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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:29 pm

1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC
33. Pillars of Eternity II: The Forgotten Sanctum - PC

The Forgotten Sanctum is the last of the story DLC for Pillars II. You get contacted by a member of the Circle of Archmagi to help investigate a temple where one of their number went missing. It turns out the temple is built on top of the body of the god Wael, god of secrets and knowledge. The missing mage was looking to raise the body up to fight Eothas, the giant statue you spend the main game chasing. Since the body is a horrible tentacle eyeball blob this is clearly a bad idea, and so you need to plumb the depths and stop it from occurring. I'd rank this between the two DLCs; it isn't as in-depth lore wise as Beast of Winter, but it also isn't just nonstop combat like Seeker, Slayer, Survivor. It's a more interesting setting than SSS as well.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:37 am

January Games:
Megaman (Switch)
Megaman 2 (Switch)
Megaman 3 (Switch)
Megaman 4 (Switch)
Megaman 5 (Switch)
Megaman 6 (Switch)
Megaman 7 (Switch)
Megaman 8 (Switch)
Megaman 9 (Switch)
Megaman 10 (Switch)
Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Time Spinner (PS4)

February Games:

Megaman Legends (PSTV)
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PSTV)
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

March Games:

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)
Mario Galaxy (Wii)

April

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS4)

May

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (Switch)
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch)
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch)
Castlevania (Switch)
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (Switch)
Sonic Forces (Switch)

June

SNK: Heroines (Switch)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Saint's Row The Third (Switch)
Operation C (Switch)
Secret of Mana Remake (PS4)


I don't have much to say about Operation C other than my praise for Konami in perfectly distilling the console Contra experience and translating it perfectly to monochromatic violence. Bravo!

I spent some real time this weekend on the Secret of Mana Remake - with Collection of Mana now available, it was time to get this one out of the backlog. I have some a lot of history with the original version. Made a lifelong friend over the summer of 97 playing this one at his house. Once I got my own copy, I spent dozens of hours attempting to sequence break, perfect the magic attack input buffer, or get out boundaries to try and skip map sections. Secret of Mana is in the same category as Super Metroid, Link to the Past, and Megaman X when I remember the endless summers from when I was a kid.

I think that the hate that the Remake gets is coming from somewhere other than people's actual hands-on time with the game. Remake captures literally everything about the original but with a super slick presentation that just about replicates the original art-style that the original game sprites were based on. Add to that the option to use the original sound track and the entire game was heaven for me.

A lot of things low-key got fixed. For instance, the magic attack input buffer was adjusted so that you can still stun lock bosses but you cannot directly stack damage. It's nice not having to guess when I need to let the stun expire so the damage counter can roll-over. Seeing that 999 land almost always meant that you had a lot of damage get cancelled out which sucks for low-level runs.

The new translation is a game-changer. The original game was localized with no changes to the text-mapper. Meaning that the same amount of character space that would be used for two character words was now used to tell the entire english story. The original English version was so butchered and truncated that the story made almost no sense. It was a revelation to play this weekend and find out that Fahna, Geshtar and Sheex had actual motivations - I think that a lot of their lines were given to Emperor Vandole and Thanatos in the original so that exposition could happen. The entire cast was much more fleshed out and that meant a lot to me.

I am so happy that I finally took the time to play this game.
The PSTV is amazing.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:01 am

Operation C rocks. Nice work, Flake!

.....

First 25
1. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary (NDS)
2. Reigns (iOS)
3. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
4. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
5. Castlevania Legends (GB)
6. Yankai’s Triangle (iOS)
7. Mega Man III (GB)
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man V (GB)
10. Sin & Punishment (N64)
11. Love You to Bits (iOS)
12. Mega Man Powered Up - Old Style (PSP)
13. Mega Man Powered Up - New Style (PSP)
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
15. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (NDS)
16. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NDS)
17. Detective Pikachu (3DS)
18. Super Fantasy Zone (Genesis)
19. Fantasy Zone Gear (GG)
20. Fantasy Zone - The Maze (SMS)
21. Fantasy Zone (Famicom)
22. Fantasy Zone (NES)
23. Kung Fu Master (2600)
24. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
25. Kid Dracula (GB)

