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Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:07 pm
by Ack
1. Jungle Book (SNES)(Platformer)

Well, since Together Retro is about licensed 2D platformers, and I own a few I haven't beaten, I figured I'd sit down and try to knock out a few. Jungle Book happened to be the first one I booted up, and it pretty much gave me everything I dislike about platformers in one package. Now mind you, this is a genre I tend to avoid, so getting me to love a game of this type is naturally harder anyway. And I do have some high points that I greatly appreciated. But at its best, this game is a mixed bag.

What did it get right? Well, the visuals are quite nice for the most part. It's a pretty game, with a nice color palette. Some levels I liked, and some I thought were stunning, like the waterfall, the treetops at dusk, and the final level through the wastes. I also love the music that accompanies these, with occasional distant animal noises that remind me I'm running through the jungles of India here. What's that? An elephant in the distance. Or chattering monkeys. Or the growl of something with fangs that I do not want to encounter. Excellent work on these parts.

However, there are also some problems here, particularly because of the vast number of secrets. Because the devs wanted to hide a lot in each level (and they did, there are tons of nooks and crannies to explore), sometimes you can't be sure if you can walk through an area or not. Sometimes you fall through a floor that you thought was there. Sometimes you get lost behind a wall of something that prevents you from seeing your sprite, and when an enemy is on top of you, this can get deadly fast. It's something of a necessary evil to fit in all those secrets, and I am impressed by just how expansive some of these levels feel with how much is hidden away, but it would be nice to be able to see.

Hit detection is problematic. Not with your weapons, mind you; no, the throwing banana and various coconuts, fruit, and whatever else you're arming yourself with all work out quiet nicely. But grabbing onto things, jumping onto enemies, and ensuring that you're really going to be able to snag that swinging vine can all be problematic. And you have to do a lot of it, sometimes over bottomless pits. There are also multiple leaps of faith too, and while Mowgli can look around to an extent, a feature which is necessary, it's still not going to keep you from occasionally throwing yourself off a cliff and hoping for the best.

Now level design can be quite clever, and not just due to the secrets I keep praising. In one area, blocks slide in and out of the walls to briefly form platforms. In another, you must jump across coiled snakes to use them as springs and traverse a thorny patch. In the final level, you have to hop across falling vulture feathers. These touches both add to the cartoonish nature of the gameplay but at times feel absolutely inspired, particularly the vulture feathers. I found that immensely clever.

One area where I have a big problem is the boss fights. There are four, and the bosses change their attacks depending on how much health they have left, but holy crap do they have a ton of health. The snake Kaa has seeking attacks, Shere Khan can actually stunlock you to death, and King Louie has a trick to winning which involves hitting his band to make him dance. Each one is tough in their own way, but as they change their patterns, the way you fight them changes too.

Speaking of stunlocks, my biggest pet peeve of the game is the limited invincibility you get after being hit. It's short. Really short. Like the same enemy may knock off half your health before you realize it short. And with some of the erratic movements of enemies like the killer bats or the rapid fire of spitting snakes, this gets to be a problem fast. You have to be careful, or else you'll be seeing the game over screen a lot.

The game doesn't offer much in the way of options, though if you want a quicker jaunt, you can enable Practice difficulty. This is only the first three levels of the game, just enough to give you a taste and pit you against the first boss. There are 11 levels in total if I recall correctly, ending with the battle against Shere Khan as lighting strikes the tree above you and gives you a torch to use to fight him.

Look, Jungle Book has its moments, but I don't see folks talk about this game the way they do Aladdin and The Lion King, and with good reason. If you want to get into the Disney movie line of platformers, start with those. Then check out the likes of Jungle Book and Pinocchio.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:17 pm
by PartridgeSenpai
Partridge Senpai's 2018 Beaten Games:

Previously: 2016 2017

1. Tyranny (PC)

This was the next effort by Obsidian's team that brought us Pillars of Eternity, which was a flawed game which I really enjoyed, and I was very excited to see an evolution on that fantastically clever formula. That however, is not so much what you'll find here. Tyranny is so incredibly derivative on Pillars of Eternity, I could go find my old 2015 review of it, copy and paste it here, and it'd serve just as good of a purpose aside from the fact that Tyranny (in just about every way) feels like PoE but less.

