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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:26 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 16
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18
11. Muv-Luv photonflowers* - Steam - January 22
12. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ - Steam - January 27


February (4 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*


16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*

Again, not writing a Cold Steel II review because I've previously reviewed it.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Gunstar Green Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:08 pm

1. Link's Awakening (Switch Remake)
2. Super Mario Maker 2
3. Super Mario Odyssey
4. New Super Mario Bros. U DELUXE
5. Daemon X Machina
6. Turrican
7. Turrican 2: The Final Fight
8. SUPERHOT
9. Untitled Geese Game
10. Mega Turrican
11. Super Turrican (SNES)
12. Haven
13. Gunlord X
14. Super Mario 3D World
15. Bowser's Fury


Super Mario 3D World (Switch)

Until this year, Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS was my favorite 3D Mario game in that it was sort of an alternate dimension in which Mario translated into 3D kept more of the staples of the 2D side scrollers and had a more developer-curated camera. These were all things that were dabbled with in previous titles, especially the Galaxy games, though 3D Land would drop the pretense of being anything but a straightforward course clear title. Even though I had a really good time with it, the game was maybe a little too simplistic for its own good.

3D World expands upon 3D Land's concept greatly with more power ups, control options, more complex but still linear levels and of course much improved graphics. The new Switch version polishes the game even further with speedier gameplay and more player-friendly quality of life changes such as letting you keep a collectible if you die before reaching a checkpoint or beating the level.

I also liked how they drew inspiration from nearly every past Mario title, including the western version of Mario 2 from the four main characters having their trademark abilities to the slot machine mini-game and other cute little references.

I'm really happy that this game got a second life on the Switch because not only did I really want to play it but it was sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time the first time around. 3D World definitely deserved another look too as it's absurdly fun, rapid-fire hitting you with idea after idea in each level. Even the bonus worlds are chock full of new twists that will catch you by surprise long after the credits roll.

The game is also relatively easy most of the time, but the final bonus world, World Crown, nearly destroyed me with it's challenge, especially the game's final level "Champion's Road" which was even harder for me than Odyssey's "Darker Side." These levels are of course optional but I didn't want to let them beat me and collected all of the green stars in the game.

I'm not sure if this game or Odyssey takes my top spot on 3D Mario titles. I had an absolute blast with both of them and I think I've gone from someone who appreciated Mario but only really loved the old 2D games to an actual Mario fan.


Bowser's Fury

Bowser's Fury was tacked onto 3D World's Switch release but it's very much its own game and I love it. It takes both 3D World and Odyssey and mashes them together giving you an open world 3D Mario with 3D World's old-style power up system. And by open world I do mean open world, as the entire game throws 3D World's level structure into the bin and is played over one huge area that dwarfs even the largest of Odyssey's worlds. Within the bounds of Lake Lapcat there are four islands that essentially make up the "levels" of the game but you can travel between them seamlessly as you hop around completing tasks to collect cat shines in any order you want. The game puts its foot on the gas and the action is never interrupted until you realize you've beaten the whole thing in one sitting.

As your exploring occurs the kaiju-sized Fury Bowser will occasionally awaken to harass you. If you have enough cat shines you can become a gigantic cat Mario to do battle with him and while these fights are pretty easy and repetitive they're pretty fun and short enough to not be a bother. One of the things I didn't like about Fury Bowser was that there were a few shines that required him to be attacking, so it became irritating having to wait for him to show up. Apparently if you have a Bowser Amiibo you can summon him at will but this should have been something that was just built into the game, at least in the post-game when you're going for 100%. This is a minor complaint however and there was plenty of other things to do while waiting for Bowser to show up.

Completing the game entirely will probably only take about 4-6 hours depending on how long you poke around and enjoy the adorable cat themed scenery. You'll roll the credits in half that time but you'll definitely want to get all 100 cat shines just because it's so fun to do so and it doesn't take that long. Everything from the visuals to the music is really top notch. It stands as an example of where Nintendo can take this series next and honestly I wouldn't mind them putting out more short adventures like this and selling them for around $30 or so. While the game was short I was perfectly content with the amount of time it took by the end though I hope Nintendo will build upon their experimentation here in their next big Mario project.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:34 am

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn

The follow up to the first game, PDII doesn't change a lot. It reduces the difficulty a bit and makes the stages a bit more interesting (many of them have alternate paths that can be taken through some means not apparent to the player). The game also offers a new berserk mode, which can be triggered once you've filled up a meter by killing enemies. This basically is a laser spam for several seconds, making you invincible and knocking off a good chunk of boss health in the process. Which can be very nice for getting through a particular part of their attack pattern.