26. Fantasy Zone (TG16)
27. Double Dragon V (SNES)
28. Fantasy Zone II (Famicom)
29. Street Fighter: The Movie (PS1)
30. Fire Fly (2600)
31. Pac Man (2600)
32. Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears (GBC)
33. Fantasy Zone (PS2)
34. Space Fantasy Zone (TG16)
35. Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf Fantasy Zone (Genesis)
36. Mega Man (GG)
37. Konami Pixel Puzzle (iOS)
38. Qix (Arcade/NES)
39. Congo Bongo (Arcade)
40. Phantasy Star Gaiden (GG)
41. Phantasy Star Adventure (GG)
42. Panzer Dragoon Mini (GG)
43. Spartan X-2 (Famicom)
44. BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets (Super Famicom)
45. BS The Legend of Zelda (Super Famicom)


BS The Legend of Zelda and BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets are timed, remixed versions of The Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past released only through the BS Satellaview service in Japan. Thanks to the work of some very dedicated fans, however, these games have been located, adapted for play without the BS Satellaview service, and translated into English. I played them for this month’s TR, and I wrote more about them in the TR thread. BS The Legend of Zelda is hesitantly recommended, but BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets is awesome and highly recommended,
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 pm

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)
34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)

44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
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I presume most "everyone" knows this by now, but there were two different games called Ys IV released about a month apart in late 1993. Short version: an understaffed Falcom outsourced its development to various studios, resulting in Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (Super Famicom) by Tonkin House followed closely by Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD) by Hudson Soft. To muddy the waters further, Falcom themselves created the Ys IV storyline and characters, so both games have some striking similarities. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun was remade by Taito in 2005 (bearing the subsubtitle -a new theory-), while Falcom eventually took the reigns and released the canonical "fourth" installment Ys: Memories of Celceta for the PlayStation Vita in 2012.

Out of that cluster of "four fours" only one was destined for action-RPG royalty: The Dawn of Ys. Released exclusively in Japan for the unstoppable PC Engine CD, I've had the distinct pleasure of playing the game to completion both in its original Japanese and with two fan translation patches applied simultaneously. The first, from 2004, translates all in-game text to English (save for the credit roll, which uses a different font). The second, from 2012, is actually a fandub which removes all Japanese cutscene dialogue replacing it with English voice-acting. It's an unbelievable labor of love, and I have no doubt that the combined power of these two fan translations results in a localization package vastly superior to most official ones from those early days.

Now, it's come to my attention that there are some heretics out there that dislike Ys III. Well, those folks are in luck as The Dawn of Ys picks up directly where Book I & II left off, both in terms of story and (2D top-down) gameplay. Prepare for waves of déjà vu as our protagonist, the red-haired adventurer Adol Christin, once again begins his journey by docking at a port town, which is then followed by a quick jaunt to meet a fortune teller. Key NPCs are also back for another round, including Adol's best bud Dogi and the chronically-kidnapped cutie pie Lilia. The Ys mythology is greatly expanded upon in this installment, which dives deeply into the origin of the two goddesses as well as their winged kin. Unfortunately, much of the story is an absolute mess. The writers were clearly in love with this tale, but it's overly verbose, confusing, and contradictory. As with all the worst JRPG storylines, the simple act of "paying attention" soon begins to feel like a chore.
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Much like the other "part fours" the game primarily takes place within the land of Celceta, a lush verdant region teeming with ancient ruins. Adol is tasked with exploring Celceta, searching for a couple of mystical masks, all while fending off the aggressive "Romun Empire." There are plenty of new towns to visit, and a plethora of NPCs making their debut. Some, like the tough female warrior Karna, occasionally join up as AI allies. While the benevolent NPCs of Celceta range from agreeable to downright lovable, the villains in this game are absolute garbage. The leader of the Romun Empire, General Leo (no not that General Leo), perpetually saunters about, endlessly whining. There's a trio of "comic relief" villains who behave in the most cliché ways possible: periodically "teleporting" in front of Adol, cracking a few jokes, and then leaving one behind to fight while the other two scurry away. And of course the primary antagonist is some "all-powerful evil" thing with no reasoned motivations whatsoever.

