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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:28 pm

Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 5

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Persona 4 Arena - Playstation 3 - January 1
2. Chrono Trigger - SNES - January 7
3. Ys: The Vanished Omens - Master System - January 8
4. MUSHA - Genesis - January 10
5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11


5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11

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Dragon Quest Heroes was a bit of an impulse buy for me. It was my birthday, and I had a 20% off Gamestop coupon in my inbox, and there was a nice pre-owned copy, so I was like what the hell, why not. Then it sat on my shelf for a solid month, untoched. I fully planned on playing it at some point, but that's also how my backlog grew to approach 900 games, so....yeah. But I got to talking to a very good friend of mine about games, and she mentioned how much she loves the Dragon Quest series, so that got me thinking about it more. I needed a bit of a pallet cleanser after I finished Ys on the Master System before I dive into my Wii Virtual Console release of Ys on the TurboGrafx-CD, so I figure I'd throw in some hack and slash goodness. And oh, what goodness it was.

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So Dragon Quest Heroes might as well have been called Dragon Quest Warriors because it's a straight up Muso game (by which I mean the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay). You control a team of up to four characters (you end up getting about a dozen but rotate out the ones you use) with your main character being either the male or female royal guard captain. Both of them feature prominently in story, and the only difference in your choice is who is slightly more at the center of the action. You get to name them both, you can control whomever you want in battle, etc. So I picked the chick (not knowing this) and named her Asparagus♥, and her companion was Popoxilla♪. Shout out to MrPopo, KeyGlyph, and Cronoxilla there.

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The game consists of going on a quest to discover why the hitherto friendly monsters have suddenly started butchering and devouring the townsfolk of your kingdom and massacring thousands of monsters in the process. These monster range in strength from tiny little Slimes that I'm not entirely sure can even actually attack you all the way up to dragons that use your sword as a toothpick after it finishes eating you. To master this game, you need more than just the attack button (although make sure your controller's Square button is in good shape); you'll need to learn all of the controls to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge your way to victory. Seriously though, I spent as much time rolling out of the way of enemy attacks as I did actually hitting things with my sword.

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The basic story of the game, beyond the mysterious change in the monsters' behavior, is that a mysterious person is trying to awaken an ancient dark god to plunge the world into darkness and other generic JRPG antagonist things. You are joined on your quest by people abruptly transported from other dimensions (meaning characters from past Dragon Quest games) who agree to aid in your noble quest. If you've played Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U or 3DS, then imagine that but with Dragon Quest instead of Legend of Zelda, and that's basically this game. There's as little bit of level diversity, but not a lot. Your missions will consist mostly of one of four types - murder everything, protect the thing, escort the thing, or kill the boss before it horribly dismembers you. The nice thing is that if you fail a mission, it makes you start back from the beginning, but you get to keep any experience and/or spoils you might have gained up until your disgraceful defeat.

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Visually, the game is great. Nothing super amazing - it's no Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare with stunning 4K graphics - but it looks very good. The sound design is nice; the voice acting is well done, and the music is good and very fitting for Dragon Quest. There wasn't any noticeable slowdown during even hectic battles. My only complaint in terms of design, really, is that the camera would sometimes shoot behind a wall and completely obscure your view of the battle if you happened to be fighting a monster near a wall. It only happened to me a couple of times, but it did get rather irksome, so I figured it was worth mentioning.

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Dragon Quest Heroes doesn't break any records. It's not a masterpiece of game design, it doesn't redefine a genre, and it doesn't breathe new life into a series. It is quite good, though. A game doesn't have to be a game changer, so to speak, to be a good game. As far as Muso games go, this is one that held my attention much better than most. The only Muso game I can remember being more sucked into was Hyrule Warriors, and that was probably because of my passionate love of Legend of Zelda. There's enough enemy diversity, enough side quests, enough characterization, and enough different environments here to keep things from getting stale, and that's something that not a lot of Muso games can say. All in all, I recommend Dragon Quest Heroes, especially if you're a fan of the Dragon Quest franchise or the Muso hack and slash subgenre.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Juan Aguacate
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Juan Aguacate Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:14 am

I played a little bit of DQ Heroes, and even knowing nothing about the DQ series I thought it was fun

I've heard a sequel is in the works

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
Juan Aguacate wrote:One of my favorite scenes is the battle at the concert with the twins.


