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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Tue May 25, 2021 2:35 pm

The co-op campaign doesn't feature any lemons, so it's a decidedly inferior experience.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed May 26, 2021 1:05 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
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC

Sam's Story is the second and longer piece of DLC for Metro Exodus. It stars Sam, the American embassy guard who retreated to the metro when the bombs fell and has spent the last couple decades as an outsider. With the revelation that there is life outside the metros Sam decides to try and chart a course home after the events of Metro Exodus. His story picks up at Vladivostok, where he hopes to find some way of getting across the Pacific to the US.

While The Two Colonels was a return to the super cramped quarters of the first two games, Sam's Story sticks with the war-torn above ground segments of Exodus. It's closer to Tundra in terms of layout; it's not really open world, but rather a series of openish corridors. The main bit of exploration available is the hunt for weapon and suit upgrades in structures off the beaten path.

The game has a limited arsenal compared to the base game. The Kalash, Ashot, and Valve return to serve as assault rifle, shotgun pistol, and sniper rifle. There's also one enemy in the end sequence who has a Bastard for some reason. The two new guns are the Sammy and the Stallion. The Stallion is a semi-automatic pistol that can be fitted with a silencer. The Sammy is an assault rifle that has a unique set of attachments that give it versatility and it has the ability to use incendiary rounds (high power, rare). The key attachment is the barrel; by changing the barrel it can fire automatic, burst (more damage per bullet), or semi auto. This lets it fit roll of a rock and roll weapon, sniper rifle (it has a scope available), or an all rounder.

You will go through all the standard setpieces; an area that needs the gasmask, bandit camps, mutant dens, and so on. The game does have a bit of an autosave problem early on (most noticeable when you're on Ranger Hardcore and can't manually save anywhere). There's two spots early that have really bad autosave placement. The first is when you get through the intro; you take a boat in search of an objective and you get to a dock. You can go in two directions from this dock, and there is a single autosave on the dock. One direction is to a bandit camp with good loot, the other is the way to progress the story. Since there's only one autosave if you do the bandit camp and then die midway through the story area (and it's reasonably long) you spawn all the way back at the start. Similarly, once you're past this part there's another segment where you're against a swarm of humans who are alerted to you with a sniper on overwatch and an autosave right at the start. You have to get through all the alerted enemies with no alternate routes before you can trigger the next autosave (which is also where you can finally stealth around). Things get better once you're past these two points, but it is quite frustrating early on.

Overall it's a decent piece of content if you really want more Metro Exodus, but it doesn't really stand out much compared to The Two Colonels; the story is much weaker so you're just left with the gameplay. And since you're funneled so hard it just doesn't feel as good as the base game. It's not too expensive, so it's worth considering, but I wouldn't push you to get it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed May 26, 2021 1:59 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 35
* 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 (5 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*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (8 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26


35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26

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Planetscape: Torment was a gift from popo after he read my review of Torment: Tides of Numenera. As I said in that review, I'm not a big 90s style CRPG fan, and unlike Tides of Numenera, this one is past old enough to drink in the United States, so I was more than a little hesitant going in. Planetscape is definitely a lot rougher around the edges than Tides of Numenera even with the "enhanced edition" that added some minor upgrades, but as with Tides of Numenera, the game grew on me over time.

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Planetscape: Torment is played from a top-down perspective where the player clicks to move characters around the world, attack enemies, talk to NPC, and interact with objects. This is honestly one of my least favorite control schemes, but it works decently. The premise of the game is that your main character, a man who cannot die named The Nameless One, wakes up in an area called The Mortuary with no memory. He awakens near a floating talking skull named Morte who decides to tag along to help him escape. His back is covered in tattoos which Morte reads for him; it tells him to seek out a man named Pharod to ask about his past. As you cannot, die, every time your HP hits zero, you just wake up back in the Mortuary with no real death penalty aside from having to walk back to wherever you were.

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As you explore the city of Sigil, you can take on a number of side quests, interact with a variety of different characters and factions, and recruit people to your party. There is a TON of lore and small tidbits of story to be gleaned from these NPC conversations, but truthfully, I found most of the ancillary stuff to be relatively uninteresting. I might have appreciated it more if I'd had any familiarity with the Planetscape D&D campaign setting, but as a Dungeons and Dragons virgin, a lot of it felt like pretty generic sci-fi fantasy dialogue to me. The main story, however, I did find fairly interesting, so I paid much more attention to the dialogue and text relating to that.