The Ys IV experience is peppered with frequent cutscenes, all of which are gorgeous. There are also large "pop-in" anime portraits that appear during lengthy dialogue exchanges. The artwork is extremely competent, especially in regards to the female characters. Though, once again, I'm a bit irked by those villains, whose ridiculous face and body proportions make them appear more like SNK fighting game rejects than occupants of a medieval fantasy world. The voice-acting, of which there is an insane amount, is executed well, both in Japanese and English. The English fandub team took great pains to ensure that their voices matched the overall cadence and emotional depth of the original Japanese squad, and executed brilliantly. Truth be told, I think the English dub is actually superior. The text-based fan translation job is additionally stellar -- straightforward and mercifully lacking any "jokes" or unneeded "references."

The Dawn of Ys showcases what is the best implementation of the best video game combat system ever devised: the bump system. Yes, once again, Adol damages enemies (and vice versa) by making direct contact with them. There is no action button. There's a level of strategy to this, as foes need to be hit from an off-center position, or else Adol risks taking mega damage. Damage taken and received is also level-dependent and the game prevents egregious power-leveling by scaling (and limiting) experience received from slaying "easier" foes. The game's not tremendously grindy, and ample exploration of any given locale should grant Adol a sufficient amount of XP. The speed of Adol's movements feels "just right" in The Dawn of Ys. Not too slow, or too "slidey" and quick, with the newfound diagonal movement providing an additional perk.
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The magic system of the second game returns, with the fire and transform spells being the most useful. While fire magic was completely broken in Ys II (in the player's favor) it's been tweaked here, with many enemies being outright immune to the flames. Sadly, the transform magic, which changes Adol into an adorable "Roo" type of monster, is underutilized. While it is fun to see how humans and beasts alike react to Adol's Roo form, this spell is primarily used to navigate waterways. Yeah, apparently human Adol is incapable of swimming. And this is a guy who always arrives to town by boat. Contrast this to Ys II which frequently required the player to deploy the Roo in the craftiest of ways, like using the spell to sneak past enemy guards and infiltrate meetings for intel.

There are additional unique aspects that add some complexity. There's a bird Adol can summon to the various poop-encrusted tree stumps, should he need some guidance and direction. There's a very rudimentary crafting system, courtesy of a witch NPC. This gives birth to one of the earliest Ys side quests: Adol can obtain an invisibility potion that lets him sneak into an enemy encampment, snagging the game's ultimate set of armor. Though, in a throwback to the first Ys, the second-best gear needs to be equipped to damage the final boss. There's also a really neat, and well-hidden, item called the Samson's Shoes. These slow Adol's movements to a crawl, but he is able to defeat any non-boss enemy with a single hit. For those playing on an emulator (and let's be real, who isn't?) a great "cheat" is to equip the shoes and then turn on the fast-forward function. Adol will now move at a "normal" speed, and will essentially be unstoppable. The resulting garbled chipmunk music is perhaps a small price to pay.

The Dawn of Ys features some of the best bosses the series has to offer. No longer is the player required to simply level up and hope for the best. Here, one must strategize, learn patterns, and exploit weak points. And there's a lot of bosses too -- not simply one per dungeon, but others scattered about the overworld, halfway through a dungeon, and so forth. Some are only damaged by fire, others by bumps. Besting one of these fiends typically takes five or ten tries, but the save-anywhere system eliminates any tedious backtracking.

Graphically, the game makes no attempt to reinvent the wheel. It bears a smooth soft look, very much like Book I & II but with the benefit of four extra years of technological progress. The character portraits are much sharper here, lacking that grainy pixel look. Though this is a PC Engine CD exclusive, the developers deemed it necessary to include those throwback PC-88 borders, which is always appreciated. The game environments are quite pretty to look at, especially all the outdoor forest greenery. Dungeons are detailed and quite fun, growing gradually more complex as the game progresses. There are some rather intriguing puzzles in the latter ones, including an area where Adol continually gets flipped upside down. Navigation outside is a tad odd. The overworld isn't exactly cohesive, as completed dungeons tend to dump Adol out into fresh virgin territory. The game relies heavily on warp spells, which will instantly summon Adol back to a given town.
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The soundtrack, arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu, is an intriguing mixture of old and new tunes. The new tracks are quite good, and clearly modeled off the Ys songs of old. There's even a dungeon track with water drip percussion! As for the throwback tracks, they are remixed, with mixed results. The moody "Tears of Sylph" for instance has been only subtly altered and retains its fantastic melancholy atmosphere. Then you have something like the Darm Tower theme, which has been "enhanced" by the addition of these jazzy saxophone sections. It sounds awful. Overall, though, a pretty strong effort by some of the best composers in the business.

