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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Ack Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:30 am

1. Metal Slug (MVS)(Run and Gun)
2. Puzzle Link (NGPC)(Puzzle)
3. Illusion of Gaia (SNES)(RPG)
4. Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War (PC)(Strategy)
5. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (PC)(RPG)
6. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (PC)(RPG)
7. Drakkhen (SNES)(RPG)
8. Flight of the Amazon Queen (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)


I beat two games over the weekend.

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Drakkhen

I will start this by saying I do not recommend Drakkhen to you. In fact, I would only recommend Drakkhen to the most fervent of RPG fans looking to face a challenge. It is an infuriatingly obtuse game, with limited player involvement or control, and a messy translation that only further obfuscates whatever it is the game seems to be trying to do. The story is nearly incomprehensible, combat is handled entirely by the AI, and mechanics are intentionally designed to confuse and hinder the player. Fight rules are never explained, the character leveling and experience system is frustrating, and the game is riddled with super monsters which on a whim could easily wipe the party. These super monsters are accessible almost from the very start, and little explanation as to why they are in the game ever appears. You can find them by bumping into tombstones, randomly encountering them in certain areas, or simply turning at night. And this is a review of the SNES version. The original computer releases are much, much harder.

Despite these problems(or perhaps because of them), I found myself impressed by other aspects of the game. Much of what Drakkhen attempts may be maddening in its limitations and muddled in its presentation, but it was doing it far ahead of its time. One of the most brilliant aspects of the game is the open world, which allows players to navigate in first person view. While many other games attempted this through a grid approach(such as the Might & Magic series), Drakkhen does this without such limitations and enables player freedom to simply wander. The SNES port is the oldest SNES RPG in just about all regions, coming in around mid-1991. But the original game was a 1989 release for the Amiga. Put it this way, the Elder Scrolls series became famous for this kind of approach...in 1994. For a game from 1989 to do this is incredible, particularly when you consider that RPGs mainly consisted of wireframes less than a decade before. The size of this leap is staggering.

Drakkhen also uses a rudimentary AI system to handle combat, allowing the player to set general guidelines to behavior for each of the four characters and to move one around the field. Beyond that though, the game largely plays itself during fights. Since the party can experience random encounters even while standing still, this means that the player hardly needs to be present for grinding purposes, and I set the game down and let my party build up on its own for the last few days I "played." This is not a perfect system however, as there is a merchant encounter which requires the player interact with the controller to get through, and if things go south, party wipe can easily occur. This is particularly true at the start of the game, where even the first encounters can result in the death of party members. Resurrecting a party member also requires travel to specific places for revives, thus increasing the likelihood of more combat, more deaths, and a party wipe. But gain a level, and your character becomes noticeably more capable.

Adding to this issue is the armor durability problem. Enemies can break your gear, depending on your armor's defense as well as some sort of player character stat that I never understood. This means you need to upgrade your gear, and you may also need to replace your gear, an expensive proposition at the game's outset. As you play, armor types change in the local shop too, meaning only the latest and greatest is available. This is great for the Fighter and Scout characters, since they can equip everything. But your casters? Some of their best gear vanishes by midway through the game, and if it gets broken, it's likely to never be replaced. Ever. This sucks, but at least early on you can buy Bows and Arrows to keep your folks out of melee. Believe me, buy four of these as soon as you can and keep them until the end of the game. The Bow is an extremely weak weapon, but it's the only ranged weapon in the game, and it kept my casters out of direct combat up until the very end.

Leveling is also a pain, because characters gain experience separately from hitting and killing enemies, and each new level is a leap from the last. Inevitably some character is likely to be left behind; in my case, it was my sorcerer, who by the end of the game was about 35,000 experience points behind my highest character, and he only reached about 100,000 total. This means my sorcerer only grabbed about 2/3 of the experience and was two levels behind. This discrepancy hurt because some enemies can only be hit by ranged weapons or spells, meaning my other guys would have to sit tight and wait for the sorcerer to eventually get lucky and hit the stronger enemies.

