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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:41 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 59
* 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


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (5 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3


59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3

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Tetris is my all-time favorite puzzle game. It (along with my lack of self-discipline at 14 years old) is why my online Latin 1 class my first semester freshman year of high school remains the lowest grade of my life; I spent that whole semester playing Tetris Friends instead of actually learning Latin. It makes sense, then, that my first Game Pass game after finally signing up for the service was Tetris Effect: Connected.

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Tetris Effect is home to a host of single player and multiplayer modes, but what I spent the most time on is Journey, the primary single player mode. This is set up like a campaign with each stage having its own unique theme. These themes are represented by different styled tetrominos, backgrounds, and music, and they really give the game a trippy New Age sort of feel. It's just Tetris, but the presentation makes it feel unlike any Tetris game I've ever played before. The game calls Journey mode an "emotional" experience, and while I'm not sure "emotional" is necessarily the best word, "zen" is definitely apt. The game's zeitgeist has a real Western-yoga-hippie-woman-style Buddhist vibe to it, and I absolutely adore it. It reminds me a LOT of my late aunt who passed away last year and how she was back before the Alzheimer's corrupted and changed her personality, so it made an especially major impact on me.

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It's available on all non-Nintendo last gen consoles, but the only current gen system to get an optimized version is the Series X, the version I played. This has the game running in native 2160p at a flawless 60 fps, and it's an absolutely surreal experience. I only dabbled a little with the multiplayer because I was so engrossed with Journey, but the fact that it offers both cooperative and competitive multiplayer options is fantastic and gives the game a lot of replay value. Because I played on Xbox, I wasn't able to experience the game in VR, but my time with it has definitely inspired me to order a PS4 copy on Amazon so I can play it with PSVR.

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I may be a bit biased because I'm such a big fan of Tetris in general, but honestly, the words "euphoric" and "spiritual" are the only the ways I can think of that really capture the feel of Tetris Effect. I was expecting another generic Tetris game, but this isn't that. It shows a real dedication and passion that most Tetris products haven't shows in years. The controls are smooth and responsive, the style of the game is second to none, and the multiplayer options ensure that this is a game that Tetris fans will keep coming back to for a long time yet. Most gamers have either a PS4, an Xbox One, or a PC, so this is a game that can be experienced by pretty much anyone, and since it's on Game Pass, that makes it especially accessible for Xbox and PC players. Make sure you don't sleep on this one; it's a truly surreal experience.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:45 am

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

First 50:
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
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5
49. Eterium - PC
50. A Street Cat's Tale - Switch

51. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling - Switch
52. Banner of the Maid - Switch
53. CrossCode - Switch

CrossCode is a 2D action RPG with an emphasis on puzzles and its twin stick shooter mechanics. It's set inside an MMO and really manages to nail the MMO tropes and gameplay features, for better and for worse. At times the game gets a little too in love with some of its mechanics to its detriment, but overall it's a very solid and engaging RPG with a great story and excellent twist on the mute protagonist trope.

The game is in the very far future; mankind is now advanced enough that it can build an MMO style landscape in the real world and then have people remotely pilot avatar bodies in said landscape. The avatars and monsters are all made up of "instant matter", which is basically Styrofoam that can can assemble and disappear on command by the game server. Combine with AR for magic and ranged weapons and you have a new style of MMO. Your character logs in and finds she has no memory and a busted speech hookup; while she can physically emote she has no ability to speak. She's also connected with someone outside the game who seeks to help her regain her memories through playing the game. This mission control also manages to slowly give her words that can be used to communicate; by the end of the game she can say her name and use a handful of words like "hi", "bye", and "sorry", among a few others. So she is forced by circumstances into the heroic mime status, but the game makes up for it with a bevvy of well drawn portraits that emote through the dialog. The protagonist, Lea, has a lot of personality expressed this way, and it's extremely well executed. And fortunately, since most of the quest givers are NPCs in the game they don't actually need player input to spill their guts and give out quests.

