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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by alienjesus Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:24 am

Review 4 & 5/6

Games Beaten:
1. 3D Power Drift 3DS
2. Maze Hunter 3-D 3DS
3. Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS
4. Icarus Proudbottom's World of Typing Weekly PC
5. Paper Mario N64
6. Catherine PS3
7. Glover N64
8. Blast Corps N64
9. Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together! Switch eShop
10. Pullblox 3DS eShop
11. Pokémon Picross 3DS eShop
12. Bare Knuckle III Mega Drive
13. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja SNES
14. Alisia Dragoon Mega Drive
15. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Mega Drive
16. Dynamite Headdy Mega Drive
17. Runbow Wii U eShop
18. The Mystical Ninja starring Goemon N64
19. 3D Puyo Puyo 2 3DS
20. Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa 3DS
21. SteamWorld Dig 3DS eShop
22. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch
23. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped PS1
24. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time GC
25. Pilotwings 64 N64 *NEW*
26. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones GBA *NEW*

Replays!:
1. Bare Knuckle III Mega Drive
2. Die Hard Arcade Saturn
3. The World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Mega Drive

Pilotwings 64:

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Pilotwings 64 is an N64 ‘flight simulation’ game, but not really, as its quite arcadey in how it plays rather than aiming for hyper realism. It was also the 3rd game I finished for my summer games challenge this year.

Pilotwings 64 focuses on qualifying for different flight tiers for 3 different vehicles – the hang glider, the rocketbelt (read: Jetpack) and the Gyro copter (an odd Helicopter/Plane hybrid, that controls more like a plane than a copter). Starting with the beginner class challenge where you have to pass one challenge for each vehicle, you progress to A class which has 2 and then B class and Pilot class, which have 3 each. Scoring an average of 70 on each test nets you a bronze medal, with 80 per test giving a silver and 90 per test awarding a gold. Bronze is enough to progress to the next set of challenges for that vehicle.

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The vehicles and challenges are a mixed bag. The first vehicle is the hang glider, which in my eyes is also by far the hardest to control. Turning starts slow but often builds quickly, meaning you can overshoot turns easily, but small adjustments can sometimes be fiddly to make. Your speed and height slowly decrease as you go. Speed you can regain by point the hang glider downwards, but you’ll lose height as a result. You can pull the hang glider up for a very slight increase in height too, but it’s rarely worth the massive speed drop that results. Instead, you should use updrafts to ride up to higher altitudes. Besides this you can flare your glider to slow down quickly, useful for landings which have to be pretty much parallel to the ground at a fairly slow speed, and you can use Z to take photographs, used for some of the challenges.

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The hang glider missions are by far the hardest, with the second hang glider mission where you play chicken with a mountain being BY FAR the hardest mission in the game. In fact, the games difficulty balance is often inconsistent, with some of the later missions being super easy, especially with certain vehicles. I didn’t like the hang glider much, which is a shame as I quite enjoyed the same vehicle in Pilotwings Resort for 3DS. The photography missions were a pain too, as the scoring mechanics for them are super unclear. I took some great shots that scored only 17/30 points, and some medicore ones that got 29/30.

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The second vehicle is the rocketbelt, which can rise quickly with A or slowly with B, or can thrust you forward with either at the expense of height. Controlling it is often about balances upwards thrust and forwards thrust to fly accurately. Luckily, you can stop on a dime with Z, which lets you hover, but drastically reduces the vehicles limited fuel gauge. R lets you view below you, which is mainly use for landings, which require you to slow your descent as you drop straight down onto the landing platform

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Missions with the Rocketbelt normally require precision, such as flying through a tunnel whilst avoiding the walls, planning a route through multiple moving rings, landing on small platforms in order, or flying into bouncing balloons. They’re all pretty fun, and much better than the hang-glider.

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The last vehicle is the Gyrocopter, which controls like a plane. A raises your speed whilst B slows it. You can ascend or descend at will, thought your speed will increase or decrease as you do, requiring you to brake or accelerate to adjust your speed as you do so. Z shoots missiles in this vehicle, which are often used for challenges, whilst R switches to first person, which can be helpful for aiming missiles or flying through rings.

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Gyrocopter missions tend to either focus on skilful flying through rings whilst maintaining high speed, or precision shooting of targets whilst flying around – sometimes these targets or giant robots, which is cool. Gyrocopter missions are easy and fun, and I also found the landing mechanics a lot easier than the hang glider, as you just needed to gradually descend onto a runway whilst lowering your speed.