I don't want to end this on a down note, so let me praise something that I find wonderful about Drakkhen: its music and sound work. Despite the frustrations of the rest of the game, the music is incredibly soothing, which really helps counter the tension that can build from the rest of the game. Sure, my team just got slaughtered, and half of their equipment is now broken, but man these themes really help me relax. This is backed by audio which really works in tandem with the unusual enemy designs. They gibber, grunt, roar, and mumble. It's a nice touch that enhances the "realistic" feel of fighting a giant wireframe knight, or a rapidly moving crocodile, or a dragon that slowly descends from the sky to lay waste to your party.

As I mentioned, I don't recommend you play Drakkhen. It's a flawed game, incredible in what it tries to do but severely hampered by its limitations and problematic design. There are only a couple of members on this forum that I would suggest it to, and to my knowledge they have already beaten Drakkhen. The rest of you are probably fine to skip it. But it certainly feels like an accomplishment to beat. I hear the sequel, Dragon View, improves on the formula immensely. I look forward to tracking it down in the future.

=================================================================================

Flight of the Amazon Queen

In many ways, this game reminds me as a poor man's LucasArts adventure. It has a similar approach and visual aesthetic, it cribs heavily on LucasArts' style, and it even directly references their games, properties, and characters at specific points. It also has a plot that could be lifted directly from something George Lucas is involved in. There's the Amazon, a group of evil Europeans seeking an artifact to be used for world domination, a wisecracking hero in a leather jacket and hat, snakes, a crystal skull and ancient technology that grants access to a valley...nah, you know what? George Lucas would never do something like that.

Anyway, it's a pretty simple premise: Joe King, pilot for hire, gets contracted to fly movie star Faye Russel to the Amazon, but his plane gets struck by lightning and crashes. Now stranded, Joe discovers a plot by evil Dr. Ironstein to turn the Amazonians into an army of dinosaur women so he can conquer the world. To do this, he'll have to find and use a variety of items to solve all manner of puzzles in the hopes of eventually defeating the mad doctor...and if you pick up the free GOG version, all of this is done will glorious full voice acting. Glorious, at least, if you don't mind some absolutely atrocious delivery at times. It really is hit or miss, though Penelope Keith and William Hootkins both do excellent jobs. You might remember Hootkins from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He played Porkins.

I say this is a poor man's LucasArts because it's not quite up to snuff. The story feels just a bit more crude than your typical LA adventure, and while the puzzles are every bit as wacky as something found in a Monkey Island game, they don't always make as much sense...which I suppose is saying something. But there are more than a few references to Lucas properties sprinkled throughout, so the inspiration is clear. In fact the numerous references serve as both jokes but also remind me that this is ultimately a wannabe of games that I have absolutely adored over the years. Still, FotAQ is pretty capable in its own right, and it does offer a few conventions of its own, such as a central Pinnacle area linking many of the game's sections. I liked it. Not as much as I've enjoyed actual LucasArts titles, but enough that I don't mind recommending it to fans of LA point-and-clicks after that particular well has run dry.

Plus it's free on GOG. Meaning you should all own it.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:41 pm

1. Oni - PC
2. Donkey Kong 64 - N64
3. Yoshi's Story - N64
4. Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide - PC
5. Forsaken 64 - N64
6. Bloodrayne: Betrayal - PSN
7. Fire Emblem Seisen no Keifu - SNES
8. Fire Emblem Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū - Nintendo DS
9. Valkyria Chronicles 3 - PSP
10. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing - DC
11. Rise of the Tomb Raider - PC
12. XCOM 2 - PC
13. Shadowrun Hong Kong Bonus Campaign - PC
14. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest - 3DS
15. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright - 3DS
16. Lagrange Point - NES
17. Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations - 3DS
18. Cybernator - SNES
19. Outwars - PC
20. Resident Evil - GC
21. Resident Evil 2 - GC
22. Resident Evil 3 - GC

Let the good times keep on rolling. Resident Evil 3 feels like the most actionized of the classic games that I've played (still need to play CVX). Jill moves and turns noticeably faster and this game introduces the quick 180 degree turn (which shows up in REmake but it's much slower there). There's also a dodge move which is pretty much necessary against one boss and can leave you dodge locked against a couple of the fast attacking enemies; it's a weird mixed blessing. And finally, there's this interesting ammo crafting mechanic that has you make tradeoffs between cashing it in for the handgun and shotgun ammo for killing normal enemies or saving up for the strong rounds for taking on bosses and certain strong enemies.