As mentioned, the game is an action RPG. You've got a melee attack that combos, a dash, a shield to block attacks, and a ranged attack aimed with the right stick. This shot comes in two forms; holding down fire is a rapid machine gun which is high DPS, while waiting a bit in between shots gives you charged shots which can knock back enemies and ricochet off walls. The game also has an elemental system; there are four elements in the game with opposite pairs opposing plus neutral. Performing attacks in an element slowly build up a meter; when that meter is full you experience elemental overload and are stuck in neutral for a bit until it clears out. This mostly comes up in boss fights and certain marathon fights if you just mash the hell out of things.

So the meat of the game is progressing through the in-game MMO's story, though as you progress it you start to get hints of something going on with Lea and other forces. This is the overarching plot of the game, but it doesn't really come into play until you're halfway through. In the meantime you do MMO stuff. There's a main questline to gather the elemental powers and a bunch of sidequests given out by NPCs. There's also a ton of exploration available; the various areas have multiple roads through and they are littered with chests, frequently in out of the way places. If you've ever played an MMO you know how players love to try and get to random ass parts of the geometry. Some MMOs run with that, like the holocrons in The Old Republic. This game does something similar. And this is where one of the game's "for better or for worse" comes in. So the game has a system where you don't have a jump button; rather, you can freely jump off of ledges or jump up short ledges. There is a system where you have a bit of stickiness at these edges that you then need to intentionally overcome (so you don't just fall off of every narrow ledge). This system ends up being very hit and miss; while it allows them to have a lot of crazy navigational puzzles it also can be extremely finnicky, with many jumps being shockingly precise in a system mostly built on momentum.

Each of the game's primary dungeons are puzzle dungeons. These involve making heavy use of your elemental powers and your ranged shot (especially the charged shot's ricochets) to flip switches and activate stuff. This is the part where the game gets a little too enamored with itself. These puzzles are a mixture of straightforward, obtuse, and punishing in the precision required. Some of the most egregious puzzles are these long sequences of clearing the way for a charged shot ricocheting everywhere to activate all the objects to open a door. These sequences have very little margin for error, but they also require a level of precision you just don't get with an analog stick. It's clear they were balanced for mouse and keyboard and not rebalanced for the console ports. Fortunately, the game does let you, at any time, adjust the game's difficulty parameters, including the speed of things in puzzles; the shot speed, how fast pieces reset, etc. I found that I had to turn it down a few times because I could see what needed to be done but just couldn't execute the requisite precision of aiming in the tiny time windows I had.

These aspects do get in the way sometime, but overall the gameplay is very smooth. Combat is fast and fluid, and while it rewards skilled play it doesn't require it if you stack the right stats (and you have a lot of freedom to do so). The boss fights are all fairly well designed, again mostly puzzle bosses of finding how you put them in a vulnerable state to work through their HP.

Overall it's a pretty good RPG that executes well on its core concept and had the kind of story that really makes you care about the characters. It even has an amazing feature of if you get the bad ending you can immediately go back to right before the point of being locked in to that ending so you can unlock the good ending, then you get the option of skipping the final pre-dungeon, the final dungeon, and the final boss each independently so you can see the good ending.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Jul 08, 2021 9:57 am

Great review, Popo. I have this game and have read nothing but praise for it. It sounds really long, though. How many hours did it take you to beat the game?
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:59 am

Games Beaten in 2021 - 60
* 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


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (6 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4


60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4

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I am a huge fan of Battletoads. My friend, Brett, and I played through Battletoads and Battletoads/Double Dragon on my NES as well as Battletoads in Battlemaniacs on SNES when we were in high school, and I bought Rare Replay day one specifically for the inclusion of the Battletoads arcade game. Despite that, this release somehow managed to fly under my radar for nearly a year. When I saw it on Game Pass the night I signed up a few days ago, I immediately downloaded it.

