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pierrot
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:14 am

Nice write-up on DKC3, Partridge. That was the only one of the three games that I actually finished, and collected everything for the max%. So it was interesting to read your thoughts on the bonus rooms, and coins. I didn't think about it that much when I was playing through them.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:42 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) *

I decided to at least attempt to finish what I started and played through the original DKC this afternoon. I already owned it on my SFC Mini, so I figured I may as well give it a try and I'd put it down if it got too hard like when I tried to play it a few weeks ago. Roughly two hours later, I'd finished the game with about a 60% completion rate. Getting 101% doesn't actually involve unlocking any content that you don't see through the course of the game normally like the sequels' extra boss fights and Lost World stages, and I've had more than enough snipe hunts for super secret bonus stages in DKC2 to want to bother try and getting full % completion on this game XD. It's still my least favorite out of the 3 games, but not nearly by as much as it was before this playthrough.

The lack of the concretely defined bonus stages that the sequels' use, with their bonus coins and such, and a focus on more fluid platforming through the stages really sets this apart from DKC 2 and 3. I'd go as far as to say that the feel of playing the later two games differs so much from this one that I almost don't feel quite fair making direct comparisons between them as the design philosophy of the sequels vs. the original feel so different. For a Mario analogy, DKC 1 is Mario 2/USA, while the sequels are Mario 3 and Mario World. It's unmistakably the same series, characters, etc., and a lot of the DNA you see in later games is still there, but one of these things is clearly not like the other. Nonetheless, I played through all 3 in succession to compare them directly to one another, so I'm gonna keep doing it here :lol:

On the topic of bonus stages, DKC1 does have them, sure, and they do add to the completion percentage, as I mentioned before, but their end purpose is different. Where the sequels' bonus barrel challenges are meant to be something to achieve in and of themselves, almost like mini-games using the main game's mechanics, DKC1's bonus areas are primarily towards the purpose of racking up extra lives and you're gonna NEED those extra lives. DKC1 is definitely the hardest of the 3 DKC games. While 2 does have some very tricky stages, particularly the bramble ones, DKC1's love of levels that require many very accurate timings of successive spinning barrel blasts or weaving juuust around enemies makes the whole difficulty curve of the game jump all over the place.

Even as a kid, I had a TON of trouble getting past the game's 6th stage because the barrel timings were just so difficult to get past, and the same goes for the minecart stage (of which there are mercifully only two in the whole game) in world 2. DKC's design is very tight and the game plays great, but the momentum-based platforming, many difficult barrel timings, and many auto-scrolling stages (minecart-based or otherwise) make it really stand out from other Nintendo-published SNES platformers of the time for me. Especially lacking Dixie, so you have no hover to use to help with more difficult platforming sections, you have no choice but to learn the game's jumping and physics to the point where they're second-nature. I finished the game with nearly 50 extra lives this time, but a lot of that is due to not only playing the game in one sitting (this game has save points! Why doesn't it save your lives too? O_o), but also the practice of the series' platforming physics by playing the other two SNES games over the past few days also really helped me achieve what is otherwise an anomaly for me in this game XD

DKC1 has some great level design that begins to peak at the kind of "one level one gimmick" formula that DKC3 executes so thoroughly on, but the lesser focus on different styles of play as well as a much more optional status of animal friends again sets this apart from its sequels. Rambi the rhino and Engarde the swordfish are in this game, but lack any kind of charge moves like they gain in 2. There's also Winky the frog and Exspresso the ostrich, but Winky's strange hop-walking and Exspresso's inability to actually harm enemies makes them very awkward to use, and while Winky wasn't quite as bad as I'd remembered him, I did not miss his presence in later games (Rattly is basically Winky but better, tbh). Squawks is here, but he's only in one stage and just carries your light for you in one stage, and is basically just Glimmer from DKC2 as opposed to mechanically resembling anything of how he plays in later games. All that said, none of the animal friends are ever transformed into or required for any stages, and are effectively treated as powerups to reward the player for exploring. This goes a long way towards making the game largely feel like an exercise in how well you can master how DK and Diddy move rather than a succession of more unique experiences. Not a bad thing, for sure, but it's one more feature that makes DKC1 stand apart from its progeny.