Something I really liked was how the map layouts felt the most natural in the series; rather than the obviously contrived areas of previous games to fit in all the puzzle gameplay this game is mostly set on the streets of Raccoon City and it feels pretty normal. The puzzles are also toned down and mostly things that feel like they maybe would be real things (aside from a few that involve statues moving).

It's hard to talk about more stuff; the sequels to RE mostly iterate on themselves.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ExedExes Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:42 pm

1. Flag to Flag - Dreamcast (January 12)
2. The Battle of Olympus - NES (January 18)
3. Thunder Force AC - Arcade/MAME (February 6)
4. Golden Axe - Arcade/MAME (February 14)
5. Rod-Land - Arcade/MAME (February 22)
6. Xexyz - NES (March 14)
7. Smuggler's Run: Warzones - Gamecube (March 26)
8. *NEW* Rad Racer - NES (March 27)
9. *NEW* Rad Racer II - NES (March 27)


Finished both of these off this weekend. I guess the older you get, the better you get on Rad Racer. I only had to use one continue on Level 6.

Rad Racer II, I had no idea it was exclusive to North America. But it's far more forgiving than the first, due to not flipping end over end when crashing, a power boost system, and more lenient checkpoints. It does add a special red "rival" car that will stay in front of you for most of the races if you don't move away too fast.
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Xeogred wrote:The obvious answer is that it's time for the Dreamcast 2.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by laurenhiya21 Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:03 pm

@Exhuminator
Really well-written review as always! Unfortunately that means I have to add another game to my lengthy want list lol

Question though... How did you play Nayuta? I would think you emulated it since you used an English patch, but how did you get it to work? I've tried to emulate PSP games before but nothing would really work :/
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:08 am

1. Shadow Warrior - Playstation 4 - January 1
2. The Order: 1886 - Playstation 4 - January 2
3. Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop - Wii - January 3
4. NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits - WiiWare - January 4
5. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd - Vita - January 5
6. Shadow the Hedgehog - Gamecube - January 9
7. Fairy Bloom Freeia - Steam - January 10
8. Petit Novel Series: Harvest December - 3DS - January 13
9. Gas Guzzlers Extreme - Steam - January 14
10. Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Wii - January 16
11. Project Zero 2: Wii Edition - Wii - January 19
12. Killzone: Liberation - PSP - January 20
13. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii - January 20
14. Kirby's Epic Yarn - Wii - January 24
15. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love - Wii - January 25
16. Corpse Party - PSP - January 25
17. Freedom Planet - Wii U - January 25
18. Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space - Vita - January 25
19. Silent Hill: Homecoming - Xbox 360 - January 26
20. Life is Strange - Playstation 4 - January 28
21. Corpse Party: Book of Shadows - PSP - February 2
22. Megadimension Neptunia VII - Playstation 4 - February 12
23. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - February 13
24. Corpse Party: Blood Drive - Vita - February 17
25. If My Heart Had Wings - Steam - February 18
26. Missing: An Interactive Thriller - Steam - February 18
27. Her Story - Steam - February 18
28. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright - 3DS - February 26
29. Saints Row 2 - Steam - March 1
30. Saturday Morning RPG - Playstation 4 - March 3
31. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest - 3DS - March 6
32. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Wii U - March 8
33. Pokken Tournament - Wii U - March 20
34. Moe Chronicle - Vita - March 22
35. Tom Clancey's The Division - Playstation 4 - March 23
36. Yoshi's New Island - 3DS - March 28

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Let me be up front with this because it may be an unpopular opinion, and it shades my opinion this game - I absolutely detest Baby Mario. And Baby Luigi. And Bowser Jr. And really pretty much any infant character.

