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Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 11:41 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
PartridgeSenpai wrote:Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)

28. Ape Escape (PS1)

As much as I love the 2nd and 3rd Ape Escape games, I couldn't remember if I'd ever played the first one, let alone beaten it. Having played through it in Japanese now, I can say quite confidently I had never played it before XD. It is simultaneously quite surprising how similar it is to Ape Escape 2 and also shocking just what an improvement the sequel is by comparison despite how little overall is changed. It took me like 8 or 9 hours in total to get all of the Specter Coins and all of the monkeys.

Story-wise, Ape Escape 1 is much more grounded than its sequels. There's a big monkey park run by The Professor, and one day their star attraction monkey gets his little hands on one of the experimental new Monkey Helmets. It corrupts his mind and gives him super smarts and telekinetic powers which he then uses to build monkey helmets for all his monkey buddies. Now dubbed Specter, he attacks the Professor's lab, and uses his time machine to go back in time and rewrite history to make monkeys in charge of the world instead of humans. It's up to our intrepid boy hero Kakeru to catch all those monkeys messing up history and stop him!

I say it's more grounded, but that's mostly in terms of the locations and the villains, as the Freaky Monkey Five are an invention of the sequel. Your main rival here is your childhood friend Hiroki, whom Specter has brainwashed into being his servant, and even then the rivalry isn't that present up until your final encounter. You could also say the story has somewhat of a point of strength not being about power (and by extension, technology), and technology itself being a potentially horribly corrupting influence, as is at least implied to be the case with Specter's relation to his original monkey helmet. Regardless, it's a 3D action platformer from late-ish in the PS1's lifespan, so the plot isn't really the most interesting thing here.

The most interesting thing is capturing those monkeys, and the game does a pretty good job of that. This is the only game I know of on the PS1 that outright requires the dualshock controller to work, and was clearly developed as a vehicle to convince people Sony's new controller was worth the upgrade. The D-pad handles camera direction and the face buttons change your weapons. Movement is handled by the left joystick and your attacking is done by the right joystick. Compared to the sequels, it takes a bit of getting used to with how you attack, as there isn't any tracking in how you swing your baton or your net. This does have the effect of making the baton a far more useful weapon, as trying to catch a feeling monkey with just the next is far harder to do with how much slower and less accurate your net is in this game.

Other than that, the overall formula of the game is really similar to how the mainline games would go on to do. You start a mission, you gotta collect so many monkeys in order to pass it. There are some slight differences such as there being hidden Specter Coins in each stage to also collect, but they're just an extra thing to collect to unlock some extra mini-games. Other than that, it's just Ape Escape on PS1.

However, being Ape Escape on PS1 DOES carry with it some unfortunately conditions. The game has a pretty poor draw distance which can make navigating some levels a bit of a pain when you're hunting for monkeys (even with your monkey radar). Even worse, some levels have really significant slowdown, and it makes the already somewhat clunky/awkward controls even worse by affecting the latency (especially for jumps). I was beginning to think my controller was broken because the button delay was so bad for jumping, but no. That's just the slowdown. That slowdown is the main reason I would say this game might be difficult to stick with for fans of the PS2 games like I was. However, it's not all bad. The game looks quite good for a PS1 game, even despite the low polygon count. The music is also good, and I'd say even better than the sequels, as well as the VA being excellent as well (at least in Japanese).

Verdict: Recommended. Somewhat clunky controls and fairly annoying slowdown aside, this is still an excellent game. Good music, good gimmick, good level design. It's all things that are improved in the later games, but they're still really solid here as well. If you're a fan of the series or a fan of 3D platformers in general, you can certainly do better than the first Ape Escape game, but you can easily do a lot worse as well.


Nice work with the Ape Escape series. I always really liked it, and I’m glad someone else here appreciates it too.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:45 am
by PartridgeSenpai
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Nice work with the Ape Escape series. I always really liked it, and I’m glad someone else here appreciates it too.


