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Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:11 pm
by REPO Man
I had my Vita hacked and using an SD2VITA card but it would keep crashing whenever it went into sleep mode. And if it was downloading stuff it would cancel the downloads but not delete the files.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:06 pm
by dust_hound
Huh, weird. I've never had any of those problems, although I don't have a SD2Vita and am just using an official 8gb memory card.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:44 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)

28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
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Anyone who takes the time to browse Steam's criminally large selection of visual novels will find some rebooted retro titles thrown into the mix. There is, for instance, the seminal dating sim True Love '95, the early Suda51 thriller The Silver Case, and this -- Scar of the Doll, originally released by an outfit called Child Dream back in 1999. The writing credit goes to one Hidehisa Miyashita, the man behind Folklore, a PlayStation 3 JRPG I don't recall anyone actually playing. This 2017 Steam release actually marks the second time Scar of the Doll was made available in English, following the (now delisted) iOS port titled A Scar of the Doll. While information about the original 1999 game is quite scarce, screenshots indicate that it made use of grainy black & white backgrounds (think of an old Macintosh computer) mixed with color character portraits. The Steam release has since modified and colorized said backgrounds, but the game is blessedly unchanged mechanically.

Visual novels and mystery stories go together like peanut butter and jelly, and Scar of the Doll presents quite the mystery indeed. This isn't the typical whodunit murder thriller. No, this is a quest to find a missing person. The player takes control of a young woman named Asumi, who has lost all contact with her elder sister. This particular sister attends an elite graduate school in Tokyo, renting a nearby apartment. Upon arrival, Asumi finds the apartment empty. When visiting the university laboratory, Asumi is greeted by hostile staff and claims of her sister never being enrolled as a student. However, after some requisite sneaking around, Asumi encounters individuals who (slowly and cryptically) offer up a series of clues. As the tale progresses, Asumi inches closer to revealing the truth.

Atmospherically, the story is quite good. It's genuinely unnerving, punctuated by some great creepy locales and frequent use of startling sound effects. The actual writing is quite straightforward. Unlike modern visual novels, which often attempt to steer the player's emotions, Scar of the Doll comparatively features significantly fewer introspective moments. There's a persistent ambiguity as well: certain events are never explained sufficiently and the game ends with some loose ends left untied. It's a rather effective sleight of hand -- the game begins as a mystery and ends as a decidedly different one. There are precious few supernatural elements found within Scar of the Doll, though oftentimes the "realistic" science fiction defies belief.
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Progression through the game is accomplished via a series of frequently appearing pop-up menus. Generally, a set of choices is presented and the player is required to choose one to proceed. Occasionally, only one choice is available, which on the surface seems pointless though it provides an additional sliver of player engagement and highlights some important actions. Though a linear experience overall, Scar of the Doll does feature menu-based navigation as well, so it is possible for one to get sidetracked or caught in a repetitive gameplay loop. The game's interface is admittedly on the clunky side. There's a giant gaudy "Answer" button displayed whenever the player is asked to make a selection. And saving the game immediately closes the save menu and proceeds with the action, which is annoying whenever one wants to create multiple saves.

And you'll want multiple saves, as death lurks around every corner. Poor Asumi. She dies. A lot. Scar of the Doll features true Game Overs which boot the player back to the title screen. Death comes in all forms. There are those "troll" deaths, straight out of a Western adventure game. For instance, when exploring a certain subterranean hallway the player can lead Asumi into the "wrong" room, whereupon she will bump into a shelf, spilling hazardous chemicals, and subsequently be rendered dead. There are also moral failings. Ignoring a starving animal will lead Asumi to her doom, as will snooping through someone's private possessions. Furthermore, the game isn't designed in a way that makes all deaths immediate. It's possible to end up on the wrong "path" that leads to multiple varying deaths and no chance for redemption. As such, it is also possible to get trapped in an unwinnable state, so juggling multiple saves is critical. As a general rule, Asumi is safe whenever a new day begins (dates are displayed onscreen). So, it's wise to keep a "master save" upon the dawn of each morning, and then juggle others to goof about.