Even on an aesthetic level, DKC1 looks quite different from 2 and 3. The game is still beautiful and the music is great, but I noticed a lot of little differences I'd never noticed in the other games. Barrels, K. Rool, the Kremlings, and even Diddy all look just a little bit different than they do in the later games. DKC1 has a much more naturalistic approach to its level and character design than the later games, and it's something that jumped out to me this playthrough more than past ones.

Verdict: Recommended. DKC1 is a great platformer that, while not quite the same as its sequels in overall design philosophy, it a game that is tons of fun in its own right and one I learned to appreciate more this time around. I definitely prefer the design of the later games rather than the strict platforming of this game, but I see the appeal now in a way I didn't before this playthrough. The main thing that keeps this from getting a higher recommendation is the difficulty. This first venture for DK & crew has a noticeably higher barrier to entry on that regard, and I would recommend it more to people who like difficult platformers or fans of 2 and 3 rather than a more universal recommendation as I can more easily give the other two games in the trilogy.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:45 am

pierrot wrote:Nice write-up on DKC3, Partridge. That was the only one of the three games that I actually finished, and collected everything for the max%. So it was interesting to read your thoughts on the bonus rooms, and coins. I didn't think about it that much when I was playing through them.


Thanks, Pierrot! (sorry for the double post. I didn't see this until I'd already written my review of DKC1 XP).
Comparing games that were released in quick succession like this, like I did with the Final Fantasy games 3-6 before this, has been so fun. Just seeing the evolution of a series, even if it's in a backwards round-about order, is just so interesting, and it's something I've really enjoyed writing about here in this past month or so ^w^
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:18 am

Those were good reviews of DKC, I still havent played 3 but I definitely need to get to it.

Random question for the thread, does anyone here ever replay the same game twice in one year? If so how do you personally keep track of it on your games beaten lists?
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:17 pm

pook99 wrote:Those were good reviews of DKC, I still havent played 3 but I definitely need to get to it.

Random question for the thread, does anyone here ever replay the same game twice in one year? If so how do you personally keep track of it on your games beaten lists?

Depending on the game, I will often replay several times to try and complete everything, particularly if there are multiple endings. However, I only record them here once, because otherwise you'd see the see thing over and over again, especially if it's something I'm seeking achievements in.

Now, if it's a different year, I will list it again, but only once a year.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:13 pm

pook99 wrote:Those were good reviews of DKC, I still havent played 3 but I definitely need to get to it.

Random question for the thread, does anyone here ever replay the same game twice in one year? If so how do you personally keep track of it on your games beaten lists?


Thanks! If you liked 1 and 2, 3 is totally worth playing through ^w^

I tend to only do something like that if I beat it in a way that is totally unlike the previous way I beat it. Like, last year I have Magicka 2 on there at least twice, and that's because once was just hard mode, which I was very happy to have actually beaten with my other friend who loves Magicka, and then the second time was when we actually managed to beat it on VERY hard mode, which is something I thought we'd never never be able to do, and I wanted to share here not only that I'd done it but also how I felt the higher difficulty affected the game.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:53 pm

Ack wrote:
pook99 wrote:Those were good reviews of DKC, I still havent played 3 but I definitely need to get to it.

Random question for the thread, does anyone here ever replay the same game twice in one year? If so how do you personally keep track of it on your games beaten lists?

Depending on the game, I will often replay several times to try and complete everything, particularly if there are multiple endings. However, I only record them here once, because otherwise you'd see the see thing over and over again, especially if it's something I'm seeking achievements in.

Now, if it's a different year, I will list it again, but only once a year.


I take the same approach, except that I never list games I have beaten more than once. I don’t often play through games more than once unless doing so is required to access all of a game’s features (e.g., Mario vs. Donkey Kong, etc) or a game’s true ending (e.g., Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, etc.). If I do, I only list the game once in the “games beaten” thread. I also play through some classic games, like Castlevania, Super Metroid, Zelda II, etc., once every few years. I don’t re-list them, however, unless I play through a new version (e.g., the GBA version of SMB2, etc.) or a new mode (e.g., the “second quest” in Castlevania).
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Xeogred Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:17 pm

1. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia* (DS)
2. Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)
3. Onimusha: Warlords* (PS4)
4. Resident Evil 2* (PSX)[Leon A]
5. Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4)[Platinum]
6. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze* (Switch)
7. Devil May Cry 5 (PS4)
8. Mass Effect* (PS3)
9. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4)
10. Mass Effect 2* (PS3)
11. Streets of Rage 2 (SMS)
12. Mortal Kombat (Genesis)
13. Mass Effect 3* (PS3)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4)[Platinum]
14. Front Mission (DS)
15. Doom: Sigil (PC)
Front Mission (DS)[UCS Scenario]
16. Doom 2: TNT Revilution (PC)[8h32m55][UV]
17. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
18. Super R-Type* (SNES)
19. Doom 2: TNT Evilution* (PC)[5h55m56][UV/Complex]
20. R-Type III (SNES)[SaveStates]
21. Life Force (NES)
22. Metal Storm (NES)
23. Near Death (PC)
24. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC)
25. Adventures of Lolo (NES)
26. Dying Light (PC)
27. Star Wars: Dark Forces* (PC)
28. Shadow Hearts: Covenant (PS2)
29. Blazing Chrome (PC)
30. Contra Rebirth (Wii)
31. Thunder Force IV* (Genesis)
32. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master* (Genesis)
33. Resident Evil 4* (Wii)
34. Gradius V (PS2)
35. Dragon Quest IV (DS)

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5:38 - Easy
9:10 - Normal

Gracius V is simply put... an absolute monster. Both one of the hardest and best shmups I've ever played. This final entry in another legacy Konami series was heavily done by Treasure and it shows. This is a bit more balls to the wall than the other games and different in ways, tons of memory / pattern based sections, and a lot of the game feels like this crazy merger between 16bit shmup design mixed in with 2000's bullet hell. Hitoshi Sakimoto does his usual majestic work on the killer OST, not as elegant as Radiant Slvergun's music, but I love how Gradius V's sound is a lot more drum and bass, very spacey.

Every hour put into Gradius V nets you another continue and this is an awesome reward system to keep playing. Any fan of Gradius and some shmups know that, even with a bunch of continues, you still have to put in a lot of work to see those credits. There are countless moments in this game that can SINK tons of lives if you're not careful. On my last Normal run this morning when I finally beat it, I had used up all 10 continues I had and only had 2-3 more lives left to spare. It was insanely intense.

There are power up Types here you don't normally see in the rest of the series. I used Type 4 for a lot of my Easy work, which makes the Options spin around the Vic Viper. So it's good on both defense and offense. However the better I got, I started using Type 2 more which lets you manually aim your Options. It's good to get good at this by stage 6, which has all this green goo, the entire screen/level shakes, and then there's a section where you go BACKWARDS. Without Options, all you can do is dodge everything and that's insane. In fact, when I first played Gradius V ages ago, stage 6 ended me. I got my revenge this year.

Unlike other entries, Gradius V also has a continuous play option, instead of its old checkpoint based system. So when you take a death, you have a brief moment to recover your Options. But yeah, anyone who's played Gradius V probably knows to not let some of these new features fool you into thinking this makes for an easier Gradius game. This is one of the hardest shmups I've ever played. And now that I've conquered it on Normal at least, it's one of my new top favorites as well. It was super thrilling getting through and learning this.

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21:16

Easy 9/10. I can see how this is a masterpiece and fan favorite for many. Although I can only make the comparison to DQ5 right now directly, in general, DQ4 is one of the best JRPG's out there. I had an absolute blast playing this version and it nullified a few of the nitpicks I had with DQ5, mainly the monster capturing system for party members. DQ4 just gives you a specific set of usable party members and I prefer that. And DQ5's time leaps for that story sounded cool on paper, but it made the whole journey a bit fragmented and most of the characters weren't all that interesting. As an older and simpler game under the hood, it's not like DQ4's characters are vastly more fleshed out compared to it or other games in the genre, but just simply having a single stable party from start to finish makes for a much more fun experience. Even when it just comes down to the getting to know the characters purely through combat, that's a ton of fun experimenting with party setups and really getting to know who does what. Although the first chunk of DQ4 is chapter based, making you play solely through the eyes of a few main characters at a time before it all builds up to the main of main's, the Hero / Player, and everyone joins up. I have mentioned before that I generally don't like this format for games, there are a few exceptions like Suikoden III, and DQ4 (apparently the originator of the chapter system, maybe for JRPG's), is another one that did it amazingly well. I had no complaints with this setup at all here.

Yesterday in between some gaming and getting near the end of this one myself, I was watching a streamer playing some weird DQ4 NES randomizer, which probably just randomizes chests/enemies and such. But map wise, it was incredibly cool to glance over throughout the day to see where this person was in the game and I could recognize just about every area. The world map is rearranged a bit in the DS version, but this is still the same familiar world and dungeons I just went through. It's really cool how authentic this remaster was and neat to see the old NES game in action. I can see how this must have been a mindblowing experience back in the day.

