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Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:55 am
by ElkinFencer10
After being sick for a couple days and not feeling like doing any writing, I'm back playing catch up with my reviews!

Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 117
* denotes a replay

January (10 Games Beaten)
1. Persona 4 Arena - Playstation 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 (10 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
56. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - PC - June 21*
57. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Spearhead - PC - June 21
58. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Breakthrough - PC - June 22
59. Aliens Versus Predator - PC - June 23
60. Army Men - PC - June 24*
61. Apartment 666 - PC - June 26

July (20 Games Beaten)
62. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist - Genesis - July 12*
63. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone - PlayStation 4 - July 15
64. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine - PlayStation 4 - July 22
65. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - PlayStation 4 - July 24
66. Splatoon 2 - Switch - July 25
67. Kamiko - Switch - July 25
68. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge - Xbox - July 26
69. Panzer Dragoon - Saturn - July 27*
70. Snake Pass - Switch - July 27
71. Buck Bumble - Nintendo 64 - July 28*
72. Castlevania - NES - July 29
73. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest - NES - July 29
74. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - NES - July 29
75. Super Castlevania IV - SNES - July 30
76. Castlevania Adventure - Game Boy - July 30
77. Castlevania Adventure Rebirth - Wii - July 30
78. Contra Rebirth - Wii - July 31
79. Heavy Fire: Special Operations - Wii - July 31
80. Heavy Fire: Black Arms - Wii - July 31
81. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn - July 31*

August (9 Games Beaten)
82. Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius - Steam - August 4
83. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn - August 5
84. Sunrider: Liberation Day - Steam - August 6
85. Emily is Away - Steam - August 8
86. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - SNES - August 19
87. Nights of Azure - PlayStation 4 - August 25
88. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - PlayStation 4 - August 26
89. Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut - Xbox One - August 27
90. Devil's Third - Wii U - August 30*

September (14 Games Beaten)
91. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Switch - September 4
92. Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom - Wii U - September 4
93. Daytona USA - Xbox 360 - September 6
94. Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara - Wii U - September 6
95. Cave Story+ - Switch - September 10
96. Cosmic Star Heroine - Steam - September 14
97. Lego Worlds - Switch - September 16
98. Metroid: Samus Returns - 3DS - September 18
99. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls - PlayStation 4 - September 23
100. Weeping Doll - PlayStation VR - September 23
101. Dying: Reborn VR - PlayStation VR - September 24
102. Shadow Warrior 2 - PlayStation 4 - September 28
103. Pokken Tournament DX - Switch - September 29
104. White Day: A Labyrinth Called School - PlayStation 4 - September 30

October (7 Games Beaten)
105. Monster High: New Ghoul in School - Wii U - October 2
106. Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash - PlayStation 4 - October 8
107. Barbie Dreamhouse Party - Wii U - October 14
108. Tales of Berseria - PlayStation 4 - October 25
109. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online - PlayStation 4 - October 28
110. Super Mario Odyssey - Switch - October 30
111. Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti - Famicom - October 31

November (6 Games Beaten)
112. Fire Emblem Warriors - Switch - November 1
113. Sine Mora EX - Switch - November 2
114. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - TurboGrafx-CD - November 4
115. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper - Wii U - November 4
116. The Bunker - PlayStation 4 - November 5
117. Dear Esther - PlayStation 4 - November 5

117. Dear Esther - PlayStation 4 - November 5


Dear Esther is a game that I've heard people hotly debate. The main debate isn't over the game's visuals or story or voice acting but on whether or not it even deserves to be called a game. Dear Esther is the best example I've found of a relatively new genre - the "walking simulator." While opinions on the genre as a whole and this game specifically remain fairly divisive in a lot of circles, I was extremely satisfied with my experience with Dear Esther.


The "gameplay" in Dear Esther doesn't really exist, at least not in a traditional sense. The entire game consists of walking - not running or jogging, but walking - across a deserted island as an anonymous narrator reads letters to Esther. There's no context given to these letters, and they're triggered by reaching different parts of the island, meaning that the letters are often read in a different order each playthrough. That ambiguity is the game's strongest aspect because it leaves it up to the player's own mind and understanding to piece together the story. There are a few different people mentioned in the letters, but exactly who is who isn't made explicitly clear. It's a kind of agency that games rarely give players, and it serves only to deepen immersion.


