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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:56 pm

1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
2. Wonder Girl: the Dragon's Trap (Switch)
3. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS)
4. Chrono Trigger (DS)

I was anxious going into this title. I had tried to play it in an emulator maybe 14 years ago or so, but one boss shut me down. I think it was Golem. The first time you face Golem you are allowed to lose, but I was not in the mood for that, and I'd struggled some with the game prior to that as well. So I quit and never went back. Until last month. Thanks to Together Retro, I decided it was time to take a crack at CT again, this time on the DS, which is an excellent version of the game. It feels very true to the SNES, but with a few modern UI conveniences due to the DS's second screen. So let's talk, then, about Chrono Trigger. Just a warning in advance. This is a lot of text and no pretty pictures. And since I'm one of those people who tends to be overly critical at times, you're probably going to get pissed at my review if you're a real lover of this game. If you read my summary paragraph at the end, though, I think that'll help put it all in perspective.

Chrono Trigger is widely lauded as the best RPG on the SNES, and sometimes as the best RPG of all time. The latter claim is quite a bit hyperbolic, but the former may have some value, depending on your preferences in RPGs.

Let's start with what's good about Chrono Trigger. For SNES music, the soundtrack is excellent, and Mitsuda's compositions are great. You can hear some of Uematsu's contributions here and there as well, and the two composers' respective works blend together quite well as a cohesive whole. The graphics are pretty good, some some rather interesting special effects in the late game for some of the special Techniques that show off stuff the SNES can do that's unique to its hardware. The story is decent for a time-travel narrative. And since the RPG is pretty light-hearted, even in its more serious moments, the continuity problems that are rife with most (even all) time travel stories don't really present a challenge to suspending disbelief. Once you do all the side-story content in the late-game run up to the end-game, the characters (Chrono aside) actually come off pretty well. Sure, they're fairly stock characters without a ton of complexity, but once you've done the side quests their personalities become more apparent and they become much more likable. And the game does introduce some interesting story ideas about the world it is set in. The game is not particularly long, as RPGs of the era go. It took me about 30 hours, but some folks can do the game in 20 to 25 comfortably. It was pretty challenging in a few places in the early and mid-game, but thanks to not avoiding battles and doing all the side content, I was able to glide through the latter third of the game fairly easily for the most part.

But the game certainly isn't flawless. Until you get to those late game side-quests, all of which are optional and not necessarily well sign-posted, the characters really don't feel all that compelling. They all have some character moments, but those are just fulfilling certain roles in the story. They feel like stock characters who are in the story because the story needs that kind of character to push it along. I didn't feel attached to any of them, except perhaps Ayla and Robo, until I played those side-quests. And suddenly I learned more about these characters, details that were related to the story but not essential for it. The characters started to become more fully realized, and that made a big difference. If I hadn't played those side-quests, or even known about them to play them, I would have wrapped up the game probably feeling pretty "meh" about the game's cast. I think that's why I ended up not coming back to the game so many years ago. Also, I'm not a fan of the silent protagonist. Chrono is a total dud. No personality. I know that's on purpose, but once the rest of the characters open up, he feels like a real turd in comparison.

There's also a moment very early in the game where you end up making a bunch of little changes that can have an effect on the story, except the game doesn't really hint to you that you're making those choices. And it actually only has so great an effect. It kind of makes me wonder why they bothered to include it, especially since there are no other scenes anything like it later in the game. It's like they're allowing you to have some minor narrative impact, but you don't find out you have that impact until you already did it. At least that particular narrative impact is so minor as to not really amount to much, so it's not like you can accidentally screw yourself over or anything, though the game certainly seems to make a big deal about pointing out your choices/not-really-choices. You do actually have some narrative impact later that affects the ending of the game (more later), but it manifests in a very different form than this early example.