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And that’s abnout all there is to Pilotwings. 27 missions across 3 vehicles, each of which only being 30 seconds – 5 minutes long at most. It’s a very short experience. There are extras to find – human cannonball, skydiving and other missions to unlock by getting all silver or gold on various license classes, hidden birdman modes by finding stars hidden in levels, and some fun secrets to find like the hidden Wario on Mt. Rushmore. But overall, it’s a fairly light experience that won’t keep you playing for long unless you’re obsessed with getting perfect scores on everything.

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Pilotwings 64 is decent enough, and at it’s best it’s pretty damn fun. However, the inconsistency of the difficulty and the absolute fun vacuum that made up most of the hang-gliding stages, combined with the general lack of content mean that it’s hard to justify as a must-own. Give it a try sometime, it’s fun, but don’t expect it to be much more than a quick to beat game that you don’t really remember very well a year later.



Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

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I started this game shortly before Breath of the Wild came out, and it took me until I’d finally beat BOTW 3 months later to get back to it.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a turn based strategy game for Game Boy Advance (although I played it on my 3DS for convenience) and is the 8th game in the series, and the 2nd to be released in the west. It centres around the Princess Eirika and the Prince Ephraim as they fight to protect their land after the neighbouring Grado Empire attacks. This is all confusing as the Empire is run by their best buddy and yada yada yada, the story is serviceable but not especially exciting.

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Recently Fire Emblem Echoes has been released, which is a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden for NES. That game is consistently regarded as the series’ black sheep entry, but in truth, a lot of it’s key mechanics have been very prevalent in recent entries, including but not limited to the ability to grind outside of battle (which is in Awakening and Fates), the ability to reclass units into multiple class options (also in both of those), the ability to promote more than once (this was in Radiant Dawn), chapters where you follow different heroes (Radiant Dawn, Fates) and class specific skills (basically everything now). In many ways, it was way ahead of it’s time in the series. And many of these mechanics made their first reappearance since Gaiden in Sacred Stones.

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Sacred Stones allows for out of battle grinding, options between multiple classes to become upon promotion, class specific abilities on certain classes and split story paths between Ephraim and Eirika. The first third of the game has you playing as Eirika, before you have the option to continue with Eirika or play as Ephraim from that point on. The next 6 or so missions are unique to each character, before they reunite and you can use both units for the last third of the game. Even then though, these last few missions often differ depending which unit you chose as your main Lord.

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Class promotion is interesting, with every class having at least 2 options of who to promote into. For example, your bog standard cavalier can become a Paladin as usual, or switch to a Great Knight, a slower but massively armoured unit with greater weapon diversity. Many of these units can be promoted into by multiple base classes, such as the Assassin, which can be reached by promoting either a Thief or a Myrmidon. The one downside of this is that the class balancing is sometimes weird in order to allow for multiple ways to reach them, and some of them use their uniqueness.

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For example, in previous games Bishops were the only advanced class that could use Light magic, but in this game, Sages can use both Light and Anima, meaning they’re better rounded. This is made up for by the Bishop having a class ability, but sometimes the alternate classes are just outright worse – like the Paladin, who is basically a worse option than the great knight in almost every way. Also included are ‘pre-unpromoted’ classes who must reach 10 levels before getting a choice of base class to become – giving them 3 or 4 options for their final class as opposed to the normal 2, and offering them extra time to gain more stat gains from levelling.

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At the time Sacred Stones came out, I liked it, but preferred Fire Emblem (7) in almost every way. I liked the characters more, the story more, the noticeably higher difficulty level more. I like no grinding outside of battle and I honestly like the simplicity of straight promotions too. I still tend to think that way too – whilst I loved Fire Emblem Awakening, I still prefer simplicity over it’s myriad of systems that felt completely nonessential. I find it easier to enjoy the game when I can get on with things and not spend as long planning out progression for 15 characters. Nowadays, Sacred Stones feels like an acceptable middle ground to me. It’s far closer to the basics than recent entries have been, whilst still offering enough options to let you customise your team better.

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Sacred Stones is generally regarded as one of the lesser entries in the Fire Emblem series, as well as one of the easiest. They’re not wrong on the latter, but I feel the former feels a bit harsh, even if it’s only due to the high calibre of the series in general. Sacred Stones is a great game and a fun time, and I recommend it.

Just not as much as 7, that’s the best one.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:05 am

It makes me smile whenever someone plays Fire Emblem. :mrgreen:
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by alienjesus Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:10 am

ElkinFencer10 wrote:It makes me smile whenever someone plays Fire Emblem. :mrgreen:


I love me some Fire Emblem. I try to beat at least 1 a year, seeing as I own a crapload of them I still need to beat. I have them all except Thracia 776 and Shin Monsho No Nazo, and I've only beaten 1, 7, Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, Shadow Dragon and Awakening./

Going for two finished this year though. Just started up Echoes.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:12 am

Thracia 776 is one of my prized possessions. I only need New Mystery of the Emblem and Binding Blade to complete my collection.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Sarge Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:06 am

Well, Two Thrones does dial that back a little bit. It's Warrior Within that's the most egregious offender.