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Battletoads, for the uninitiated, is cult classic early 90s beat 'em up series from Rare that tried to capitalize on the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The three Battletoads, Rash, Pimple, and Zitz, battle their archnemesis, the Dark Queen. The early games are fun, brimming with 90s 'tude, and brutally difficult. An April Fool's joke in 2008 of a fake trailer for a Wii reboot of the series exploded into a meme, reviving interest in the series and eventually leading to (or at least I assume it was a factor) the inclusion of Battletoads as well as the first ever console port of the Battletoads arcade game in 2015's Rare Replay for Xbox One.

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This reboot of Battletoads is as much a love letter to the series as it is a continuation. It's done in an animated art style which I was lukewarm on at first, but it grew on me. The premise is that the Battletoads find out that rather than being beloved heroes, they're totally unknown random toads who have spent 26 years locked up in a buried underground bunker; likewise, the Dark Queen has spent 26 years held prisoner in an abandoned theme park. The Dark Queen then teams up with the Battletoads to fight their common foe. It's cheesy and cliche, but it works.

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The gameplay is what kept me playing. It spans multiple genres. Obviously you have the beat 'em up levels which I honestly felt weren't particularly well done; they're fun and totally functional, but they felt very generic and blah. You've got a few turbobike levels, call backs to the infamous stages in the original games. There are a handful of platforming levels, a handful of shmup levels, and even a few QTE-style levels. There are several boss battles spread throughout, and they're all unique with their own gimmicks and tricks. The level variety may be a turn off for some as it does, admittedly, keep the game from fitting into any one genre and excelling at that, but I found it to be great as it kept the game from feeling stale. I never got bored at any point because it never stuck with one playstyle long enough to feel monotonous.

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This Battletoads reboot is going to be divisive among longtime fans, but I personally had a blast with it. It only took me I think two and a half hours to beat, but it was a fantastic time. The writing is stupid but hilarious and clever, and at no point does the game take itself seriously; it's aware that it's just a reboot of a TMNT rip-off. The varied gameplay styles keeps things interesting, the fact that each level has five collectables to find adds some replay value, and the inclusion of three different difficulties tailors the game for everyone from the longtime Battletoads veterans to the newcomers who just want to laugh at the dumb jokes. It's definitely not quite what Battletoads fans, myself included, probably wanted out of a reboot of the series, but it's definitely fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:56 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Great review, Popo. I have this game and have read nothing but praise for it. It sounds really long, though. How many hours did it take you to beat the game?

Was somewhere between 45 and 50 hours.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:13 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)
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)*
20. Soul Calibur (DC)*

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21. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (GEN)

When I was young, I didn't own SF II: Special Champion edition on the Genesis, however my friend that lived in the neighborhood had the game, and we used to play it at his house while hanging out there. All these years later, I never went back to revisit this version of SF II, as I owned two variations of it on SNES and usually stuck to those carts. This weekend however, I was browsing through a game store in CT while visiting a friend and came across this game in really good condition for a fair price, so I decided to pick it up. Due to the game's low price, it fits with this month's TR theme. Even better.

This version of SF II introduces a few extra features not seen in the original release on the SNES, including the playability of the four boss characters, the addition of the turbo feature which if in use will speed up the game, the ability to have mirror matches, and a group battle mode -- where each player can choose either a group of characters or just one and will fight to each roster is eliminated. Also, Sega's six button control pad was released around the same time as this game and supports the game well with all six buttons on the face. This is tough to play with the three button pad, as you had to press start to switch from punches and kicks. However, I think this is exactly what my friend and I did back in the day.

The main issue I have with this game is the sound. Right away you can tell there's something off with the sound effects and the background music to each stage. I feel like the team behind the development could've done a much better job, as there are some Genesis titles that sound amazing. Guess that area just needed to be in different hands.

