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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:09 pm

The First 50:
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)(RPG)
29. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space (PC)(Point and Click)

30. Midnight Ultra (PC)(FPS)
31. Amid Evil (PC)(FPS)
32. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)(RPG)
33. Betrayer (PC)(Horror)

34. Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary (PC)(FPS/RPG)
35. Far Cry 2 (PC)(FPS)
36. Apocryph (PC)(FPS)
37. Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor (PC)(RPG)

38. Menzoberranzan (PC)(RPG)
39. TimeShift (PC)(FPS)
40. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition (PC)(RPG)
41. Shadowgate (PC)(Point and Click)

42. Might & Magic Book One (PC)(RPG)
43. Miasmata (PC)(Adventure)
44. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (PC)(FPS)
45. Legendary (PC)(FPS)
46. Hedon (PC)(FPS)
47. Last Rites (PC)(FPS)
48. Half-Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)
49. Dishonored (PC)(Stealth Adventure)
50. Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World (PC)(RPG)

51. Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall (PC)(Stealth Adventure)
52. Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (PC)(Stealth Adventure)

53. The Spy Who Shot Me (PC)(FPS)
54. Z.A.R. (PC)(FPS)
55. Bunker Punks (PC)(FPS)


Z.A.R.

I think I killed the Together Retro thread for the month by talking about Z.A.R. Your loss; this game is awesome.

Z.A.R. is an obscure Russian FPS from 1997 that saw limited release in other regions. The gist is that Earth is horribly overpolluted and lacking in resources, so it seeds several systems of worlds with robot drones run by a supercomputer to mine a rare element called Iberium which helps with the pollution problems. Unfortunately, that supercomputer gets hit with a meteor and goes full Skynet, so a single soldier is sent in with a super spacesuit to planet hop across multiple worlds destroying the robot menace that the supercomputer is now creating as well as completing strategic objectives to help the people back on Earth and the military space station slowly advancing on the supercomputer to take it down.

To do this, you have to shoot stuff and blow things up. That's ok though, as your weapons tend towards the explosive. Sure, some shoot bullets or plasma bolts like your run of the mill minigun. But you also get access to grenade launchers, flamethrowers, landmines, rocket launchers, a cannon, a super flamethrower, and so forth. There's even one gun that creates tornadoes. Now you won't be getting all of these weapons in the same level, mind you. Why? Because due to the robot defenses, you have to be teleported down to each planet, and weapons must be sent down separately due to the limitations of teleportation tech. Gear is teleported down in specific spots, so as you run low on ammo, you have to go find resource drops.

But why so many explosives? Because the worlds of Z.A.R. were generated with voxels, so they are open worlds to wander and fully destructible. That right there is the major selling point of Z.A.R., that you're in a game where you can flat out destroy things. For example, I'm in a canyon, and there is artillery on a nearby ridge. I can go up there to shoot it and expose myself to other artillery fire, or I can shoot from below and blast open a path to it. Trust me on this, option B is preferred, because you can only get health back by killing enemies and collecting a small bit of energy they drop. It's also not a lot of health, and grabbing it is dangerous, because explosions cause shrapnel to fly everywhere, and shrapnel hurts. Kill an enemy and rush to get the health, and might take more damage from the remains than you heal. And yes, everything explodes. Everything also hurts you, including falling, so you have to be extremely careful when walking down angles, jumping, or using your jump jets. In fact, I found it was usually best to just stay on the ground.

Now even if you die, you can get a leg up on the enemies in this game. Instead of simply restarting, your spirit now floats around the battlefield slowly, so you can take a look and get to know where all of the enemy weapon placements are and understand the terrain. Then, when you want to respawn, you choose to do so and restart the level. Levels are generally pretty short too, with a simple objective to achieve, like "Destroy an enemy convoy" or "Hold a point from attacking enemies." One level has all the robots going haywire against each other, so you teleport in only to find everything shooting at everything else and exploding. I ran for cover as soon as I could, and once I found my gun, anything that got close got mowed down. There is a wide variety in mission types, though typically it involves some sort of hit-and-run operation, where you whittle away at defenses and then swoop in for the kill. You also have to then find your escape teleport, so even if you're successful, you can get killed while trying to evac if you aren't careful. One level in particular is devastating about putting the evac point in the middle of a ring of artillery; I got through by literally throwing myself at it with my jump jets. I got lucky and lived, but a misstep would have meant death.

The worlds you experience range from mostly aquatic to volcanic, deserts to snowy peaks. One level has an acidic river that rises and falls with a tide, while another has craters you can hop in for cover while blasting away at points trying to destroy storage units full of warheads the supercomputer intends to launch against Earth. With 33 levels, the variety is great, and any level you've beaten can be replayed from the starting menu. While the game is consistently challenging, I found the most difficult spot was level 32, a long and treacherous level where you protect a convoy from artillery and missile batteries as well as pop-up energy cannons hidden on the ground.

Look, Z.A.R. is a technological marvel, a rare treat, and also a really fun game. It's sad that it is so little known, because frankly it deserves more attention. If you like late '90s FPS titles, go check this one out.

Bunker Punks

Moving on to something more modern, Bunker Punks is a roguelike FPS with some base-building elements. Don't get too overly excited about that base building bit though, because it's basically just stat buffs for your characters.