I also felt that the end-game had too little story and too much combat, and that too many combat accessories that opened up gameplay were shoehorned into the late-game. Basically, in the early and middle portions of the game, the accessories you get are mostly stat-boosters, with a couple nice exceptions. It isn't until the latter portion of the game, in many of the side-quests, that you start getting items that do things like boost critical rates and open up new triple techs (more on techs later). And you start getting lots of armor with different additional effects, like elemental resistance or absorption and immunities. A little of this shows up in the middle third of the game, but the end of the game is replete with it. And despite all the late-game decisions about who to take with you in your party and what to equip them with, it felt like in-battle options actually shrank, but more of that in the next bit. Basically, I wish the interesting items and abilities had been more spaced out and the final "dungeon" had been much shorter. After all those great story and character development moments in the side-quests, I was expected to slog thanklessly through battle after battle after battle to get to the end of the game. I kind of wish that last-gasp had been quite a bit shorter and tighter, with some character moments interspersed.

Let's talk about the mechanics of the game. You can see many of the enemies on the map and try to avoid them. This is great for saving time re-traversing previously visited areas, but you probably don't want to skip battles your first time through or you may find yourself unprepared for some fights, especially early on in the game. During combat, you are place around the battlefield instead of just lined up on one side with the enemies on the other. And placement on the battlefield is important, at least early on. Some enemies can't counter attack you until they move close enough, for example. The down side of this, however, is that you can't adjust your battlefield location. Enemies can wander around the battlefield and change their arrangement, but you can't. Wherever the game put you, you're stuck, unless a rare enemy attack happens to knock you to the end of the screen. And none of your attacks seem limited by range. You can melee anyone, no matter how far away they are, and for the most part so can the enemies.

Your characters don't really have spells, per se, though some do acquire magic later in the game. Instead, you have techniques. Some are just attacks and some have elemental affinity. Each character has a designated element, and with one exception, their spells are largely limited to that elemental sphere. You also get double and triple techs, which are combined attacks. Sometimes it will involve one character adding an elemental effect to another's attack. Sometimes it's just tossing someone into the fight. Healing and other effects are also enhanced. The combo techniques tend to look pretty good and have an enhanced effect in battle. Early on, a lot of the effects are shaped as well. They will typically affect one enemy, or all enemies within a certain range, or all enemies in a line. Once you hit the latter half of the game, however, that largely changes. More powerful attacks become mostly limited to hitting one enemy or hitting all enemies, with only a few exceptions. Since you can't change your location on the battlefield, how useful those early techniques are in any given battle is really up to the game's designers, and not at all up to you. By the time you are in the late-game, it matters so little anyway that that strategic element of battle is largely nerfed. Instead you're customizing your party and equipment around physical and elemental strengths and weaknesses and positioning becomes mostly pointless.

I found this a little frustrating, because I really liked the idea of positioning-based combat. I loved the way Grandia and Grandia II implemented it, and also the way it was done in Panzer Dragoon Saga. Those games made positioning and attack shapes and ranges important, and throughout the entire length of the game, not just the beginning. They also give you the tools to change your positioning to find more advantageous positions. In Chrono Trigger, the game tells you it is important but doesn't give you the tools to really capitalize and thus never really follows through on the promise.

All that said, combat is still mostly a fun affair, with some minor strategy, but never too stressful, and few combats fall into the trap of being puzzle combats to the extent that Final Fantasy combats sometimes did. Yes, you do sometimes have to identify which part of a multi-part boss you should really be attacking to take out the whole thing, and yes, sometimes an enemy will be strong against, or even absorb, magic or physical attacks. But that's all pretty standard stuff. Nothing too far afield. Honestly, only the bosses that go overboard with attacks that halve your HP or drop you to 1 HP are ever much of a challenge, assuming you've not been avoiding fights. People have told me you don't have to grind in this game, but you kind of do. It's just a different kind of grinding. Instead of going back into areas to farm enemies for XP or gold, you just have to make sure you don't avoid the battles you can see on the screen. Unless you want a challenge. If you want to be challenged, try avoiding battles. So I guess you can get what you want out of the game in terms of difficulty.