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With the exception of some parts in the latter half of the game, most everything takes place in and around the city of Sigil. I'd have liked to have some more varied areas to explore, but there are enough sections of the city that the game never feels cramped. The visuals are solidly okay with a few sweet craptastic late 90s CGI cutscenes; the music, on the other hand, was rather impressive as was most of the voice acting. It set the tone and mood of the game nicely, and for a game with a tone as dark as Planetscape, that's important. I may not personally have been as enamored by the game as traditional CRPG fans usually are, but the dark themes of the game and brilliant writing have to be acknowledged regardless of personal tastes. The element of choice also needs to be pointed out and praised especially given the age of the game. There are seemingly countless choices to be made during the game. Some of those choices have major impacts on your game down the line, and some of them change literally nothing; with no way of knowing exactly which choices will have major consequences and which won't, you have to make your choices carefully and keep in mind the way you want to play and the type of character you want The Nameless One to be. That aspect of player choice and agency more than anything kept me interested.

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Planetscape: Torment is not my type of game, but I can recognize it as an excellent game despite that. My biggest issues with the game were a handful of random crashes that I experienced and some things that I felt were a bit unnecessarily and overly cryptic. Half of those cryptic things weren't even puzzles I was too dumb to figure out but interactable objects or doorways that I didn't notice because the muted color scheme and dull building designs. Fortunately, though, little criticisms like that are all I can really levy against the game; as far as writing, character design, and thematic presentation go, the game is superb. The CRPG sub-genre just isn't my cup of tea. For those who are into that type of game, I doubt you'll find many better than this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Wed May 26, 2021 4:55 pm

My favorite visual novel.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed May 26, 2021 11:36 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
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch

Panzer Paladin is an indie throwback platformer that involves you running around in a giant mecha with a ton of weapons to beat up a bunch of guys and then go through Wily's fortress. It's pretty fun and plays well, though the difficulty ends up being a bit uneven and the final boss fight is a bit too much of a nailbiter given some design decisions.

The plot is that all these weapons suddenly streaked to earth and there's evil bad guys and you need to kill them. Like the NES games of old the plot is an excuse to have you run around in your mecha with your giant swords. The game is set up where after the intro you progress through ten stages in any order, Mega Man style. Unlike Mega Man there is no elemental weakness circle; each is just a separate boss that happens to drop a top tier weapon on death, but no weaknesses are involved. This means each stage is theoretically equal to the other, but there are definite differences in stage hazards, and the lack of a weakness circle and a good "buster only" boss means it's easy to start off on the equivalent of Heat Man's stage.

The game's key feature is the weapon system. Enemies drop weapons that each have different sizes, swing speeds, power, and a magic spell you can use by breaking the weapon. Weapons have limited durability akin to BotW, so you will constantly be changing things up. You also can throw them (which destroys them when hitting an enemy). The magic spells include healing, several buffs which can stack with each other, and some additional capabilities for a limited time, so you need to quickly realizing that they are disposable tools. In between missions you can also cash them in for health upgrades. Stages have two checkpoints, a mid stage and a before boss, both requiring you to sacrifice a weapon.

You also can get out of the mech. You're obviously less capable, but you can fit into tight corridors and can swing off grapple points. One INCREDIBLY nice feature is your whip auto homes on grapple points, so you pretty much will never miss them if you have even the slightest sense of timing. When you lose all mech HP you automatically eject, so you aren't out yet, though since your damage is lower than most weapons you're in a bad spot.

That said, the bosses are the real meat of the game given all the interesting attack patterns. One fascinating thing is that some bosses are much easier to handle on foot, including the second form of the final boss. You don't have as much room for error (low health), but on foot you move faster and are overall more maneuverable, as well as having slightly longer range. I feel I should mention that because the game has very limited healing (only certain weapons randomly dropped can heal, and it's not for much) this makes the two phased final boss MUCH more punishing than anything in Mega Man X. Fortunately it turns out it is incredibly easy to dodge all the attacks on foot, so you can pull it through (though the margin for error is slim).

Overall it's a solid platformer that isn't too long and doesn't have too much in the way of major bullshit like some of them can have. I can definitely recommend this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Fri May 28, 2021 1:11 am

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)
9. Wild Guns (SNES)
10. Star Fox (SNES)
11. Guardian Heroes (SAT) [2x]*
12. World of Illusion (GEN)
13. Raiden Fighters Jet (360)
14. Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive (360)*
15. Streets of Rage 3 (GEN)
16. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (Xbox)*
17. Mushihimesama Futari (360)
18. Guwange (360)
19. Star Fox 64 (N64)*

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20. Soul Calibur (DC)*

Soul Calibur was one of the first Sega Dreamcast games I got when I received the system as a gift in the Christmas of '99. I'm pretty certain I received it on that same day, if I remember correctly. I wasn't familiar with Soul Edge released on PS1 at the time, but I loved Soul Calibur from the get go and it was one of the first 3D fighters I had at home that I really put a lot of time too. I ended up breaking out the game again for this month's Together Retro theme, the Riddle of Steel -- which is an awesome idea for a theme, Ack!

