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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:30 pm

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

1-20

21. Deadbolt (Steam)
22. Legend of Grimrock 2 (Steam)
23. The Witness (PS4)
24. Uurnog (PC)
25. Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
26. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
27. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
28. Magicka 2 (PS4)*

29. Tales of Phantasia (PSP)

I started going through the GBA version of this about a month ago, and then realized that I really wanted to play a different port of it on a TV, because the 4-button controls of the GBA were driving me crazy :P . Flake had brought to my attention a week or so earlier that you could play PSP games on the TV through a PSTV, so I fumbled through getting PSN cash onto my Japanese PSN account and bought the PSP remake of Tales of Phantasia on the Japanese PSN store, and boy was it ever worth it! I played through it in Japanese, on normal mode, and with only slight use of a guide to get past some of the less self-explanatory puzzles, it took me just about 36.5 hours. This is my 8th game completed in the main Tales series, so I have finally completed half of them :D

I'm unsure on if there's a translation patch available for the ROM or anything, but the PSP ports (a slight variation of this version is packed into the PSP remake of ToP's GBA sequel) are definitely the ways I'd most highly recommend playing through ToP. Fully voiced main-story dialogue really brought some emotion and life to the story that I'd really not felt in the GBA version. Quality of life features that were added after the SFC version like 8-directional movement and a lower encounter rate are also present. The music is also beautiful, as I believe it was taken from the PS1 port. The music and overworld as well as much of the battle sprites were taken from the PS1 version, with a lot of the in-town designs taken from the SFC version. However, most of the item placement is more like that of the PS1 version (from what I can tell from guides online XP). The 3D overworld is a bit hideous compared to the how pretty the 2D towns and dungeons, but it's far from a deal-breaker, as you spend far more time in towns and dungeons than in the overworld. Playing through it on a PS3 controller was way more comfortable than using the PSP or GBA controls ever would've been, and I never had any problems controlling it on the PS3.

The controls and battle system are very Tales but with some notable differences from later versions of the fairly familiar way the 2D games operate their battle system aside from the fact that only the main character can be played. The most notable differences are firstly that you cannot select your target and that "manual" control mode isn't a default control option. You just sorta need to point yourself at what enemies you're trying to fight, but the PS1's battle sprites are so big and well detailed compared to earlier versions that I never really had a problem with this. This does, however, also mean that you can't have a life-bar on any enemy unless you're actively using a Lens on them, which is annoying but not unique to this game (although it's something I would've liked to see fixed in an enhanced port like this :? ). It's also worth mentioning that even though this version still has the battles freeze while most spells are happening, the port of ToP found packed in with the remake of the sequel also on PSP allows the battles to keep moving during spells, which will likely make them move much faster but also I imagine would make them more difficult.

The semi-auto mode of control in this game has your main character running forward and back trying to automatically do doges and sprints, when mostly what it does is mean you're letting off pressure allowing the enemy to regain its composure to start attacking you back. You can only stop this by putting your character control on manual mode, but that can only be done while wearing the "Technical Ring" accessory, so you need to sacrifice an accessory slot to actually not play in a way that will kill you. There are some times where playing in semi-auto is more beneficial just because the game handles upward/aerial attacks so much better than you, but it's still a really stupid design decision. They did move the technical ring much farther forward in the game (you get it like 10-ish hours in instead of right before the end of the game), but that's another thing like how Lenses work that is just a stupid design choice from the original that really had no reason not to be updated for a modern release. The game controls just fine and the annoyances can certainly be operated around, but that doesn't negate that fact that those annoyances are still there.

The story is a bit rough, but the voice acting really helps carry it despite the fact that it feels disjointed and slightly unfinished at times. Given that the story was adapted from an unreleased book the creator had originally written, that's not to be entirely unexpected, but it's still an issue. Things like the relationships between the main party members and how sympathetic/unsympathetic the main villain may or may not be are done adequately but still feel rushed or incomplete at times, particularly the details surrounding the main villain's motivations and the party's speculations about them. Daos is far from the worst villain the series has had, and is more than serviceable even if it feels like he probably should've been given more screentime, and while the main cast are almost entirely archetypes the Tales series would come back to again and again, they're done well enough not to feel boring just as the other Tales games tend to portray them.