*internet high five*

The film is just so visually exciting.

I also very much enjoyed people exploding into loose change, and I laughed out loud when Scott made friends with NegaScott.


Yeah, the line about them actually having a lot in common was pretty hilarious
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Juan Aguacate Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:37 am

I would also to your thoughts on DQ Heroes, that the monsters you get to summon add a fun element to the game. It's critical to some of the defend missions

Also, watching a friend of mine who has put a lot of time into the game play some of the bigger challenges in the game, the differences between the characters do matter. Whether it's using the fat guy's tanking ability to draw a tough boss's attention so the rest of the party can wail on it unharmed, or the one girl doing more damage in those turret things than other characters, Bianca's ability to take out groups of enemies with ease from a distance with her arrow attacks, or this dude's ability to rape some of the optional super bosses with his unique abilities

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I actually want to play through this game myself and maybe get a Platinum like my friend did. It seems fun enough. I hope the sequel throws in some co op
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by marurun Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:30 am

ElkinFencer10 wrote:5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11


Lizard Slash!
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:44 am

marurun wrote:
ElkinFencer10 wrote:5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11


Lizard Slash!

There were many, many lizards to slash.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:55 pm

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Alternate cover art:
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2. Xanadu Next | Windows | 2005 | Action-RPG | 12.42 hrs | 8/10

Xanadu Next is a sequel in a long and storied series of games created by Falcom. It's a commemorative rebirth to one of the best selling PC JRPGs of all time; Xanadu. Both games are part of the historically significant DragonSlayer series. Xanadu Next has many callbacks and direct ties to previous games in the DragonSlayer lineage, making it feel well vested in its franchise. Even so, as a Windows PC Japanese action-RPG, Xanadu Next manages to come across as fairly unique given a confluence of great inspirations. (Much more info on this: http://www.xanadunext.com/history.html )

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As part of the DragonSlayer series, yes there are dragons.

Xanadu Next almost feels like a console action-RPG, except it's designed for mouse control. Left click to attack, right click for special skills/magic, and the mouse wheel controls the camera. It works well, albeit this gives the gameplay a bit of a Diablo feel. The influences hardly stop there, there are traces of Zelda, Ys, and even Brandish in the mix. Although given the historical context, one could argue these influences were influenced by Xanadu Next's own originators, giving a bit of an Ouroboros influx overall. Let's just say if you enjoy action-RPGs and crawling dungeons, you'll feel right at home with the gameplay.

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Block puzzles start simple but become quite devious eventually.

Xanadu Next's world takes place on an a vast island filled with ruins. The navigation of such is designed in a "metroidvania" format, with the sole town serving as a central hub. Dungeons throughout the island become intertwined through the use of special item usage, and eventually a portal warp system opens up as well. This sort of fast travel is a necessity, given the large amount of backtracking the player must endure. However the largest impediment to travel by far is locked doors. Keys are the most precious commodity for the player, being acquired through finding them, making them, or buying them. The deeper into the game the player gets, the more expensive and rare keys become.

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The shopkeeper sells a lot of things, but his biggest racket is monopolizing the door key market.

While Xanadu Next is designed to be fully mouse controlled, its interface is fairly complex. Sliding panes bring important items/spells/equipment into accessibility. However, while the player is interacting with this intricate inventory system, the gameplay does not freeze. This is very problematic when the player is surrounded by enemies, or fighting a huge boss, and they simply wish to grab a restorative or change spells. Assignable hotkeys exist to map important things to, but these hotkeys are quite limited in amount. It would have been far more intuitive to simply have the gameplay pause while the player is navigating the inventory system.