That lift fight was definitely rough. That being said, I think that's one where you have some sort of ridiculous hyper mode you can go into towards the end to polish off the rest of the enemies.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:49 pm

The two GBA Fire Emblem games were great fun. But after that, I honestly feel like I'm done with this series. The formula sounds like, it is what it is. Two entries was a fun romp but that's all I think I need. I don't mean this in a bad way. But I feel like I've just checked it off the list and have many other options I'd rather get to. The novelty originally was that it was cool seeing Nintendo take on a more serious kind of series (not sure about thesedays), but yeah... I don't think they really stack up compared to other SRPG's I enjoyed more. Even Shining Force was more fun to me.

I don't need anymore Fire Emblem in my life. Maybe I'll play the phone one someday though.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:55 pm

Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 55
* denotes a replay

January (10 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
6. Ys I - TurboGrafx-CD - January 13
7. Ys II - TurboGrafx-CD - January 14
8. Dragon Quest Builders - PlayStation 4 - January 23
9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. School Girl/Zombie Hunter - PlayStation 4 - January 29


February (12 Games Beaten)
11. Fire Emblem Heroes - Android - February 3
12. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Wii U - February 5
13. Dante's Inferno - PlayStation 3 - February 7
14. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - DS - February 11
15. Persona 4: Dancing All Night - Vita - February 12
16. Sniper Elite 4 - PlayStation 4 - February 17
17. Pony Quest - NES - February 19
18. Halo Wars 2 - Xbox One - February 22
19. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions - PlayStation Portable - February 24
20. Hotline Miami - PlayStation 4 - February 26
21. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light - Famicom - February 27
22. Bad Dudes - NES - February 28


March (6 Games Beaten)
23. Root Letter - PlayStation 4 - March 2
24. Vroom in the Night Sky - Switch - March 10
25. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Switch - March 17
26. Super Bomberman R - Switch - March 18
27. Super Mario Run - Android - March 24
28. I Am Setsuna - Switch - March 24


April (9 Games Beaten)
29. Mass Effect: Andromeda - PlayStation 4 - April 1
30. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army - PlayStation 4 - April 2
31. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 - PlayStation 4 - April 2
32. New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers - Switch - April 3
33. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 3 - PlayStation 4 - April 4
34. Persona 5 - PlayStation 4 - April 17
35. Alienation - PlayStation 4 - April 18
36. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - PlayStation 4 - April 23
37. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair - PlayStation 4 - April 29


May (14 Games Beaten)
38. Puyo Puyo Tetris - Switch - May 4
39. Fire Emblem Gaiden - Famicom - May 6
40. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Switch - May 6
41. Outlast II - PlayStation 4 - May 7
42. Dishonored - PlayStation 4 - May 10
43. Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! - Switch - May 12
44. Pikmin - Gamecube - May 12
45. Metal Slug - Neo Geo MVS - May 13*
46. Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Savior - PlayStation 4 - May 14
47. Batman: The TellTale Series - PlayStation 4 - May 17
48. Batman: Arkham VR - PlayStation 4 - May 18
49. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - 3DS - May 25
50. Farpoint - PlayStation 4 - May 27
51. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Xbox 360 - May 29


June (4 Games Beaten)
52. Star Trek: Bridge Crew - PlayStation 4 - June 2
53. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - PlayStation 4 - June 3
54. Rebel Galaxy - PC - June 18
55. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - Vita - June 20


55. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - Vita - June 20

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This game is too god damn long.  Like, don't get me wrong, it was a great game, but it definitely wore out its welcome well before it ended.  I found myself screaming at my Vita "JUST END.  STOP.  STOP HAVING MORE GAME.  JUST BE OVER."  Some folks may say "Just stop playing if you're tired of the game."  Some folks have clearly never met me.  It took 64 hours to finish this game.  Granted, some of that was wandering around trying to find a quest person, some of that was grinding, some of that was getting lost, but still.  64 hours.  That's a long ass game.

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is the second part in the Trails of Cold Steel trilogy which is itself a sequel to the Trails in the Sky trilogy.  Having not played Trails in the Sky yet because I'm an idiot and didn't realize they were a thing, I'm not entirely sure how Trails of Cold Steel fits into that timeline, but the folks at Falcom do excel at world-building and establishing lore, so that trilogy is definitely on my "games to play at some point in relatively near future hopefully maybe if I'm lucky" list.  Anyway, the game picks up almost exactly where Trails of Cold Steel left off.  Well, where it left off from Rean's perspective; a month has actually passed, but Rean's been in a coma for that month, so it's kind of a moot point.