As mentioned, Ys IV is overindulgent. It just doesn't quite know when to quit. Not only is there an excessive amount of exposition, but the game itself drags on towards the end. It's about five hours longer than it needs to be. What feels like a proper "final dungeon" ends up leading to another dungeon. And another. And another. The classic Ys games were more about streamlined action than being "epic" and The Dawn of Ys should have stuck to conventions. While the game never exactly feels annoying or miserable, that "too much of a good thing" feeling really strikes around hour ten.

The Dawn of Ys occupies a weird spot in the series (and ARPG) history. It's undeniably the worst of the PCE Ys games, but that's simply a testament to how good its predecessors are. As it stands, The Dawn of Ys is among the strongest ARPGs of the best era of the genre, owing much of its success to the utterly blissful combat and stunning visual presentation. Don't let the obscurity of the game (and its accompanying hardware) scare you, this is not to be missed by fans of RPGs and retro games.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:35 pm

How can Ys IV be the dawn of Ys if Ys existed before Ys I and it starts the hero of Ys I, who doesn't visit Ys until Ys II?
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:57 pm

MrPopo wrote:How can Ys IV be the dawn of Ys if Ys existed before Ys I and it starts the hero of Ys I, who doesn't visit Ys until Ys II?

My mind!
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:55 am

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)
19. Blood: Cryptic Passage (PC)(FPS)
20. Blood: Post Mortem (PC)(FPS)

21. Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
22. Shadow Warrior: Twin Dragon (PC)(FPS)
23. Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)(FPS)

24. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)(FPS)
25. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)(FPS)

26. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC)(RPG)
27. Men of Valor (PC)(FPS)
28. Ultima III: Exodus (PC)(FPS)
29. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space (PC)(Point and Click)

30. Midnight Ultra (PC)(FPS)

Midnight Ultra is a Neo-Acid Western that reminded me of Game Boy Color attempts at FPS yet is on Steam. With the price down to a couple of bucks due to the sale, I decided I'd pick it up. It's short, it's a mindfuck of a first person shooter, and it's not perfect by a long shot, but I had fun for the 90 minutes I spent in the game. $2 for 90 minutes? That's cheaper than many movies I watch...

In Midnight Ultra, you play some kind of witch hunter going up against a cult across 10 levels. It starts with a simple tutorial level and then throws you right in, battling the crazy members of the cult. They include weird witch women, dudes in their underwear with meat cleavers, punk bikers with baseball bats, guys in suits with machine guns, and so forth. After the initial campaign, a second one adds in armored shotgun infantry, snipers, killer birds, UFOs, and even yetis. Yeah, with 10 levels, you get effectively two campaigns, the first which is six levels, the second four. There are 2 major boss fights, though the end of the second campaign has its boss split into two parts as you take on a giant yeti and then kill the alien tumors inside its giant head.

The plot involves said witch hunter following the cult through California to a temple, entering some kind of portal to Florida, and then discovering a hotel in what may be an alternate universe. Upon defeating the cult leader, a big dude on a motorcycle who chooses to face you in a cemetery, you then wander through the snowy wasteland of this alternate world to try and find a way out. This leads you to battling yetis and aliens, because of course it freaking does. Between each level, you're given the story in quick, readable chunks over what appears to be the dying remains of a worn VHS tape. This actually works well with the game's palette options, which lets you set a variety of trippy and bizarre color schemes for how things are played. Since it's short, replayability with different colors and gear is a big part of the draw.