There were some huge fans of this one that sold me on the game and it really didn't take long to see why this one gets so much praise. Anyone with a DS or interest in JRPG's / Dragon Quest, should definitely play this.

For the fans and those who beat it, my thoughts on the final boss:

SCARY! Thing kept transforming, I wasn't sure when it was going to end. It's so cool when you can utilize a full wagon worth of party members during these final boss fights. You really have to change it up and use everyone's strengths. And I definitely took some deaths I couldn't salvage near the end. I thought a full final dungeon/final boss fight reset was imminent. I say that, because I used pretty much all the Yggdrasil Leaves/Vials I had and I assume, if I took a death but was revived at the nearby shrine, I wouldn't have all those items again. And they were -utterly- crucial for this battle.

I ended up using the old man quite a lot actually, because he had both Sap and Oomph. I still kept the Liquid Metal Sword on the Hero, but the Zenithian Sword had to be used as a tool frequently to rid the boss of his buffs. Here's where a big mistake came into play, one of the final female armors in the game was some kind of Shimmering Dress or something... that reflects spells. I had this on Alena, while I couldn't fully figure out if my healing spells and such were reflecting off of her and healing the boss, a lot of my spells were missing her! That was some seriously bad news, I guess I could have taken it off of her mid battle, but her defense would have plummeted. Didn't have any extra armor in her inventory at the time.

I was also utilizing Alena as a healer for a lot of the battle actually, because she had that awesome full party heal staff in her inventory. This never seemed to miss her like the normal spells were at times, so it healed her too. I figured her high Agility would make good use of that. I rotated in Kiryl a few times to get Kabuff in and some multiheal's, along with the Hero using Omniheal in crucial spots. Ragnar had a Yggdrasil Leaf and Vial for some critical moments. Maya was amazing as always, however in the late stages of the battle the boss was quickly putting up a Bounce shield so her insane magic reflected back on me a few times. And despite her impressive HP growth, when this boss started doing his Ice Breath near the end or two big melee attacks in a row, that was pretty much an instant death on some characters like her.

I think Maya, Alena, old man, and Kiryl were dead near the very end, I never saw the use for Meena here, but I actually brought in Torneko near the end just to tank some damage or hope his weird randomness helped... the dude was doing like ~7 damage to the boss, well he was there for moral support at least. Finally, with just the Hero, Ragnar, and Torneko standing, I somehow landed the final blow on the boss and beat him when I was about to give up.

My Hero was level 34 and party in the mid 30's. I probably could have grinded out a few more levels to make this easier, but still... I beat him on my first go! Looks like there's a full extra chapter worth of content in this version. I'm not much of a completionist thesedays and am fully satisfied with the core game done, so I'm not sure if I'll mess with that stuff. But for people into that or veterans curious about this version, that's really cool it has a lot to it. I should at least go check out that Huffman's Post village again, seems like you can help rebuild that area. I recruited two or three people looking for a new home along the way and looking over a guide, looks like this village builder gets pretty elaborate after awhile.

Long story short, playing DQ5 DS last year was a fun adventure and boosted my curiosity on the franchise a little more. But after playing DQ4 DS this summer, I'd say I'm a full blown fan now and can't wait to play more of them.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:28 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
34. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Switch
35. Orphan - PC
36. Project Nimbus - PC
37. Hardcore Mecha - PC
38. Grey Goo - PC
39. Giants: Citizen Kabuto - PC
40. Wolfenstein: Youngblood - PC
41. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch

Three Houses is the latest entry into the Fire Emblem series, and the one with the most mechanical complexity. I was still discovering things when I was a handful of battles out from the end, if that tells you anything about all the different systems involved. I'm definitely going to want to do a second playthrough at some point in the future; it isn't quite to the level of how Fates has three completely different stories, but there is a branch point midway through that takes you in one of four directions and as I understand it the battles after that are unique (paralogues would be shared).

The setup for Three Houses is that the continent is currently at peace and the various nations send their children to the monastery located centrally for schooling; students learn combat and how to be better rulers. Unfortunately, this also means that when the inevitable war breaks out you will see former classmates on opposite sides, fighting to the death. The twists and turns pull from the standard pool of Fire Emblem tropes; it's all told well but nothing you haven't seen before.