Overall the game still suffers from the primary weaknesses of the first game. The first is that the 360 look is a novelty that mostly just gives you an additional way to take damage, which is compounded by the flight model being delayed due to the dragon following the cursor (as compared to Star Fox you pointing the ship directly). The second is that the game is incredibly light in content. Almost no time is spent telling the story (even less than the first game) and there's only six stages (and then a final boss level). By comparison, Star Fox on the SNES had 19 different stages across the three routes and spent the bare minimum to present context between missions. Let's not even get into Star Fox 64 (which did have the advantage of coming out a year later, but still).
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Flake Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:46 am

January's Games Beaten:
January
Thirteen Sentinels: Aegis Rim (PS4)
Dark Stalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)


February

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PS3)
Metroid Prime (Wii)
King of Fighters 14 (PS4)
King of Fighters 2002: Ultimate Match (PS4)


Forever my go-to for mindless fun, this takes care of my annual clear of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Seriously Capcom, why hasn't this game been re-re-released for modern consoles? I guess it's still technically available on Xbox Series S|X but it got left behind on PSN years ago.

This is going to sound incredibly silly but I played through Metroid Prime in the hopes that starting a run through the trilogy would cause Nintendo to announce a Switch release, thus spoiling my playthrough. I beat Metroid Prime again and, to my surprise, Nintendo announced nothing. Still a great game though it is showing its age. Lowering the resolution a little actually helps the visuals along a bit but this game needs a re-release.

I finally beat King of Fighters 14. I think I bought this a year ago or maybe more. The visuals are off-putting as hell. I found that once the characters are actually moving, the someone washed out, plain character designs actually helped me track what was happening on screen - kind of the opposite of the problem I have with Street Fighter V where the characters are amazing when they are stationary but difficult to track when a lot of action is happening on screen. KoF14 is a decidedly middling entry for me. It has the cast of characters the size of one of the 'Slugfest' style entries but it's positioned as a continuation of the story line. As a 'Story Line' KoF, it seems like minimal effort was made to provide the flavor that usually comes with using a canon team in favor of having a cohesive canon ending. It's a tiny gripe for me to make (fIGHtInG gAme STorYLinES!) but when SNK has focused more on story beats that come up when you use canon teams (like in KoF 97), it makes me more willing to use the entire cast of characters instead of just my favorites.

King of Fighters 2002: Ultimate Match got released on PS4 finally! This is pretty exciting as this release is to vanilla King of Fighters 2002 as King of Figters 98: The Dream Match was to King of Fighters 98: The Slugfest. An absolute ton of characters (AFAIK, all previous participants except for K9999) optimized for PS4. It's not clunky to interface with like the PS2 re-releases or the Hamster ACA releases. I've played online enough to know two things - 1) The netcode is very good and 2) I suck at this game.
Maybe now Nintendo will acknowledge Metroid has a fanbase?
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:58 pm

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)
3. Streets of Rage (GEN)
4. Time Crisis: Project Titan (PS1)
5. Rayman Origins (360)
6. Borderlands (360)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*

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8. King of Dragons (SNES)

King of Dragons is a game I remember being advertised along with Knights of the Round for SNES, but I never had a chance to play either game at the time of release. After finishing the first two Golden Axe games a ton of times, I was in the mood to give a different fantasy themed beat em up a go.

Graphics wise, the sprites for the playable characters and enemies are a little smaller than other beat em ups on the system but still look good. The levels are very colorful, but I do wish there was more usage of parallax scrolling -- there is some used in the later levels, but many of the levels have static backgrounds. I also like the soundtrack in this game, the songs that are here are great, but the OST is pretty short.