As for the gear, you only have two things: ammo and health. These don't seem to have an upper limit, and you'll need it. You start your playthrough by choosing a gun and a "melee" weapon, and that's all you need. I favored the submachine gun, but that was my preference. Also, the crosshair was a pentagram, so that was cool. The guns seem to work relatively well, depending on how you want to play, and once you beat a level, you can go back and try it with different loadouts as you desire. Melee, unfortunately, doesn't work nearly as well. The actual close-quarters fighting has bad hit detection, so beating an enemy to death with a baseball bat isn't really conceivable because you can't hit the guy right in front of you. One of the melee options is a ranged magic attack, and this proved to be the only effective choice of the set. Once I got it, I stayed with it.

Because melee is so terrible, I found the best way to proceed was to only shoot when I had to. As a result, I took to running through levels and only killing the enemies I had to when required to open a door. That's ok, it makes the game feel more frantic as I'm dodging fire and swinging baseball bats simply to get up a hill or leap across a chasm. Combined with the bizarre visuals of the initial campaign and trippy colors, and this is an awesome, fast-paced experience.

The second campaign proved harder, mainly because it has way more platforming in the third level, and the double jump you get doesn't always register properly. Sometimes you double jump, and sometimes you jump once, drop to the ground, and immediately jump again. Why? I have no idea, I never figured it out, but when you're doing precise platforming, this is a pain in the ass. Also, the sniper enemy can shoot at you from beyond the draw distance, so you might take a round to the face if you wait too long trying to get the jump right.

Hey, for $2, I'm happy with what I got. The devs have said it might get expanded upon again, but it came out two years ago. They're a small indie team working on several projects too, so I don't expect anything further.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:10 am

84. Blaster Master zero 2 (switch)

I'm reasonably sure that just about everyone on this forum has played Blaster Master, it is one of the coolest NES titles ever created, it is part metroidvania, part platformer, and part overhead shooter. The game had an amazing soundtrack, perfect controls, and gameplay that was equal parts challenging and innovative.

As amazing as the original one was the franchise has quite the sordid history. It received a sequel on the genesis which was absolute trash, a PS 1 3-d Update which sold for $20 brand new and was also trash. There was a game on the wii ware service that I never played but did not look impressive, and a game boy color update of the original which from what I hear was pretty awesome but I never actually played it.

the original Blaster Master zero was a launch title for the switch, and truth be told, it was the reason that I bought a switch and was far more excited for that than I was for Breath of the Wild. BM zero was a great game, but at its heart it was just another remake, sure it added tons of new features and variations, it definitely did not feel like a rehash but at its heart thats what it was.

So last year, 30 years after its original release, Blaster Master finally got a proper sequel, and it is absolutely amazing. The story takes place after the original. The main character, Jason, has a tank (Sophia) and a co-pilot (Eve), after defeating the mutants of the first game Eve gets infected with a virus that has no earthly cure. Fearing her demise Jason takes off to journey through space, to reach Eves home planet in order to find a cure.

There are essentially 2 modes of play here, a sidescrolling platformer that has you driving a tank which you can hop in and out of as necessary, and an overhead shooter. As you drive around the planets you will find small doors and other passages that the tank cant fit into, you then can jump out of the tank and explore on foot. Entering these smaller doors takes you an overhead shooter mode where you just play as the guy shooting stuff.

Both modes are executing extremely well. In the tank levels your tank can aim in several directions and jump. As the game progresses you unlock tons of different upgrades and sub weapons. The upgrades allow you some fun traversal options such as wall jumping, limited flying, and swimming capabilities. You also gain access to sub weapons, some of these weapons are striclty for combat (like the homing missiles) but others are used both for traversal and combat, for example the dash move can be used to break through certain barriers, but it also serves as an air dash and gives you momentary invincibility which is huge when fighting the bosses. You have a special weapon gauge that is used to power all of your abilities, if it depletes it will slowly recharfe and your gun will be virtually useless for a few seconds. To keep the energy levels from depleting you can either collect blue pellets or fall from high distances. You dont take fall damage in the tank, instead falling from high up causes a small earthquake around you which is used to power up the sp meter. It is a cool mechanic but doesnt see too much use outside of that and one boss fight.