It is the future. The world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where the few cities are havens for corporate greed, and those unlucky enough to reside in the wastes between are the bunker punks, raiders who survive by assaulting corporate buildings and looting whatever they can while shooting the army of corporate drones that serve as defensive muscle. You start each round by picking several characters (up to three) with slightly different stats and abilities, and then as you fight, you gather weapons and armor as well as money for bunker upgrades and tech. Tech is used when you die or beat the game to purchase more potential future upgrades, additional characters and character slots, make new kinds of gear available, and so forth. Once you get through the initial 50 unlockable items, you no longer worry about tech and get back to raiding the bunkers as you wish.

That's pretty much it, and while the game lets you rush through on lower difficulties and have fun blasting away, at higher levels it basically becomes a stealthy crawl where only very specific character builds seem to actually work. Yeah, balance isn't exactly great, and most folks play on Easy to get all the unlocks since they're tied to your overall game and not to the specific difficulty. Truth be told, once you've gotten the unlocks and beaten the game, you pretty much are only playing for achievements, bragging rights, and purely for the fun of it.

The game is probably at its best when you can run and gun and experiment with different styles of play and characters. It's also more fun like that; otherwise, it's a stealth shooter, and the enemy types you fight are basically made tougher by having higher amounts of health and dealing more damage. At the highest difficult, you basically just can't get hit, which means really only one character is worth using, and the only weapons worth using are the shotgun and hunting rifle...mainly the shotgun.

So...what keeps me coming back? The music is freaking amazing and reminds me of Chu Ishikawa, a Japanese industrial artist who scored several movies by Shinya Tsukamoto. Sadly, I do not have a link to the OST...but I do have a link to an Ishikawa track, so you're getting that to give you an idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z10AlFDQfY
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Games Beaten 2019:
First 50:
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch
2. Alex Kidd in The Enchanted Castle Switch
3. Streets of Rage Switch
4. Vectorman Switch
5. Galaxy Force II Switch
6. Flicky Switch
7. Phantasy Star 2 Switch
8. Sonic the Hedgehog Switch
9. Altered Beast Switch
10. ESWAT: City Under Siege Switch
11. Columns Switch
12. Virtua Fighter 2 Switch
13. Kirby Star Allies Switch
14. Katamari Damacy Reroll Switch eShop
15. Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! Switch
16. Octodad: Dadliest Catch Switch eShop
17. Sword of Vermilion Switch
18. Decap Attack Switch
19. Golden Axe Switch
20. The Revenge of Shinobi Switch
21. Beyond Oasis Switch
22. WarioWare Gold 3DS
23. Shining in the Darkness Switch
24. Kid Chameleon Switch
25. Streets of Rage 2 Switch
26. Bio-Hazard Battle Switch
27. Super Thunder Blade Switch
28. Gain Ground Switch
29. Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Switch
30. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Switch
31. Comix Zone Switch
32. Vectorman 2 Switch
33. Light Crusader Switch
34. Crack Down Switch
35. ToeJam and Earl Switch
36. Dynamite Headdy Switch
37. Golden Axe II Switch
38. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Switch
39. Columns III: Revenge of Columns Switch
40. Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention Switch
41. Kirby No Kirakira Kizzu Game Boy
42. Klonoa Wii
43. Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Alert! GBC
44. Mario Tennis N64
45. Fire Emblem Warriors Switch
46. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [Randomiser] N64
47. The New Zealand Story SMS
48. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Switch
49. Shenmue 2 Dreamcast
50. Castlevania GBA

51. Mario Party N64
52. ActRaiser SNES
53. GoldenEye 007 N64
54. Mom Hid My Game Switch eShop
55. Money Puzzle Exchanger Switch eShop
56. Gunbird Switch eShop
57. Tokyo School Life Switch eShop
58. Musynx Switch
59. Gremlins 2: The New Batch NES
60. Subsurface Circular Switch eShop
61. Yoshi's Woolly World Wii U
62. ToeJam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron Switch
63. Bare Knuckle III Switch
64. Gunstar Heroes Switch
65. Space Harrier II Switch
66. Sonic Spinball Switch
67. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium Switch
68. Sonic 3D Blast Switch
69. Rabbids Go Home Wii
70. Alien Storm Switch
71. Alien Soldier Switch
72. Untitled Goose Game Switch eShop
73. Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole Switch
74. Fatal Labyrinth Switch
75. Ristar Switch
76. Golden Axe III Switch
77. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Switch
78. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Switch
79. Bonanza Bros. Switch
80. Shining Force II [& Sega Mega Drive Classics] Switch
81. Castlevania Bloodlines Switch
82. Puyo Puyo Sun 64 N64
83. Chameleon Twist 2 N64
84. Cruis'n USA N64



Castlevania Bloodlines

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After finishing up playing through 51 Mega Drive games on the Switch this year, I was looking forward to relaxing with something different. So of course, the very next game I decided to play was Castlevania Bloodlines – a Mega Drive title – via Castlevania Collection on the Switch. Consider it a victory lap of sorts I guess. Anyway, this is actually the US Genesis version of the game, so I guess we can pretend it’s a bit different.

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Castlevania Bloodlines is an old-school Castlevania game of the side scrolling platformer variety, but it does have some aspects about it that make it unique. First and most obvious of these are the two playable characters. First up is John Morris, who is the closest we have to a Belmont in this game. He uses a whip in the traditional series style, and can whip diagonally upwards with it. He can also whip the ceiling and swing across gaps with it. However, I used the second (and easier imo) character, Eric Lecarde. Eric wields a large spear which can also be used to vault up to higher platforms.