As a feat of storytelling, Tyranny is absolutely fantastic, at least in its first (and mostly second) act. The way it manages to make factions that are objectively fascists and anarchists trying to work to subjugate a land in their own selfish ways come across as sympathetic and human (except when deliberately not) is masterfully done. The companions you meet during those times are well portrayed advocates of each side of the conflict and all bring very engaging voices to the table.

However, that is where my praise of the narrative stops. Beat for beat, point for point, this game has virtually exactly the same pros and cons as Pillars of Eternity did with only a few very small exceptions:
Cons:
- This game had fantastic earlier companions with the latter half feeling mostly like underdeveloped and shoe-horned in afterthoughts, whose only real characterization is revealed through dedicated efforts of talking to them (the only actual dedicated companion quests are in the Bastard's Wound DLC, and that's only for the first half of the companions (who were the best written already, quite frankly)).
- The game starts out with a great narrative but really peters out its pacing in the second act to just come to a screeching halt in the 3rd.
Pros:
- The writing for the plot and characters, as previously stated, is great! I just wish it were better fleshed out.
- The combat engine and the way stats work are still the same fantastic evolution on the old DND CRPG's, where every stat is valuable for every character.

I really, REALLY hate saying it, as this was a game I wanted to adore, but this game feels half-baked in almost a Double Fine fashion. If the game didn't have achievements, I woudln't've even known that there was a 3rd act with how short it was compared to act 2. It feels they pulled the name "act 3" out of their ass, slapped it onto the last quarter of act 2, and called it a day. It feels like there's a real act 3 that just never made it into the game, and that shouldn't be how a story leaves your audience feeling. On top of the other fault of pulling your character in a direction that (at least I) seemed totally contradictory up to that point in the narrative and forcing them down that path, assuming every player would want to do it. The game's even been out for damn near a year and there were 2 or 3 main-plot pieces of dialogue that just have dummy text or obviously missing parts (it's a NPC_texthere.txt type of message or literally says that it's dummy text). The game runs just fine, but for a game so focused on its story, I was very surprised on the number of unmissable errors still in it.

This is a game I wanted to like so badly that just really threw itself away in the 3rd act. I really did not foresee my main narrative improvement on PoE for Tyranny being that it incorporates your Keep/Home Base thing better into the story.

Verdict: Hesitantly recommended. This is probably the most halfhearted recommendation I've given for a review on this site (at least that I can remember). With all the new narrative hiccups this makes, there is really no reason to play Tyranny when Pillars of Eternity is a much more complete experience. At the very least, PoE gives you more time to settle into (and then out of) the narrative purely by virtue of being longer and having more party members. Unless you're really dying for another good CRPG and haven't played Pillars of Eternity, I'd say Tyranny is far from a must-play in the genre.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:08 pm
by Exhuminator
Partridge, did you play through the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale games?

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:23 pm
by PartridgeSenpai
Exhuminator wrote:Partridge, did you play through the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale games?


Yup! Just about all of them. I wanna say the only one I haven't actually beaten myself (I hit a glitch right near the end of OG Baulder's Gate and couldn't finish it, but I've played through damn near all of it) is Temple of Elemental Evil, and that's because I've seen a Let's Play of it aaages ago. I got like ALL of the DND CRPG's in a GoG sale ages ago and played through 'em all. Baulder's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment I'd have to say are my two biggest faves <3

As far as newer ones go, I quite enjoyed both Pillars of Eternity and Divinity Original Sin, warts and all. My review may very much seem like I hated Tyranny, but I really didn't. I was disappointed more than anything that the dev team seems to have learned absolutely nothing from their first game. Perhaps it's a fool's errand, but I still hold out hope for Pillars of Eternity 2 to show some growth in narrative planning from that team.