Now with that out of the way, this game was...okay. Not bad by any means, but it just felt kind of lackluster to me. A better title, perhaps, would have been Yoshi's Sort of Average I Guess Island. Maybe my expectations were too high since I beat the STELLAR Yoshi's Woolly World back at Thanksgiving, but I was just not impressed with this game. It also didn't help that Baby Mario kept f***ing crying every godd*** time one of my pixels touched one of an enemy's pixels.

This is all you're good for, Baby Mario.

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Let me be fair, though. It's a really solid platformer. The problem is that it doesn't really feel like it has a "thing." You know? Like, every really great game as a "thing." Wind Waker's thing was the cell shading. Skyward Sword's thing was functional motion controls. Super Mario Galaxy's thing was the gravity based puzzles. Yoshi's Woolly World thing was having as many costumes as Larry King has had wives. Yoshi's New Island's thing was being remarkably average in absolutely every way.

The art style, while not captivating enough to count as a thing in my book, is pretty and well done. It has a very nice almost hand drawn looking aesthetic about it. It's a very subtle but very fitting look.

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Some of the puzzles are really good, but by and large, the game is a cake walk. I also HATED the way they implemented Bitch Mode. In Yoshi's Woolly World, it was a legit mode; you paused the game and pressed Minus to toggle between Normal Mode and Mellow Mode (Bitch Mode). In this game, after you die a couple times, a pipe spits out a wing power-up that actives Bitch Mode. Normally that would be fine, whatever, but I'm impatient, so on the last level, I hit a spot where some careless jumps kept landing me in lava, so I was like "I'M GOING TO BEAT THIS DAMN LEVEL" and start going as soon as I spawn. Well, I didn't realize that I had hit the "Activate Bitch Mode" number of deaths, and I accidentally ran straight into those wings. The only way to turn it off would have been to restart the level, and I was about 75% of the way through it. Ain't nobody got time fo' dat. So I finish the level on Bitch Mode, whatever, I was bored of the game anyway. Turns out that there's a bonus world or some shit if you beat every level without using the wings. Well, looks like I'm never seeing that because I don't care NEARLY enough to go back and play that game again.

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So in summary, Yoshi's New Island is not a bad game by any means, and since it's one of the recent Nintendo Selects, it's worth picking up if you can find it cheap used, especially if you're a fan of the Yoshi series/sub-series. Just don't go into it expecting a masterpiece. It's a nice way to kill some time, but it's not one of Nintendo's better platformers.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:10 am

laurenhiya21 wrote:Really well-written review as always!

Thank you.
laurenhiya21 wrote:Question though... How did you play Nayuta?

I downloaded a prepatched ISO and ran it off a CFW PSP. Which sounds more complicated than it actually is. I'll PM you some links.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:34 pm

So, was I the only one that felt like Yoshi was stuck in quicksand for that game? The physics are just off, at least when starting and stopping.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Stark Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:36 pm

Ack wrote:Flight of the Amazon Queen

This sounds amazing! Thanks for the write-up.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:46 pm

Sarge wrote:So, was I the only one that felt like Yoshi was stuck in quicksand for that game? The physics are just off, at least when starting and stopping.

I felt like the jumping was a bit off, like there was just the tiniest delay between when I push the button and when Yoshi actually jumped. Either that or I very suddenly got much worse at platformers.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Forlorn Drifter
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Forlorn Drifter Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:20 pm

Forlorn Drifter wrote:
Forlorn Drifter wrote:1. Cubivore-GCN
2. Deadly Premonition:The Director's Cut-PS3
3. Bioshock: Infinite- PS3
4. Bioshcok: Infinite: Burial at Sea ep. 1-PS3
5. DOOM-PS3
6. Shovel Knight-PS3
7. Far Cry 3-PS3
8. Ico-PS3

9. Shadow of the Colossus- PS3

Ahh, I like this one. Trying to get to the Colossi can be a bit annoying, but otherwise a good game. Camera is a bit wonky, but it is just a matter of learning how to handle it. Loved it overall.

I'll probably get back on Demon's either tonight or tomorrow. I'm currently going a bit insane dealing with all my personal stuff, so IDK if I'll be doing much gaming after today for a while.
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