This game includes a choice of six classes that all play fairly different -- I went with the fighter class. The game also includes a loose leveling system, and your character and accessories change in appearance throughout the playthrough, which is a nice touch for this genre. Another unique aspect that I enjoyed to this title is the usage of short levels, but having a lot of them. King of Dragons consists of 16 levels, and I think the quick progression through each scene keeps the player attentive, as the game doesn't feel like a slog which can happen in this genre if the levels are too long or the attacks aren't satisfying. And another element that's different to the game is the use of blocking, which is a key element the player needs to learn to get through it. The shield/blocking maneuver is a similar to that of a fighting game, where the player has to hold back to block.

I have a few issues with the game though -- first, the traps in this game that make your character get stuck and drain a chunk of your life is a real nuisance. I feel like it's a cheap way to drain the player's health, slows down the game, and these obstacles appear quite often throughout. The other issue, which doesn't the affect the gameplay, but is a nitpick, is that I wish bosses weren't repeated with color swaps in the later stages of the game.

I had a lot of fun with King of Dragons and I'm looking forward to playing through it again with a different class and in co-op eventually with a friend. If you're looking for a beat em up that plays a bit different than others out there, this one is highly recommended!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:20 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy

Late last year I was informed that someone had created a new Game Boy game, and not only that, they were producing physical copies. I took a look at the trailer and it seemed neat; some sort of RPG with some time put into the battle graphics. Could be fun. Sure, I'll put down money on the physical copy. It arrived a couple weeks ago and I've been plugging away at it when I have downtime between stuff. And unfortunately this game is the height of mediocrety.

Now, it turns out the reason this game exists is someone had created a game maker engine for the Game Boy, and this is one of the first finished games to use it. Here's the thing; game makers impose a lot of restrictions on what you can create, and it really shows up here. But beyond that, this game (aside from the graphics) would not compare favorably to early Game Boy games; it is feature poor and has a lot of general flow problems that show the amateur nature of the production.

The game's plot is pretty simple; you're the son of a dragonslayer and the time of dragons reawakening is coming soon and your dad disappeared. Also, an evil cult is picking this time to try and take over. You search for your dad and kill the dragons and stop the cult in the process. The three threads don't really tie together until the very end, and even then it's not interesting. But I'm not going to dock a Game Boy game for having a weak story. Just don't expect anything from it.

The game is an adventure game with an RPG-esque interface. You run around the world in a top down view and need to solve "puzzles". I use the quotes because 3/4 of them are "guess the right combination of button presses without any clues, just trial and error the bitch". Aside from that all the dungeons are Zelda-esque. You go in one direction, trigger a switch to open a locked door somewhere else and go into the new area until you've collected all the keys and get to the boss. Each one has a special weapon that can be found (replaces the last one) in a hidden area. Outside the dungeons you do a variety of tiny sidequests in order to get dragon scales; these serve as a tangible event flag and once you've gotten all of them you can enter a dungeon; completing the dungeon rearranges NPCs and now you can do a new set of quests or get access to a "break through this wall" item so you can get to the next dungeon. This wouldn't be bad except for the third and fourth dungeons it becomes obvious because each of those requires you to collect one dragon scale; at this point you realize that they aren't like the SM64 stars.

Combat is where the resemblance to RPGs shows up and also breaks down. See, while it is turn based you have no levels. Your regular attack always does 1/4 of enemy health. You have access to magic and the aforementioned special weapons; each of these is governed by N uses per rest and they will do more or less than 1/4 of enemy health depending on the enemy. Magic is good against regular monsters while special weapons are good against mages. Both upgrade over the course of the game, and weirdly you always have access to all your magic but only the latest special weapon. It's weird because you always have N casts of magic shared across all your spells, so there is no reason to ever use a previous spell. The bosses are the one time you don't do 1/4 damage with regular attacks; there you want to buff a few times with attack potions and then swing in.

You'll notice that I keep using fractions. The game frustratingly does not give you numbers most of the time. While potions give their healing amount (or attack buff) in numbers you can't actually see your health number. You can't see enemy health numbers. You can't see damage numbers you deal or take. It makes it hard to plan, especially since everything seems to be calibrated to either do 1/4 or 1/3 of a health bar and it takes a while to regularly recognize the difference between the two. And because everything does a high amount of relative damage you chug through healing potions like mad. The one saving grace is enemies don't respawn, while you have access to an infinite money source. So you will make your way through by being a potion fiend.