Verdict: Recommended. It's far from the best Tales game, but it's also very far from the worst. It shows its age and its being first in the series through annoyances in its combat system and gaps in its story, but they're far from deal-breaking. This is a fantastic port of Tales of Phantasia, but if you like retro ARPG's then this is definitely one to check out no matter what port you're playing :D
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:50 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 64
* 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 (7 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


64. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - 3DS - June 17

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Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is basically the result of Atlus execs getting together and saying "How can make a game that embodies fan service for our IPs?" The answer, of course, is to put Persona 3 characters and Persona 4 characters into one game that uses the Etrian Odyssey style of dungeon crawling with a few cameos and references to other Atlus IPs like Catherine thrown in for good measure. Somehow, through what I can describe only as Atlus wizardry, they manage all of that without having the game feel like a haphazard cash grab (looking at you, Project X Zone).

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The base story of Persona Q is that the characters of Persona 3 and Persona 4 both find themselves inexplicably pulled into this mysterious world to which a small bubble of the Velvet Room connects. You pick either the P3 protag or the P4 protag to be your "main" character when you start the game, but the choice is almost completely meaningless; the only thing it affects is what party you get for the very first little tutorial dungeon. After that, aside from a couple unimportant lines of dialogue here and there, it really doesn't make any difference. The story is the same, the dungeons are the same, the enemies are the same. Once you get past that tutorial, you can mix and match P3 and P4 characters in your party however you want.

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Let's start with what I loved about the game. It has the Persona 3 characters AND the Persona 4 characters. That alone was enough to sell me on the game. As for what I didn't like so much, the dungeon crawling is a big one. It's less that I hated the dungeon crawling and more that the dungeons were too long and, as a result, started feeling monotonous and boring about halfway through each one. I've never played an Etrian Odyssey game, but if they're all like this, I think it's a series I'll continue to avoid. The other issue is a common problem with Persona and, more generally, Shin Megami Tensei games - game fatigue. It's just too long for what it offers. The dungeons get so long and complex that, while fun if viewed in isolation, they just start feeling like padding to lengthen the game. It took me just under 70 hours to finish Persona Q, and while that did include some side stuff, I feel like 40 hours would have been a good length for this game. It just wore out its welcome, so to speak, and I found myself finishing the game not because I was still enjoying it but because I had already invested 50+ hours and wanted to call it done.

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Problems with pacing aside, anyone who's had any experience with the Shin Megami Tensei series - ESPECIALLY the Persona sub-series - should know that a killer soundtrack is basically a pre-requisite, and Persona Q is no exception. I personally don't think it quite matches the greatness that was Persona 4's OST, but Persona Q is an absolute auditory delight. The visuals are also quite nice and are stylized to make best use of the 3DS hardware. If Atlus went for the normal relatively proportioned art style in most Persona games, it would have highlighted the relative deficit in hardware power that the 3DS has, but by going for a more chibi style, the characters all had a cute, artistic look while avoiding the perception that they were trying to hide the system's graphical limitations not unlike the use of cel shaded visuals on the Wii. It works brilliantly and really showcases the artistic talent at work in Atlus.

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Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is not only the first Persona game to be developed specifically for Nintendo hardware but its also a P3/P4 crossover alongside the two Persona 4 Arena games. As is often the case for Shin Megami Tensei games, it's a big longer than I think it needed to be clocking in between 60 and 70 hours, but it's not quite as extreme in that regard as Persona 3 FES. The first person dungeon crawling breaks from the norm for Persona, but then again, so did a 1v1 fighter and a rhythm game, so I guess it really shouldn't surprise me much. While I got tired of it about 3/4 of the way through, I did get a LOT of enjoyment out of the first half of my time with this game, and I have no problem recommending it for fans of Persona 3 and Persona 4 or fans of first person dungeon crawlers in general. It's not a game for players of low stamina, and the gameplay style wasn't quit suited to my particular tastes, but it's an excellent game in design and execution. It's a very good game, but as is par for Atlus games, I suspect it will hold its value relatively well.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dsheinem Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:33 pm