The most striking thing about Dear Esther early on is the visuals. The island is absolutely beautiful especially with respect to the lighting effects. On some of the higher areas of the island, it's an extremely rewarding view to just look over a cliff at the landscape below and the sea stretching out the horizon. It's not AAA game studio tier, but it is breathtaking, especially with the way the game is presented. That presentation is probably the game's strongest aspect. You're given no context, no prompting, and no goal. You just start walking and eventually hear the narrator. Then you keep walking, and you start to piece together the story little by little, always with enough gaps left to keep you interested and curious. I've never before had a game's story engross me in quite that way before.


If the visuals are the most striking aspect of the game, the part of the game that will last the longest in players' memories is the way it makes you feel. Lots of game make you sympathize or even empathize with the characters, and there are some games with great storytelling. There are tons of games with voice acting so superb that the characters feel like real people. Dear Esther is something else. When I finished the game, I felt. I felt the sorrow of the narrator's loneliness. I felt the despair of his hopelessness. I felt the anguish of his mourning. Whoever did the voice acting for the narrator gave one of the most masterful performances in voice acting history, and I firmly stand by that statement. His voice is the only connection to the game's narrative that you get, and it alone is enough to make you feel every emotion, both fleeting and life changing, that the character felt. It's truly a marvelous performance.


Dear Esther is, in a lot of ways, the finest of what the walking sim genre has to offer. I want to give it a perfect rating due to how brilliantly the game delivered its narrative, how perfectly balanced the ambiguity of the story is, and how emotionally powerful the presentation is. The only reason I can't is because it is a pure walking sim; most others incorporate some degree of puzzle solving to give the game a little more gameplay, and that little bit of interactivity is needed to push me over the edge. Even just finding a few ancillary documents throughout the island that give a little context. The fact that I'm so tempted to give it a perfect rating even with no actual interactive gameplay, though, should be a testament to how damn incredible the game's presentation and emotional impact are. If you're at all interested in powerful stories, you owe it to yourself to play Dear Esther.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:13 am
by noiseredux
Xeogred wrote:
noiseredux wrote:Nice write up Xeo. Evil Within 2 is on my want to play list but you just bumped it up higher.

Yes! Thought of you when I wrote that up, wondering if you were interested or would see that. I can't remember if you liked the first game or not (I don't think anyone here but me did...), but yeah the second is totally worth checking out regardless. I bet you'd dig it.

I still haven't played the first. I've meant to since release. And then I was planning to finally play it when the sequel came out, except the reviews of the second one have seemed much better, so I wasn't sure if I should just jump to the second first. Either way, I'm interested in both and do plan to get to them at some point for sure.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:17 am
by dunpeal2064
Got a couple new clears in this weekend!

Midnight Resistance (Genesis, 1CC):

This is quite a lovely run 'n gun, and this conversion definitely falls into the realm of "Port that may surpass its arcade original". The biggest barrier to entry will likely be the odd control scheme. The arcade game was played with two sticks, ala Robotron, and of course converting that required some liberties be taken. Highly recommend sticking with the default controls (A to initiate autofire, Hold B to lock your directional aim, C to jump). It feels similar to Atomic Runner (Another Data East gem of a port), in that it quickly goes from awkward, to totally badass once you come to grips with it. Its a fairly short romp, and with pretty forgiving difficulty throughout, though there is enough to keep you on your toes. Music is out of this world, fairly sure Sakimoto worked on this conversion as he did the other DECO>Home ports, and the work here is stunning. Its not a Contra 3, for sure, but I think its the sort of game with enough charm and fun gameplay to warrant a look nonetheless.

Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis, 1CC, Axel)

Finally, holy crap. Been working on this clear off and on for too long. I am only now really coming to grips with the nuances of this genre, having spent recent time with Final Fight 2/3, The Ninjawarriors Again, etc. Coming back to SOR2 after this made a huge difference, and the game became much more managable when approached correctly. I wouldn't be surprised if this game is considered an easy 1cc to Beat em Up veterans. After getting this clear, and having a rush of confidence, I went to SOR1 thinking I could nail that one down, but NOPE! That game is much leaner and meaner, imo. Not much to say on the quality of the game, as its fuckin SOR2. Still not sure which of the trilogy is my favorite, and I could see an argument being made for any of the 3.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:38 am
by Xeogred
SoR2 is my favorite. 8)

Dear Esther looks great, been thinking of hitting it up myself sometime soon.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:41 am
by dunpeal2064
Xeogred wrote:SoR2 is my favorite. 8)

I'll share my thoughts on the series :)

SOR - While less full than the later games, I really love the brisk and constant pace the game keeps. It is so much faster than 2 and 3, to the point of almost feeling like its from a different series. Also, cop car is rad. Of the three, this feels the most arcade-like. As swift and action-packed as it is though, I do find myself missing specials and far better sprites. Very good ost here, of course, which I think often gets overshadowed by the sequels.