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In terms of visuals and gameplay, everything is almost exactly like the first Trails of Cold Steel.  It really is a "the same but more" sequel, and that's not really a bad thing.  "The same" is fantastic; I just wish they had used a little bit less of the "and more" part.  Whereas in the first game your chapters were divided up into different field study locations, this game has four main parts and a short part - "Act I," the fairly short "Intermission," "Act II," "Finale," and "We at Falcom Clearly Have No Idea What the Word 'Finale' Means."  Okay, so I made up the last title, but seriously, there's an extra 10 hours of shit after the end of "Finale."  Despite the difficulties with words and the excessive length, however, the game honestly is quite good, and while the character development wasn't quite as engaging as the first game since the characters have already been established, the actual plot itself feels much more substantial.  The majority of the first game had a very "slice of life" feel up until the end in a lot of ways, but this one starts off in the middle of a civil war, so there's a major conflict that the end of the first game gets you invested in.

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One change that was made since previous game that I did appreciate despite being a relatively minor thing is the ability about halfway through the game to use the horse or orbal bike on pretty much any highway in the game.  That made traveling around a LOT faster, especially when you were backtracking for side quests.  Now to balance that with a change I didn't like so much is that it had you do a fair bit of backtracking.  "Go to these towns."  A short while later, "Go to those towns again."  A bit after that, "Go back to those towns and find the nearby shrine."  "Guess where you need to again?  Those towns!"  Yeah, you were doing different shit, but whereas the first game had you spend a decent chunk of time in different towns, you finished that town and were done.  You spend less time each visit, but they have you visiting the same places repeatedly.  You probably end up spending about the same amount of time in each town as you did in the first game, but because of the way they went about structuring it, it feels a lot more repetitive than it needs to.

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I know I've spent more time here focusing on things that irked me than things that I liked about the game, but The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II really is an exceptional JRPG and an extremely competent sequel.  I don't think it quite surpasses its predecessor, and the pacing could have used some work, but the gameplay itself is a blast, dungeons are fun to explore, and the combat system is fantastic.  Truthfully, my only major complaint is the length.  It's not that 50-70 hours (depending on how much time you spend on side stuff) is too long for a game, but the game's pacing has to keep me engaged and interested for that time, and some manage it.  Unfortunately, this one lost me at about the 40 hour mark. If they'd condensed a few things, left about a few things that really didn't need to be there and served no purpose except maybe setting up for the third game but in a way that won't make sense until you play that game, or just kept the pacing a bit smoother and more even, the length would have been fine.  Even despite that, though, it's a worthwhile game, and if you've played the first Trails of Cold Steel, you're not going to be able to resist the need to play this one with how the first game ended.  Trails of Cold Steel II is a good game and one that I'd recommend, but allow yourself to take breaks to keep from burning out like I did. 
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:27 pm

I've been interested in these games. What would you compare the battle system to? Are these better than Tales? I get in weird moods for super anime styled games sometimes and they seem comparable art direction wise.

Just how good and serious are the stories? It's hard to tell at a glance. But I've seen people throw around Suikoden in reviews for these...

I have Trials in the Sky 1 on Steam and have been eyeballing the first Cold Steel for PS3.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:33 pm

Trails in the Sky 1 is a fairly serious story with some less than serious moments in it. For most of it the plot is you going on your first real journey as hired troubleshooters, so it's lighter fair. But the stuff that goes wrong is still serious, like a missing airship. It's sort of like the first arc of Bleach, where there are real problems but they aren't afraid to relieve tension now and again. Once you hit the penultimate chapter the more sinister plot that was on the edges of what you were doing starts to show itself.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by CFFJR Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:55 am

In broad strokes, the Cold Steel games are about politics, war, and the social fallout of a rigid class system.

There's more to it than that of course, with plenty of personal drama, a bit of silliness and anime tropes that come and go.

The first game takes a bit to warm up in this regard, but don't be fooled, give it time. The main characters are teenagers being taught and you will learn as they do.

It's worth noting that all of the Trails games, including two psp titles that remain Japan only for now (Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki) are all telling parts of a much grander story. Not only do they hint at each other, but characters cross over, and significant events in one game may only be witnessed from afar in another without much explanation (as the characters themselves don't know what's happening). Zero and Ao and Cold Steel 1 & 2 do this a lot, as the games take place at roughly the same time in neighboring countries.

It should also be said that this story isn't complete yet and probably won't be even after Cold Steel 3 comes out. Falcom is playing a long game with this.
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