The overhead levels allow you access to many different types of guns. Like the original you collect power ups and each power up gives you access to a new gun. Like the original when you get hit you lose a gun upgrade, which I hated as a kid and still hate today. This game gives you 2 new things to play with. First, unlike the original, you can select which weapon you want to use, so if your fully powered up you can manually select from any of the available guns, this does come in handy. While the fully powered up gun is hands down the best weapon in the game, the others are a little more situational, so if your not fully powered up being able to choose the best weapon for the job is very helpful. Pretty early on you gain access to a shield, if your shield is active you will take damamge when hit, but wont lose a gun upgrade. The shield replenishes pretty quickly so as long as you don't take 2 hits in rapid succession you will keep your full powered guns, I absolutely loved this feature. On top of the guns you have a series of sub weapons which range from grenades, mines, and power ups. The sub weapons are situationally good and although I did not use them alot, I was happy they were there when I needed them. The final new thing added to this game is a bullet counter, you gain access to counter moves that you can use when there are too many bullets to dodge, using them at the rigth time will absorb bullets and stick them right back at the enemy, it was a cool feature that added a lot to the overhead sections.

The game takes place in outer space, there is an overworld map that is divided into several different sectors (A-G), each sector has one main large planet where the main quests take place, scattered throughout the large planet are coordinates for other smaller planets in various sectors. Finding blueprints opens up these small plaents which allow you to find various upgrades from permanent health increases, to new items that allow more traversal and combat options. The small planets are alot of fun and fairly varied in their execution. Some planets are just you in the overhead levels, some are puzzles, some are boss battles, some are just platorming challenges in and out of the tank. Each planet is its own little leve and I really enjoyed exploring them and collecting all the upgrades in the game.

The bigger planet is where the bulk of the game takes place. These planets are large and require lots of exploration. Luckily there is a very detailed map system, most of the time you will find a planet and not be able to explore it all until you find some kind of upgrades, finding these upgrades allows you to explore the whole thing and eventually lead to a boss battle.

There are lots of bosses in this game, some in the tank, some on foot, and one really cool one that require you to bounce back and forth between the 2. Boss battles are perfect, most of them are large and intimidating, and they are all somewhat challenging without being cheap.

There are also 3 side missions in this game that are mandatory to complete in order to get the good ending, I won't spoil anything just make sure that as you meet new pilots you go back and talk to them and complete their quests, most of them are simple fetch quests that take a few minutes but completing these will give you access to the true final level and true ending. The bad ending is so bad that you will not feel good about yourself if you don't see the game to its proper end.

All told it took me about 8-9 hours to 100% the game. I am thrilled that after all these years Blaster Master finally got a proper sequel and it is definitely worth your time. ANy fan of retro action adventures will enjoy it but if you are a fan of blaster master it is an absolute must play.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:26 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2019 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018
* indicates a repeat

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)

28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *

A best friend of mine started this game at the end of last week to practice his Japanese. He was having a lot of fun sending me screenshots, as he had never played it before. This is a game I've played portions of a lot and already beaten growing up, so the nostalgia kicked into high gear and I decided to play it alongside him on my Super Famicom Mini. One weekend later, he was still only a couple hours in, and I had binged the whole thing and finished it over the course of a little over 3 days :lol: . I did almost everything in the game, and even then mostly by memory, and it took me around 30 hours. This was my first time ever even seeing, let alone completing, the game in Japanese, but I still started to appreciate the design and especially the story in a way I never had before.

The gameplay is like a weird mix of FF IV's set jobs for each story character and FF V's job changing system. Every character (out of the 14 properly playable) has their own set job and unique abilities (save for Gogo who, shoutout to my friend MrPopo who told me can actually use EVERYONE's abilities if you press A on their stats screen), but can also be assigned Materia at a certain part in the story to begin learning spells and magic that any of them can use. Everyone can use the same magics, effectively, but their own powers still make them uniquely useful in their own ways, which is a level of party customization that I am exactly comfortable with (it's not generally something I enjoy).