Games Beaten 2018

Darkwing Duck - NES (PS4)
DuckTales - NES (PS4)
DuckTales 2 - NES (PS4)
Talespin - NES (PS4)
Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers - NES (PS4)
Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers 2 - NES (PS4)
Scarecrow - PS1 (Vita)
The Heart of Dark - PS1 (Vita)
Justice - PS1 (Vita)
Caligo - PC
Tomb Raider (2013) - X1
Nephise Begins - PC
Diablo III: The Darkening of Tristam - PC
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - X1
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - SNES
Forza Horizon 3 - X1/ PC
Elbub - PC
Tekken 4 -PS2
Injustice 2 -PS4
Apollo 11 VR - PSVR
Star Wars Battlefront II -PS4
Unearthing Mars - PSVR
Jenny of the Prairie - C64
Part Time UFO - - iOS
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite - PS4
War of the Monsters -PS2
Far Cry 5 - PS4
Uncharted: Lost Legacy - PS4
Soul Calibur 2 - GCN
God of War (2018) - PS4 *new*
Orcs and Elves - NDS
Tekken 7 - PS4
House of the Dead 4 Special - PS3
S.A.R. (Search and Rescue) - PS3
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR - PSVR
Time Crisis: Razing Storm - PS3
Time Crisis IV - PS3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - PS4
Dodonpachi Saidaioujou - 360
Ketsui Kizuna Shigokutachi Extra - PS3
Bad Dudes - Arcade (Wii) *new*
Crude Buster - Arcade (Wii) *new*
Wizard Fire - Arcade (Wii) *new*
Heavy Barrel - Arcade (Wii) *new*
The Bouncer - PS2 *new*

Total: 45


Previously: 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

Most of these are things I have been playing for this month's Together Retro, so I have been/will be posting about them in that thread...
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Markies Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:28 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2018!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. The Granstream Saga (PS1)
2. Perfect Dark (N64)
*3. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete (PS1)*
4. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (XBOX)
5. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
*6. Pikmin (GCN)*
*7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64)*
8. Shining Force II (GEN)
*9. X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (PS1)*
*10. Mafia (XBOX)*
11. James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire (GCN)
12. ChuChu Rocket! (SDC)
*13. Super Metroid (SNES)*
14. Final Fantasy II (NES)
15. Devil May Cry (PS2)
16. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (GEN)
17. Secret of Evermore (SNES)

18. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (PS2)

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I beat Test Drive: Eve of Destruction on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening.

I knew enough about the Test Drive series to stay far away from it. Early last year, I tried the very first game and it was an absolute horrible racing game. However, there is one bright spot in the series and that is Test Drive: Eve of Destruction. My friend picked up this game on the original XBOX several years ago and so I bought it rather quickly afterwards on the PS2. However, it was far behind my PS2 backlog for several years until I finally changed my gaming style. With me being able to choose whatever game I want to play, I decided I had to play one of my most excited and known games for some car crashing fun.

I have lost track with the amount of hours my friend and I have put into his XBOX version. In fact, I sometimes play it to unlock some features while he is not around. The game is one of my favorite playing racing games and just the most fun you can have. It takes the concept of an old Demolition Derby and ramps it up as far it would go. Just imagine an event called a Figure 8 Jump Race and you can imagine the amount of joy and carnage that you can muster. Another favorite event is entitled the Suicide Race where 8 drivers drive one way and 8 more drive another way. You can do all those events with a friend and it is just an absolute blast to play. For a single player, you can do the Career Mode where you start with one car and are Rank 100. You can have a total of 4 cars and you try to become Rank #1. Every event that has several races in it and if you win the event, you gain 5 rank spots. All of your cars take damage and some of it is permanent, so you spend your earnings on fixing your cars, upgrades and buying new cars. There are also numerous races around that you can do to earn more money. But, near the end, you need strategy to decide which car you can throw out to an event and which you need to save for later.