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The game takes place over 6 levels, most of which have a lot of sections to work through. The game seems to really dial up the gore, perhaps due to the lack of an early 90s Nintendo being involved. This is prevalent from the outset with zombies falling apart and half od a giant monster chasing you through the first stage. I’m not fussed by the gore either way really, but this game sure is a looker for the system regardless. As with most Konami games on the Mega Drive, it really feels like they’re out to impress with their special effects (and show up former employees Treasure if they can). This can be seen with stages such as the Tower of Pisa which features lots of rotating and tilting effects, and the infamous stage where bands of the level separate as you go making your footing uncertain.

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The game also sounds pretty great. It’s hard to match up to the spectacular soundtracks of Super Castlevania IV and especially Rondo of Blood, but Bloodlines holds it’s own. It’s a little more sombre and atmospheric than other soundtracks in the series perhaps, certainly less energetic, but it’s still great, and it picks up and drops away where it needs to.

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Subweapons are back, with the usual suspects of axe, cross and holy water in tow. New to this game is a special subweapon obtained when your weapon is fully powered up though, which lasts until you take a hit or grab another subweapon. This unleashes a powerful screen clearing blast and is very useful against bosses if you can keep it for one.

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The game isn’t perfect. It’s a bit short for one, and it attempts to remedy that by giving you limited continues, which is a bit of a jerk move for a Castlevania game if you ask me. Some of the platforming challenges can be pretty brutal for your life count too. That said, I found the bosses in the game to be surprisingly easy overall, with few offering much of a challenge – and the new special subweapon often making short work of those that do.

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Overall though, I enjoyed my time with Bloodlines. I don’t know if I’d say it’s as good as Rondo, but it’s a contender for me vs Super Castlevania IV. Whichever of the main 3 castlevanias of this generation you play though, you cant really go wrong. We’ll ignore Vampire’s Kiss/Dracula X.

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Puyo Puyo Sun

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As I’ve mentioned a few times before on the site, I’m a big fan of Puyo Puyo. I’ve played Puyo Puyo 1 in various forms (the Arcade original, Mean Bean Machine, Kirby’s Ghost Trap and the TGCD port), as well as Puyo Puyo Tsuu via various means as well. But I’ve never played the third game, Puyo Puyo Sun before. So I sat down with the Nintendo 64 version and gave it a shot.

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Puyo Puyo 1 is pretty brutal in it’s difficulty level, and Puyo Puyo Tsuu amps it up even further, causing me to rage and shout new and inventive swear words on a regular basis whilst playing. Tears of frustration may or may not have been shed. I put this down to the game being an arcade release. I don’t know if Puyo Puyo Sun got an arcade release too, but it feels like this game may have been targeted at consoles first, because it’s notably easier. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not easy, but it’s not quite as hair pulling as Tsuu, and I beat it within about 2 hours overall.

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The core gameplay of Puyo remains, with 4 connected Puyos of the same colour disappearing. Combos are the name of the game, as if more puyos connect and match after the first, you’ll create a combo which sends junk puyos to your opponent. The bigger the chain, the more junk. If you set of a chain before the junk drops on your side, you can reduce or even counter attack the opponent back. Junk puyos disappear when other puyos are matches next to them, but can prevent you setting off massive combos if they land in the wrong places. Balancing setting off big chains with sending smaller garbage attacks to block opponents is the name of the game.

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Puyo Puyo Sun, besides being a pun on the Japanese word for 3 (san) also ties in to the plot and a new mechanic of the game. The plot see’s Satan bringing the Sun closer to earth with our hero Arle out to stop him as per usual. The new mechanic is the Sun puyo – a solar blob who creates more junk when matched during a combo.

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Puyo Puyo Sun looks great on N64, especially with my HDMI modded system. I’d imagine on standard hardware it’s not quite as impressive as it is on Saturn, but with my console it looks crisp, clean and sharp. It really shows off what the N64 could do in 2D, which was rarely utilised. The soundtrack, being on cartridge, is a downgrade from the Saturn OST, but that’s not to say it’s bad – it still sounds great.

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Overall, I had a good time with Puyo Puyo Sun. It was still tough, but not quite as unrelenting as before, and the bright colours and tropical vibes of the game kept it nice and relaxing. I think regardless of what system you end up playing this on, it’s a great time. Pick it up if you’re a Puyo fan for sure.



Chameleon Twist 2

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Chameleon Twist was a game I played a few years back on Nintendo 64. It let you play as one of 4 Chameleon characters with names like Davy and Linda as they platformed through a 3d world. The game had some fun and creative mechanics based around grappling and swinging with your tongue, but it was a bit short at only 6 levels, and kind of left you wanting more. Now, here is Chameleon Twist 2, with more of the same.

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Chameleon Twist 2, on it’s title screen, promises us High Voltage Screaming Action, which is a big and bold claim. Is it one it can live up to? We’ll wait to see. The core gameplay here though doesn’t suggest so, as it’s built on the same mechanics as the first. A is jump, and B uses your tongue. You can move the tongue with the analogue stick as it extends to direct it. Grabbing a pole will let you either pull yourself towards it, or swing around it by holding A and B. Licking an enemy or item will pull it in towards you, and then said enemies can be spat out with another tap of B – you can lick up multiple enemies though and machine gun them all out in a row. Z lets you stand on your tongue, and doing this whilst moving lets you vault higher than a standard jump.