Something I also only noticed this time is how the game slowly tries to train you for using a more diverse party. The game really opens up in its second half, and you can use a party of basically whomever you want, but the game uses the more linear first half to get you used to different party constructions. The game has a large ensemble cast rather than any one main character, and different scenarios have you taking control of different sets of members at different times. It forces you to get used to something like a party without a magic caster, or without someone who can can't not fight without MP. Given that the final area of the game forces you to use 3 separate parties (ideally of 4 members each), this is a really clever way to help prepare the player for that that I really only noticed this time through.

Something I also only really started to appreciate this time through is the game's narrative and the larger themes that are present throughout the game (This section will contain massive SPOILERS for a 20+ year old game: You have been warned :b ). Put into one giant Spoiler thing here more for its great length than for the actual spoilers it contains.

This being a Square RPG, it's usually trying to make some more serious commentary about something with its narrative, and this game is no exception. For the characters who have a decent presence in the story (Everyone but Gogo, Umaro, Mog, Stragos, and Relm), the main things linking their backstories isn't just being drawn together to save the world, it's a deep feeling of regret and apprehension about the future.

Everyone is chasing something impossible to catch. Terra (Tina in this version) is trying to find an objective answer to what it means to be a human and a reason to live. Locke is trying to erase the mistake he made in his youth that caused the death of his lady love. Cyan (Ceyenne in this version) is trying to fill the hole in his heart left by the death of his wife and child by seeking revenge against their murderer. Edgar and Sabin are chasing other preoccupations to try and distract them from their responsibility of working together to fill their father's large shoes in running the kingdom of Figaro. Shadow is constantly running from a past he's ashamed to have committed and trying to erase past cruelties with new ones. The list goes on. Their time in the world before the cataclysm shows these efforts to be self-destructive and very difficult, perhaps even bordering on not worth it. And then the apocalypse happens.

Their time in the World of Ruin changes them and forces them to confront these problems in uncomfortable but meaningful ways. Terra learns through helping raise a village of children that love is a feeling you have to find for yourself, and is something that in itself can give life meaning. Locke learns that, while you can't erase the mistakes of the past, you can always learn from them and use that knowledge to serve your future actions. Cyan learns that his wife and child are never truly gone as long as they're in his memory, and continuing to live meaningfully is one of the best ways to honor that memory. Sabin and Edgar learn that their most important responsibilities are to each other and to their people and that ruling them together, as their father's last request dictated, is really the best way forward. And while I certainly take issue with the (unfortunately typically East Asian, especially of the era) glorification of suicide in Shadow's ultimate decision to allow himself to be killed to finally stop running from his demons, in that context, it does ultimately still fit with the themes of the story.

The ultimate foil to this is the main villain Kefka. Kefka is definitely someone I have taken issue with in the past as a villain who definitely isn't a character but more of a force of nature. However, he does actually have narrative purpose in being a human who just becomes the god of destruction (instead of a god of destruction pre-existing who so often fills the role of a FF game's final boss). Kefka is someone who never regrets his actions and feels no remorse. His response to things getting bad is to plunge them deeper and deeper into chaos and destruction, and the destruction of the whole world is up for grabs. In his final Bond Villain-esque Bad Guy Speech (TM) to the main party before the final confrontation, he preaches to them the futility of existence. Why is life worth living when death comes for everyone? Why build anything when the entropic winds of time grind all to dust? Kefka is emblematic of a depressive and self-destructive defeatism that is the alternative answer to the internal conflicts the party members face. He truly believe's he's doing the world a favor by seeking to outright destroy it instead of allowing it to suffer by existing. This playthrough really allowed me to see a method to his proverbial madness and appreciate his narrative utility in ways I'd never considered before.

That's not to say the story is without its problems though. If you're not looking for deeper themes, it's fairly easy to pass over the story (as I had several times before this one) as a more disjointed series of vignettes that lead up to a greater whole rather than everyone working towards some greater unified narrative as a party, and there is regardless certainly some truth to that. The story is definitely more about each character's individual growth as a person, rather than a more unified party dynamic or personal relation to the main villain. The game also has some fairly jarring tonal shifts at times, and at more than one occasion will cut a very serious scene short with a comedic interlude to try and lighten the mood, often just ruining the whole thing. The very odd choice to give Ceyenne a samurai's accent (especially when his kingdom and even his own family don't talk like that) brings a weirdly dissonant and comedic tone to his otherwise tragic backstory (and this decision is probably my main beef with the original Japanese version's text as compared to the English one that gives Cyan a Shakespearean accent, which isn't quite so jarring, at least for me. Perhaps a Japanese audience has less of a comedic view of Ceyenne's accent than I found it).