SOR2 - Easily the most well-made and balanced of the three. If I had to pick an objective best, this would be it. Big sprites, varied enemies, lovely stages, sweet special moves, wonderful ost. It just does everything right.

SOR3 - Ambitious in almost every corner. Hidden playable characters, expanded moveset including running and vertical rolling, insanely risky (but imo absolutely wonderful) ost. Feels like SOR turned to 11. In doing so, as often happens with ambitious sequels, it comes out less balanced and well made than SOR2. (Speaking to BK3, since SOR3 also had the misfortune of getting butchered in localization, unlike the other two).

All 3 are just damn, damn good. As someone who tends to take ambition over perfection, I often lean towards 3 (I also love that music so so much), but its a tough pick.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:22 pm
by Exhuminator
ElkinFencer10 wrote:The only reason I can't is because it is a pure walking sim; most others incorporate some degree of puzzle solving to give the game a little more gameplay, and that little bit of interactivity is needed to push me over the edge.

This is what you want.


98. Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection | PC | 2008/2017 | 9/10

In 2001, Falcom released a PC game called "Zwei!!", the German word for "two". Two, because you used two protagonists simultaneously as you played the game. In 2008, Falcom released "Zwei II", a PC sequel with a mostly standalone story. In 2017, XSEED localized Zwei II for English audiences as "Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection" (henceforth Zwei), releasing it on GOG and Steam. Like its predecessor, Zwei stars two simultaneous protagonists; Ragna, a red headed treasure hunter seeking his kidnapped sister, and Alwen, a vampiric sorceress trying to claim back her stolen throne. On one of his explorations Ragna flies to Ilvard, crosses aerial paths with powerful adversaries, is defeated midair, and crash lands, nearly dying. Alwen happens to see the event and saves Ragna's life, at the cost of a blood pact. Long story short; Ragna and Alwen become bonded partners, both symbiotically helping each other in their individual quests.


Zwei is an action-RPG, with simple controls. There is a melee button that causes Ragna to attack with his anchor gear, a vicious whip-like weapon with serious slicing ability. There is a magic button, that causes Alwen to attack with various magical capabilities. A simple example of how this works is for Alwen to cast freeze on an enemy, and then Ragna to kill it while it's frozen. Because switching between the two allies is instantaneous, utilizing their combat combo attacks is a frequent asset. Ragna's anchor gear is upgrade-able over time, and Alwen continuously learns new spells throughout the adventure. Both characters can also gain armor and special items to increase their combat effectiveness. Another important part of combat is pets. The player will have the ability to gain a pet and train it (i.e. let it follow you as you fight). Pets follow Ragna and Alwen as they explore dungeons. I chose a dog, who started out fairly useless. Eventually the dog evolved into a hell-hound, having the ability to attack enemies with magic, dig up hidden items, and collect enemy item drops. The latter was very useful, as enemies explode like pinatas into showers of coins and food when you kill them.


Food serves two purposes in Zwei. One, it replenishes lost hit points, and two, it gives experience for leveling up. It might sound strange to level up from health restoratives, but I found this system worked surprisingly well. It gives the player full control over how and when they level up, but the necessity of using food also as health restoratives keeps the player from just eating all their food as soon as they get it. The player also has the ability to combine ten food items of one type into a more powerful type, making redundant low level food drops become seriously useful. Other ways of upgrading have to do with finding anchor gear parts hidden away in dungeons, or by running across a rather flamboyant gym instructor (he will train Ragna and Alwen). It's possible to purchase equipment upgrades of course, as enemies drop lots of penne (money). One good way of making penne is by finding "mysterious treasures" in dungeons, which the player donates to a local museum for profit. Not only does the player get rewarded financially, but it's fun to see the museum grow with visually interesting exhibits.