One really standout quality of the game is the way it handles endings. There are a number of different endings, only some of which you can see on your first pass through the game. You have a number of opportunities to take on the last boss early, though, in truth, it's highly unlikely you'd survive. But even once you hit the end-game, you can choose to go straight to the last boss or do a ton of optional content. Going straight to the last boss would be a challenge, but not impossible, and a lot of the optional content is not sign-posted, so if you're not exploring you could miss it altogether. And those factors all affect the ending you get. And as long as you do the really obvious and important optional content prior to beating the game, you unlock New Game+, which lets you start over with your cool stuff, and opens up new opportunities to beat the game early, opening new endings. It also gives you a chance to catch some of those side quests you might have missed first time through (even though I think those character moments should have just been part of the game, not optional). I'm not the type to replay an RPG, but I must admit that I am tempted to see how it does when you're a powerhouse and there's some new chances to mess with the game's story and endings.


Ultimately, Chrono Trigger is an auditory and visual feast that does some neat things, but ends up feeling a quite a bit incomplete. There are all these signs that the creators were playing with big ideas and straining against limitations but had to make some massive compromises. Chrono Trigger is a good game, even a great one, and I know why people hold it up as a masterpiece. But coming to the game so far after it was originally released, it's hard for me to really put it in context. I've played games that do all the elements this one did much better and more completely. And while I appreciate that the game was doing so much with the SNES hardware and trying to be all these different things, the game can, at times, feel scattered as a result. The first 2/3 of the game end up feeling quite different in some ways from the latter 1/3. Ideas and mechanics introduced early in the game are dropped or not fully capitalized upon, and new mechanics are introduced later which, rather than working with earlier mechanics and ideas, end up supplanting them. And yet, despite my complaints, I did enjoy the game, especially in that latter 1/3 where I was doing side quests and learning more about the characters, at least up until the last dungeon. Chrono Trigger is, despite its problems, a high achiever and deserves a good grade. I'm really glad I finally got to play it and actually beat it. I'm not going to call it the best RPG ever, or even the best RPG of the 16-bit era, but I will call it highly recommended.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Sarge Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:07 pm

Very interesting writeup. I definitely appreciate reading comments from someone that is fresh to the game. As one of those "Chrono Trigger is the best RPG of all time" adherents, what would you say are the games that did various elements better? And I suppose a lot of that boils down to what you want from your RPGs. I think the biggest flaw was always that the game is mostly quite easy. But I enjoyed the light-hearted story, the combat gives you options without weighing you down too much in complexity, and the game moves at an extremely brisk pace.

I will also say that I think the script for the SNES version is a bit more colorful than the DS version, but both are good ways to play. I also thought, crazy optional weapons aside, that the additional content in the DS game was very lackluster.

Anyway, it's still my favorite JRPG; there are a few that have come close, but none have yet dethroned it. Most of those titles are also SNES games (Lufia II, Final Fantasy III), and I think a few Dragon Quest entries also get really close.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:39 pm

Sarge wrote:Very interesting writeup. I definitely appreciate reading comments from someone that is fresh to the game. As one of those "Chrono Trigger is the best RPG of all time" adherents, what would you say are the games that did various elements better? And I suppose a lot of that boils down to what you want from your RPGs. I think the biggest flaw was always that the game is mostly quite easy. But I enjoyed the light-hearted story, the combat gives you options without weighing you down too much in complexity, and the game moves at an extremely brisk pace.