The music and PA Announcer get annoying real fast and the final events get frustrating as you start at last place in every single race. However, those are the smallest of nitpicks. If you have ever wanted to see cars crash in mid air or head on collisions at 80 MPH or School Buses making huge jumps, this is the game for you. One of my favorite and the best mindless fun racing game you could ever find. Don't let the Test Drive name full you, this is a great racing game!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:38 pm

1. Ultima V - PC
2. Ultima VI - PC
3. Might and Magic VI - PC
4. Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny - PC
5. Pool of Radiance - PC
6. Curse of the Azure Bonds - PC
7. Secret of the Silver Blades - PC
8. Pools of Darkness - PC
9. Gateway to the Savage Frontier - PC
10. Treasures of the Savage Frontier - PC
11. Champions of Krynn - PC
12. Death Knights of Krynn - PC
13. Dark Queen of Krynn - PC
14. Into the Breach - PC
15. Lords of the Realm - PC
16. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands - PC
17. Lords of the Realm II - PC
18. The Alliance Alive - 3DS
19. Shattered Steel - PC
20. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - PC
21. Battletech - PC
22. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part I - PC
23. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part II - PC
24. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch
25. Pillars of Eternity II - PC
26. Dragon Ball FighterZ - PS4
27. Detroit: Become Human - PC4
28. Call of Duty: United Offensive - PC
29. The Last of Us - PS4
30. The Last of Us: Left Behind - PS4
31. Prey: Mooncrash - PC

Released during E3, Mooncrash is a 10 hour piece of DLC for Prey that expands on the world and gives a different way of doing things. Rather than the large world to explore and zig zag through, now you have a smaller base on the moon. But what makes this different is the roguelike elements. The basic premise is that you are delving into a record of the events that happened on the moon base (a companion to the space station from Prey), through the eyes of five who had a particular impact on the events. You start off with only one unlocked, and will unlock the rest as you achieve objectives. Your main goal is to escape with everyone, escape with everyone in a single run, and work through every character's storyline. See, once you escape with a character in a particular way you now can play through their story. This gives a series of objectives to accomplish before you get out, and gives more background into what went down. You also have access to emails and logs again.

Now, each character has a different skill tree available to them. This is a mixture of Typhon powers and regular abilities, and the Typhon powers again need the psychoscope to unlock the higher tiers. The skill trees are persistent across playthroughs, and makes each character play different (they all also have different health and PSI totals). Since this is exploring a simulation you will encounter some corruption in the data. This manifests itself in the roguelike elements of the run. You have some randomization of enemies, lots of randomization of items, and randomization of hazards. A portion of the facility might be powered down and need to have power rerouted in order to progress, or one of the areas might be full of radioactive barrels. It constantly keeps you on your toes. The other part of this mechanic is that over time a meter builds up indicating the general corruption; every time it tips over it triggers a respawn of all areas and the respawned enemies are a level stronger.

The game requires several playthroughs to get through; at minimum you need to escape once with each character and then do their stories. One of the characters can't be unlocked until you finish another character's stories, and there is also a persistent world; if one character loots items then that container will be empty for the next character, and if one character fixes a gate then it's available for all other characters. One of the escape methods, in fact, requires the abilities of two different characters to make available, and a third character needs to use that method to unlock its story. The whole thing is a great run, and I'm really hoping we get a Prey 2 at some point, because this is a fantastic universe.
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by noiseredux Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:44 pm

That sounds really cool. I'm glad they're not giving up on Prey
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:40 am

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 65
* 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 (8 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

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Art of Balance initially released as a WiiWare game and, after receiving a lot of praise from players and critics alike, was ported to 3DS, Wii U, and PS4. I got it on Wii U when it was offered as a reward for gold coins on My Nintendo a while back, but it wasn't until I was getting ready to move last month and had most of my games and consoles packed up that I decided to play it. I didn't need the TV to play it, so it seemed like the perfect game.

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Art of Balance is the epitome of a casual "just chill, man" type of puzzle game. You have a set of blocks, and you have to stack them in such a way that they stay stacked without falling over for thee seconds. That's it. That's the entire game. It does throw you some curve balls along the way - there are blocks that shatter if three blocks are stacked on them, blocks that shatter a few seconds after a block is placed on them, and blocks that shatter if the same kind of block touched it, for example - but the base objective remains the same.