Most of the player's time is spent exploring isometrically angled dungeons. Every dungeon is filled with enemies, and has multiple floors with starting points and ending points, hidden treasures, puzzles that range from simple to byzantine, some platforming (yes you can jump in Zwei), and ultimately a boss battle. An interesting aspect of dungeon delving is there are often forks (with save points nearby). Sometimes the forks are gated by abilities the player doesn't have yet. Thankfully warping back to these forks is easy, due to the every save point acting also as a warp point. Exploring forks always leads to a great reward, but isn't always necessary. I say that because Zwei is a rather easy game. If you have experience with action-RPGs, you'll probably fly through most of Zwei. Except for perhaps the very last dungeon and final final boss, but even that stuff isn't too bad. The formulaic style of Zwei's dungeons didn't become overly redundant to me, rather I enjoyed the cyclic flow of their designs.


For being a nine year old PC game (at the time of this writing), Zwei still looks very nice, especially if you crank all of its visual settings to max at a high resolution. The graphical style is cutesy, but not overly so. (The awesome bosses still look menacing.) Musically Zwei is amazing, with Falcom's "Sound Team jdk" performing yet another fantastic OST as they always do. The controls are simple, responsive, and tight... if you use a controller, as any reasonable person would. And XSEED's localization here is just brilliant. Both the textual translation and vocal dubbing are 10/10 perfection. And that's very much appreciated, as Zwei is a rather comical affair that benefits from such professional treatment. (I laughed out loud literally at more than a few moments in this game.) XSEED's work brings to life a plot that is both interesting, emotional, and humorous, with characters you're sure to love (service penguin!). From top to bottom, aesthetically, aurally, interactively, and localization-ally, Zwei's entire presentation is absolutely solid. Even the game's menu systems are impressive. Plus, Zwei didn't crash a single time in 19 hours of playing... not something I can often say about modern PC games.


If you put modern Ys, Threads of Fate, Gurumin, and Secret of Mana in a blender, you'd end up with Zwei. If that combination sounds fun to you, don't hesitate to buy this. In the west, Falcom is known in the mainstream for Ys and Legend of Heroes. It's so sad that all too often Falcom's other English available releases are ignored. I deeply hope that Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection doesn't get cast aside by casual RPG players as Brandish: The Dark Revenant, Xanadu Next, and Nayuta: Endless Trails were before it. Zwei has so much to offer a genre enthusiast, from its fantastic main quest, to its deep optional content, even down to its expansive beastiary. There's even a new game plus mode, that allows the player to access high level dungeons that weren't available in the initial playthrough. If you enjoy breezy lighthearted action-JRPGs, you absolutely owe it to yourself to play this one. As long as this review is, I still haven't done Zwei justice in touching on all its merits and innovations. Let me just say this in closing; Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection is a masterpiece of its genre.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:29 pm
by Sarge
Wow, high praise indeed. My interest upgraded another notch. Perhaps when I'm in the throes of Thanksgiving holidays I'll pick it up. Assuming I'm not still collecting Power Moons in Super Mario Odyssey... good grief, are there a lot. I'd almost argue too many.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:55 pm
by Exhuminator
Sarge wrote:Wow, high praise indeed. My interest upgraded another notch.

All I can say is; nobody does action-JRPGs better than Falcom.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:50 pm
by Blu
1. Runbow - Wii U
2. Battlefield 1 - Xbox One
3. Until Dawn - PS4
4. Super Mario Sunshine - Gamecube
5. Titanfall 2 - Xbox One
6. Wario Ware, Inc: Mega Party Game$ - Gamecube
7. Pikmin 2 - Gamecube
8. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Wii U
9. Dawn of War 2 - PC
10. Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - PC
11. Sonic Mania - PS4
12. Castlevania IV - SNES
13. Super Monkey Ball - GameCube

In honor of JMustang1968's favorite series of all time, I decided to play through the original masterpiece of Super Money Ball. It's a 3D Marble Madness with Monkey's in hamster balls. The stages are wacky and zany. You collect bananas and try not to fall off of floating stages. There's a speedometer for some reason! I think it was pretty good, and will likely come back and try the intermediate and advanced stages at a later time. My goal is to beat Yakuza 0 and Cuphead next!

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:13 pm
by dunpeal2064
Oh man, Super Monkey Ball is so good. Highly recommend checking out the higher difficulties, as that is where the game truly starts to shine. It and its sequel both are among my most favorite Gamecube games.