Well, for battlefield positioning and magical effect AOE I'd say Grandia and Grandia II are probably my top choice. You can move on the battlefield, you can delay initiative with attacks and spells, distance to the enemy affects your melee attacks (or even if you can make one at all), and spell positioning and range is important as well. Plus, the on-screen battle initiative bar and other prompts make it really easy to figure out how to implement positioning-based and timing-based strategy. For combination attacks I like Phantasy Star IV better. No, it's not as easy to do the attacks, but it feels more rewarding, and more powerful, to pull them off successfully. Chrono Trigger is merely average when it comes to handling things like elemental damage and status immunities.

I did ultimately like the Chrono Trigger characters, but until those side quests kick in they are pretty shallow. Lots of RPGs trump the characters if you exclude the side quest content. And once you include the side quests, I think CT is as good as most of the best RPGs, but there are some still that are better. Look at some of Camelot's output, especially Shining Force III. Phantasy Star IV has great characters, too. Dragon Force also has fantastic characters, though the way you interact with them is quite different. That's a necessity of the difference in gameplay. None of those are quite as light-hearted, however. I think Final Fantasy IV and VI have more complex characters, although I can't say I really like the FFVI characters better (I do not, in fact). Grandia has that same lighter tone as Chrono Trigger and has great characters.

I like that Chrono Trigger's combat was lightweight, but then it turns around and gives you sections like the Sewers and Black Omen which are heavy on combat. If combat is simple and lightweight, you need to be doing less of it. I felt like if could have leveraged character positioning better and it still would have felt decently breezy, but also added just that little extra strategic "oomph". And the Sewers and Black Omen also caused the game to drag down, especially Black Omen. Black Omen shouldn't have been the combat slog it was, especially right at the end of the game where people are looking forward to being finished. Both those areas really interrupt the pacing of the game, IMO. I'm also not sure I agree that Chrono Trigger is as short and breezy an RPG as folks claim it is. It took me almost as long to beat Chrono Trigger on DS as it did Dragon Quest IV. It was a difference of like 3 hours or so, which isn't that much. Admittedly, I did all the optional side quests, but if you skip those Chrono Trigger becomes a less good game. In order to really rank Chrono Trigger highly you have to include that optional content, but some of that optional content slows down the game. And to go through all of it does add significantly to the total play time.

Sarge wrote:I will also say that I think the script for the SNES version is a bit more colorful than the DS version, but both are good ways to play. I also thought, crazy optional weapons aside, that the additional content in the DS game was very lackluster.


I didn't really dig into the extra DS content. I decided beating the game was enough. And I think the DS script is quite well-written. It isn't quite as quirky as the SNES translation, but it's much better constructed.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Sarge Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:58 pm

My problem these days is that I'm not coming in cold. My last time through the game only took 17 hours.

I actually like the Black Omen, but for other reasons. Gold Studs and Speed Tabs for everyone! Seriously, make sure to steal from the enemies there, they give really good stuff.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by noiseredux Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:20 pm

1. Ducktales: Remastered
2. Grand Theft Auto V
3. Diablo III: Darkening Of Tristram
4. Final Fantasy Type-0
5. The King Of Fighters: Neowave
6. Guardian Heroes
7. Puyo Puyo Tetris
8. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
9. Gunstar Heroes
10. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
11. Ultimate NES Remix
12. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
13. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
14. Madden NFL Football
15. Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire

well, damn. I didn't expect to actually enjoy a Pokemon game so much but I was sort of in the mood to give one another go after many years, and 20 hours later I had a blast. I'll write more about it later, but for now I'll just say I'm happy I gave this series another shot.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:24 am

Partridge Senpai's 2018 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017
* indicates a repeat

1-20


21-40


41-60
41. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass DLC (Switch)
42. Battle Block Theater (Xbox 360) *
43. Magicka (Steam) *
44. La-Mulana 2 (Steam)
45. Yooka-Laylee (Steam)
46. Snipper-Clips: Cut it Out Together! (Switch)
47. Magicka: Dungeons and Gargoyles (Steam)
48. Hearthstone: The Boomsday Project (PC)
49. Timespinner (PS4)
50. Hollow Knight (PC)
51. Wuppo (PC)
52. Super Mario Party (Switch)
53. Party Hard (Steam)
54. The Final Station (Steam)
55. GARAGE: Bad Trip (Steam)
56. Mr Shifty (Steam)
57. LISA (Steam)
58. LISA: The Joyful (Steam)
59. Divide by Sheep (Steam)
60. The Mummy: Demastered (Switch)