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New moves are added this time though – holding A in mid air extends an umbrella to slow your fall. You can pull yourself to any surface with your tongue and then jump off of it again with A. Poles can now be swung around vertically as well as horizontally. So the game has a lot of fun moves, but the problem again is the execution and level design.

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The game is again super short with only 6 levels, and many of these fail to use the mechanics in a challenging and interesting way. There are a few too many basic platforming sections or big open spaces with easily avoidable enemies to encounter. But the bigger problem is on the few occasions where the game does ask you to fully utilise your moveset, it feels too awkward and fiddly to use effectively – I found myself struggling a lot at these sections as the game felt a bit too unwieldy to handle the level of acrobatics it wanted me to use. This is especially apparent during the ‘tutorial’ sections, which were easily the hardest parts of the game for the most part, and I couldn’t finish most of them.

[img]http://www.retrogameage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glide64_Chameleon_Twist2_52.jpg
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The other issue the game is waiting. There’s a lot of sequences with moving platforms where you basically just have to sit and wait for a long time. Often, there are no hazards, secrets of anything else to find in these sections, so you can end up stuck doing nothing for a long time. The second level is the worst here, with 3 back to back ferris wheels which can take well over 2 minutes to get past, most of which standing still.

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That’s not to say there’s no fun to be had here though. The game is simple fun and it looks pretty nice too, with bold colours throughout. The Chameleons have had a redesign too to look more like Chameleons, but this is only in the west – in Japan they look the same as the first game. The game’s music is decent enough too, if a little forgettable.

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Overall then, Chameleon Twist 2 is a perfectly fine platformer. It’s definitely not worth a high price due to it’s fairly average quality and very short length, but it’s a fun enough game for a weekend. It’s certainly not full of High Voltage Screaming Action (often the opposite in fact), but if you like a bit of Gen 5 weirdness it’s worth a look.


Cruis’n USA

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Cruis’n USA was a game I didn’t really have a whole lot of interest in until I saw My Life in Gaming’s Youtube video on the series a few years back. I knew Try4ce from the backloggery before he started that series, and his tastes often align with mine. Being that he was quite a fan, I figured it might be worth picking up the game if I saw it for cheap. And that’s just what I did.

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Cruis’n USA is a racing game where you tour 14 different tracks across the USA – at least in theory, actually 8 of them are in California, but never mind! You race through these tracks in your sports car, aiming to beat the other cars to the finish line. The game definitely leans very heavily into the arcade racer genre, with a countdown timer and checkpoints which add to you time. The game also has some very unrealistic car physics, with a super twitchy car which almost seems glued to the track – no drifting and no heavy handling here guys.

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The game isn’t really a looker for the system, but for an early title it doesn’t look awful. You can choose between 3 camera views for the game – the default behind the car view, then the usual more zoomed out view and the first person view. Personally, for a dumb racer like this, I go with the first person view – even if the other views are better for seeing the upcoming track. The game also adds to the fun in first person by having bugs fly into your windscreen and splat on some tracks.

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The game has multiple audio tracks that play, all of which are kinda cheesy and cover a range of genres – house, rock, bluegrass and more. They are technically radio stations, so you can switch between them by pressing B whilst driving. They do get a bit repetitive though, as they music loops are super short, so even though the game only has 14 tracks about 3 minutes long each, the music gets a bit tiresome before you finish at Washington DC.

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The game is fairly easy overall, at least at the default difficulty level I played it at. However, track difficulty varies drastically, and some of the earlier tracks are way harder than some late game ones. Chicago, which is track 11 or so, is also by far the hardest.

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Overall, Cruis’n USA isn’t great, but it is some dumb fun which you can enjoy on occasion. It’s no classic, but if you fancy some cheese you could do a lot worse.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:34 pm

AJ, if you enjoyed Cruis'n USA, might I suggest Cruis'n World!

The game plays much better as it is much smoother than USA. The frame rate doesn't jerk around so much and stuff doesn't just pop out of nowhere. The track variety is much better as you are going through the entire World.

Cruis'N Exotica is pretty crazy and ramps up the insanity for it. I didn't like it as much because World just plays better. But, if you looking for some more craziness regarding cars and tracks, Exotica has it.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:42 pm

I'd be willing to give them a go at some point on my Everdrive. Sadly, Cruis'n USA is the only one of the games they released over here in Europe for some reason.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:21 pm

I always feel bad following AJ.
It's like the poor suckers who had Hendrix, Nirvana or Zeppelin open for them...

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)
3. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)
***4. Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)***
5. Shining In The Darkness (GEN)
***6. Metropolis Street Racer (SDC)***
7. Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Mario Party (N64)
10. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN)
11. Street Fighter Collection (PS1)
12. Pokemon Stadium 2 (N64)
13. Burnout (PS2)
14. Phantasy Star III (GEN)
15. Batman: The Video Game (NES)
16. X-Men Legends (XBOX)
***17. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)***
18. Maximum Pool (SDC)
19. Puzzle Quest (PS2)
20. Jet Moto (PS1)
21. The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (GCN)
22. Dead Or Alive 3 (XBOX)
23. Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness
24. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)
25. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

26. Wild Arms 4 (PS2)

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I beat Wild Arms 4 on the Sony Playstation 2 this afternoon!