That said, the game itself often seems determined to keep Asumi alive. There's the occasional breaking of the fourth wall to announce when a dangerous situation is approaching. Additionally, whenever Asumi is killed her "mistake" is revealed to the player. It can actually be quite "fun" to experiment with specific death scenarios intentionally, and oftentimes there are intriguing plot points that aren't revealed until Asumi makes a "bad" decision. All told, the game takes but a couple of sittings to complete (maybe four hours total at most), though those repeat players that know "the route" can blaze through it in ninety minutes of so. There's a very brief "bonus chapter" narrated by one of the side characters, which provides some additional insight into the "behind the scenes" aspects of Asumi's journey.
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The game's visuals are quite intriguing. Those who are expecting yet another visual novel featuring doe-eyed pink-haired chesty "waifus" may end up disappointed, as Scar of the Doll makes use of realistic character portraits. Yes, all characters look authentically Japanese and are likely inspired by real individuals. While Asumi is granted a series of portraits to express varying emotions, most of her compatriots are given but one still image, which can be a touch jarring. One specific man, for instance, always appears to be frozen in shock regardless of context. The backgrounds are quite pretty. I'm guessing they're actual photographs that have been heavily filtered to look like paintings; similar effects have been employed in the likes of Higurashi. The music is incredible. It's unabashedly loud and grandiose, fast, aggressive, and delightfully schlocky in a late-90s sort of way. For the most part, that is. There are some scattered poignant piano pieces played during the game's more melancholic moments, as well as some delicious "horror movie" synth tracks. Plus a surprisingly well-executed rendition of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" played during some holiday flashbacks. Given the game's age, it's no surprise to see zero voice acting, which will disappoint some. Additionally, there are no bonuses granted upon game completion: no library of stills or jukebox of tunes, which is a huge bummer as this soundtrack doesn't really seem to be available anywhere.

My initial thought when finishing Scar of the Doll: no other visual novel "feels" like this. It's not like one of those persistent menu-clickers from the 8-bit days, nor is it one of those massive soul-searing VNs like the best-sellers of the past decade. It's somewhere in the middle: a compelling streamlined narrative with a decent helping of player agency and a chilling ambiance. Really, I think the "issue" here is that most visual novels from this era haven't been translated, either officially or by the fans, and those that were (like Air, Kanon, Bloody Bride Imadoki no Vampire, and Pia Carrot e Youkoso!!) tend to lean more towards "slice of life" or romance. Scar of the Doll is recommended to all fans of the genre, but also to those fence sitters. The most annoying elements that all too often creep into visual novels -- bloated length, forced romance (and, uh, "eroge"), ridiculous character personalities (and appearances) -- are totally absent here. This could easily appeal to fans of Western adventures, especially those by Telltale Games. If anything, the presence of Scar of the Doll on Steam is both intriguing and delightful, and hopefully inspires additional developers to begin releasing their backlogs to a wider audience.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:35 am
by prfsnl_gmr
First 25
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)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)

26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)

Kuso is an inexpensive precision platformer with striking ZX Spectrum-inspired graphics and a fantastic soundtrack. It controls like a dream, and is very fun. Moreover, it lets you place checkpoints wherever you’d like; so, while the platforming is extremely challenging, the gameplay is generally pretty forgiving. With only 64 levels, however, it’s quite short, and you can run through it in about an hour. (Like me, you’ll probably die 500+ times in that hour, but still, you’ll get through it pretty quickly.) You’re rated when you complete the game - I got one “F” rating and two “D” ratings - and there are more challenging modes that limit your lives and ability to place checkpoints. Accordingly, the game has a lot of replay value, and I’ll be keeping it on my Switch. Recommended to anyone looking for a pleasant, bite-sized precision platforming experience.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:14 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I don't really like the "one million checkpoints, one million deaths" style seen in so many modern platformers. Still, the idea of placing your own seems intriguing.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:19 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
BoneSnapDeez wrote:I don't really like the "one million checkpoints, one million deaths" style seen in so many modern platformers. Still, the idea of placing your own seems intriguing.