61. Iconoclasts (Steam)
62. Serial Cleaner (Twitch)
63. Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PSVita)
64. Hokuto Ga Gotoku [Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise] (PS4)
65. Pokemon Picross (3DS)
66. 3D Picross: Round 2 (3DS)
67. Vampyr (PS4)

68. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

I was hype af for the new Smash Bros last week, and boy was that hype met and then some! Yesterday afternoon I finished the last of the game's content, and I reckon it took me about 40 or so hours to totally do everything in the game 100% (except the online challenges as I don't have online). Compared to previous games in the series, the amount of absurdly difficult challenges for any kind of reward is substantially less, but I'm totally okay with that. This is a brilliant game and yet another example of Nintendo blowing precedent out of the water with a new title on Switch in an established franchise.

First what I did was Adventure mode, and that took me about 15.5 hours to complete. Adventure mode is yet another new take on a single-player content for Smash Bros, and it's the best they've ever done it. The player goes along paths on a world-map covered with fighters to unlock and other smaller fights to do for the game's Spirits. Spirits are buffs you can give you fighter in Adventure mode or in a spirits-enabled smash battle, and they provide attack and defensive buffs that increase as they level up by using them more to fight. They also have equip slots where support spirits can be put in that have effects from having faster charging smash moves to dealing more damage with some directional special (they're basically stickers from Brawl). In over 600 fights (MANY of which are entirely optional), you can go around the world map fighting battles themed around these spirits. For example, the Buzz Buzz spirit is fighting a stamina battle against a very tiny Mr. Game & Watch in the Onett stage who likes to avoid combat.

The set-ups for these fights just never ceased to be clever and interesting, and some of them downright brutal in how challenging they are. Adventure mode also adds 7 new boss battles (like Brawl had in its adventure mode) against a powerful AI NPC opponent, and you can also unlock every fighter in the game by going around the board and fighting them (but only unlocked for normal Smash when you finish Adventure mode). Outside of Adventure mode, there is also the Spirit Board, where you can just do these spirit fights outside of adventure mod against a cycling selection of 12 spirits to fight (and even after 100%-ing adventure mode, there are like 400 spirit fights not in Adventure mode only on the spirit board).

Now on the topic of unlocking characters, this game has a TON to unlock. In a roster of 74 fighters to unlock, only 8 are unlocked at the start: the roster from the original N64 game. Every 10 minutes played in any mode, you'll get a new challenger approaching from the list. Alternatively, completing anyone's classic mode will get you a new challenger to fight, and each classic mode takes about 10 or so minutes as well, as every character has their own specific classic mode with 6 fights centered around a theme (for example, Dr. Mario's is fighting 1 v 3's against opponents colored in yellow, blue, and red XD ). The classic modes are clever and fun just like the spirit fights are, and it was a joy to go through them just as it was go through the Adventure mode.

That said, for over 60 characters at 10 minutes a piece, that's over 10 hours to unlock every fighter in the game. In a game with nearly 1300 spirits to collect, I think this game already had MORE than enough collectables to hunt down to have them put the main meat & potatoes of the game behind a slow grind of over 10 hours of play time. This is compounded further by a lot of these challenger fights being quite legitimately hard (even for an experienced, decent Smash player like myself). The AI in this game ain't no slouch, and I have seen no shortage of complaints online about what a pain unlocking all the characters is, particularly for someone not that great at the game. Not having an easier method outside of using amiibos to unlock the characters really flies in the face of Smash being a party game, and is one of very few things I would say the previous Smash game did better than this one (as nearly every character was already unlocked).