At the time of release, the Dreamcast port of Soul Calibur looked fantastic, even better than the version that was released in arcades. I can't recall a game beforehand that looked better at home than in the arcades. Looking back on it now, I guess this was a sign of what was to come regarding the declining popularity of arcades. The characters all have unique looks and are really detailed, and the background levels look fantastic too -- I particularly like the level when you're floating through an underground waterway on a raft. The game has a very memorable OST, and the narrator in the game has some unforgettable one-liners. I think anyone that's played the game can instantly recall the narrator, Jeff Manning's voice.

Regarding the gameplay, Soul Calibur is a weapons based 3D fighter, with each character having a specific weapon type they can use. My favorite character in the game is Kilik who uses a rod that has an impressive range. The other characters that I like are mostly quick characters with smaller weapons such has Hwang. But it's also fun to try out some of the tank type of characters with larger axes or swords every once in a while too, such as Astaroth or Nightmare. The gameplay is very smooth, and Namco did a great job porting this to the Dreamcast. Besides the arcade and versus modes, there is also a survival mode which I find to be a ton of fun -- and is the mode I've been playing the most recently, in which you have to get through as many characters as you can without losing a single round. This game has a lot of variety and replay value, and if you want to unlock the extra characters and images in the gallery, you'll have to play through using most of the characters. I have a few items in the gallery section I've yet to unlock so I'm hoping to rack up enough points from finishing both arcade and survival mode with different characters to finally get that completed.

Overall, I think Soul Calibur is a great game that has stood the test of time. I'm not too familiar with the later entries in the series, but I've always had a blast playing this one on the Dreamcast and I think it still holds up well to this day. I'm glad I revisited it for this month's Together Retro. If for some reason you haven't given this one a chance yet, it's definitely worth it! I highly recommend it!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Fri May 28, 2021 4:40 am

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

Games 1~51
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) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)
19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)
57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)
58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)
59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)
60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)

Mega Man X Marathon Pt. 2

61. Rock Man X6 (Switch)

Rock Man X6 is where I'd been told the series really started to feel the pains of the absence of the original team, and it along with X7 were games I'd really been looking forward to in terms of seeing for myself just how bad they were. What awaited me was something I'm not sure I could've expected, at least not in this form, as it's both a game that greatly frustrated me as well as one I ultimately enjoyed more than I thought I would. It took me around 8 hours to complete the Japanese version of the game (with my in-game play time clock around 4 hours).

X6's story ret-cons the ending of X5's story quite heavily, as X5 was originally intended to be the end of the storyline while the Rock Man Zero games were its tacit continuation. However, for the most part, that really doesn't matter. Of course Sigma is back, but this the reploid scientist Gate is unwittingly aiding in his revival. It all ends up to the whole usual "stop the super reploid fascist while cursing the need to continue this fight" song and dance that the series has become very familiar with by now. It's accompanied, however, by a return to having voiced cutscenes, though not animated cutscenes, and that's extra nice as (for convoluted reasons I find difficult to care about) Zero is back again, and his reunion with X is really sweet. It's a story that does what it needs to, as basically every X game's story does.

The most important part of the story, in regards to the gameplay at least, is in regards to the new Nightmare Virus that's ravaging the globe. It's both driving reploids mad in the same way that the Sigma Virus did, but it's also causing observable phenomena that ranges from a phantom Zero taking pot shots at you, to fiery meteors raining down from the sky, to (by far the worst) stages plagued with darkness save for a couple of rotating spotlights that illuminate your view. These nightmare effects only affect stages when they're glowing red (which can be reset by visiting and exiting another stage) or upon a return to a stage, and they make some stages damn near unplayable with how vexing and difficult they make things (particular the darkness one). They're by and large a not very creative and quite vindictive way of making the game harder than it needs to be while not actually adding that much in the way of design, so in a way I kinda have to respect just how clever a design solution that is, albeit for a design choice that categorically makes the game a worse experience to play.

And that sort of "clever yet definitely bad" design plagues a lot of this game. The stages are for the most part fine, although the bosses are pretty easy once again. However you still get the errant stage, such as the one with the junk crushers, that are brutally hard for a normal non-fortress stage, and the fortress stages themselves are really brutal at times in ways that feel ridiculous. You can mitigate the difficulty by collecting pieces of the two sets of special armor found in this game or by using Zero (who must be rescued via a semi-randomly occurring event at certain secret locations in certain maps), but that presents its own problems outside of those pieces often being very hard to collect due to how difficult those nightmare effects make returning to past stages.

Like in X5, you need to collect health upgrades and parts to augment your abilities beyond just the new armors, but there's a new twist added to that that's technically an improvement but adds its own new slew of significant problems to the mix. One nice thing is that the boss level system has been cut back to be no longer dynamic but more of a signifier of how tough a given boss is compared to others, and honestly even calling it a "system" isn't terribly appropriate compared to calling it a simple aesthetic choice. Now, the parts you can equip between missions are found spread among the 16 injured reploids that are found in each of the 8 base stages, with certain reploids holding certain ones. Many of them hold nothing but an extra life for your trouble, but some do hold those special upgrades, and it's often worth going out of your way to look for them and try to rescue them (I rescued all but two or three during my own playthrough, myself). They're not often evilly hidden, but they're an extra thing to look out for either your first time or on return trips to a stage, granted that does mean that for some you'll need to brave those awful nightmare effects for some of the more well hidden ones.