I played the game using the 8bitdo 2.4g Genesis controller, and it was my first time giving it a go with a fighting game. While the six button layout is great, and the d-pad is very comfortable, I was having a bit of an issue getting out some of the moves. I think the depth of the d-pad, which seems to add to the comfort, might take away from the accuracy. But if anyone else has this controller and fighting games on the Genesis, I would love to hear others opinions on it, as I usually don't have an issue getting out moves on the SNES, Saturn, or Hori sticks I have at home.

Overall, while there have been other more polished SF II releases following this version of the game, I still think this is worth spending some time with for Genesis fans. And for me, it was a great time to revisit a game I used to play while hanging out with a close friend.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Raging Justice Fri Jul 09, 2021 3:08 am

Games Beaten:

Kaze and the Wild Masks
Raging Justice
Narita Boy
Mighty Goose
The Takeover



Astro's Playroom - PS5


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So funny thing about the PS5, it has this dark secret that no one seems to want to admit. The system basically launched with no games, unless you are content to play last gen games with shorter load times and some performance improvements. If you want exclusives, the system doesn't really have many, just last gen games that it is trying to pass off as PS5 exclusives to gullible gamers (the gaming media unfortunately plays into this).

One of the few exceptions is this game, with Returnal and Ratchet and Clank being the only other ones I can think of. Fortunately, this game comes with the system so you don't even have to shell out any extra cash to get it, which is nice considering how much you'll have to pay to get a PS5 in the first place. Is this currently hard to find, expensive, system worth it for this one game?

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I wouldn't go that far, but like its predecessor Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Astro's Playroom is a magical, fun filled experience that does a good job of selling you on the pros of the system, specifically the dual sense controller. The game is primarily built around the usage of it and shows you all of the cool things that it can do. It's also a really solid 3d, collect everything, mascot platformer (and Astro really should be the Playstation's official mascot) as well as a tribute to the entire Playstation brand, ironic given how much Sony has been pissing off long time fans lately.

Astro Bot brings to mind games like Mario 64 or Spyro in its design, Mario in particular. Levels are about finding hidden collectibles while also picking up any coins you find along the way. You'll also be fighting enemies and putting your platforming skills to the test in various ways. The game has four worlds each revolving around a certain theme like your typical water based world for example. Each world has four levels and each level has it's own individual theme tied into the larger theme of the world it's in. Of particular note is how seamlessly the game moves you from one level to another allowing you to play through an entire world without interruption. Each level has a focus on a certain gameplay element. Often times that gameplay mechanic will involve the use of the dual sense controller's unique abilities.

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While Astro's Playroom could easily become annoying with its dual sense controller gimmicks, particularly to a traditional gamer who is averse to such things (not everyone likes things like "motion control" in their gaming) everything feels intuitive and easy to pick up. It's worth noting that much of the game does feature traditional gameplay as well. So you will spend a good chunk of time using nothing more than your analog sticks and buttons to play the game just like an old school platformer, but those moments where the game asks you to make use of the dual sense's unique abilities do break things up and add variety to the gameplay.

One stage has you moving the controller back and forth while alternating button presses between the shoulder buttons in order to climb structures like a monkey. You also have to make use of the pressure sensitive feature of the shoulder buttons in order to very lightly grab some parts of the wall you're climbing to prevent them from crumbling under the weight of your hands. Another stage has you blow into the controller to spin the propellers of an inflatable aircraft. Rescue Mission featured interesting controller mechanics as well, but Astro's Playroom leans into them a bit more heavily. The game even tells you that it is meant to be like a tech demo for the controller (Rescue Mission was more of a showcase for Playstation VR games).

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One of the great things about the dual sense is how it plays with sound and sensation. In one level it starts to rain and you can literally feel every rain drop hitting the ground in your controller. This is old, school rumble technology evolved to its natural conclusion. In that same level, you can walk through a puddle and hear the sound of your feet splashing coming from the controller's speakers. The game plays with sound and sensation like this a lot.