This huge time investment to unlock characters is really the one significant complaint I have with Smash Ult, and even then it's not that big a complaint. Other complaints are far more minor, with the most minor being some somewhat problematic (although very Japanese) spirit design as both black human spirit characters (Dee Jay from Street Fighter and Mr. Sandman from Punch Out) are 1v1 fights against primates (Diddy and DK respectively Xp). And then this game also doesn't fix Smash 4's problem of a generally confusing and not entirely intuitive main menu system full of menus within menus that take some time to just suss out what is where through trial and error.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. As I said earlier, I loved this game to pieces. I was super hyped for it, and it delivered on everything I hoped for and then some. With a massive roster and an equally massive amount of single-player content (even outside of unlocking characters), Smash Bros Ultimate has really earned its title of the "Ultimate" Smash Bros game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:07 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 99
* denotes a replay

January (16 Games Beaten)
1. Phantasy Star Portable - PlayStation Portable - January 1
2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - Xbox One - January 9
3. Duck Tales - NES - January 10
4. Yakuza Kiwami - PlayStation 4 - January 14
5. Xuan-Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament - PlayStation 4 - January 20
6. Doki Doki Literature Club - Steam - January 20
7. Deep Space Waifu - Steam - January 21
8. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter - Steam - January 21
9. Duck Tales 2 - NES - January 22
10. TaleSpin - NES - January 22
11. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - NES - January 23
12. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 - NES - January 24
13. Global Defence Force - PlayStation 2 - January 24
14. Darkwing Duck - NES - January 25
15. Tiny Toon Adventures - NES - January 26
16. Poi - Steam - January 28


February (18 Games Beaten)
17. Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD - Steam - February 3
18. Final Fantasy Legend - Game Boy - February 5
19. Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni - Vita - February 5
20. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo - 3DS - February 8
21. Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Training - Android - February 8
22. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - SNES - February 10
23. X-COM: UFO Defense - Steam - February 14
24. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys -TurboGrafx-CD - February 18
25. Army Men - Game Boy Color - February 19
26. Army Men 2 - Game Boy Color - February 19
27. Army Men: Air Combat - Game Boy Color - February 20
28. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd - PlayStation Portable - February 22
29. Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 - Game Boy Color - February 22
30. Army Men Advance - Game Boy Advance - February 24
31. Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn - PlayStation 3 - February 25
32. Army Men: Operation Green - Game Boy Advance - February 26
33. A Night Out - PC - February 27
34. Army Men: Turf Wars - Game Boy Advance - February 27


March (10 Games Beaten)
35. Phantasy Star - Master System - March 10*
36. Grand Kingdom - PlayStation 4 - March 17
37. Bit.Trip Beat - Wii - March 18
38. Bit.Trip Core - Wii - March 18
39. Bit.Trip Void - Wii - March 18
40. Bit.Trip Runner - Wii - March 22
41. Bit.Trip Fate - Wii - March 22
42. Bit.Trip Flux - Wii - March 24
43. Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien - Wii U - March 25
44. My Nintendo Picross: Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess - 3DS - March 28


April (7 Games Beaten)
45. Gundam Breaker 3 - PlayStation 4 - April 4
46. Night Trap - PlayStation 4 - April 5
47. Corpse Killer - Sega CD 32X - April 9
48. Corpse Killer - Saturn - April 11*
49. Area 51 - Saturn - April 16*
50. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - Sega CD - April 17
51. SD Gundam G Generation Genesis - PlayStation 4 - April 28*


May (6 Games Beaten)
52. Detention - PlayStation 4 - May
53. Guacamelee - Wii U - May 6
54. EDGE - Wii U - May 7
55. RUSH - Wii U - May 9
56. Pokemon Snap - Nintendo 64 - May 27
57. Doom VFR - PS VR - May 27