Thanks! 2 and 3 were childhood favorites of mine, so it's been fun diving back into them and also taking a peek at other parts of the series when I can. I'm pretty sure there isn't any more Ape Escape stuff in the city though, so I'll have to keep an eye out for more of the spinoffs next time I'm visiting a friend in another town. I'm really kicking myself for not buying that copy of Piposaru 2001 when I spotted it in Akihabara back in November, that's for sure :lol:

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:25 am
by prfsnl_gmr
It’s interesting. There’re a bunch of spin-off games, but I think that only the first three have the 3D platform gameplay that makes the series so compelling for me. With the exception of the PSP remake of the first game, the rest appear to be board games, party games, racing games, etc. Have you played any of those? I’ve not read much about them.

.....

1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)

Resident Evil 3 is the last of the classic RE, survival horror games for the PS1, and while it’s title indicates that it’s a sequel, it really feels more like a side story (which, I believe, was the developer’s original intent). In it, you play as Jill Valentine, and you are working to escape Raccoon City during an outbreak of the T-virus and while being hunted by Nemesis, a mutant assassin sent by the Umbrella Corp. to exterminate the remaining members of S.T.A.R.S. (This sounds bad, but since Barry, Chris, and Jill all survive, it’s safe to say Nemesis fails miserably. :lol: ) The game plays just like its predecessors, but it leans a little more toward the action genre. There are way more enemies than in previous games. There are also recurring battles with Nemesis, and he will wreck you if you aren’t prepared for them. On “hard” mode this results in a lot of running and dodging, and the game is kind of a slog. (I played through the first third on hard.) On “easy” mode, though, you have some extra weapons, and the game is totally awesome. (I played all the way through the game on “easy” mode and loved it.) You’re blowing off zombie heads left and right, and you really get to enjoy the experience much more. (I once blew off four zombie heads with a single shotgun shell. AWESOME!!!) The game has only one scenario, but there it has a subtle and not-so-subtle “choose your own adventure” element, that changes the gameplay somewhat. Accordingly, the game still provides an incentive for multiple or branching playthroughs. The incentive isn’t that strong, though, and while I enjoyed the game, once is enough for me. Still, I enjoyed the game for what it is, and I won’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of classic survival horror.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:21 am
by MrPopo
while it’s title indicates that it’s a sequel, it really feels more like a side story (which, I believe, was the developer’s original intent).

Yeah, as I understand it Code Veronica was supposed to be RE 3.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:16 pm
by pook99
MrPopo wrote:
while it’s title indicates that it’s a sequel, it really feels more like a side story (which, I believe, was the developer’s original intent).

Yeah, as I understand it Code Veronica was supposed to be RE 3.


Thats interesting, I did not know that. I am currently playing RE5 and the loading screens tell the history of resident evil, they constantly allude to code veronica and never mention anything about the events in RE3.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:12 pm
by Ack
HEY! Nemesis got...one S.T.A.R.S. member...

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:14 pm
by MrPopo
And in fairness, Chris was nowhere near Raccoon City, so he only had three targets at the time.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:51 pm
by Note
Prfsnl_gmr, nice review of RE3. I actually never owned it for PS1, but would like to pick it up. I might try to play through the original RE2 again later this year, and maybe finally track down and try RE3 after that.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:24 pm
by CFFJR
You know if Capcom continues on the remake train, I'd like to see them do Code Veronica.

I love the original, would be neat to have it updated.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:51 pm
by marurun
  1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch)
  2. Joe and Mac 2 (SNES via Switch Online)
  3. Stardew Valley (Switch) - New
  4. Cosmic Star Heroine (Switch) - New
Joe and Mac 2
I beat this shortly after Bloodstained, so I'm going back in time in my memory, but there were somethings that stood out. This game looks and sounds worse than the original Joe and Mac, and it harder in an annoyingly cheap way. The worst example is the last level which features a boss rush with no life refills, and the last boss hits hard. I had to save state my way through the gauntlet. It also has an overworld map that is pointless since the levels are all pretty linear in terms of how you advance and play them. This is a pretty basic platformer trying to pretend to be something more than it is. It does not stick the landing. I don't think if you enjoyed the first one you'll naturally enjoy this one.

Not recommended.