Verdict: Highly Recommended. I already had this game as one of my all-time favorite JRPGs, and this playthrough just solidified that opinion for me. It is up there with Chrono Trigger as one of Square's best JRPGs on the system and a timeless classic in the genre. Still as great as it ever was, and something that will always have a fond place in my heart.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:03 am

1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC
33. Pillars of Eternity II: The Forgotten Sanctum - PC
34. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Switch

Bloodstained is the product of IGA's highly successful Kickstarter to make a new SotN without the Castlevania IP. And it succeeds at that brilliantly. The game's DNA is mostly Chronicles of Sorrow, with a bit of expansion on all the systems to have some more depth to it. The combat feels great, the exploration is well done, and the boss fights are on the right side of challenging without being too evil.

The basic premise is that you are Miriam, a girl who has a crystal growing inside her that lets her attune to demonic essence. Ten years prior to the game's story the alchemists of Europe do a giant demon summoning that goes wrong and Miriam falls into a coma. She wakes up ten years later to find that the only other survivor of the giant demon summoning has summoned a castle of demons and must be stopped. Add in some colorful characters that you'll meet while exploring the castle and you have your standard IGAvania story. It doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but it also doesn't do anything wrong with it.

As I mentioned, it mechanically is an iteration on the Chronicles of Souls games. Nearly every enemy has a chance of dropping their shard, which will be absorbed by Miriam to give her a boost. This comes in one of several forms. The basic is an attack; you press a button and you shoot something out (like bullet souls). A secondary attack style has you hold the right stick in a direction to aim before firing with the right shoulder button. The third style has you hold down the other right shoulder button to activate a state (e.g. health regeneration or stat boosts); this is like the guardian souls. The fourth is a straight passive boost, and the fifth is a familiar like you could get in SotN. Just like in SotN the familiars level up as you kill stuff, and they have various benefits beyond just being able to do a bit of damage. You can collect up to nine of a given shard to boost its power, but you also can use the crafting system to enhance a shard. This usually is the form of increasing projectile side, or adding a secondary benefit (e.g. plus luck also gives plus crit).

The crafting system is pretty well fleshed out. In addition to crafting weapons and armor you can also craft items (the only way to get the best healing potions) and cook food. Food provides you with a permanent stat boost the first time you eat a particular dish, and by end game if you've been eating a lot you'll have an extra few hundred HP and tens of points in your stats. You can also craft new shards, and the nice thing is that unlike the Souls crafting you don't lose the shards when you do so; the shard is just a catalyst. Another nice thing is any item you craft is now purchasable in the shop; you'll take advantage of this when you're doing food, as there are a lot of intermediate items that are advanced ingredients for dishes (e.g. miso broth).

There are a variety of weapons, and there is no obvious best weapon class. Within a weapon class there is a natural progression (though elemental properties can affect that), but whether you want to use fast swords, slow great swords, wide range whips, or guns (among others) will come down to taste and what feels right to you. That said, elemental weaknesses tend to be quite apparent, so swapping weapons as you go along is highly encouraged.

The game does have a couple of unique movement abilities that are interesting to use. One of them is unfortunately locked behind an enemy drop that isn't obvious (and isn't a 100% drop) and is required to progress, so it can be easy to get stuck there (as even if you get the shard it isn't obvious that you can use it for mobility at that point; you have to accept video game logic). The game also nicely will drop hints about where to go if you talk to the shopkeepers, though they only give a given clue once.

A minor note on the Switch port. While docked the main problem is that some transitions are super long; this becomes a bit frustrating on vertical transitions when you didn't jump quite high enough, as you trigger a transition and back and it's slow each time. Undocked things run noticeably slower; I'd personally wait until there are some performance patches (which are in the works) before doing heavy undocked play. It's fine enough for things like farming areas you already know, but don't do a boss fight undocked.
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