Overall it's a very amateur effort that ends up being less fun than the first SaGa game. There is a general lack of depth and instead of clever puzzles it's a mix of "guess the button", "notice the hidden wall", and "navigate the invisible maze". Which makes the game very far from being worth the $16 it's being offered for. Pass up on this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:59 pm

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)
3. Streets of Rage (GEN)
4. Time Crisis: Project Titan (PS1)
5. Rayman Origins (360)
6. Borderlands (360)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*
8. King of Dragons (SNES)

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9. Wild Guns (SNES)

This is another title that I wasn't aware of when it was originally released on the SNES back in the mid 90's but in recent years I've dabbled with it and enjoyed what I played. It took me a considerable amount of time to get used to the gameplay, as I don't have much experience playing third person gallery shooter titles. But after a few hours of practice and a lot of game over screens, I finally started to get the controls down. To clarify, I played this title on the Switch, using the online service.

Natsume did a great job with the look and feel of Wild Guns. The character and enemy sprites are a good size and the levels are very colorful. The boss sprites are a sight to behold too, even in the beginning of the game, the first boss is just huge and takes up most of the screen. The atmosphere of the game is interesting, a weird mix of a Western cowboy theme and sci-fi, but I dig it. Each of the six levels has a lot going on, with a ton of enemies on screen firing away at you. It's pretty impressive to see this style of arcade action occurring on the Super Nintendo, as we're all aware of the slow down issues this system had with games earlier on in its lifespan. The soundtrack is also impressive, which seems to be the case with most titles from this developer.

Your character has a good amount of moves at their disposal to dodge enemy fire, with a double jump and a roll mechanic to get out of the way. And for attacks, you have your rapid fire weapon on-hand at all times, along with more powerful attacks you can obtain through power-ups. You also have the ability to tap the attack button to use a lasso, which will stun the enemy momentarily. It can be tough to pull off, but if you time it correctly, it can really help against certain enemies and bosses that move around quickly.

The game's challenge is pretty difficult -- it's one of the tougher titles I've played in a while and it really took me a ton of attempts to finally get through it. Even though I was getting destroyed when I first started, I was having a lot of fun and just had the itch to come back for more. I really enjoy fast paced arcade games so this title fits right in with what I was in the mood for. There is also a versus mode, where you can compete with a friend or the computer in different target ranges to see who can get the high score.

I had a ton of fun with this game playing through it in single player mode into the late of hours of the night. I'd really enjoy giving it a shot in co-op with a friend and testing out the versus mode. If you're into fast pace shooting games, which there aren't many of on the Super Nintendo, I think you'll really dig this title, but you'll have to give it some practice, as the difficulty is challenging. I highly recommend this game if you haven't checked it out!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:22 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
* indicates a repeat

1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *

14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *

And so ends my journey playing/replaying through the Paper Mario games. This was definitely a breath of fresh air after having just played Super Paper Mario, but it was also very neat to see just how many of the seeds of what would ultimate ruin SPM are used to such good effect here (whether knowingly or not). Though not my favorite of the series, it's definitely the best out of the original 3 as far as I'm concerned. I was even having so much fun that I actually beat the Pit of 100 Trials for the first time ever~. It took me 33 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game (confusingly enough called "Paper Mario RPG").

Princess Peach is traveling when she comes to the seedy port town of Rougeport (or "Gorotsuki Town" in Japanese), where she buys a mysterious treasure map. She sends it on to Mario and asks him to come join her there to help look for the treasure, but she's kidnapped while he's in transit. It turns out the treasure map leads to the legendary Crystal Stars, which themselves are the key to opening the titular legendary Thousand Year Door which lies in the ruins under Rougeport. But Mario isn't alone in his hunt for the Stars. The X-Nauts (aka the "Megabatten" in Japanese) are also on the hunt for them, which is why they've kidnapped Princess Peach, to get her to tell them where the map is, and even Bowser is throwing his bumbling hat into the ring as well.