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The early levels start off REALLY easy. The first half of the game, really, is nice and relaxing; it's the second half that gets to be pretty challenging, and the last quarter or so can be downright frustrating. It never stops being fun, though, and it's a fantastic game for flexing your spacial reasoning skills. Because it auto-saves after each level, it's perfect to pick up and play if you've only got ten minutes here and there, too. The backgrounds are super zen and tranquil, too, really emphasizing the relaxing nature of the game. All of the block-stacking is done on some kind of platform in a pool of water; if your blocks touch the water, you have to start over. The splash when they hit the water is almost satisfying in a way, though, so not until the later levels when it gets hard does that splash ever get annoying or taunting in any way.

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Art of Balance is pretty much the best game if you're looking for a chill way to unwind and exercise your brain a little bit. It definitely gets tough towards the end, but it's never insurmountable if you have some patience, and it's a fantastic game for short bursts. It's $9 on the Wii U eShop (not sure about other platforms, but the Wii Shop Channel is gone, so that part's a moot point), and with eight worlds each consisting of probably 10 or 15 levels, there's definitely $9 worth of content in the game. I definitely recommend this one.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:55 pm

1. Antarctic Adventure (Famicom)
2. Nuts & Milk (Famicom)
3. Commando (Atari 2600)
4. Binary Land (Famicom)
5. Devil World (Famicom)
6. Disney's Aladdin (SNES)
7. Popeye (NES)
8. Super Mario Land (Game Boy)
9. Ys: The Vanished Omens (Sega Master System)
10 Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter (Famicom)
11. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
12. Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD)
13. Otenba Becky no Daibouken (MSX)
14. Metroid (Famicom Disk System)
15. Mahou Kishi Rayearth (Game Boy)
16. Wabbit (Atari 2600)
17. Kirby's Dream Land (Game Boy)
18. Warpman (Famicom)
19. Final Fantasy (NES)
20. Transformers: Convoy no Nazo (Famicom)
21. Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol (Switch eShop)
22. Gremlins (Atari 2600)
23. Arcade Archives: Ninja-Kid (Switch eShop)
24. Shining in the Darkness (Genesis)
25. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Gate of Doom (Switch eShop)
26. Front Line (Atari 2600)
27. Donkey Kong 3 (NES)
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The first two Donkey Kong games are undeniable irrefutable classics. Meticulously designed, heavily ported, and hugely influential, they codified the standards of platform gaming. Donkey Kong 3, on the other hand, well, it's something else altogether. Though crafted by the same industry titans (Shigeru Miyamoto, Gunpei Yokoi), the game is a significant departure from its predecessors, and ultimately lacks cohesion and truly compelling gameplay.

Donkey Kong 3 first launched in the arcades in 1983. It was ported to the Famicom the next year, and ended up on the NES in '86 as a "black label" title. Since the game postdates the Famicom release, it didn't appear on the plethora of "second gen" consoles and computers, which is kind of a bummer. There was also a Donkey Kong 3 pseudo-sequel/remake available on Japanese computers. It's a fascinating story, as the game was presumed "lost" until a copy was tracked down in 2017 and subsequently dumped to the internet a year later. Truth be told, it looks much more compelling that the original vanilla game.
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Mario lovers, prepare to be sad. Though debatably already a Nintendo icon at this juncture, he was swapped out here for a new protagonist: Stanley the Bugman. Poor Stanley. Nobody knows anything about this dude, and nobody cares. He doesn't appear as the hero in any other video games, though he is referenced in titles like Super Smash Bros. Melee and WarioWare: Twisted!. And he has no damsel in distress to rescue. Instead, he must thwart Donkey Kong, who, along with his insect compatriots, is hellbent on absconding Stanley's collection of perennials. And they say video games have no good stories.