However, not all is happy in Reploid Rescue Land. First of all is that they're under threat quite often by special nightmare bot enemies, who will permanently kill a reploid should they touch it, and you'll have to load a save and retry the stage in order to get another chance at rescuing them. While most of the most important reploids holding upgrades aren't in mortal peril (you actually NEED the very well hidden jump upgrade to beat the game as X, but that one is perfectly safe from harm), some are, and those parts they're holding can be lost forever if you aren't quick enough to save them. Granted most parts aren't that useful and only a handful can be equipped at a time, but still, it sucks to lose stuff like that because you didn't know a reploid who needed such quick action was upcoming in the stage (and some are VERY tough to rescue from death simply by design of the stage).

Additionally, these nightmare bots also contribute to the Hunter Rank system this game has. Abandoning the more speedrun-style grading system from X5, the Hunter Rank in X6 is determined entirely by the amount of Nightmare Souls you collect from these fallen special enemies, and you'll need a LOT of them if you want max rank. The thing is that max rank actually matters quite a bit, as how many of those findable parts you can equip at one time is determined by that rank, and you're gonna need to grind a LOT if you wanna equip more than two at a time (which is plenty, but three or four is certainly preferred). This is even MORE of a problem when you consider that X and Zero don't actually share Hunter Ranks, so you'll need to grind with BOTH if you want either to be usable. This is even MORE Of a problem when you consider that in addition to the health upgrades found in stages, extra health and max weapon energy upgrades are also given by rescued reploids, and those are ALSO exclusive to the character who picks them up, so if you've been using X the whole game, Zero is going to be damn near useless even IF you put in the time to get him to a respectable (let alone max) Hunter Rank, and that's extra sucky considering some of the harder platforming (as mentioned earlier) and boss encounters are far easier with Zero than with X, that is if the right character happens to be upgraded accordingly.

I briefly mentioned the bosses earlier, but I need to go into a bit more of that now because it's a point worth elaborating on because holy heck does the game deserve it. In yet another weirdly self-inflicted wound, one of the game's best bosses is the first fight against a new rival robot called High Max, but he's only found in a secret boss room. However, not only are these secret boss rooms easy to stumble into unintentionally, but High Max can actually only be hurt by certain special weapons, making it very possible that you'll stumble into him while looking for Zero but not have any of the special weapons that can hurt him yet, so you just have to game over and pick another stage (or another path through that stage) instead. This is also combined with his second fight, and the stage leading up to it, being BRUTAL in their difficulty, and all of the fortress fights in general are some really not fun levels of challenge in the level of endurance they demand from the player. This game's bosses are split between brutally hard and pitifully easy with only two or three bosses in between, and it's a problem that's pretty bad even for a later Rock Man X game.

Really one of the only good features of the game is the presentation, which has nicely given a step up since X5 with the addition of the animated stills for cutscenes and VA since that game. Though the story isn't that important, it's still competently done and entertaining for what it is. This game also continues the trend of later X games in making continues effectively the same as extra lives, with this game having a really forgivingly implemented checkpoint system that counterbalances a lot of the more mean design choices in a way to make them tolerable. They even cut down on all of those mid-mission calls from home base by making them optional, which is another nice change. The music is also pretty good, with the end credits song in particular being such a bop that I actually got it to listen to on my MP3 player X3


Verdict: Not Recommended. I'll fully admit that, despite all of the trials and tribulation this game put me through, I genuinely like this game better than X5. It's definitely not a better game, but it's just such a fascinatingly flawed and dynamic experience that it has utterly captivated my attention in a way that X5 could just never hope to do. It's definitely a game most people won't enjoy, and for very good reasons, but it's a badly executed game that I regardless enjoyed a fair bit, and although I can't really recommend it, I think X6 will always hold a weirdly warm place in my heart for just what a horrible mess it is XD

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62. Rock Man X7 (Switch)

X7 is another game in the series that I had been very excited to get to because of how legendarily bad it seemed to be. Granted I played it without the infamously awful English voice acting (which isn't just poorly done but also badly encoded to the point of being literally painful to listen to), but I was still very hyped to get to this game. Imagine my surprise when it ended up being so much more than I expected it to be! This is definitely a game I understand the hate for, but I do think to a point it's not really deserved to such an extent. It took me about 5 hours to complete the Japanese version of the game.

Both in art style and presentation, this game starts out to seem to try and make a break with past X games and start something a bit new. Almost like Sonic Adventure 2 is a game largely about Shadow the Hedgehog more than Sonic, this game centers around a new character, Axel, far more than it does the titular character X. An AWOL member of the military group Red Alert, Axel escapes to join up with the Maverick Hunters after believing that a corrupting influence has mysteriously and suddenly changed Red Alerts leader Red (no points for guessing that that influence is Sigma :b). It's not exactly a great story, once again, but it does its job and hits the general watermark of post-X4 stories.