The quality of the writing is overall very good. Like the first game in the series, this is a turn-based game where Mario is joined by a series of companions which each area progressively focuses on in some fashion. While the problem of a character effectively disappearing from the narrative (other than mechanically) after their particular chapter is over is still present, the bits they're included in are still very entertainingly done. The tone of the game is well balanced between the silliness of Mario & Co., and just how scheming and evil the leader of the X-Nauts, Batsugalf (I don't remember his English name ^^;) is. A balance that Super Paper Mario would later go on to tip wayyy out of balance in both directions to very negative effect.

Princess Peach and Bowser also get their own parts as well. Peach's parts are very much like they were in the first game, as she explores her captor's headquarters to try and hunt for information for Mario, but she's also joined by the X-Nauts' base's computer AI, TEC. Though the whole subplot of "woman with EMOTIONS teaches emotionless computer to LOVE" is a pretty tired cliché even for 2004, they do it well here and it doesn't feel annoyingly done. Bowser also gets his own, much shorter segments, which are entirely comedy focused to balance out the more serious tones of Peach's segments, as he bumbles around far behind Mario, failing to do anything of import for nearly the entire game and making himself look very silly.

The biggest narrative difference between the English and Japanese versions of the game is a relatively well known one in that Vivian, one of Mario's companions, is transgender. Confirming how this was done for myself (after totally missing it when I was younger and my Japanese was much worse) was one of the main reasons I wanted to replay this game again. While it isn't exactly a super great bit of representation, for the time (and even for now) it's pretty well done. Vivian's gender is treated as a source of stated but ultimately unimportant confusion for the protagonists. While they don't really understand it, they never do anything to treat her as anything else than a girl. There's a very clearly portrayed dynamic of "people who misgender her are the villains, and those who respect her gender are the protagonists", and I really liked that. It's ultimately a minor enough point that I can see why the English localizers erred on the side of caution in removing it, although I would say that it's a better piece of trans representation in a Nintendo game at the time than something like Mother 3.

The mechanics and overall design of the game are basically "Paper Mario 64 but more and better" all around, with only a couple small exceptions. You're still going from area to area in 3D space (as opposed to Super Paper Mario's approach) exploring to fight baddies, gather info from NPCs, and look for goodies. The same fairly simple turn-based battles return from the N64 game, with Mario and a companion taking turns fighting against baddies and bosses. Mario still has HP for life, FP for special moves, and BP for equipping badges, and these can be upgraded upon a level up. Badges still give either passives or allow special moves to be done, but these systems have been modified in small ways here and there. For your companions, their move sets have been varied up a bit, and they've even been given their own HP bars just like Mario has (which get stronger when they're upgraded). An emphasis on making the companions more of a secondary Mario-level of ability extends to the badges as well, as there are many companion versions of Badges that need to be found and equipped separately from the Mario versions. Companions can't get whole new special moves from Badges like Mario can, but it really varies up the kinds of things you can do with Badges while still keeping the systems overall very familiar from the first game. If you liked how the first game played, you're gonna enjoy them here too. If you didn't like how the first game played, this isn't gonna change your mind.

The only real negative aspects of the game have to do with some approaches to the presentation as well as some of the game's overall design. Some of the things relate more to how they feel on a replay, as there are a couple more mystery-based areas where you're looking for clues and such. On the first playthrough, they're fun, albeit a bit poorly signposted in places, but on a replay, they kinda drag compared to the rest of the game since the mystery is already solved and the drama surrounding them isn't terribly interesting. The game also has you backtracking a fair bit in certain areas and it really feels like padding. It's not unforgivable, but going through the dark forest and back again three separate times for the fourth crystal star is kinda lot.

Then aside from that you have the battles, which are now not just aesthetically a stage, but literally a stage. There's an audience in front of them and a sort of back stage as well. This allows random things to fall from above you or the backdrops to land on you (and harm you), as well as the audience throwing good and bad things at you. While you can bop an audience member to not get something thrown at you (as long as you notice it in time), the stuff falling from the stage or the random freezing/mist effects are just totally RNG and not fun. They just make the battles frustrating because they only make them more of a chore, as you have no idea when they're coming. Battles are simply going fine but then oops! Mist time, so half of all attacks will miss until it decides to go away. You also can't pause during battles, so if you set the controller down to go answer the door and an audience member decides to throw something nasty at you, there was nothing you could've done about it. None of this stuff is game-breaking, but it's stuff that was routinely annoying in this as well as prior replays.