June (20 Games Beaten)
58. Jurassic Pinball - Switch - June 8
59. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn - Switch - June 9
60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11
61. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 - Wii - June 12
62. Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Wii - June 14
63. Pokemon Quest - Switch - June 15
64. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - 3DS - June 17
65. Art of Balance - Wii U - June 17
66. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch - June 18
67. DmC Devil May Cry - PlayStation 4 - June 19
68. DmC Devil May Cry: Vergil's Downfall - PlayStation 4 - June 19
69. Assassin's Creed Rogue - PlayStation 3 - June 20
70. Assassin's Creed Unity - Xbox One - June 21
71. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Xbox One - June 22
72. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India - Xbox One - June 23
73. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia - Xbox One - June 24
74. New Gundam Breaker - PlayStation 4 - June 24
75. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard - PlayStation 3 - June 25
76. Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Xbox One - June 29
77. Ride to Hell: Retribution - Xbox 360 - June 30


July (8 Games Beaten)
78. Broforce - PlayStation 4 - July 4
79. Just Cause 2 - PlayStation 3 - July 4
80. Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry - Switch - July 5
81. Organ Trail - PlayStation 4 - July 5
82. Red Dead Revolver - Xbox - July 7
83. Omega Quintet - PlayStation 4 - July 13
84. Super Mario Sunshine - Gamecube - July 16
85. Nurse Love Addiction - Vita - July 17


August (4 Games Beaten)
86. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - PS4 - August 3
87. Life is Strange: Before the Storm - PS4 - August 3
88. Game of Thrones - PS4 - August 5
89. Star Trek - Steam - August 6


September (1 Game Beaten)
90. Pokemon Vega - Game Boy Advance - September 18


October (6 Games Beaten)
91. Panzer Dragoon Mini - Game Gear - October 5
92. Advance Wars - Game Boy Advance - October 7
93. Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Switch - October 18
94. Mario Tennis Aces - Switch - October 21
95. Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match - PS4 - October 21
96. Banner Saga - Steam - October 23


November (2 Games Beaten)
97. Xenogears - PlayStation - November 12
98. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight - PlayStation Vita - November 15


December (1 Game Beaten)
99. Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu! - Switch - December 12


99. Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu! - Switch - December 12

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Among Pokemon fans, the two newest games in the series, Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee, are pretty controversial. A lot of the more hardcore fans don't like how "dumbed down" the game is in a lot of ways, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's essentially a remake of Pokemon Yellow, but the 3D visuals and the jump to HD make this the most immersive Pokemon experience for me personally to date despite the simplified mechanics and strictly Gen 1 Pokedex.

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As the titles suggest, your starting pokemon with either Pikachu or Eevee depending on your version. You quickly get the opportunity to catch the three traditional Gen 1 starters, though, and they became the bedrock of my team. My team ended up being Pikachu (whom I nicknamed Marth), Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Gengar, and Starmie. While some folks have criticized the game for being too easy, I found it to be relaxing more so than childish. That's not to say that the game is completely devoid of challenge. You still need to use some strategy - you can't go fight Lt. Surge with a team of water and flying types and expect it to go well unless you're way over leveled - but it's not nearly as challenging as some of the older entries.

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The highlight of the game in terms of my immersion is definitely the HD visuals and having a pokemon of your choice follow behind you. Being a remake of Yellow which was inspired by the anime, the game features the images we've come to know and love for Professor Oak, Jessie and James, Blue, Nurse Joy, and Officer Jenny. The nostalgia here is real for millennials like me. It's not just for my age group, though. In a lot of ways, Let's Go, Pikachu/Eevee is for Pokemon what Mystic Quest was for Final Fantasy. It's designed intentionally to be an entry level game to bring newcomers to the series into the fold. As such, the biggest drive was accessibility. From that perspective, yeah, it's much simpler and less challenging than the mainline entries in the series. If you let that dissuade you from playing it, however, you're making a big mistake.