When I say this game is more about Axel than it is about X, I really mean that, because X isn't even a playable character at the start, and you unlock him 3/4ths or so through the game (either by rescuing most of the injured reploids or by beating all 8 main stages). Axel has a directional aiming not unlike how Bass does in Rock Man & Bass, but he also has the ability to copy enemy forms and run around as them. Now, that's an ability that's never really utilized all that well, but it's still something cool in spirit. "Cool in spirit" is an issue this game has quite often, really, such as how you can swap between characters mid-mission on the fly, but you only have Axel and Zero at the start. That wouldn't be much of a problem in and of itself, but this game repeats one of the worst mistakes of X6 in how upgrades from rescued injured reploids are only applied to the character who did it. That's entirely aside from the fact that due to the heavy use of 3D in the game, Zero is quite often useless by virtue of the stage design.

Before talking about the infamous 3D problem, I'm gonna give a brief aside to talk about how the injured reploids are handled in this game. Very much like the last game, they're scattered throughout the main stages and upgrades and extra lives are granted for rescuing them. They're theoretically more vulnerable than ever, as now any enemy can kill them and not just some special type, but they're honestly very rarely in actual danger compared to how the reploids in X6 were. They also give upgrades differently, as while the way health upgrades are still dived out to whomever rescued that reploid, the part system used in X5 and X6 is now just general upgrade chips that can be plugged into one of your characters at the end of the mission they were found in. There still aren't nearly enough of these parts to fully kit out two characters, let alone all three (not even close), but it's an improvement on the upgrade system, even if they do once again trivialize the presence of multiple playable characters through this system.

Now, onto the stage design, which is a bit mixed. You have fully 2D sections (2.5D, effectively), you have side-scrolling 3D segments, and you have more top-down 3D segments. Compared to other X games, this game feels very awkward to play. Your movement is slow and heavy, and you're even given an auto-targeting mechanism for your guns (very similarly to Mega Man Legends) in order to make the 3D parts manageable at all. That said, taken as a 3D action platformer on its own merits, removed from the other X games, X7 is a surprisingly solid experience.

It's certainly not going to win any awards, no, but compared to basically all of the other post-X4 Rock Man X games, I think it has some of the best stage design out of the bunch (and it definitely has my favorite final boss of the bunch). The stages aren't super hard, and the bosses are by and large pretty easy, but it also keeps the really forgiving and well done checkpoint system of X6 for when things do get tricky (and that's something I really appreciate). It all adds up to an experience so competent that it had me really surprised considering the train wreck I had been told to expect.

The presentation is overall pretty nice. Some of the character models look pretty messed up, especially X, but a lot of the newer stuff looks quite nice (at least for an early 2000's PS2 game). This game also not only has VA (which is pretty darn good in Japanese, as stated earlier), but also 3D animated cutscenes that are pretty darn well directed (with the last one in particular being really fun). The music is probably the only more lackluster part of this, with none of the music really leaping out as really special in any one way or another.


Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This game feels like if someone looked at Rock Man X6 and thought "What if this was more like Sonic Adventure?" and then executed on that thought. They both have very similar feelings in that they're tentative first steps forward for each respective series (or in Mega Man's case, sub-series) into the 3D age (though Sonic has the very good excuse of being made like five years earlier XD), and while they don't really nail it, it's a pretty darn solid first try. A lot of the design was clearly based around Axel's playstyle, and he may as well be the only character in the game. With the way the upgrade system works and the way the levels are designed, the game is really best enjoyed acting like he IS the only main character, and had this game been called "Mega Man Axel" instead of "Mega Man X7", it probably would've been received a bit better. This is a game I have a much easier time recommending as a fan of 3D action platformers than I do as a fan of the Mega Man X games, and it's ultimately really difficult to meaningfully compare this to other games in the franchise in many ways. If you're a fan of 3D platformers and want something a bit different, this is something worth checking out (especially if you can handle the Japanese version, so you can get its much less outright broken voice acting ^^;).

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63. Rock Man X8 (Switch)

X8 was the last game in the X series, and this is one I'd heard was pretty good despite not being able to continue the franchise. It's also a game I'd been told by Gunstar was another quite divisive game in the series, and I definitely agree with that opinion as I came down pretty hard on one side of that division XD. It took me 6 hours to see the Japanese version of the game to its conclusion on normal mode.