That said, I'm not quite sure I'm CRPG's out at the moment. I have Wasteland 2 sitting on my PS4 shelf, but I may just go out and pick up the new Torment. Come to think of it, I also have Fallout 2 that I never finished either. (Edit: I also noticed I have Divinity II sitting in my GoG library as well. That's a CRPG, right?) I might just start another Tales game to see if I can get through one of the playthroughs of Tales of Xillia before school starts getting crazy again, tbh. Not sure yet.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:30 am
by MrPopo
My recommendation is to do Jude first in Xillia when you take that game. I did Milla and I feel like it was intended to be the second scenario.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:42 am
by Sarge
1) Legendary Axe II (TG16) (6.0) (1/1) (2.5 hours)
2) The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES) (7.5) (1/3) (1.5 hours)
3) Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! (SNES) (6.5) (1/3) (2.5 hours)

Laziness powers activate! Form of... tired author! Shape of... not much text!

Seriously, I'll try to get to these tomorrow. Both are creative games, but Buster is a bit more trollish about things.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:04 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
1. Bastion (iOS)

I read Bastion was a good ARPG, but given the passage of time since its release, I really didn’t have incredibly high expectations. Thankfully, however, the game has aged wonderfully, and it remains a very solid ARPG. The much-vaunted art direction is fantastic, and the game still looks wonderful. Nonetheless, the art direction pales in comparison to the sound direction, and I am still marveling at how great everything about the game - from the gravelly-voiced narrator, to haunting soundtrack - sounds through a good set of headphones. (It would have been a crime to play this game using only my iPad’s built-in speaker.) Finally, and while I was a bit put off by it at first, Bastion’s gameplay is pretty great. The level structure is a bit odd for an ARPG (“What do you mean I can’t revisit areas to grind?!”). It ultimately works in the game’s favor, however, and by the end, I had embraced it fully. Moreover, the game encouraged me to experiment with its very distinctive weapons on a large variety of enemies, and making sure I had the right tools for the job was the key to completing each section easily. My only complaint is that the main campaign is a bit too easy, but the battle arenas, where you can grind for cash and experience, defeated me a few times, and activating a few of the difficulty- and experience-increasing gods, renders them very, very hard. In sum, I was very pleased with Bastion; I highly recommend it; and I am looking forward to diving into its spiritual sequel, Transistor, later this year.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:18 pm
by BogusMeatFactory
prfsnl_gmr wrote:1. Bastion (iOS)

I read Bastion was a good ARPG, but given the passage of time since its release, I really didn’t have incredibly high expectations. Thankfully, however, the game has aged wonderfully, and it remains a very solid ARPG. The much-vaunted art direction is fantastic, and the game still looks wonderful. Nonetheless, the art direction pales in comparison to the sound direction, and I am still marveling at how great everything about the game - from the gravelly-voiced narrator, to haunting soundtrack - sounds through a good set of headphones. (It would have been a crime to play this game using only my iPad’s built-in speaker.) Finally, and while I was a bit put off by it at first, Bastion’s gameplay is pretty great. The level structure is a bit odd for an ARPG (“What do you mean I can’t revisit areas to grind?!”). It ultimately works in the game’s favor, however, and by the end, I had embraced it fully. Moreover, the game encouraged me to experiment with its very distinctive weapons on a large variety of enemies, and making sure I had the right tools for the job was the key to completing each section easily. My only complaint is that the main campaign is a bit too easy, but the battle arenas, where you can grind for cash and experience, defeated me a few times, and activating a few of the difficulty- and experience-increasing gods, renders them very, very hard. In sum, I was very pleased with Bastion; I highly recommend it; and I am looking forward to diving into its spiritual sequel, Transistor, later this year.


Bastion is truly a spectacular game that I love! I revisit the soundtrack on a very regular basis. It is that good. In spoilers... how did you handle the ending? Also, with transistor, know that it is nothing like bastion in the slightest. Go in with a fresh palette and an open mind. A lot of people were expecting more bastion and got a different beast and I feel it affected them. It isn't a bad game, just different than what people expected.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:54 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
I took Zulf with me and chose to evacuate.


I am delighted to hear that Transistor is not too similar. That is actually the game I am most excited to play, but I “felt” I should play Bastion first. After I putz around with the Bastion NG+ a bit, I may jump right into it.

Re: Games Beaten 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:03 pm
by Sarge
Yeah, Transistor is a very different experience. It's sort of an action/turn-based hybrid. I enjoyed it overall, even if I disliked some of the story beats.