The presentation is all around really quality. The graphics are really pretty using component cables to view them through (they make SUCH an impact for Wii & GameCube stuff. Using component cables for my Wii to play GC games with is one of the only reasons I have the Wii anymore XD). Although Mario gets a few paper folding techniques to traverse the world with, the whole "paper" aspect of it is still a more incidental aspect of the aesthetic than a way the world diegetically is like it is in Sticker Star and beyond. The music is all around quite good but I don't really find that much any of it sticks out for me as much as the music in the N64 game did. It all fits its respective locations appropriately, but nothing super duper memorable I'd wanna listen to again later.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is still my 3rd favorite of the series, but it's still a really excellent game. I think my time with the Paper Mario series over the past couple years has really helped me solidify my opinions on what makes a Paper Mario game really great, more than anything, and that's quality writing. It's what separates the really great ones from the utterly boring ones for me, and I never would've been able to pin that down without having played through the 3rd and 2nd games again. This is a really excellent GameCube game, and one well worth checking out if you want a well-written RPG with simple yet flexible battle mechanics.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:20 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC

In celebration of 30 years Blizzard release a compilation of Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, and Rock n' Roll Racing. But not only do they include the original versions (multiple console versions for each), each one includes a Definitive edition that includes quality of life features and things like content that was exclusive to one platform. Since I got time before Bravely Default 2 hits I figured I'd try to get through all three, with Rock n' Roll racing first.

The game is an isometric battle racing game; weapons are a key component of making your way through the race by taking out opponents. Each race is four laps against three other opponents. You start off with a certain number of shots, mines, and boosts that fully regenerate whenever you make a lap (so make sure to use them all beforehand). Taking out other racers gives you cash, as well as picking up cash icons on the ground. If you die you will respawn after a delay, same with other racers. You can pick up health kits from the ground as well. Of note, all of the pickups do not respawn and the CPU can grab them as well (denying you for cash and healing themselves with health kits).

The game goes across six planets, with two divisions for each planet, each one having a unique set of tracks. You will have between four and seven unique tracks per division, and you can race a given division a certain number of times in a season. Within those constraints you need to get a certain number of points to advance; if you fail to advance you start the season over (but keep any accumulated cash). In general you need to be able to come in first about half the races and place in a few others in order to make it through, so a couple bad races won't sink you. You do have the option of finishing a season early if you have enough points, but you want to always do all the races for the money.

Upgrading your vehicle is important. Each subsequent vehicle is better than the last, and a given vehicle can have various parameters increased, like speed, health, and number of uses of a given item. With the early vehicles you generally only want to put a couple upgrades into, but the later vehicles you need to sink money into (and naturally you want to max out the last vehicle).

The game's title comes from the soundtrack; the original version had MIDI adaptations of several classic rock songs, and the Definitive version lets you instead use CD quality versions of all but one of them (Sabbath gets traded out for Judas Priest), as well as a couple of new tracks, one Rush and one Elite Tauren Chieftan. The game also features voice clips from a motor speedway announcer to give you the play by play. It helps keep you engaged like the announcer in NBA Jam.

The game's main flaw is the track design; because of the overhead view it's restricted to basically a flat plane (though there are ramps and such) and it uses the Mario Kart style of jumping over sections of track. This goes a step further and also will just have crossovers, and it can be very easy to accidentally take the wrong turn, need to turn around, and completely tank your chances of winning. And those aforementioned ramps? If you're angled when hitting them you're probably going off the track. The engine does NOT let you cut corners with a jump; you are always considered to die even if you land back on the track. There also is a general lack of catchup mechanic compared to Mario Kart, so falling too far behind sinks you. And there is no retry track mechanism; you take your lumps and hope you have enough by season's end.

Overall it's a pretty fun racing game; it handles very differently from Mario Kart and has a good sense of speed. And the soundtrack is naturally baller.
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Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by pook99 Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:38 am

@marurun: code of princess is on my short list of games I was planning on playing and your review just bumped it down a few notches.