I have been slowly going through the Wild Arms franchise as I have been playing them on the PS1 and then the PS2. Almost two years exactly, I beat Wild Arms 3 for the PS2. There was a lot I liked about the game, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the PS1 games. So, I was now on the hunt for the next game in the series when I happened to discover a near mint copy at my now defunct favorite local game store. We talked about how the prices for the games in the series had begun to rise in price and a part of me said that I shouldn't pass it up. Needing a quicker RPG before the end of the year, I decided to pop it in and see if the series was able to right itself.

The best part of the Wild Arms series is the music and that does not disappoint here. It was my favorite part of Wild Arms 3 and I would say the same about Wild Arms 4. In fact, I bought the Wild Arms 3 soundtrack and will do the same for Wild Arms 4 in the future. The Wild West esthetic has been changed to a more post apocalyptic setting, however, those are very interchangeable. Granted, you don't see any horses or stagecoaches, but people still dress like the Wild West and it has more of a steampunk feel to it. The story is interesting, but I enjoyed the characters much better. They are likeable, though they could get on my nerves with the constant dialog. And the battle system is really unique with a hex based grid that allows you to target almost anybody. It's unique and one I have never seen before. It made bosses a joke because you could focus on one hex and do massive amounts of damage.

However, the same could be said for your party. I never died in boss fights throughout the entire game, but I did die in random encounters all the time. Throw a healer with little defense in the middle hex with all enemies hitting her is a recipe for death. The story was unique, but they drove the theme of war and adults versus children a bit too much. I know that war is bad, you don't have to hammer it home every hour for thirty hours!

Overall, I felt like Wild Arms 4 surpassed Wild Arms 3. Sometimes, it felt like I was playing another RPG with Wild Arms stuff slapped on it, but that other RPG is really good. The hex battle system is really unique and the characters are likable enough for the duration of the game. Another good entry if you enjoy PS2 RPG's.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by dsheinem Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:54 pm

Games Beaten 2019

Kentucky Route Zero Act 1 - PC
All Our Asias - PC
Shape of the World - Switch
Hidden Folks - PC
Hyrule Warriors - Wii U
Onrush - PS4
Assassin's Creed Origins - X1
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown -360
Metro Exodus - PS4
Split/Second - 360
Far Cry: New Dawn - PS4
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - X1
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite - PS4
Rage - PC
Red Faction: Armageddon - 360
Momonga Pinball Adventure - Switch
Psycho Soldier - Vita (Arcade)
Super Mutant Alien Assault - Vita
Burly Men at Sea - Vita
Sigil - PC
Fat Princess - PS3
Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
Monster World IV - Genesis (PS3)
Marvel's Spider-Man - PS4
Mega Man X4 - Switch
Armored Warriors - Switch (Arcade)
Battle Circuit - Switch (Arcade)
Borderlands 3 - PS4
Hyper Dyne Side Arms - PS3(Arcade)
Legendary Wings - PS3 (Arcade)
The Outer Worlds - X1
Akai Katana - 360
RayStorm - PS2 (Arcade)
Operation C - PS4 (Game Boy)
Kid Dracula - Switch (Famicom)
Castlevania: The Adventure - Switch (Game Boy)
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge - Switch (Game Boy)
What the Golf - iOS *new*

Total: 38


Previously: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

This game is not really a golf game - although it also is a golf game, in a weird way. Suffice to say, there's lots of strangeness and inventiveness going on - it a game that uses golf as a medium for parody of many other titles (e.g. Superhot, Katamari Damacy, Angry Birds, etc.), all constructed by developers who claim to hate golf. There's a lot of wit and humor, and I LOL'ed more than a few times at some of the ideas in the game's many stages. A nice mix of something like the work of Keita Takahashi (Katamari, Noby Noby Boy, etc.), and the work of Davey Wreden (The Stanley Parable, The Beginner's Guide, etc,) with an aesthetic that is a cross between Donut County and Proteus....

There's a lot going on here, and its mostly great.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:37 am

Yo, AJ! About those thoughts on Phantasy Star IV! You're right, actually. PSIV isn't especially great. It's not the best JRPG on the console, either; that would be Surging Aura. It's not even the second best JRPG for the Mega Drive; that would be Legend of Heroes. It's about as good as Legend of Heroes II, though. Unfortunately none of those are available in English, and are pretty uncommon/rare even in Japanese, so most people will probably never realize this, but I swear it's the truth. I do think it's true that PSIV fits alongside a lot of the SNES' heralded JRPGs in that I don't really care a lick about them, though.

I'm surprised that I was probably a little less sour about Landstalker than you, after I had played it. I definitely agree about its particular brand of isometric nonsense, though. Have you played Alundra before? If not, I think it feels a bit like if Landstalker had just not been an isometric game, and been more like Beyond Oasis. (I find Alundra to be the best alternative to Legend of Oasis.) The story is probably better overall in Alundra, as well. The gameplay and puzzles can still be really difficult, though, which I happen to like about both games, but I realize not everyone does. There's also the 'true' sequel in Ladystalker, which I still haven't played much of, but seems to control even worse, and removed jumping. I guess ladystalkers can't jump.