One thing that needs to be mentioned about this game, is that is features A LOT of cute references to the Playstation brand's history with the adorable AR bots - who are like Playstation's version of the minions from Despicable Me (in my opinion) - cosplaying as famous Playstation characters and acting out moments from their games. Watching them will often distract you from playing through a level. There's also a fun hub area that features lots of Playstations controllers, consoles, accessories, and other assorted parts of the brand's history scattered about. Most of these things are the actual collectibles you will find in each level. Here in this hub area you can actually interact with these things and play with them. Hence the game's title. You'll find plenty of AR bots doing the same thing, giving this hub area a party like atmosphere where everyone is having a good time. Retro gamers who are big into Playstation consoles should really get a kick out of this hub area.

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Astro's Playroom may be a modern game but it is brimming with respect for gaming history (and though that history is primarily Sony's, the game's design certainly does show respect for Nintendo and a certain plumber as well). Astro's Playroom is in many ways a celebration of the Playstation's history as well as its future and the game is constantly driving that point home. This game will really make you feel like Astro needs to be the official Playstation mascot, though I guess Playstation has tons of mascots at this point. Astro feels like an old school mascot though, like Mario and Sonic.

The game looks beautiful and everything is bright and colorful as you would expect from this type of platformer. There's so much going on in each stage as you move through the levels, particularly with the antics of the AR Bots, your eyes never get bored. Astro Bot games are very dynamic that way. Lots of stuff happens as you push through a stage. Things don't remain static. The music is very happy, upbeat, and full of energy and more than a few times you'll likely find yourself tapping your feet or bobbing your head to a catchy track. The game has a real party-like, celebratory vibe that comes through in the music. There are also some epic moments in the game that the music captures perfectly. It's not an exaggeration to say that this game and Rescue Mission before it feature some of the best music in gaming. The Astro Bot theme alone deserves a place in gaming music history. Take a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_aDjEv-7E

The game controls beautifully whether you're just running and jumping around levels or making use of the dual sense's unique functions. Everything in the game is also well designed and in addition to the dual sense controller's abilities the game has its own little clever gameplay gimmicks that will be familiar to people who have played Astro Bot Rescue Mission

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The game does have some cons. It is short, more so if you're not hunting down every last collectible or trying to get the Platinum trophy. On that note, try getting as many trophies as you can without a guide, many of the trophy requirements are fun, clever, little things. Another con for this game is the distinct lack of boss battles..although there is one cool boss fight in Astro's Playroom that I won't spoil. Rescue Mission had several great ones though. Lastly, while the game does have a lot of memorable moments much like its predecessor, the lack of VR does make the game lack a certain magic that Rescue Mission had. Astro Bot really shines as a VR experience and if you have access to everything needed for PSVR, play Rescue Mission first, then play this game

Frankly, this game is the only real reason to own a PS5. Ratchet and Clank is great, but it's just another Ratchet and Clank game. Returnal is just another rogue-like in an industry that is obsessed with them right now, at least on the indie scene anyway. Hopefully, the system will eventually have some more TRUE exclusives that will be worth the hardship of actually getting the system. It's a great throwback to fun, old school, platformers like Mario, Spyro, Banjo Kazooie, etc. and just like Rescue Mission did, really shows how platformers like this can evolve and still be relevant. It'll sell you on the dual sense controller as a cool way to play Playstation games going forward and it will make you nostalgic for the Playstation brand's history while instilling hope for the PS5's future. More great games like this will certainly make it a system worth owning.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Jul 09, 2021 10:06 am

Raging Justice wrote:So funny thing about the PS5, it has this dark secret that no one seems to want to admit. The system basically launched with no games, unless you are content to play last gen games with shorter load times and some performance improvements. If you want exclusives, the system doesn't really have many, just last gen games that it is trying to pass off as PS5 exclusives to gullible gamers (the gaming media unfortunately plays into this).

To be fair, this is an even bigger problem on Series X; it currently has one exclusive - The Medium - and that's being ported to PS5.