@gunstar: nice review of bowsers fury, I am definitely picking it up soon, 60 bucks is a bit hard for me to swallow since i just beat 3d world a few months ago, but bowsers fury looks like a ton of fun

@note: Wild guns is a huge pain in the ass but I love it, everytime I play it I curse it for being so hard but keep sticking it out to the end. I am expecting wild guns reloaded on switch to come in the mail this week and I am super excited to see how it compares.

Games beaten:

9) trollhunters defender of arcadia
10) Children of Zodiarc
11) Jay and silent bob mall brawl (all on switch)

9) Trollhunters: defenders of arcadia (switch)


Trollhunters is based off of some dreamworks property, I know nothing about its source material, but I did hear that it was a 2d platformer made by wayforward, so I had to pick it up.

I won't get into the story or anything here, I know literally nothing about the source material, but it has you playing as a guy, trained my Merlin, and traveling through time in order to stop a time traveling troll, and eventually Morgana. The story is simple enough that if you are unfamiliar with the show/movie that you will have no trouble following along, but it is clearly made for kids so I just tried to skip through it as much as possible.

Gameplay itself is a 2d platformer, you start the game off with just a jump, slide, and a sword attack and as the game progresses you unlock various abilities and upgrades which are a mixed bag. You unlock helpers that can be called in and have a cooldown meter, but they serve no function other than to bypass various obstacles so I am not sure what the purpose of the meter is. For example, you can call in a helper to create a platform, if you misplace the platform, you need to wait for it to go away and then wait for the cooldown meter to fill, which really is just boring, granted it almost never happens, but literally nothing good can come out of spamming these helpers so there is no function for you to have to wait in the first place. Outside of them you get a dash, a glide, and can buy various armor and items at the shop between levels.

This game is about as average of a game as is possible. There really is not that much to say about it, the game controls well enough, has a decent variety of levels, a few sidequests, and decent boss fights but absolutely nothing stands out. I did not hate my time with it, but it is a game I will never pick up again unless my daughter happens to stumble upon it when she is old enough to pick a game from my switch collection. It probably is a decent enough game for kids, but unless you are a huge trollhunters fan there really is no reason to play this game.

10) Children of Zodiarc

Children of zodiarc is an isometric srpg with quite a few things that make it stand out from your average game in the genre.

The story takes place in a city where there are extremely rich nobles who live in towers and a huge ghetto where impoverished people form gangs to try and survive. The game starts out with you taking control of Zirchoff, a huge hulking brute, who leads a gang of poor children in a quest for revenge agains the nobles. After playing through the tutorial with him you meet the protganist and his protegee, Nahmi, a young girl who hates the nobles as much as Zirchoff does. He sends you out on a quest to steal a relic from them, which he plans on using to get rich and take them down. The story then has you following Nahmi and various friends she makes along the way. I really enjoyed the story here, it is well written, surprisingly dark, and provides a bit of a social commentary on poverty. I won't get too much into it but there were definitely some surprised along the way and a few plot twists, some predictable, others not.

Gameplay here combines aspects of deck building, dice rolling, and standard srpgs. I was hesistant to give this game a go because I thought the card and dice portion of it would make the game too luck based, but it is handled well and adds a nice layer of strategy to the battles. At its core the gameplay here is exactly what one would expect from the genre. You have a party of up to 3 characters, there is a grid which shows movement/attack paths, in each turn you can move your character then take an action, and when you are done the enemy moves, but there is a lot to the action part that set this game apart.

Every hero starts with a deck of 18 cards, you cannot have less than 18 but you can have as many as you want, of course for anyone who has played any competitive tcg's you know the best strategy is to try and keep your deck thin so you can draw into the cards you want. As your character levels up they will unlock new cards and level up their existing cards. There are several different types of cards here, red cards are physical attacks, blue are magic attacks, yellow are buffs, purple are debuffs, and green are healing cards. Each character has their own unique set so you cannot trade between characters, this is a good thing as it keeps every character feeling extremely unique. In between levels you can enter your deck editor and build your deck however you want it, as someone who used to play competitive yugioh but has not touched a tcg in years I really enjoyed going into my deck between levels and adjusting ratios and trying out new cards and strategies. If you are not into this aspect of it there is a "build recommended deck" option that you can just click and not have to think about it.