X8 is yet another very standard entry in the series as terms as story goes. A new generation of reploids based on Axel's form shifting design has suddenly appeared on the scene led by a terrifying new leader, and tackling that new threat is the crux of the game's narrative. X is in it from the start this time, as him, Zero, and Axel can go two at a time to take down the eight main stages of the game before going for the final battles. It's another perfectly serviceable story, even if it does make the really weird choice of substituting out Sigma for this new bad guy. Sigma is still here, don't worry, but he's just at the direction of this new uber-antagonist who is still basically just Sigma in that he wants to make a master race of reploids ruled by himself. It's not a bad story so much as just a weird choice for one, especially given that this takes a very odd turn for a PS2 game and locks the actual final stage behind playing on normal mode or higher, so you won't even fight that real final boss if you're playing the game on easy.

Playing the game on easy might be something you're quite inclined to do as well, because this game is easily the hardest out of the latter half of the Rock Man X games, but not for good reasons. This game looked at how X7 was a bit too easy and cranks the difficulty up in very unwelcome ways, throwing in the trash the very forgiving checkpoint system and having a slew of stages with some really mean and unfair sections (particular the smashing spike blocks) coupled with some pretty damn tough bosses. On top of all that, this also has what is easily the worst vehicle level in the entire series, which is saying something for a series that's no stranger to not very fun and overly difficult bike racing segments. By and large I'd even say this game takes the cake from X6 in being overall quite mean in its design, as the 3D visuals and quite long stages make for an even more grueling experience spread out over the whole game where X6 has its difficulty constrained generally to a few specific stages.

This difficulty (albeit uneven, as many bosses are still quite easy despite how hard the stages often are) also has a really weird effect on the playable characters, as like in every other X game, you can find parts to upgrade X with. There are not only two sets of equipment to find, but you can even mix and match those parts. While Zero has his double jump and Axel has his hovering and 360-degree aiming, X gets these upgrades. This makes Zero and Axel quite strong at the start, but it also makes X laughably powerful by the end of the game, particularly with how good his charge shot gets and how super over powered his phase dash is. Introducing the Piccolo effect to your other playable characters is certainly something I never foresaw happening in the X series, but it's a wild and wacky problem that for me it overshadows even the staggering problems that X6 and X7 face with their multiple characters.

The presentation of the game is overall fine, and it's really not much more than that. The new operator characters have nice designs as do the bosses (although Sigma's final form is hilariously over designed), and the music, while not exactly MP3 player-worthy, is fine for what it is. It refines the 3D style that X7 starts, but not to terribly great effect in most areas.


Verdict: Not Recommended. I come down pretty firmly on the side of not enjoying X8. This is another case where I can see why people might feel this game is better than I find it to be, but I just can't agree with that frame of thought. With all the overly mean design, this is ultimately the weakest entry in the series for me. It isn't necessarily a bad game, and you might well enjoy it, but the "hard because Mega Man HAS to be hard" design philosophy it follows makes things frustrating far more often than they're fun as far as I'm concerned.

It's been quite a time going through so many Mega Man games and the entire X series, even if it took me a while to get to writing about these last three games. My final (and to some I'm sure heretical) ranking of the X games is:
4 > 3 > 1 > 2 > 7 > 6 > 5 > 8
Mind you, that's how much I *enjoyed* each game. I will definitely concede that X6 is a worse game overall than X5, but X5 is just so bland and the RNG stuff in it drags it down so much that I ended up enjoying X6's flaws and madness more comparatively. X7 is also, as previously stated, a really weird case where it's SO different I find it really hard to compare it to the rest of the series in many ways, but I think sitting below X2 (or above, depending on the day) is fine for me. I'm really glad I took the plunge on the latter X games, despite all the advice against doing that (X3), as it gave me a really cool look into just how flawed yet still enjoyable games in this style and in this series can be. As much as blame deserves to be put on the X5-8 team for making the games the way they did, I think equally if not more blame deserves to be put on Capcom's management for the absolutely absurd production schedule they had these teams on, and I think the X series might still be around had these games been allowed dev cycles of even two years compared to the often sub-12 month productions they too often had.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:35 am

Games Beaten in 2021 - 36
* 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 (5 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*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


36: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31

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Shin Megami Tensei is one of my absolute favorite series. My buddy Pat talked me into buying Shin Megami Tensei IV on 3DS in college, and that pretty much cemented him as a guy who knows what he's talking about. I hadn't played Nocturne before this HD remaster, but much to my shame, my PS2 copy has been sitting on my shelf for about five or six years just waiting to be played. Sorry, buddy, but your better looking younger brother took your place.

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Without spoiling anything, the basic premise of Shin Megami Tensei III is that a cult ended the world by starting "the Conception," and you go turned into the "demi-fiend," a being who isn't totally human but also isn't totally demon. Like Inuyasha but edgier and without a crush on a 15 year old. You have to navigate through post-apocalyptic Tokyo as different demon factions fight for a resource called Magatsuhi to bring about their "Reason," or what they want the new world to be. Do you side with one of these factions? Do you tell everyone to shove it? Do you live solely to cause chaos and bring misery? Depending on some of the actions you take throughout the game, you've pretty much got the freedom to make that choice for yourself.