Stardew Valley
I have been told this is a lot like classic Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. I have only played a little GC Animal Crossing, so this is largely a new experience for me. I sank a TON of time into this game. It's overwhelming at first, trying to balance money in and money out by way of farming (planting, watering, and harvesting, and then also trying to fit in socializing with the villagers, foraging, gathering materials like wood and stone, combat, and also your energy levels. If you don't learn to compartmentalize and prioritize you're a goner. Some people find this very relaxing, but I actually found it pretty tense. Fun, but not at all relaxing. There's a point in the game at which you can consider it beaten but still do and play a lot more, and I played past that point quite a bit. I went about 50% past the "beaten" point in the game before finally feeling like I'd done all I wanted to do. There are some tasks left undone and nooks left unexplored, but I'm satisfied. The characters in the village with you are all quite interesting, and some of them quite flawed, but with a lovable core, even those you might be tempted to write off as damaged goods. The world is also quite strange. It seems so normal, but then it's also so not. Very personality-filled game. If this kind of micro-management seems like it might be up your alley, you'll probably love it.

Recommended.

*You can probably play this game in a relaxed way if you just decide certain game elements aren't as important to you as others, or once you reach a kind of equilibrium state. I apparently lack this skill.

Cosmic Star Heroine
This is a western-made J-style RPG that is often compared to Chrono Trigger. That comparison is both very apt and also very misleading. The graphics are nice, with character designs pretty decent and very nice backgrounds. The music is pretty darn good. The gameplay is relatively fast (most of the time). The game also has a variety of challenge options so you can experience the game on your terms.

But let me break this out a bit. Mechanically speaking, the game is mostly pretty fantastic. Combats are not random, but set encounters on the map, some of which you can avoid, much like Chrono Trigger. But rather than having any kind of active battle system, this is purely turn-based (thank goodness). Each character has 8 ability slots and will eventually have far more abilities you can assign to those slots, meaning your battle-to-battle ability set is customizable. Abilities can be single attacks, multiple attacks, or even radius attacks that hurt enemies within a certain proximity (sort of Chrono-like). There are also healing and defensive abilities. You also have 3 or 4 shared item slots, also customizable, usable by any character once per battle. Items are never "used up", only tapped out for a particular battle. Each character may also have a small number of spells from their equipped defensive item, usable once per battle. When it is your turn in combat you choose an ability, item, or spell to use and that slot becomes "used". Abilities can be recharged, making them usable again. So if a battle drags on long enough that you have used 6 of your 8 abilities on a character and none of the remaining abilities would really be helpful or relevant, you can use your always-present 8th ability to recharge your ability slots, opening them back up for use. Most actions also build Style, which increases your damage and effectiveness (up to 100%). You can build up to 300% style, and style can be expended through special Burst abilities that are boosted by the amount of style you have and which is subsequently drained to zero. But enemies also accrue Style, so they become more dangerous as a battle drags on. You also enter Hyper every few turns (varies by character), which amplifies whatever ability you use that turn.

The battle system does have some flaws, however. The game tells you which stats are supposed to affect which kinds of attacks, but the terminology used is pretty general, so there are several cases where it can be very difficult to figure out how to improve the efficacy of certain attacks or effects. The combat system also has a lot going on between Style and Hyper and how status effects work, and while they're loosely explained, the explanation isn't really good enough once you hit mid to late game. You'll end up having to look on-line if you want to really be impactful.

The game also has distinct characters with interesting personalities. But this part of the game is also where it sort of falls down. There are big things afoot in the world, but events and important character decisions feel really rushed. The game wants to be a brisk RPG, but it's telling a story and using characters that really want more time to properly tell. So basically, the designers achieved making a brisk and fun RPG, but you'll end up wondering how on earth characters decided to make critical decisions with very little lead-in. This also robs some of the characters of their potency, because you can see that they are intended to be shaped by the events of the game, but the way the events are presented they just don't have the proper impact. Basically, they paired too much potential for depth and seriousness with too brisk a pace of storytelling. The combat comes very close to experiencing this same problem. There's a lot of complexity but it is sometimes treated a tad to cavalierly. Fortunately, the combat came off a lot better than the storytelling.

Overall, this is a relatively quick RPG to play, with combat that balances speed with complexity really well (once you figure out how stuff works). The story has a lot of promise and managed to be fun thanks to the interesting character personalities and despite the interesting world which seems sort of rushed over at times. In fact, this is the way in which this game is not at all like Chrono Trigger. The world feels like it has more depth and world building behind it, despite the rushed pace.

Highly recommended for JRPG fans, especially fans with no time for a 100 hour jaunt.