never sat down to try before. I did a bit of retail therapy for myself last Friday and got a bunch of good PS1 games for 300 yen a piece, and Crash 1 and 3 were a part of that trip (gotta still find Crash 2 XP). I polled my friends on what they wanted to see my stream last Sunday, and Crash 1 beat out Ace Combat 3 (another game I got during that trip), and I ended up playing through the entirety of the Japanese version of Crash Bandicoot 1 over the course of a little over 3 hours on stream.

The premise for Crash Bandicoot is pretty simple. Crash is an experiment of Dr. Neo Cortex who escapes, but Cortex kidnaps his girlfriend and so Crash has to defeat Cortex to rescue her. Very standard "Save the girl, save the world" kinda stuff. It's a setting that works fine for the action, and the character designs are fun (and VERY polygonal X3).

The gameplay is a 3D platformer of the early 3D era, and that shows in many ways including the low polygon count mentioned earlier. The game is kind of a 3D 2D game, as you're mostly only going either forward & away from the camera, or going left and right, but you aren't ever actually running around a 3D space Mario 64-style. This can lead to some quite awkward and wonky platforming at times, but Crash has pretty tight controls and a clearly defined shadow beneath him. The biggest problem I ever had playing it was that I think the D-pad on my controller is dying ^^;

I think now is time to mention the differences between the English and Japanese versions of the game (granted even the American and PAL versions have differences), as there are MANY and they are significant beyond a few new (and often not as good) music tracks. There are far more bonus stages, and that amounts to way more extra lives and way more save points. Aku Aku gives you tutorial hints in just about every level you pick him up in, so the game actually just tells you about stuff like the colored gems, keys, and tips for killing bosses. There are generally a lot more extra lives in stages, and many platforms have been widened to make the timing on many jumps far more forgiving. The level order has even been shuffled around a fair bit to give the game a smoother difficulty curve. Some levels (like the second boar-riding level) have been outright removed. All this is ultimately towards the goal of making the game easier and more enjoyable, and I think they succeeded big time in that endeavor. While some parts felt a bit wonky, the game overall had a really fair-feeling difficulty to it, and I always felt like I had enough lives to feel safe experimenting and failing (I still beat the game with over 70 lives). I'm really glad that I streamed it, because a lot of my friends watching had played the English versions before quite a bit, so I was able to get perspectives on just how different this version of the game was.

Verdict: Recommended. Crash Bandicoot 1 hasn't aged perfectly, and the controls and level design will likely be quite frustrating to some (especially those who aren't fans of platformers in the first place), but I really enjoyed my time with it. The Japanese version makes the whole game's difficulty curve far more forgiving and more fun as a result. It might be heresy to some who love the original English version, but to someone who wants Crash 1 that doesn't kick your teeth in quite so hard, I think this is a great version to play.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:02 pm

First 50:
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
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC

Jewel of the Nile is a three mission expansion for Serious Sam 3. It's set right before the level where you lose all your stuff; the premise is that even though you turned on the power generators for the Time Lock you still need to release some kind of failsafe switch. This sends you to three different areas to do so; the first two merely being ways to unlock the third. The whole thing is pretty short; you should be able to wrap it up in three hours.

There are no new weapons but the sniper rifle and lasergun are now made into regular weapons you can find, which is nice. Though it also makes clear that the model for the lasergun wasn't thought through, as it majorly obscures your targeting reticle. The sniper rifle does some major work, though, as not only are there a lot of the harpies, there is one new (returning) enemy, the four armed lizard guys who throw the homing green shit at you. Sniping those bastards from afar is imperitive.

The three levels show some solid level design. The first one is a fairly small island where you keep visiting various portions as you collect items to unlock the final gate. So your ability to take advantage of its layout to manage enemy spawns is key. The second level is a more standard long path with enemy spawns, but things are metered quite well. The third level brings back the jetpack from the final boss for the first half, which mostly used to give you some more options for moving through box canyons with lots of middle rises. It sort of keeps things a bit fresh. There is a final combat arena which is surprisingly restrained, and then a final boss who is mostly an HP sponge but can one shot you with an easily avoided attack. Fortunately, if you know the trick he goes down quite fast (C4 on belly).

Frankly, it's a bit of a shame that these levels weren't in the base game. I think it would have been better if these levels were inserted in the story order and they just dropped the first three levels of the base game instead.
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