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Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:22 am
by PartridgeSenpai
Shining Force: EXA (PS2)

I was a little unsure of this game going in, but it ended up becoming one of my favorite games on the PS2.

The core of the gameplay is more or less a Diablo-style game, where you control both (although only one at a time) a melee-focused and a magic-focused hero, as well as getting two NPC companions to follow you around. The AI aren't brilliant, but they always seemed competent enough, and are a good augmentation of your own hero's shortcomings (i.e., big melee guys usually go with the magic-hero, and ranged/magic/healers usually go with the melee-hero). The melee-user Toma is a great blast to play as. His two combat options are single-handed weapons, or two-handed ones, where single-handed allows you to use a shield as well for extra defense. Personally, I pretty much always used 2-handed weapons, because I found that the amount of max HP you have usually is much more important than your defense, because the stronger monsters can usually just one-shot you (if you're in an area too strong for you), so I just tried to use the two-handed weapons' much greater attack power to kill them before they'd kill me.

Cyrille on the other hand seems kinda crap at first, but I'd say around the 3rd or 4th chapter she became my preferred member to use in outside exploration (more on that later). Her two options are either tomes which allow her to use specific magics within them, or crossbows. Her crossbows are one-handed just like her tomes however, so unlike Toma she can always use a shield. Personally, I only used crossbows when I was completely out of mana, and there really isn't a good way to replenish mana out in the field. Once you level up the strength of a specific magic element though, she becomes a monster: You can basically just walk towards stuff and it dies (although it's not quite that simple, in practice).

Another reason I loved this game is because of the fact that it has not only great loot, but great loot customization. Along with the piles of gold you'll find to add to your heroes' shared gold-pool, which allow you to buy equipment from the shop, have the shop identify your items, or get base-upgrades for equipment at the blacksmith, there's another currency of mythril. Mythril is used to upgrade "Power Arts," which basically serves as a way to beef up specific base-stats in a way you want to prioritize most, although you do have to find obelisks out in the game world to unlock more powerful power arts to tech into, thus exploration of EVERYWHERE is highly encouraged. In addition, unlike with gold, all of the mythril you find gets added to BOTH heroes total mythril counts, meaning it's much easier to upgrade them both just as you want, and you don't need to prioritize who picks up how much mythril. You can also turn unwanted items into either gold OR mythril, letting you prioritize different aspects of upgrading as you see fit.

Lastly on customization, the game has tons of optional areas, ranging from glowy (not power art) obelisks which you can break to unleash powerful monsters, to "Ancient Arenas" which test your mettle against many monsters, to get Secret Scrolls to unlock "Secret Arts," one of which at a time can be added to a piece of armor as a fairly significant passive-boost, with weapons, shields, hats, and armor each having their own respective secret arts to be used with. Honestly, later in the game, it comes down to the opportunity cost of which one you want to use compared to the others, because they're usually so good. The best part is, you have a limitless home-teleport option you can use almost whenever you want, so you can jump home whenever to swap up your equipment, power arts, secret arts, etc. whenever the fight isn't going your way, or if you just wanna dump off some items.

ANYWAY, customization aside, the Diablo-style gameplay is divided into two parts (kinda), "offensive" exploring, and defensive missions. You get a main base very quickly in the game, and everyone else in the world wants your cool base, so they'll try to destroy your power supply. Every hour or so, a random event will occur (occasionally they're scripted though) and you'll be brought away from the action of the guy you have out on the offensive back to the home base, where the guy you aren't using will get a chance to bash some heads in and level up. I usually left Toma home for these, because as they usually involve killing some big boss or artillery piece, his limitless powerful swings were much more practical than Cyrille who will usually run out of mana blasting other fools before that goal can be achieved.

The story starts off fairly slow and off-putting, with the voice acting being pretty hit or miss and the initial reason for your quest not being very compelling. I really got attached to it around a third of the way through the game though. The writing on the main heroes and your companions is okay, but the writing of the villains (or at least their character arcs) is excellent, in terms of being fairly realistic in their motives and actions, and they interact with your characters consistently.

As far as things I didn't like, I guess the inventory management system was a bit annoying at times. Your characters have their own individual inventories, so you need to go back to home base to switch anything between them via the storage system, but seeing as how easy returning to base is, and how you need to get virtually any piece of equipment you find identified before you can use it, I never really found it a problem, so much as a minor inconvenience, as loading times are pretty short.

TLDR: A great Diablo-style game on PS2. I honestly enjoyed it far more than Diablo 3, even though I played this game far more, and did everything you possibly could in it. This is hands down one of my favorite actions games ever, let alone on PS2. (It would be pushed to god-tier if it had any multiplayer, but sadly it does not. I have no friends to local-Diablo with at the moment anyhow though, so that didn't affect my experience.)