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For being an old sixth generation game, this HD remaster looks fantastic. Well, for the most part. As is the norm with HD remasters, the pre-rendered cutscenes look like hot ass because they're 480i cutscenes in a 4:3 ratio in a game that's otherwise 1080p in a 16:9 ratio. I get it, it's cheaper and easier to just use the original cut scenes rather than remake them in the proper resolution and aspect ratio, but man, it's jarring to see the pretty game and then BAM, everything you tried to forget about the mid 2000s that didn't have the last name Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld. There's also some weirdness going on with the background music. In the overworld, in menus, and in in-engine cut scenes, the music sounds fantastic. In battle, though, it sounds bizarrely muffled and tinny. I have no idea why they'd do this if it's intentional or how it got past QA if it's unintentional, but to my admittedly amateurish ears, it sounds like they used the super compressed audio files from the PS2 version for JUST the battle music and used higher quality files with less compression for the rest of the game's music. It's bizarre and jarring in its juxtaposition, but it doesn't detract too much from the experience, and even if it's unpleasantly muffled, the music is awesome regardless.

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Now as for the gameplay for those who haven't played a main series SMT game, it's a monster collecting JRPG. Think Pokemon but edgy and you collect demons and angels instead of cute animals. There's also a good bit of dungeon crawling and exploring involved. You can fuse these demons into stronger and different demons. The vast majority of these demons are from real world mythologies, and the use of Judeo-Christian mythology is always especially interesting to me. Some of the bosses you might recognize are Thor, Beezlebub, Baal, and Metatron, and there are loads of other demons from mythologies all over the world. The game certainly isn't an educational game as there's no mythology being taught, but it is a great way to see just how varied mythologies throughout history have been because most of the visual depictions of the demons are at least fairly close to their depiction in myths.

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My favorite thing about Shin Megami Tensei unlike its spin-off series, Persona, is how DARK it is. I admittedly have not played any of the pre-6th gen SMT games, but having played 3, 4, and 4 Apocalypse, they're all super dark in tone, and I absolutely love it. Existence sucks, we're all screwed, and happy endings are a lie. It's a glorious break from the usual "hero saves the world" storyline in most JRPGs. It's definitely not the only series that does dark hopelessness well, but I would argue that it's the one that does it well the most consistently. I didn't enjoy 3 quite as much as I did 4 or 4 Apocalypse, but by no means is that a strike against 3; it's an absolutely fantastic game.

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Unfortunately, though, there are some performance issues that need to be mentioned. I've already talked about the ugly 4:3 cutscenes and the weird compressed sounding music, but there are some pretty major frame rate drops and stuttering issues in parts of this game at least on Switch; I can't judge it on PS4. It's most when there are fog effects which, admittedly, is where most games on most platforms tend to stumble performance-wise. Still, it's disappointing to see the frame rate stay pretty reliably around 30 fps and then tank to the mid to high teens for a few seconds when you get to a foggy area or one with other more advanced lighting effects. This issue is also visible in some of the in-engine cutscenes; towards the end of the Diet Building dungeon, there's a scene where you can watch the background behind the speaking character just churn along at like ten frames per second. Fortunately, as a turn based game, this never affects gameplay, but it's definitely a bit disorienting and disappointing when you do run into the performance hiccups.

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Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is an absolutely fantastic JRPG and for me personally served as a great appetizer for the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei V that is (theoretically) releasing later this year. The HD remaster definitely isn't perfect, and it's obvious that Atlus cut a few corners on it, but the core experience is fantastic and includes the Maniax content (although Dante from Devil May Cry is paid DLC), and most of the remaster is solid in spite of those few cut corners. It may not be perfect, but it's still an absolute must-play for fans of dark apocalyptic stories or deep content-rich JRPGs. I'm not going to say that there's no reason to play the PS2 original as nostalgia can enhance an older gamer's enjoyment a lot, but the HD remaster is absolutely the way to go if it's your first time playing.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:27 am

I remember hearing that the video for "Give it Away Now" by Red Hot Chili Peppers was a major inspiration on the game.

Also, have you played the older SMT titles? Many have been fan translated, and the iOS got an official English release of SMT1.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:32 am

Marurun vs Games 2021 edition!
  1. Trials of Mana (Switch)
  2. Outer Worlds (Switch)
  3. Code of Princess: EX (Switch)
  4. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)
  5. Dragon Warrior III (Gameboy Color)
  6. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - New Game+ (Switch)
Dragon Warrior III (Gameboy Color)

I've posted elsewhere on the forums about this in greater detail. This review will keep things tighter (this is me, of course, so is this really a thing?). Dragon Warrior III was originally released in Japan in 1988 and is considered the game that caused Dragon Quest to really take off. It was massively popular and is remembered fondly, so much so that Squeenix just announced this past week that they were asking the studio behind Octopath Traveler to remake it in their HD 2D style. It came to the US 4 years later in 1992. It was remade for the Super Famicom in 1996 and never came to the US SNES. In 2000 (came to the US in 2001) Enix made a Gameboy Color version of their 1996 SFC remake. It is very much a hybrid between the original and the remake. The screen is smaller so your view is smaller and less detailed, but it has more color than the NES original and all the enemies are fully animated, which is kind of awesome. It also has all the new items, Tiny Medal collecting rewards, monster medals, Pachisi tracks, and some post-game challenge content for people who just love that DQ grind.