One thing this school setup gives us is an infusion of Persona-esque gameplay into things. The game is based around months, and at the end of the month you have the main story battle for the chapter. But prior to that you do school things. Your character is a professor at the school, and each Saturday you're given the option to do one of several things. Then, starting on Sundays, you will set up a lesson plan for your students, which will take you until the next Saturday. In the middle you might have some triggered events; special holidays and birthdays, as well as support conversations that you didn't already trigger on Sundays. Sundays are when you have the bulk of your active gameplay outside of battles. You're given a few options; you can rest, which is the "I don't have anything better to do" option and gives you a general benefit, there is the ability to go out and do side battles (paralogues that you unlocked through support as well as battles for experience/cash), and finally there is exploring the school. This is where you do the bulk of your building up supports, as well as gaining lots of side story insights into the world. You can talk to all the students, train your MC, shop at special merchants, and engage in several activities. These activities all cost a time resource, so you have to balance out your priorities. These activities include the aforementioned MC training, building relationships with your students, or engaging in a non-lethal arena for cash and prizes (but no experience). You can also fish, which, as it turns out, is one of the primary sources of money in the game (wish I knew that earlier).

Training your MC and the lesson plans fits in with the biggest change in the game; the relaxation of the class system. In this Fire Emblem classes set up base stats, ability to use magic, and learned skills. In terms of what weapons and magic you can use, this is entirely determined by your character skills. So as your sword skill goes up you gain the ability to use better swords, and gain passive abilities that make you better at swords. This means that a class, such as archer, can use any weapon they have the necessary skill to use (and E rank lets you use Iron weapons, so you can always use every weapon); you aren't restricted. Magic is restricted to caster classes, but if you can cast any magic you have access to healing and damage magic, again gated by your skill levels. Magic is learned individually by each character, so you will see differences between different people specced into mage classes. And different characters have different growth rates, so you still will have characters who are better physical than magic characters, but nothing stops you from speccing everyone as a single class. Speaking of classes, class changing happens when you are of the appropriate level (5, 10, 20, 30), have the appropriate seal, and pass an exam. The chances of passing the exam are based on how close you are to having the minimum skills required (e.g. armored knight wants axes and armor skill). If you have the minimums it's 100%, otherwise it's lower. You can only take one exam per character per week, and the RNG seed is locked to an individual character pretty hard, so you can't really scum it (other than try and reload so you don't waste the seal). Once you can be in a class you can always switch back to it for free, and there is no tree. It also doesn't reset your level, so expect end game levels to be in the low 40s.

This customization and freedom feeds into another change; the weapon triangle is no longer an inherent thing. Instead, at B rank you learn a passive that gives you the benefit of the weapon triangle (e.g. sword vs. axe you gain a lot of dodge and hit). However, since you are limited to five passive skills you have to make choices in what you take; the more weapons you want to use the less effective each weapon will be, even on a character that capped their skill in everything. There's also a system of special attacks that are learned and equipped in a separate set of slots (so again, the wider you go in types the more choices you have to make in what you take). These abilities shut off the ability to do a follow up attack (when you outspeed), but have various other benefits, such as increased damage or increased crit rate. These abilities also take more uses off your weapon (3-5 for the common ones), so you have to balance the durability loss against the utility. This is more of the mechanical complexity that comes to the fore. The game does have a blacksmith who can repair and upgrade gear, though the upgrades are greatly simplified. You can either upgrade a weapon to another class (e.g. Iron to Steel or something else) or to just a better version (so an Iron+ that hits harder). Repairs are expensive enough that you can't just piss away uses willy nilly (especially on the fancier gear, where you are limited by materials) but not so bad that you should ever fear running out overall.

There's a few other systems. There is an adjutant system which replaces the partner system of previous games. Here the adjutant mostly builds support, but has the ability to trigger some bonuses (a follow up attack, healing at the start of the turn, defense). It's GREATLY nerfed compared to the busted partner system in the previous two games, so it's mostly just for building support (though adjutants also gain experience, so it can be useful for leveling squishy characters). Additionally, you can equip a character with a battalion, a group of mooks that give you a stat boost. These can level up to five, and each level gives them a couple of stats. Some battalions also give a stat penalty (e.g. mages reduce strength), and flying units need flying battalions. In addition to the passive stat boost battalions can also be used for a gambit attack. This prevents enemies from counter attacking but is weaker than a regular attack. In addition to not being counterable, a gambit that lands will knock an enemy off balance (or you, when it's used on you); this will reduce their defense and root them. Gambits also have an area of effect, so you can hit multiple enemies and provide a measure of safety on the enemy turn.