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:56 pm
by pierrot
Apparently EXA was developed by Neverland Company (of Lufia/Chaos Seed/Energy Breaker fame). --Apparantly, so was Asuka Kenzan (brutal rogue-like). You might want to look into Record of Lodoss War for the Dreamcast. It's likely not as flashy as EXA, but it's a Diablo style game that was also developed by Neverland.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:37 pm
by ExedExes
1. Flag to Flag - Dreamcast (January 12)
2. The Battle of Olympus - NES (January 18)
3. Thunder Force AC - Arcade/MAME (February 6)
4. *NEW* Golden Axe - Arcade/MAME (February 14)

Another 1cc for the Yolympics, and one that I've been going after long before this competition. Despite that, my score is barely in the top 10.


Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:53 pm
by Xeogred
1. Sly 2 Band of Thieves HD (PS3)
2. Black (Xbox)
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
4. Super Mario Bros Advance 4: SMB3 E-Reader Levels (WiiUVC)
5. Galerians (PSX)

May quite possibly be the weirdest game I have ever played. Has anyone else here even heard of this thing?


Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:15 pm
by Sarge
Regarding Galerians, yeah, I've got it, but I haven't put much time into it. I knew it was a RE-like, though.

As far as EXA, hopefully it doesn't have any character as obnoxious as in Neo, where she constantly spouts upon making a fire attack, "Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way!" Ugh.

(Oh, look, it's X-Play, I remember that! ;) And they even hit on the issue.

EDIT: Oh, right, the reason I'm posting...

1) Bonk's Adventure (NES)
2) Little Samson
3) Holy Diver
4) Holy Diver (legit!)
5) Mitsume Ga Tooru
6) TMNT II: The Arcade Game (NES)
7) Mighty Final Fight
8] Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
9) Monster In My Pocket
10) Battle of Olympus
11) Gunstar Heroes (repeat)
12) Dragon Age: Inquisition
13) Dragon Age: Inquisition - Trespasser
14) Captain America and the Avengers (NES)
15) StarTropics
16) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (save states)
17) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (legit)
18) Crisis Force
19) Esper Dream 2
20) Felix the Cat
21) Moon Crystal
22) Panic Restaurant
23) Frankenstein (NES)
24) Crystalis
25) Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu

26) Killer Instinct (GB)
27) Mashin Hero Wataru Gaiden
28) Sly Spy (Arcade)
29) The Red Star (unreleased XBOX, also on PS2)
30) Adventure Island 4
31) Cocoron
32) Batman: Arkham Knight

So I finally finished it off. Yay! It's... well, it's good, but it's a kind of samey good. Or at least the samey goodness is diluted somewhat by the Batmobile segments, which waffle between good and "ehhh". When you're not completely overwhelmed, the tank battle sequences shine, basically turning the game into an arena-based third-person shooter. Where it doesn't shine is the handling outside of "battle mode". The Batmobile is faaaar too squirrelly for its own good, feeling like it never really has very good traction. Had the controls been a bit closer to, say, Burnout 3, it could have been great. It's also a bit annoying in some of the chase sequences, catching the enemy vehicles.

There are new additions elsewhere as well. I've seen others note that combat has a lot more thugs, and it's true. But there also seem to be a lot of different ways to incapacitate them before battle, or to get a stealth takedown to fill your "fear" so you can employ an awesome, multi-enemy quick takedown. It allows you to thin the herd really fast. It, like the other Batman games, can also suffer a bit from a very busy control scheme. It's one of the reasons I rarely use gadgets in battle, because it gets really complicated really fast, especially if you have multiple different types of enemies that require different tactics to wipe out. If you're not on your game, you're gonna get owned.

This one also felt a lot longer than the other games. I know I have to have put in well over 20 hours on this one. I almost finished it all off, just a few mines to defuse and a fight with Riddler that may never happen, because I decided I'd had enough Riddle hunting. Which, of course, means that I resorted to YouTube to see the "true" ending, because it would require a huge time investment for a mere 30 seconds of footage... that is remarkably ambiguous in nature.

This is gonna seem weird, because I remember all the crap it caught, but I think I liked Origins better. And there's (mostly) nothing outside of all the shinies that the next generation brought that couldn't have been done the last generation.

I know all this sounds like I'm reaming the game, but it's still extremely solid. It's just not as good as it could have been. And blissfully, I was playing on PS4, so no awful PC port issues.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:56 pm
by Xeogred
1. Sly 2 Band of Thieves HD (PS3)
2. Black (Xbox)
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
4. Super Mario Bros Advance 4: SMB3 E-Reader Levels (WiiUVC)
5. Galerians (PSX)
6. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (WiiU)

Sadly have to say this ended up being a mixed bag for me. It was less Metroidvania than I wanted and a bit too much backtracking and weird trading quest lines at times. That said when it was all said and done, while I didn't want to bother finding all the collectibles myself, I did look up the true ending and it was cool stuff. So it's safe to say the characters did have some charm and grew on me before I knew it, I just think the pacing and format of the game could have been perhaps a bit different and better. I've reverted back to NES mode when it comes to platformers and just really prefer that they are super simple point A to point B kind of games nowadays. Shovel Knight still seems to be the perfect blueprint for scratching that itch for me.

