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Blu
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Blu Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:25 pm

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/01/05/ ... ewer-games

Dave specifically and everyone else, what are your thoughts? I mean it's IGN, so it's already getting taken with a grain of salt, but considering we all have backlogs, I thought this might be worth some discussion and debate.

I agree with some of his points about mediocre video games, but I think there's still relatively few compelling points that he's trying to drive home.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrPopo Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:30 pm

Clearing a backlog should include removing games that turn out to be shit once you get past the intro. My current Backloggery is all games I intend to beat because I either enjoyed them (midway through) or they look fun (unplayed). If I get into a game and I don't like it I remove it from Backloggery.
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by isiolia Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:28 pm

Starting off the new year with actually beating games... :lol:

1.) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (PC)
2.) Transistor (PC)
3.) Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death (PC)


Thoughts:

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
I played the first Lords of Shadow game during the holidays in 2013, so it was fitting that I started LoS2 at about the same time in 2014. Also, it was finally cheap enough during the Thanksgiving Steam sale.

I found the first game to be a bit bloated, but ultimately coming together as an epic journey that was - at least - nicely produced from start to end. The main issue I had with it was the pace of progression, as the combat system didn't hit its stride until almost halfway into the game (~10 hours in of the around 25 hours I played it).

LoS 2 at least does fix that - you're taught the combat system in the prologue, and while you (of course) lose your powers, the Void/Chaos magic abilities are the first things you get back. Additionally, the game lets you turn off quicktime events. LoS is less strict about them than some (lookin' at you, Heavenly Sword), but they were still annoying. LoS 2, it's just a checkbox in the options and you simply succeed with no prompts. 8)

Unfortunately, things go downhill from there. The already-weak plot is further hindered by partly relying on the player being familiar with the Mirror of Fate game. Some of it is glossed over in the intro, but other parts are just present (like, say, the Mirror of Fate itself). Fans of the series might appreciate the fanservice, but it doesn't make the story good.

Your tasks are split between two primary zones - the real, modern(ish) city shown in the ending for LoS, with a stupid, generic plot going on...and Dracula's castle, in his mind, with story that lines up more with the previous games.
Things come together a little at the very end of the game, but it's still not that strong, and certainly not a great introduction to the LoS world.

Where LoS had an overworld map with locations, similar to Order of Ecclesia I guess, MercurySteam tried to unify the LoS 2 areas, like the castle in Symphony of the Night. Nicer in that, if you're backtracking, you're more likely to try to get to new areas with new powers. Using some of them, like the mist form, is definitely reminiscent of Metroidvania games too.
Overall though, a downgrade, because there are frequent "loading" areas, the map is subpar for the task, and the city areas (at least) simply aren't distinctive enough.

Some elements from the first game are all but gone as well. No Shadow of the Colossus boss battle copies, almost no puzzles to figure out...instead there are "stealth" sections that utilize the same few enemies and tricks that only work there (like turning into rats, or possessing enemies).
There are a few creative sections or battles, but they're mostly confined to the sections in Dracula's mind - the city is largely crap, with same-y, boring environments, low quality models for some things (like cars, and some enemies), and again, a mediocre side of the story.

It's not terrible, but, if Lords of Shadow were a blockbuster film, this is the direct-to-video cash-in sequel.


Transistor

The overall production is great, if a bit repetitive. The plot is intentionally vague, and occasionally seems a bit pretentious...but it works.

The real highlight is the combat system, which I was juuust bad enough at that it forced me to experiment, which only made it better. :mrgreen: It's cleverly designed to encourage the player to try a lot of variations on skills/traits in way that I've not seen before. The challenge rooms helped too, since I frequently found that skills I'd been overlooking, or relegating to mod/trait status, were really quite useful.

Fun little game that has the good sense to end before it gets particularly tedious.

Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death

It's a God of War clone, I guess. I haven't really played those games, because everything I've seen of Kratos makes me loathe to play a game as him. Marlow Briggs, on the other hand, seems like a pretty cool dude.

As a game, it's competent enough. Nothing particularly special, but not much that's troublesome either.

Where it wins out is humor and attitude. Mr. Briggs is killed in the opening cutscene, only to be brought back to life as the "Sacred Warrior" by the spirit of a dead Mayan king. The disembodied voice dispenses advice, though more often pokes fun at Marlow, and the banter between the two is great. The game is self-aware of its paper-thin plot, and use of tropes, and barrels ahead anyway. It's just trying to be action-packed fun.