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It's best to take advantage of an interim between battles to restock from inventory.

Core gameplay revolves around navigating the overworld (island) and underworld (dungeons), destroying enemies to level up and collect gold. Gold being used to buy better equipment, which is wielded more competently by higher levels. Many spells are available for combat use as well, ranging in power by their own level. There are skills to learn further enhancing combat potential, and unique Guardian cards offer their own stat boosts in turn. All of this adds up to a complex battle engine which mastery of will be required to overcome leagues of fiendish enemies and brickwall bosses.

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The town is a less a town and more of a systematic crossroad.

Surely the reader has noticed I haven't mentioned squat about the plot yet. The reason being, is that despite Xanadu Next containing a robust story, told through animated cutscenes, real time dialogues, and collectable journal entries, I was never drawn into its tale whatsoever. It's all fairly generic fantasy fluff, serving as a conduit in which the game's real meat is delivered; its excellent gameplay. I should also note that the OST while decent enough, is quite below normal Falcom standards. The music is more generic and atmospheric than it is bombastic or tuneful. Graphics are pretty good, definitely good given their date of origin.

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Careful attention to the mini-map is vital to success.

Xanadu Next did not try to reinvent the concept of the action-RPG, or dungeon crawler for that matter. But acting as a conglomerate of good ideas from other games in those genres, Xanadu Next became a greater sum than its parts. Being more difficult than any 3D Zelda or modern era Ys, but not as hardcore as Brandish or King's Field, Xanadu Next fits nicely into the "just right" level of challenge. Any PC gamer who also enjoys Japanese RPGs should certainly check out Xanadu Next. It's an all too neglected gem even by fans of Falcom's more popular series.

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Available on GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/xanadu_next
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:55 pm

Nice review, Exhuminator. Games like that make me think that there may be something to this "modern PC gaming" thing...

.....

1. Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero (Wii U)
2. Blek (iOS)
3. Bloo Kid 2 (3DS)


Last night, I finally finished up all the games I was carrying over from 2016.

Lots of you have played Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero, and the general consensus is that it is excellent. While I wish it was a bit longer and a bit more difficult - and while I wish it offered some incentive to revisit later levels - my opinion of the game is in line with the general consensus. (My children LOVED it, however, and they think it is basically the best game ever made.) The game's opening is one of the best since God of War, and the 2D platforming genre would be better if more games had sequences as thrilling as the Cape Crustacean magic carpet races. Also, the game looks fantastic - I expect nothing less from WayForward - and the soundtrack is exceptional. I highly recommend it, and I am incredibly excited for the DLC.

Blek is a solid puzzle game that is perfect for touch-screen gaming. In it, you draw a line with your finger, and the game redraws the line starting from the point where the previous line terminated. It repeats this pattern until the line has touched all of the brightly colors circles (clearing the level), touched one of the obstacles (failing the level), or fallen off the top of bottom of the screen (failing the level). The mechanics are baffling at first, but by the end of the game, you will be able to use long, looping lines to clear incredibly complex puzzles. The game is hampered a bit by a baffling design decision requiring you to utilize a "secret" gameplay mechanic about 3/4 of the way through the game. (There is no shame in using a walkthrough to complete level 60, since the game does not in any way let you know about the "secret" gameplay mechanic before that point.) Otherwise, however, it is very enjoyable, and I recommend it to anyone with a touch-screen device.

Bloo Kid 2 is bigger in every way than its single-screen predecessor, but it suffers a bit for its ambition. Whereas the original was a pretty great single-screen platformer with puzzle elements, Bloo Kid 2 is just a good - albeit very challenging - scrolling platformer. It borrows a lot of gameplay elements from both Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country. I can't say that it is better than the games in those classic series, but it is certainly on par with some of them. (It certainly has better boss battles.) The presence of too many blind jumps and too many collectables that are easily missed on the first pass through a level hold it back a bit, but it has a great "best DOS platfomer of all time" aesthetic and, unlike most games in the genre, it genuinely challenging. Accordingly, I recommend it, with some reservations, to fans of the genre. (I would not recommend picking up the mobile versions, however. The platforming, particularly in the later levels, is just too demanding for touch controls.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by pierrot Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:41 pm

Exhuminator wrote:Both games are part of the historically significant DragonSlayer series.