But yeah, this game looked gorgeous, sounded great, and played well. So I won't rag on it too much. I liked it more than Rayman Legends for something similar that I've played recently.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:15 pm
by MrPopo
Sarge wrote:As far as EXA, hopefully it doesn't have any character as obnoxious as in Neo, where she constantly spouts upon making a fire attack, "Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way!" Ugh

Now bear my arctic blast!

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:23 pm
by PartridgeSenpai
MrPopo wrote:
Sarge wrote:As far as EXA, hopefully it doesn't have any character as obnoxious as in Neo, where she constantly spouts upon making a fire attack, "Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way! Hot stuff comin' your way!" Ugh

Now bear my arctic blast!

Cyrille kinda has that I guess? Not so much though that I can remember. I'm not the best at remembering stuff like that.

Is SF Neo any good? I was looking to pick it up after enjoying EXA so much, considering they're made by the same company.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:34 pm
by Sarge
Neo and EXA are very similar. I don't know which one is better, though. Neo came first.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:21 pm
by Exhuminator
@PartridgeSenpai, if you haven't played this one yet, you might like it:

Ex's 2016 beat list:
1. Mega Man ZX Advent|DS|2007|platformer|8h|7/10
2. King's Field III: Pilot Style|PS1|1996|dungeon crawler|1h|8/10
3. Sleeping Dogs|360|2012|action-adventure|20h 45m|8/10
4. Sleepings Dogs: NiNP DLC|360|2012|action adventure|1h 22m|5/10
5. Chikyuu Kaihou Gun ZAS|GB|1992|shmup|33m|8/10
6. Vattle Giuce|GB|1991|shmup|45m|5/10
7. MechWarrior 2 (Clan Wolf)|PS1|1997|mech sim|2h 35m|7/10
8. Gradius: The Interstellar Assault|GB|1992|shmup|27m|8/10
9. SolarStriker|GB|1990|shmup|23m|7/10
10. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|45m|6/10
11. Dead or Alive (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|23m|5/10
12. Asuka 120% Burning Festival Final (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|26m|8/10
13. Soul Blade (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|18m|9/10
14. Trax|GB|1991|shmup|23m|7/10
15. Street Fighter: The Movie (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1995|fighter|36m|5/10
16. Warpath: Jurassic Park (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|17m|4/10
17. Psychic Force (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|figher|22m|7/10
18. Touki Denshou: Angel Eyes (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|27m|7/10
19. Advanced V.G. 2 (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|15m|8/10
20. StarHawk|GB|1993|shmup|1h 15m|4/10
21. Nemesis|GB|1990|shmup|28m|7/10
22. Cardinal Syn (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|54m|7/10
23. Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|15m|7/10
24. Street Fighter EX 2 Plus (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|22m|8/10
25. Battle Unit Zeoth|GB|1991|shmup|24m|6/10
26. Soul Calibur IV (Arcade Mode)|360|2008|fighter|12m|9/10
27. Mercenary Force|GB|1990|shmup|54m|5/10
28. Battle Arena Toshinden (Story Mode)|GB|1996|fighter|12m|8/10
29. Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams (Arcade Mode)|GBC|1999|fighter|10m|7/10
30. SD Hiryu No Ken EX (Story Mode)|GBC|1999|fighter|24m|7/10
31. Guilty Gear X: Advance Edition (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|8m|6/10
32. Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Revival (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2001|fighter|10m|7/10
33. Dual Blades (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|23m|4/10
34. Gradius Galaxies|GBA|2001|shmup|1hr 24m|8/10
35. Tekken Advance (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|15m|7/10
36. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|22m|7/10
37. Black Belt Challenge (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|8m|4/10
38. Iridion II|GBA|2003|shmup|58m|9/10
39. King's Field III|PS1|1996|dungeon crawler|25h|9/10

40. Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel|360|2013|cover shooter|7h 54m|7/10



When it comes to bro-op cover shooters, Army of Two is the series to play. Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is the third game in the Army of Two trilogy. Devil's Cartel continues the furious and violent non-stop cover shooting action its predecessors provided. There are some improvements present. The aggro system is more transparent now, and there's no more back-to-back spin shooting sections thankfully. Best of all both players can shop at the armory simultaneously now, a HUGE boon compared to before. Graphics are better than ever and controls are a bit more streamlined as well. The plot is finally good for once, introducing two new main characters and utilizing prior protagonists in intriguing ways. I have one big complaint though, no longer does the split screen fully utilize all available screen space. Instead, the screens are split in 16:9 style, using thick black borders around each individual screen. This ridiculous method wastes a lot of screen space, and it's just as dumb here, as it is in the 7th gen Resident Evil games. All the same, if you want a nonstop blast of co-op killing action, The Devil's Cartel hits the mark hard and fast.