Probably will be on a hidden gems list someday, if not already. It's short, and cheap, albeit only available digitally. I did have a minor issue playing on PC, in that the resolution would scale off the screen for some reason (might have been an issue with my receiver or TV though). I wound up playing a 1680x1050 with a black border around it. Regardless, probably one to check out if you like the genre.
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Stark Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:37 pm

@isiolia did you play Mirror of Fate? I couldn't tell from your review. It's an excellent game IMO if you didn't check it out yet.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:02 pm

Blu wrote:http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/01/05/new-years-resolution-beat-fewer-games

Dave specifically and everyone else, what are your thoughts? I mean it's IGN, so it's already getting taken with a grain of salt, but considering we all have backlogs, I thought this might be worth some discussion and debate.

I agree with some of his points about mediocre video games, but I think there's still relatively few compelling points that he's trying to drive home.


Different strokes for different folks. I enjoy playing a wide variety of games across genres and generations, of varying quality, because it stokes my intellectual interest in the medium as well as keeps my game time from stagnating. Certainly if, like him, one's failure to play a game to completion is stressful and grating to the point that he suggests, it probably isn't worth doing!
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by isiolia Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:49 pm

Stark wrote:@isiolia did you play Mirror of Fate? I couldn't tell from your review. It's an excellent game IMO if you didn't check it out yet.


Played briefly, but haven't beaten.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrHealthy Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:16 pm

dsheinem wrote:Different strokes for different folks. I enjoy playing a wide variety of games across genres and generations, of varying quality, because it stokes my intellectual interest in the medium as well as keeps my game time from stagnating. Certainly if, like him, one's failure to play a game to completion is stressful and grating to the point that he suggests, it probably isn't worth doing!


I feel pretty much exactly the same. I actively seek out and play through bad and mediocre games along side good games. It keeps things feeling fresh and fun while allowing me to have a better understanding and appreciation of what actually makes good games, exactly that, good games.

I also don't like saying for sure I won't ever play a game again. One of my favourite games ever I absolutely hated the first time I played it. But I came back too it a year later and fell in love. So if something isn't fun the first go around, I sit on it and try again in the future.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:55 pm

I play through games that either good and/or are interesting from a historical, aesthetic, or design perspective. The latter category includes many mediocre-to-bad games, and I'm okay with that.
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:25 am

Time for the first post!

Games Beaten 2015

1. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call - 3DS *new*
2. A Bird Story - PC *new*
3. Quake - PC *new*

Total: 3


Previously: 2014 | The First 400 Games

I liked the demo of the original Theatrhythm enough to want to eventually pick up a copy of the game, but never got around to it. I am glad I eventually waited for Curtain Call to drop as the game is a lot of fun and I enjoyed my time exploring the game's massive scope and multiple modes on my way to unlocking the final boss and credits. There's a good argument to be made that the FF series has the best music of any game series ever, and this title offers a nice variety of that music and ways to play it that can fit your mood and expertise - the gameplay moves between relaxing, challenging, and insanely tough.

Speaking of great music and engaging sprites, Freebird Games continues to churn out stellar work. This is short and sweet and much less "game-like" compared to their earlier To The Moon, but like that title this one has a bad habit of kicking up a bunch of dust in the room :cry:

Other than an occasional level here or there, I hadn't played the original Quake in at least a decade or more. I hope to play the whole series this year, but there's something about the first one that holds a special place for me - the NIN score, the incredible leap in gameplay it represented, the dark aesthetic and twitch movement - everything just works and clicks in a way that only iD, at the top of their game, has really ever been able to do. I can't wait for y'all to play this later this year in Together Retro - especially if it is new to you!
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:41 pm

The game is afoot!

1. Cut the Rope (3DS)

I "completed" this charming puzzle game last week by collecting every star and completeing every level. In it, you cut ropes and move objects to guide a piece of candy to a little monster. You can only move the candy indirectly, however, and you lose if the candy is destroyed or falls off the screen. Although the mechanics are fairly simple, the game contains several hundred "gravity" puzzles which require strong sequential reasoning skills and, often, quick reflexes. Moreover, while beating each level is fairly easy, collecting all three stars in each level can be quite challenging.

I played this game as part of the 3DS Cut the Rope: Triple Threat collection, but it is also available on IOS and Android devices. (I first played the game on my 5-year-old daughter's tablet, and I was hooked instantly.) My only real complaint with the game is that the difficulty does not scale very well - a i.e., there may be one incredibly difficult level followed by five incredibly easy ones - and I recommend it to anyone looking for a charming puzzle game.

.....

BoneSnapDeez wrote:So pumped. One of my favorite forum threads. Think I read every post last year.

I agree. I also read every last post in the annual "games beaten" threads.
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