Cards will usually do a few things, every card has a range and an area of effect, all of which can be viewed anytime in battle just by clicking the x button on your character. In addition to their base effect every card has bonus effects that can be triggered when certain conditons are met, which are listed on the card. The condtions can be stuff like x happens when character is below 50% health, or they can be triggered by various dice rolls.

In addtion to the cards each character has a number of dice that they roll each time a card is played. The dice have various symbols on them and depending on what you roll you can add damage buffs to your attack, heal your character, defend against enemy counterattacks, draw extra cards, and even get a free action. You roll anywhere from 3-10 dice per card played(depending on character level and buffs) and you also have the option of re rolling any 2 of your dice one time. This is very helpful to try and trigger the cards special bonus effects and smart dice building will virtually guarantee you get the special effects on the cards when you want them.

Yes, you read that right, dicebuilding. In addition to building your deck you can also equip various dice to each character and modify what is on each face of the die. This is pretty key and allows you to really tailor each characters set of dice to their strength. For example, one of the characters is a mage with low health and strong magic attacks, to compensate for this I added a lot of healing buffs onto her dice so she was always able to recover health when she attacked. It adds another layer of strategy to character building and smart dice building will remove alot of the luck normally invovled with rolling dice to achieve effects.

There are about 20 main story missions, a few side missions, and areas where you can just enter to grind out a battle. The story missions usually involve simple objectives like reach x point, survive x turns, or wipe out all the enemies(or a boss), but the enemy AI puts up a really nice challenge. The odds are definitely not in your favor in some of the later levels and I had to retry a few of them multiple times until I came across a winning strategy. One thing the game also does is choose an option to keep enemies on your level so you never have to grind. If you select this option (and I did because I despise grinding), enemies that normally would be much stronger than you are leveled down. This does not make the game too easy, it just means you will not run into enemies that are overpowered, which I thought was a fantastic addition and more games should implement something like this. The downside is since you are not grinding you will not achieve max level and when you reach the end of the game there will still be cards and upgrades that you don't have.

I know this is an over used term but Children of Zodiarc is definitely a hidden gem. I never hear anyone talking about, I just stumbled on it when I was watching a video about switch srpg's. It is a very well done game with a battle system that is familiar but has tons of things that set it apart from others in the genre. I think this is an absolute must play for fans of strategy games.

11) Jay and Silent bob Mall brawl

Sometimes after playing a truly fantastic game it is hard to play something else in the same genre. I recently played River City girls, which is an outstanding sequel to river city ransom, one of the best beat em ups I have ever played, and easily broke into my top 10 favorite switch games list. After playing through that gem I decided to play another beat em up and found myself playing this.

It is unfair to compare a game like this to river city girls, but while rcg is one of the best beat em ups I have ever played, this is one of the worst, and playing it right after a quality title really made this game even harder to swallow.

You play as jay and silent bob, you can switch back and forth between them and they each have their own life meter. The one who is tagged out will slowly heal to half health, which is important because this is one of those beat em ups where it is impossible to kill enemies without taking damage.

Enemy AI in this game is very simple, they hone in on you and march directly toward you perfectly mirroring your movements. They always come in sets of 2 and while you are hitting one you are virtually guaranteed to get hit by the other unless you can line up enemies perfectly so when your stubby punches and kicks land, you are hitting them both at the same time.

Your moveset is limited to punch/kick, a jump attack, and a dashing attack which knocks an enemy down for less than one second making it completely useless. Gameplay loop is simple walk to the left or right, fight 2 enemies at a time, tag out and run around dodging enemies until your parnter heals, repeat. There is little strategy and all enemies do exactly the same thing, despite differences in appearances (outside of a few special enemies)

There are bosses, which are kind of what you would expect, and there is a shopping cart level that has you sitting in a shopping cart and pays homage to the turbo tunnel in battletoads. This section almost made me throw my switch at the wall, the controls are slippery, broken, and if you take damage before a checkpoint, your character will not register the checkpoint. It is one of the worst minigames I have ever played.

Even if you are fan of the source material, stay far away from this game, it is easily one of the worst beat em ups I have ever played.
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