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One of the ways The Pokemon Company tried to make these games accessible is by only including the original 151 pokemon. Part of the reason for this is obviously that diving in head first to nearly 1000 pokemon is going to overwhelm potential newcomers. As a longtime fan, I was personally disappointed that the later pokemon are totally absent from the game, but I can hardly hold that against it; it would be judging the game on what I wanted it to be rather than what it was intended to be. That's what a lot of the user reviews I've seen seem to forget. This isn't a game for the established Pokemon fanbase. There's a lot there for us to love if we stop looking for flaws, but the game isn't for us. It's for newcomers who may have been hooked on Pokemon Go but never played a Pokemon game otherwise, and that's no small group of folks.

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What really sets Let's Go apart from the other Pokemon RPGs (as the title should suggest) is its links to Pokemon Go. First and foremost, it uses Pokemon Go's catching mechanic. With the exception of a few boss pokemon, you don't battle wild pokemon, and even those that you do battle, the battle is a separate phase from the catching. The actual capture consists of throwing PokeBalls at the wild pokemon until they decide to stop breaking out. You can do this by "throwing" the Joycon or PokeBall Plus controller as if you would throw a PokeBall or by playing handheld and using the system's gyroscope to aim and pressing A to throw the ball. I personally preferred the latter, but I did get the bundle with the PokeBall Plus controller to try it out. Then my dog ate the controller. It still works and everything, but it looks all chewed up and terrible. So I bought ANOTHER controller! It's fine, though, because you can put a pokemon in the controller (think the PokeWalker from HeartGold and SoulSilver) and "take it for a stroll," using the internal pedometer to level up your pokemon and collect items the more you walk.

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In addition to the shared catching mechanic, there are more direct connections with Pokemon Go. First and foremost, you can link your Pokemon Go account with your Switch and transfer pokemon from Pokemon Go to your Pokemon Let's Go game. It's not a two-way transfer - you can only transfer FROM Go TO Let's Go - but it's still super cool that there's a connection. You can also use your PokeBall Plus controller (if you bought one) as a Pokemon Go Plus accessory when you're playing Pokemon Go. These are all pretty small things, but given that the intention is to pull in those Pokemon Go players to the mainline series, it's a really nice touch, and it's a cool little extra feature.

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Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee aren't the games that established fanbase was wanting, but it's not the established fanbase for whom the game was made. This is a game that was designed to be a more casual, approachable experience to bring new players to the mainline series, and it plays like that. To expect a competitive game with deep battle mechanics is to expect the game to be something it was never intended to be. There is a LOT to love here. 3D visuals in 1080p. Pokemon followers some of which you can ride. A more relaxed experience. Nostalgia for the days of the 90s with the original anime and Gen I games. Even for Pokemon veterans like me, there's a lot to love. As I said with Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, if you let the accessible difficulty level and relatively simplistic mechanics deter you from giving it a play, then you're seriously missing out. This isn't going to challenge an experienced tactical mind, but it will definitely please the nostalgic child from the 1990s trapped within the bodies of cynical and underpaid adults. Really, that's all I need in life.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by noiseredux Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:07 pm

ugh, that game looks so good but 99% of the appeal for me is that I want to see those nice new HD visuals on a big TV with Pro Controller in hand. So annoying.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:13 pm

noiseredux wrote:ugh, that game looks so good but 99% of the appeal for me is that I want to see those nice new HD visuals on a big TV with Pro Controller in hand. So annoying.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons that it got a 4/5 instead of a 5/5 on my blog post review. I agree that that's a bummer especially since the Pro Controller has the gyroscope; you could totally have it act like playing handheld.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by noiseredux Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:22 pm

It bugs me further that it's a remake of a GB game that obviously was perfectly playable and awesome without any sort of motion controls. So why not have that same option in the remake? They totally dropped the Poke Ball on that one... Bah!
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