I actually really like them. To me, they’re almost more like puzzle games than old-fashioned platformers, and I delight in successfully completing some of their most grueling challenges. Kuso’s actually a really good starting point for anyone interested in the die-and-retry games like this, and I wish I’d played it before games like 1001 Spikes and Electronic Super Joy.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:19 pm
by fuctfuct
I beat Ori and the Will of the Wisps just now... fantastic game :)

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:58 am
by Flake
January through May:
January
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

February
Megaman X (Switch)
Nekketsu Highschool Dodgeball Club (Switch)
Super Dodgeball (Switch)

March

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (SNK Pro Stick)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

April

Batman The Telltale Series (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
SNK Gals' Fighter (Switch)

May

King of Fighters 97: Global Match (PS4)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)


June
Megaman X3 (Switch)
Megaman X4 (Switch)
King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match (PS4)
King of Fighters 99 (Switch)
Injustice 2 (PS4)


My attention span has clearly not improved as June continues.

Most of what I know about King of Fighters comes from the games 94 through 98 - because of the (excellent) Orochi Saga collection that was released on the Wii back in the day. So I was pretty excited to get the arcade version of King of Fighters '99 from the Hamster NeoGeo releases on Switch. It really didn't wow me that much.

There are some welcome changes to the formula. The 'Striker' mechanic is really neat and completely getting rid of the two main characters from the last 'story' game, KoF '97 was super bold. There are a few hidden fighters (like those main characters I mentioned) which is a hallmark of arcade gaming from that era that I fondly remember.

But the growing pains get in the way. KoF 98 is remembered as one of the best fighting games of its time but in a lot of ways, KoF 98 was just a copy/paste of the previous 4 games. KoF 99 reinvents a lot of the gameplay but the ideas feel clunky and disconnected. Characters meant to replace others are a little too similar in their movesets and 'feel' without being as effective. It just doesn't feel as exciting as it should be. And whereas KoF had growing pains in 94 and 96, the artwork and music were there to make up for it. KoF 99 doesn't really blow me away with anything. Character themes almost never come up during arcade play and I cannot remember any of the stages off the top of my head. Then the final boss just feels anti-climatic compared to the villains from the previous games.

I don't expect KoF 99 to ever make an EVO appearance, NGL.

Injustice 2 is such a fun, fun game. I've actually been playing it off and on for nearly a year now but I finally bothered to re-beat the story mode last night. I am a huge fan of DC comics and the Injustice storyline is one of my favorite alternate-reality stories in decades. The characters are still very recognizable despite many having motivations and personalities skewed to the point where classic heroes are absolute villains. In my opinion, that's a bold AF decision for the developer and the license holder to have made since video games based on comic books almost always try to depict the most inoffensive, homogenized version of a character.

Injustice 2 also has a super addictive lootbox mechanism that never crosses over into the annoying or greedy. There's no real 'pay to win' and you're constantly getting new stuff to compare and equip. Having the gear change the way that characters look is a ton of fun and the developer really put some work into capturing different 'looks' that heroes have had over the years. The 'Bat Family' characters in particular have diverse appearances that make me keep grinding the game to get more gear.

It's a great game and I have a lot of fun with it - I just wish I was any good!

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:31 pm
by MrPopo
1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4

I was first made really aware of The Last of Us through the E3 trailer for TLOU2; I had initially ignored the game assuming it was just yet another zombie game (as was the rage at the time). But the trailer focused on the interactions with the human characters and I figured there was something more interesting here. I picked up the first game and really enjoyed it; the zombies are never the focus, rather they were the disaster that set the stage for the journey and the characters. The game had an impactful ending, and I was eagerly awaiting the second game. And it did not disappoint.

The Last of Us Part 2 is a game about revenge, with a sub-narrative about how humans are bastards. It is not an upbeat game by any stretch of the imagination; while the first game had an undercurrent of hope this game revels in the darkness of Man. It's something that can certainly lead to fatigue; while I am of the opinion that this is exactly what would happen if society collapsed even I was longing for the bits of lightness that existed in between the heavy. I can see this game being very polarizing for people based on their personal outlooks.