Also, Puyo Puyo Sun did start in the arcades. I happen to have it. I really enjoy puzzle games, but have always been balls at Puyo Puyo. The difficulty of the first two probably never helped matters. It sounds like I might have to try playing Sun instead. Do you have Puyo Puyo~n for anything? I now need for you to play that, and tell me what end of the Puyo difficulty spectrum it falls on.


Games Beaten List:

  1. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure (GEN)
  2. The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
  3. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (GEN)
  4. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (GEN)
  5. Go Go Ackman (SFC)
  6. Super Wagyan Land (SFC)
  7. Super Mario RPG (SFC)
  8. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
  9. Front Mission: Gun Hazard (SFC)
  10. Steep Slope Sliders (SAT)
  11. Valkyrie Profile (PS1)
  12. Sakura Taisen (SAT)
  13. Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka (DC)
  14. Shinobi (PS2)
  15. Gungrave (PS2)
  16. Assault Suit Leynos 2 (SAT)
  17. Sakura Taisen 2: Kimi, Shinitamoukoto Nakare (SAT)
  18. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (PS2)
  19. Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (FC)
  20. Ganbare Goemon 2 (FC)
  21. Sakura Taisen 3 ~Paris wa Moeteiru ka~ (DC)
  22. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 (DC)
  23. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 Pro (DC)
  24. Capcom vs SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 (DC)
  25. Sakura Taisen 4 ~Koi-seyo Otome~ (DC)
  26. Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyou-ryuu Doujou (DC)
  27. King of Fighters '99 Evolution (DC)
  28. Madou Monogatari I (MD)
  29. Twinkle Star Sprites (SAT)
  30. Madou Monogatari (SAT)
  31. Policenauts (SAT)
  32. Demon's Blazon: Makaimura Monshou-hen (SFC)
  33. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (FC)
  34. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (GB)
  35. Red Arimer: Makaimura Gaiden (GB)
  36. Getsu Fuumaden (FC)
  37. After Armageddon Gaiden: Majuu Toushouden Eclipse (Mega CD)
  38. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)
  39. Elnard (SFC)
  40. Actraiser (SFC)
  41. Sonic Mania (PC)
  42. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC)
  43. Blazing Chrome (PC)
  44. ReCore - Definitive Edition (PC)
  45. The Outer Worlds (PC)
  46. Shenmue II (DC)
  47. Shenmue III (PC)

I guess it's been quite a while since I updated my list of beaten games. Just some quick thumbs-up/thumbs-down on most of these:

Zelda II - Am I happy to have salted this one away legit and without assistance (aside from cheesing Dark Link)? Sure. Was it worth it? Not really. Would I ever play it again? Not on your life.


Elnard - I mean, I didn't mind it for most of the game, but the final continent was a bit of a task to push through, and the ending was just complete nonsense. Even as a joke, I couldn't recommend it, but if you're a real glutton for C-tier RPGs, then sure. It's not terrible.


Actraiser - Piss off, Actraiser. Your gameplay is clunky, and not fun. Your graphics are lame, and despite a venerated VGM composer, your soundtrack is measly and uninteresting outside of the first two BGM. (I don't really love Yuzo Koshiro as a composer, but the theme for the pyramid area was as close to "bad" as I've ever felt comfortable describing his work.) The sim sections are trivial, and really don't "mix things up" in a way that I feel works with the action portions of the game. At least Quintet eventually knocked it out of the park with Soul Blazer and Terranigma, though.


Sonic Mania - Okay, this is going to sound weird, but I really didn't care for this game. It felt kind of lifeless and awkward to me. It tries as hard as it possibly can to be a 2D Sonic game, faithful to its roots, and I feel like it just misses the mark. Also, the Studiopolis Act 1 boss is the worst idea for a Sonic boss I think I've ever seen. I've been feeling like I should revisit it at some point, but it doesn't really feel worth it when I could just replay S3&K, or Sonic CD. I'm almost positive I would have a better time with either of them. It's disappointing because I really wanted to like Sonic Mania, but it feels a bit soulless, and misguided, just differently from Sonic Team's more recent attempts at continuing the 2D line of games. I do really like Studiopolis' Act 2 theme, though.


Bloodstained - Similarly, I just don't see a reason to play this game ever again. I did pretty much everything possible in the base game. About the only thing left that I could possibly do is multiple NG+ to max out a couple one-time boss drop shard grades. I just have no interest in doing that, even with DLC content or something. It does everything it possibly can to reimagine SOTN, but it's inferior in its methods in almost every respect. No, I would just replay SOTN. That would be much more worth my time. It's a fairly enjoyable game, once through, though--if you absolutely must play it.


Blazing Chrome - There's a real theme developing here: Just play Contra: Hard Corps, it does everything this game does, but way better. Blazing Chrome isn't bad, per se, but out of these three, it's the one I enjoyed playing the least; which is to say that I didn't enjoy it much at all.


ReCore - I wouldn't really recommend running out to buy it, but it's not really bad. I enjoyed it a fair amount, initially. It gets pretty stale about halfway through, and really needed some rethinking with the combat. It plays kind of rough at times on PC, also. There are some good ideas in ReCore, but they ultimately weren't executed very well.


The Outer Worlds - I enjoyed The Outer Worlds for the most part. I felt it had some issues with the narrative, and I was kind of expecting character development to be better, since I thought that was supposed to be a big thing with modern WRPGs, but it's an interesting game. I went kind of crazy, and explored the world a bit excessively for loot and stuff, so it kind of ended up feeling a bit overly repetitive, and not really worth the time investment, after a while. I'd potentially think about playing it again some day, though. Not any time soon, and I'd definitely just be doing it to explore a slightly different moral path, but it was pretty fun overall.