The game's not a pure platformer. Rather, it's a single-screen shooter with light platforming elements. Donkey Kong descends from the ceiling of each stage; the goal is to force him back to the top with puffs of insecticide. Meanwhile, a swarm of bees and other varying arthropods swarm from all sides. One hit will take out Stanley, but what the insects are really after is the flowers. Any chance for a high score will be lost if these are stolen, so it's essential to keep the bees at bay. Much like the first two DK platformers, Stanley is positioned on some stacked "scaffolding." Pressing up and down will alternate his position, and he can jump from the top level to get up close and personal with Donkey Kong's hairy derriere.

There are only three stages total. Unfortunately there's little variation amongst the trio, aside from the scaffolding arrangement. Contrast this to the first Donkey Kong, where each stage showcased a subtle increase in difficulty as well as a new "gimmick" to contend with. Besting Donkey Kong 3 does require some slick strategy. There's a constant risk/rewards battle, judging when it's pertinent to rush at Donkey Kong vs. holding back and taking out bugs. Speaking of such matters, it can also be strategic to avoid certain foes, such as those that explode upon death. Occasionally, Kong drops super-spray for Stanley, a power-up overpowered to the point of comedy.
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Visuals are exactly what one would expect: straightforward and pleasingly retro. The wire frame "greenhouse" background effect from the arcade is absent here, which is a small letdown. The soundtrack is barely worth commenting on. I do feel compelled to give a shout-out to the smooth control scheme. There's no auto-fire for weaponry but there is jump "auto-fire" which keeps things moving a decent clip. As this is an NES port there's an additional "B" gameplay mode, as well as a two-player option. Both are patently useless.

Truthfully, this is the hardest type of game to talk/write about. It isn't offensively bad, nor is it anything approaching good. It's tough to be "objective" about this one - as the game's ancestors are of exemplary quality and are two of my childhood favorites. Donkey Kong 3 is a neat historical oddity, easily overshadowed by countless platformer and shooter contemporaries.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:54 am

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

1-20

21. Deadbolt (Steam)
22. Legend of Grimrock 2 (Steam)
23. The Witness (PS4)
24. Uurnog (PC)
25. Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
26. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
27. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
28. Magicka 2 (PS4)*
29. Tales of Phantasia (PSP)

30. BOXBOXBOY! (3DS)

I bought this game back when I beat BOXBOY! last year and really enjoyed it. I had some time while waiting for a doctor's appointment earlier today, and decided to bring along my 3DS with me and fired up BOXBOXBOY! to play. Like 8 or so hours of playing later, I was done with a game that is a significant improvement on its original. I did a "perfect" on every stage, so I basically 100%'d the game, but it isn't that hard. I needed like 11 or 12 hints, and used the wizard costume to get an extra block to get like two of the crowns because I absolutely couldn't figure out how to get them XP

Fast mentioned in the Slack chat that this game is basically like a Warehouse Cleaner (Soukoban games) and a platformer had a baby, and that isn't exactly inaccurate. It's a puzzle platformer by HAL, and it just drips with all of Kirby's charm but in a much more subdued and relaxed package. The presentation, from the graphics to the music to the simple design of Qbby and his friends are all simple and easy to distinguish while very aesthetically pleasing.

If BOXBOY! is the single-player version of Portal 2, then BOXBOXBOY! is the co-op mode of Portal 2, where the addition of a second set or portals makes the potential puzzles far more complex and interesting. As the title suggests, Qbby can now generate two sets of boxes instead of just one, and that makes the puzzles SO much more fiendish than the first game had. The first game felt almost like work for a lot of the puzzles because they were so simple. BOXBOXBOY!'s puzzles will really test how you think with boxes. :P

Verdict: Highly Recommended. BOXBOXBOY! is a fantastic sequel to an already well designed game. It only does a simple change to the overall formula, but the level design is done in such a way that it feels like a totally new experience and in only positive ways. For its $5 downloadable price tag on 3DS, it's a very easy recommendation for me to be a time-killer when you have some down time, or something to go through on a day off :D
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:14 am

Nice. I adored BoxBoxBoy! It is, IMO, the pinnacle of the series. (Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is also good, but it lacks its predecessor’s complexity.)
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