Mechanically nothing substantial has changed from the first game. It's still very resource constrained with a lot of crafting, and you can upgrade yourself and your weapons over time by finding dedicated resources for each. You don't have nearly enough to upgrade everything, so you'll need to decide what to focus on. You deal with both zombies and humans in roughly equal amounts, with each type of enemy requiring a different approach. Stealth is much more viable in this game; you have multiple silent weapons (or craftable temporary modifications) and the environments are more set up to allow you to stealth around. This is obviously important due to the resource limitations, but it also allows you to get through encounters without always having to kill everything, unlike the first game. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard, and sometimes you DO have to kill everything. But it's a bit more of a balance and by allowing the player to mostly dictate the nature of the engagements it makes up for the mediocre gunplay that carries over from the first game.

The game is mostly set in Seattle, and it was fun to play the game of "what do they get wrong while getting things right?" What's funny is they get a lot of details right, which makes what they get wrong stick out all the more. Heck, your entrance to Seattle deposits you right next to my old apartment, and apparently in the 20 years since the zombie outbreak the entirety of First Hill was regraded into something mostly flat. None of it detracts, per say, but it did make me chuckle every time I would notice something obviously wrong.

The game does a lot more character building than the first game did, which is impressive. You really are on a journey with these characters, and you will feel for their struggles. And you will have opinions on their choices, and even if you don't agree with them you can see how they make them. The nature of the story also means your human enemies have their sympathetic points; no cheap "here's the bandit crew that skins their victims and wears them as clothing" enemies here.

The game is about a third again as long as the first one, and it's just slightly pushing it in terms of length. They could potentially have trimmed some of the traversal between major story parts without loss of any of what they were trying to accomplish in terms of character and story. But it's ok overall; the devs are still firmly keeping this as a game vs. a walking simulator.

All in all, TLOU2 is a very worthy follow up to the original, but I will caution that it is even heavier in its themes. It's sort of like watching Schindler's List, in a way. So it's up to you to decide if that's something you're prepared to go through.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:15 pm
by dust_hound
24th June 2020: Armored Core 3 Portable (PSP, played on PS Vita)
So I went through this one having bounced off it years ago - my interest was rekindled by playing AC Silent Line Portable a few days before. I finished that one having spent time getting used to the controls, and exploring the different loadouts and builds for my mech, ultimately having a decent time. AC3p is chronologically set just before ACSLp, and was the earlier game to be released so I was going backwards. It's a good mecha sim, with complicated stats to try to optimise, and different viable builds for each mission (which usually involve destroying all opposition, and often have a sudden "surprise, you thought you'd finished the mission, but here's a strong AI opponent to face off against"). I had a decent time with it - not sure if I was burned out on mecha, but I felt that ACSLp was a more fun experience. It was shorter overall, though, so maybe my preference for brief games came to the fore. I'd definitely recommend both games to those PSP or Vita gamers who are into mecha, though. Enjoyable games overall.

25th June 2020: Crisis Beat (PSX, played on PS Vita)
Hmm, this game is a strange one - a 3d beat 'em up, which is very reminiscent of Die Hard Arcade/Dynamite Deka but lacks the same urgency and fast action of that game. Crisis Beat's combat is really slow, which doesn't really lend itself to this type of game - I got bored several times whilst waiting for opponents, or looking to find enemies that were lurking off-screen. It has a fairly nonsensical plot about rogue military terrorists taking over a ship, leading to four plucky escapees having to solve the mess and save the day. Luckily, one is a cop, another is a wrestler, there's a secret agent, and also a martial arts expert kid with a broom. All the setup is there which should have ensured a great no-frills, all-thrills ride, but the game engine lets it down big-time. Even though I was playing the European version with the usual PAL slowness, I can't imagine it playing much more excitingly for the original Japanese version. This was a one-and-done game for me.