In terms of story, you are the son of Ortega, a great warrior who battled the fiend Baramos but whose victory was incomplete, merely sealing Baramos away and resulting in Ortega falling into a volcano. Now that you are of adventuring age, signs of trouble are emerging, and perhaps Baramos himself is behind it. You retrace some of your father's steps and uncover all sort of twists along the way, battling all the way to the Dark World below.

Combat is a relatively simple affair. It's turn-based, but when you attack you don't attack individuals: you attack groups of enemies. Groups are bunches of like enemies. So if there's a battle with 2 different enemy types, there will probably be 2 groups. A group may also be a single enemy. And in some odd cases, the like enemies won't be grouped at all. This is important for several reasons. You select the group to attack, but the CPU decides which individual in the group you attack. Some spells and weapons (mostly whips and chains) attack enemy groups. A few spells and the boomerang weapon attack all enemies regardless of grouping. When your weapon attacks multiple enemies the damage is higher for the first hit and gets lower each subsequent attack. Spells do not reduce damage based on attack order. Fortunately, the CPU does a pretty good job distributing attacks, so you usually don't feel like you've been ripped off by crappy RNG.

There's also two weird character systems in the game: the personality system and the class system. Personalities affect your stat growth. As you level up, your stats increase governed by your class and then your personality. So if you choose a Fighter (a fast, lightly armed and armored warrior) your agility and strength grow fastest and your luck grows slowest. Personality modifies this stat growth, at least according to the various guides, by percentage. So this Fighter will do best with personalities that have over 100% in agility and strength. But a personality that's got, say, 120% luck won't be all that useful because luck stat growth will be so slow already. You can also change classes at a particular point in the game. Once you hit level 20 and find a particular shrine you can start over. You keep all your previous abilities and your stats get cut in half and you start over at level 1 in your new class. It's a great way to distribute class growth and spread abilities around. Grinding is critical in the game to advance, so you'd have to go truly nuts to have characters who can do everything, so making wise choices is still very important.

The game does suffer from some of that early DQ casual sexism. Women are better characters all around as they have special armors that are better than the normal fare and that aren't class limited the way most equipment is. But even in the localization from 2001 some of the word choices are still pretty iffy. 12 years was not far enough from 1988 to get over some of the baggage. Nothing's make or break. The story and dialogue is all simple enough that there are no emotional or dramatic scenes that are ruined by something cringe-worthy.

If you like your RPGs old-school but the original Dragon Warrior is just too simple, too plain, this is a great compromise and a great entry point. It's portable, it's quality (mostly), and it's got a good balance of simplicity and complexity.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - New Game+ (Switch)

When I first played Bloodstained I tried the new game+ option where you keep your money and most of your items and shards, except for certain critical ones required to advance through certain areas. I was pretty burned out from grinding shards and going back to shit mobility really disinterested me in the game. I had already become frustrated with the persistent bugs and poor game performance, not to mention the uninspired art style. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with the game, but it just didn't rise to the quality of the games that came before it, the games that didn't have to have the brand and serial number filed off. Well, I decided it had been long enough so I picked up my game again to see if I could quickly go through it a second time, and I could. I was very overpowered, despite playing on Hard, but that's to be expected. Since shards can be improved from alchemically increasing their power AND by collecting duplicate shards (up to 9), there are some necessary shards you can never improve via duplicate shard collection due to them being removed every replay, but there are a few bosses you can slowly collect shards from as you keep doing replays. And familiars can also gain experience to get more powerful and capable with every kill. Not only that but there are boss medals you can collect for a no-damage kill. Those are not going to be enough for me to keep doing replays, sadly, but I did enjoy my brief replay this time. And as soon as I had unlocked all the content again and beaten the DLC boss (yes, I bit the bullet, I had hoped there would be more to it) I was immediately bored and burned out again. Maybe in another couple years I'll return to it. But I'm still disappointed that the game continues to be able to crash every hour or two and that there have been no more performance updates in over a year. This is a game which will forever be half-baked.

If you're a SotN fan you should really play it. But you should also probably be prepared to accept that this game is no greater than the sum of its varied parts, and those parts hang together a bit loosely in places. Too many subsystems and not enough compelling reason to interact with them beyond that first "Oh, shiny!" moment. There's a much better, tighter, stronger version of this game that had a more interesting art style, a lot less feature creep, better performance, fewer bugs, and not so many shallow, distracting systems going on out there somewhere in the infinite multiverse, but this is the game we got instead.
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