I'm not trying to pick on you with this, Ex, but Xanadu Next isn't part of the Dragon Slayer series. Much like how the Persona series is erroneously thought to be directly linked with Shin Megami Tensei, in the West, the Dragon Slayer series has been mistakenly conflated to include games that can not truly be part of the series, and here's why:

https://ja.wikipedia.org
1984年に発売された『ドラゴンスレイヤー』(以下『I』)を第1作とし、木屋善夫がプログラマとして指揮を執ったゲームシリーズ。2作目以降のシリーズ作品はそれぞれ独自のタイトルを持ち、副題やエンドロール等で『Dragon Slayer II』のようにローマ数字によるシリーズナンバーと共にシリーズ作品である事が示された。

『I』以降木屋が指揮をとったファルコム作品はそのジャンル・内容に関わらず全て「ドラゴンスレイヤー」の名を冠しており、このシリーズ名は木屋作品である事を示す冠名の様な物となっていた。この為、木屋の退社後にファルコムは『風の伝説ザナドゥII』を「The Last of Dragon Slayer」として発売する事によりこのシリーズを終了させ、さらにはドラゴンスレイヤーシリーズそのものが解体され、『ザナドゥ』、『ロマンシア』、『ソーサリアン』、『英雄伝説』、『ロードモナーク』、『風の伝説ザナドゥ』とそれぞれを独自シリーズとしている

'The game series began with the release of the first game, "Dragon Slayer" (referred to as "I," below), headed by programmer Yoshio Kiya. From the second entry on, each game released in the series would have its own title, with a sub title, or title in the credits denoting its position in the series with a roman numeral, such as "Dragon Slayer II."

from "I" on, Falcom games in which Kiya was the head of the project were labeled as "Dragon Slayer" games, regardless of genre, or content; Furthermore, this series title came to be recognized as emblematic of Kiya's involvement. Because of this, when Kiya resigned from Falcom, the company marketed "Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu II" [PC Engine] as "The Last of Dragon Slayer" on release, effectively ending the Dragon Slayer series, while also breaking up titles into their own series, "Xanadu," "Romancia," "Sorcerian," "Legend of Heroes," "Lord Monarch," and "Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu."'

I liked your review, and Xanadu Next sounds like a good game, but I also got the sense that it shares very little in common with the original Xanadu. It doesn't sound like one can even moderately (much less totally) screw himself karmically by killing certain enemies.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by TSTR Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:45 pm

pierrot wrote:Much like how the Persona series is erroneously thought to be directly linked with Shin Megami Tensei...

This statement doesn't make much sense to me, clarify?
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:08 pm

pierrot wrote:I'm not trying to pick on you with this, Ex, but Xanadu Next isn't part of the Dragon Slayer series.

Xanadu Next's own website (as sanctioned by Falcom and XSEED) says it is part of the series:

"Xanadu Next is an honorary entry in the venerable, long-running and extraordinarily confusing Dragon Slayer series, which also happens to be one of the Japanese action RPG genre's true founding fathers." http://www.xanadunext.com/history.html

Xanadu Next was created as a spiritual sequel to Xanadu, and Xanadu itself was labeled as Dragon Slayer II by Falcom's own Japanese cover art:
So while this all may be disingenuous based on some criteria, I will defer to Falcom's opinion that the Xanadu games exist in the Dragon Slayer lineage.
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pierrot wrote:I also got the sense that it shares very little in common with the original Xanadu.

I have not played through the original Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu to compare, but I have read there are common plot elements carried over.
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