Shenmue II - This was a replay to refresh myself on most of the Shenmue lore for the release of Shenmue III. There's not a whole lot to say, it's still the greatest game ever made. There are some performance issues on the Dreamcast that I noticed a lot more than when I originally played it in 2001, but it was also fun to pick out some of the technical differences that were made between this one and the first game, like the sky being more natural, and all the NPCs having Ryo's model for shadows, unlike the drop shadows in the first game. Hong Kong is appropriately huge and full of personality, and both the third and fourth discs are unique, with a serious ramp up in narrative intensity. It's as much of a masterpiece now as it was almost two decades ago. I'm still going to need to replay it again, because I was kind of rushing (started on in-game Feb 15, and ended on Mar 8). I tried to complete a lot of things, like I actually got the gold medal this time, but I potentially missed a number of optional scenes, particularly pertaining to Fang Mei, and missed a bunch of Collection items in my clear file because I didn't play a lot of the arcade cabinets even once. That's all right, though.


Shenmue III - This was the best game I beat for the first time this year. (Sakura Taisen 3, and Shinobi III weren't too far off, though.) Somehow I always sort of expected that Yu Suzuki would be able to pick the series right back up from where it left off, but at the same time I guess I didn't really expect for it to flow quite so seamlessly together. I, presumably, did very close to everything possible in the game. The Epic Store version doesn't have any achievements like the PS4 version, so I'm not sure if I actually picked every herb possible, but I'm pretty sure I did. I know I missed more than one quest, six trade-ins for move scrolls, I didn't master every acquired move, and I only got 107 of the chobu-chan shop cards. I did, however, win at almost every smart ball and lucky drop board in the game, collect all the clothing I could find (including the kenpogi and the two trainer jacket prizes), unload all the Choubu-chan Fighter machines and play the mess out of it for prizes, completed the Rose Garden fights, and had many, many conversations with NPCs during the down times where Ryo isn't asking for directions, etc (the times where a lot of the best conversations are had). A lot of the NPC dialog is pretty great. It unfortunately gets a little repetitive at times in the first area, because the number of NPCs is a little more limited, and they don't change up what they say all that often, but I will never forget Ryo explaining the birds and the bees to a kid by reciting the beginning of the story of Momotaro, and the kid's response. Shenmue III, like the first two games, is all about how much you invest into it. The more you invest, the greater is the reward. I put a total of $600 and 106 hours into Shenmue III, and it was absolutely worth every bit of that. I'm really looking forward to the DLC that's on the way, and any other future announcements for the series.
Last edited by pierrot on Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:55 am

pierrot wrote:Sonic Mania - Meh

Bloodstained - Meh

Blazing Chrome - Meh

Shenmue III - GOTY

I think it's safe to say that you and I have very different tastes in our games.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:36 am

:lol: Yeah, that's more than fair.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:31 am

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) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)
57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *
58. Blazing Chrome (Xbone)
59. Minit (Xbone)
60. Dishonored 2 (Xbone)
61. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Xbone)
62. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Xbone)

63. Recore: Definitive Edition (Xbone)

Recore was a game that seemed cool but I knew basically nothing about outside of the very basic premise from the E3 reveal so many years ago. I'd heard it was plagued with terrible technical issues and loading times back at launch, and the game was quite clearly badly optimized and not even content-complete. I'd also heard that the definitive edition had fixed that up really well, and my experience playing it fits that hearsay well. I never played original Recore, but I really enjoyed my time with the definitive edition. It took me around 22 hours to get all but a couple collectibles and I also left a couple dungeons un-100%'d.

Recore is the story of a girl named Joule, a girl all alone on an alien world known as Far Eden save for her robot dog named Mack. It turns out though that Mack isn't actually the dog, but the core powering the K9 frame, and over the course of the game you'll get more corebots as well as a total of 5 frames to plonk them in as you unravel the mystery of why this planet is so desolate, why you're all alone on it, and why it's covered in horrible killer corebots. The story isn't anything super special to write home about, but it's done well enough. What's especially great are the corebots themselves. Their designs are good, but the animations on your companions just bring SO much life to them. Especially the way the dog frame will bounce around happily wagging its tail, run forward to where you're gonna go to try and lead you there. I found it very endearing, and it brought some well-needed levity to a story that can be pretty bleak and dark at times.

Recore is a really weird kinda game to describe that isn't really like anything else I've played. I imagine it might be somewhat like Metroid Prime, but not having played much of that, I can't say for sure. Either way, this product from Keiji Inafune and the Metroid Prime team plays like something between Metroid Prime, Breath of the Wild, and Mario Odyssey (the latter two not having been released yet when this game came out in 2016, for what it's worth). And it all kinda works in the end? At least it did for me. XD

There are 5 large, sub-open worlds with things scattered about them. You can just follow the story, or you can explore around looking for prismatic cores. The world isn't quite as tightly designed as Breath of the Wild, but how much you can just wander around these big areas looking for dungeons (which have a very BotW shrine-like feel to them) or misc activities to do for prismatic cores, health powerups, or crafting materials really scratched the same itch for me that BotW did. Prismatic cores are very much like Mario Odssey's moons in how you go around and hunt for them, and you need a certain amount of them to open up certain gates to let the story progress. Then the Metroid Prime bit comes from how you unlock new traversal abilities to go back to earlier areas to get goodies you couldn't access before as well as how this is a shooter with a lock-on mechanism.