The other big system added is the giant monsters. These take up multiple squares and have multiple health bars. They start with a shield on each square, which reduces damage taken and might have another benefit (can't be crit, doesn't take magic damage). Dealing damage removes the shield; when you remove a shield it stuns the monster for a single attack (which means they can't counter). However, on the monster's turn they regenerate their shields. Managing busting a shield is important, as the damage reduction is high. One surefire way to remove a shield is with a gambit; this also makes monsters focus on the character that used the gambit. This is useful for drawing fire when you can't kill a monster in a single turn; being able to taunt a monster can save your squishies (and is vital on the final boss). The multiple health bars is the other big thing about the monsters; destroying a health bar ends combat as if you killed it (important if it dodges a lethal counter), but then the monster gains health back (and it's always more than the previous bar) and gains a passive. So monsters get more dangerous as they get lower. These quickly become a focus of fights, and managing them is another new wrinkle.

Three Houses is a fantastic entry in the series, and my only concern is that the next game might add yet more systems while keeping all the existing ones to one degree or another. It's right on the cusp of being overwhelming in terms of shit to manage, but as it stands it's just below that threshold.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:31 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 46
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (5 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4
33. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - Wii U - June 8
34. Dark Savior - Saturn - June 12


July (12 Games Beaten)
35. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim - Switch - June 7
36. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dragonborn - Switch - June 7
37. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dawnguard - Switch - June 7
38. Tiny Troopers - Switch - July 8
39. Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops - Switch - July 8
40. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS - July 10
41. Super Robot Wars T - Switch - July 13
42. Super Mario Maker 2 - Switch - July 13
43. Command and Conquer - Saturn - July 16
44. Command and Conquer: Covert Operations - PC - July 16
45. Super Neptunia RPG - PlayStation 4 - July 18
46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19


46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19

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My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? was an impulse buy for me. Being a visual novel with cute anime girls, how could I possibly say no? For the most part, it's exactly like you'd expect from a visual novel - a cute story with likable characters and a handful of different endings depending on what choices you made at certain junction points throughout the game. While sticking to the formula isn't a bad thing when it's a solid tried-and-true formula, the other side of that safe route is that it also doesn't really stand out from the crowd too much.

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The game's story revolves around the main character returning to his childhood hometown during a summer break from college to get away from the city and relax in the quiet countryside. While hiking in the mountains, he is reunited with a dear childhood friend...who has, at some point, transformed into a mermaid. Naturally, he is quite perplexed. This confusion grows when he encounters a younger (and much more cognitively challenged) mermaid later on. From there, the story focuses on his interpersonal relationships with the two mermaids as well as his attempts to understand just what the hell is going on and what mermaid ecology and psychology is like especially compared to that of humans. It's a cute tale that does suck you in, but it pretty much follows the visual novel how-to roadmap right down to the token tsundere and yandere characters and the obligatory "totally unexpected" plot twist.

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The ambient background sounds and voice acting are pretty par for the course although having the choice between Japanese and Korean voice acting was a nice surprise as I was only expecting Japanese voices. The artstyle, however, is very well done. Each of the characters are beautifully drawn, and the facial expressions each has really add to the story and illustrate the emotion behind each line of dialogue pretty well. There are a few exceptions, of course, and there are only a handful of facial expressions that get recycled, but what is there is extremely well done. The backgrounds, as well, really stood out to me as something special because they're not just photographs with character images pasted over them; they have an almost oil painting look to them, and while I suspect they might be photographs that have been digitally edited, they are nonetheless gorgeous.

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My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? is a bit of an odd game for me when it comes to either recommending it or not because it's such a niche product. Most people are not going to be interested in a video game that's 99.9% reading especially when the story is about cute anime half-fish girls. If that IS your cup of tea, however, then while it's not treading new ground in the genre, it does the genre quite well. If you're a #SwitchCorps collector or just fond of cute anime visuals novels, then yeah, for sure check this one out. If you're just a casual visual novel fan, maybe keep an eye out for a sale on Steam, but truthfully, there isn't anything here that the average Switch gamer is likely to find particularly interesting.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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