Games Beaten in 2021 - 61
* 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


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (7 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5


61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5

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I bought this game completely on impulse and purely off of the cover art. It looked like a gritty noire mystery but where every character has an animal head; as it turns out, that's exactly what it is. And it's a freaking masterpiece. I expected a stupid "lol meme" game, but this is a legitimately amazing mystery story.

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The main character is soon-to-be-retired Clawville PD detective Sonny Featherland, one half of the titular "Chicken Police" duo along with his partner, Marty MacChicken. When a young impala somehow makes her way into Sonny's apartment and asks for his help on behalf of her employer, Natalia Catzenko, who has been receiving concerning threats, he approaches Marty to get the band back together, so to speak, for one last case. Little does he know that what seems at first to be a simple harassment issue will turn into a conspiracy large enough to turn the power structure in the city-state of Clawville on its head.

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Aside from the fact that every character has the head of an animal on an otherwise human body and the subsequent animal puns, this is a completely serious and legitimately fantastically written noire mystery. The whole game is in black and white except for Natalia's green eyes (that's how you know she's at the center of the story) and red blood. There's also an option to turn on a film grain filter to give it that authentic 50s noire look. It's a lot like Ace Attorney in that it could principally be described as a visual novel but with a lot of interactive moments; you pick locations to investigate, who to talk to, specific questions to ask during interrogations that can determine how well the interrogation goes, and you have to put pieces of the puzzle together on a cork board at a few different points in the game. There are also some timed mini-game sort of segments. It's got enough variety to break up the potential monotony of a primarily text-driven game (although it is 100% fully voice acted).

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The fact that this game got minimal marketing and, from what I can tell, is sold only at Gamestop physically, you'd think this is a fairly mid tier quality game, but literally every aspect surpassed my expectations by a mile. The art style is just astounding. They manage to nail that old noire look PERFECTLY with the monochromatic color, the film grain filter, the character's outfits, and dialogue all working in tandem. Speaking of the dialogue, the voice acting is fantastic. Some performances were naturally better than others - Kerry Shale's performance as Sonny Featherland is legitimately one of the best voice acting performances I've ever heard in a video game - but not a single character had a bad voice acting performance. The choices of music as well perfectly complemented the zeitgeist of the game. The world building also has to be complemented; despite being a game that only lasts maybe six or seven hours, they manage to drop enough details of the world into conversation that you get a feel for the culture in Clawville, the situation of the world in the game, and the political tensions within the city-state and the real-world situations of which they're allegories. I'm being completely serious when I saw that most AAA studios don't make games that impress me as much as this game that seemingly came out of nowhere did.

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Chicken Police absolutely caught me off guard and swept me off my feet. I expected six hours of bland story-telling, so-so voice acting, and bad jokes, but what I got was six hours of brilliant mystery writing, deep characters, S-tier voice acting, fantastic writing, and an overall experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. It may not have enough interactivity to keep some more easily distracted gamers' attention, but for those who enjoy mystery stories and are into primarily narrative-driven games, but this is a true masterpiece in my opinion. There are optional side bits to discover and add to the codex that fill in some additional information about the world and characters, some collectibles to find, and different dialogue bits that play out depending on how you conduct your interrogations, so there's definitely some replay value to be had here. Overall, for a $20 asking price on the eShop, this game is a downright bargain when you take into consideration the quality. I really can't sing this game's praises enough, and I can guarantee that it will end up being one of those games with a cult following that not nearly enough people play.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Nemoide
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Nemoide Fri Jul 09, 2021 11:42 am

I'm glad to hear Chicken Police get such high praise, I also ordered it (for PS4) solely because the name and cover art amused me. Still waiting for it to arrive though.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Jul 09, 2021 12:40 pm

Returnal is probably the best actual PS5 exclusive. Unless you're claiming it could have been done on the PS4 with less particle effects, and if that's the case that's basically been the case for the past few console generations for the launch titles.
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