Unpacking all of that a little at a time, the exploration and platforming feel great. The game controls fantastically, and Joule moves really tightly with her two jumps and an air dash. The dungeons are either combat trials, platforming trials, or mini-adventure (like proper little dungeons) ones. Each have a secret key to collect, 8 floating switches to find and shoot, and a time limit to do it all in, with each of those getting you a treasure for doing it. Do all three in one go and you get an extra bonus treasure. Interesting areas on the overworld where goodies may lie are signposted very well with bright glowy material collectibles that function like coins in Mario: they're a sign to where the action is.

The platforming SHOULD feel a lot more fiddly than it does, but it doesn't. Good camera control, a generous ledge-climbing feature, and a bright yellow circle indicating directly underneath you all help contribute to this. Even when I was just searching the world with a fine-toothed comb for prismatic cores, I was having fun because of how fluid and easy it is to move the character through the environment.

Another thing helping that was the combat. Joule has a rifle that can swap between white, red, blue, and yellow. Enemies also come in these colors (or combinations of them), and shooting them with the matching color does WAY more damage. You also have up to two corebots at a time in one of five frames. Each of the three colors of corebot has a special attack that corresponds to each frame (blue more quick & damaging, yellow more defensive, and red is damage & damage over time), and both your corebots and enemy corebots function this way. You unlock more corebot frames to use as you progress through the story, giving you more combat options as well as more traversal abilities to go back and nab more goodies with.

You can find blueprints and materials to upgrade your corebots (basically better weapons & armor), as well as rare silly-looking ones with special abilities. There's also a neat mechanic where killing an enemy outright will drop materials for crafting armor, but extracting its core when its weak gives you more energy that you'll need to use to boost your corebots stats (they're SUPER weak if you don't boost their stats, and they're killing machines if you keep up on boosting them). Tie that all in with a combo system that gives you more damage output as you keep dealing damage and avoiding taking it, and you have a combat system that I never got bored with. I know a common complaint for this game is that the combat gets repetitive, but I never found that a problem. There's a decent amount of enemy variety, and the level scaling is really viscous (it's pretty uncommon to fight stuff below your level unless you're REALLY backtracking), so there's always an element of danger especially to overworld-wandering enemies.

The combat's biggest fault is that it doesn't give the player enough information. You can die SO fast (for basically the entire game, even the first corebots you meet hit really hard) that if you're caught off-guard by something, that can be a death right there (although luckily death respawns are nearly instant). This game really could've used something like Dad of War's ring around the player that points towards incoming attacks, because sometimes you're SO overwhelmed with enemies there's just nothing you could've done to not die. It can sometimes feel like you just had no control over whether or not you lived or died and you just didn't get lucky enough.

Part of this is certainly down to how the game handles its combat. You have a lock-on for your gun as well as air-dashes and a double jump. A big part of combat is avoidance and constantly moving, and once you get the hang of that and also start using your corebots special abilities as much as possible, you'll start dying a LOT less. That said, you can still stagger from stuff like fire REALLY hard, and the screen is often so busy that no matter where you are in the game, you're never entirely safe from a death that will feel like it was unfair. It's certainly not how the bulk of the combat feels, but it's a frequent enough problem that it alone is more or less what keeps me from recommending this game as highly as I WANT to recommend it.

Presentation is a mixed bag. The graphics are pretty for an earlier Xbone game, but nothing super outstanding. The previously mentioned corebot personality is definitely the strongest part of the game's presentation. The environments don't have a toooon of variety, as most are just the craggy desert that makes up the surface of Far Eden. Either that, or underground caverns or tech facilities. It's not allll the same, but it feels pretty samey. The music is also nothing to write home about, and sometimes the VA is pretty bad too. Especially for the tank-related new content they added for the definitive edition, Joule's VA sounds like she's really phoning it in for some bits of dialogue where her tone will be weirdly detached from the emotional content it seems the words she's saying should have.

Performance on my base-model Xbone was mostly fine. If you're looking over a huge vista with tons of stuff on-screen, you're gonna get some framerate dips, but the game never stuttered in a way that affected how I was playing it in a meaningful way. Loading times are generally pretty quick if not instant (for things like respawns after death or fast-travel within the same region), so that's nice. The only really noticeable problems are things like texture maps REALLY freaking out some times in the Shifting Sands area, or texture/model pop-in being pretty noticeable as well. Not stuff that bothered me at all, but if you're someone who would be bothered by that, you're probably better off getting Recore on PC or on an Xbone X.

Verdict: Recommended. The combat issues keep me from giving this the highly recommended I really wanna give it, but it's still a game I enjoyed a ton. I really had no idea what I was going in for, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the end of it. This game is easily worth its $20 digital price tag or going through if you happen to have Game Pass if you like action/adventure games and platformers. It's not Dad of War and it's not Breath of the Wild, but it's honestly close enough that I really hope Microsoft lets this team revist Recore someday. With some tightening up mechanically, this yet-to-be-a-series could be something really really special. Microsoft have a Nier on their hands with Recore, and if they were so inclined to give it another entry in the series, I think they could easily give it its Automata.
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