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ElkinFencer10
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Games Beaten 2022

by ElkinFencer10 Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:55 am

Welcome to the Games Beaten 2022 thread! In this thread, we list and discuss what games we've beaten this year.

Per Racketboy tradition, this thread is not a competition, not a place where we hold to hard and fast rules about what games can count, when, or why, etc. The only expectation is that you perhaps talk a bit about what you've beaten: What were your thoughts? Why did you play? Would you recommend it? This thread is about sharing our personal accomplishments and engaging one another about the games we have played!

Are you curious about what kinds of reviews people like to read in this thread? Take a look at this poll and discussion from 2017.

If you are new to this thread for the year, feel free to jump in any time between now and the end of the year. If you have questions or need help, feel free to hit me up! For reference, here's a couple of past threads so you can see how people have approached their participation, their list making, etc.

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by ElkinFencer10 Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:53 am

Games Beaten in 2021 - 1
* denotes a replay

January (1 Game Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1


1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1

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I can guarantee with absolute certainty that I'm the biggest Muv-Luv fan you've ever met. I am absolutely and utterly obsessed with the series and the universe it builds. It's an incredible visual novel series, but I always thought that there was untapped potential for games in other genres given the alien invasion war drama nature of the series. Well, apparently âge agreed with me because two months ago, we got Project MIKHAIL in early access on Steam, a mech combat game that goes through some of the major battles of Muv-Luv Alternative's story.

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First thing to note here - at the time of writing, this game has been in early access for two months, and it is very much an early access game. There have been a lot of minor bugs and several massive bugs since it first hit the Steam storefront, although most of the major bugs seem to have been fixed. I still get a lot of crashes - I'd estimate one every three or four hours - but that's the only remaining major bug that I encountered. It's certainly better than when I had 23 hours of progress completely erased by a bug, but that bug has been fixed. I mention that to point out the dedication of the development team; pretty much as soon as reports starting coming in both to their official bug report system and on the game's Discord server, the dev team informed everyone that the bug was there, that they were aware of it, and advised folks not to play the story mode until they could pinpoint and fix the cause of the bug. They also kept in pretty good communication with those of us affected and tried to restore our data. While they weren't able to restore mine, they did create a new file for me and gave me back the equipment I told them I had and the resources I told them I had when my file was deleted. I still had to restart the actual game from the beginning, but at least I had the Shiranui I had spent hours grinding for. tl;dr there is that while the game is still very rough, the devs are working hard at fixing the bugs that get reported, and they're good about keeping in regular contact with the community about the state of the game, so I have full confidence that this will be a fine game by the time it gets a full release on Steam and on Switch.

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As far the story goes - because that's why you play Muv-Luv - you play as a guy chosen by these two AI waifus to relive events from Shirogane Takeru's life fighting the BETA and try to make decisions that will lead to the best outcome. This directly plays into the lore's basis in the concepts of quantum causality and the multiverse theory; by making specific choices, you can lead Shirogane Takeru's world to the best possible outcome. That involves a lot of trial and error, though; if your choice gets Shirogane killed, then you've got to restart from a certain point (usually no more than five missions back) and make a different choice, and the point where your choice gets him killed isn't always immediate. It's also worth noting that this gives a VERY abridged version of the events of Alternative; as soon as you finish the training missions, your very first mission is Operation 21 at the Sadogashima Hive. Still, though, it gives a lot of detail to the three major battles that the game covers and each of those gets 7 or 8 hours' worth of mission. It's no substitute for getting the story from the original VN, but it's a really cool way to re-experience it from a different perspective for those who've already played through Muv-Luv Alternative.

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As I mentioned above, Project MIKHAIL breaks from the series' norm of visual novel format and is instead a mech combat game reminiscent of MechWarrior. You start in the craptastic Gekishin, a first-gen Japanese TSF (tactical surface fighter for those not in the know), and it is a clunker. It's slow, it's not very maneuverable, and your combat options at the start are pretty limited. As you use the three main weapon types - sword, assault cannon, and knife - you'll earn skill points in the respective area. These skill points allow you to improve your stats and unlock new abilities like using two assault cannons, two swords, an assault cannon and a sword, etc. You also get to customize your TSF. You can equip up to four weapons at once as well as customize your TSF's head, body, legs, each arm, jump booster, OS, and comm system. If you wanted to have a bulky first-gen body like a Gekishin and a super sleek third-gen head like a Takemikazuchi, you can although it's worth noting that you get a bonus from having multiple second-gen and/or third-gen parts equipped. These parts can either be found from random drops from defeated enemies or manufactured using materials dropped by enemies. The parts also have different quality tiers like you'd expect to see in a game like The Division where each tier up has an additional special perk. Your base level grey items have no perks at all. Blue is a step up with one perk. Then it's green, yellow, and orange. The perks your equipment has can make or break the harder battles, so it's definitely worth it to keep your eye out for high-quality drops and check your equipment for better parts after each fight.

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You'll also want to be making sure to complete the optional missions that unlock new TSFs as these unlock them for both manufacturing and as possible drops, and each gen feels radically different from the others. The rule of thumb with TSFs is that the newer the TSF generation, the less armored but more maneuverable it is. A first-gen TSF like the Gekishin, for example, can take some hits, but it moves like a brick; a third-gen TSF like the Shiranui, on the other hand, is fairly glassy, but you can zip around the battlefield with ease, allowing you to close the distance with enemies or create distance from enemies with ease. That mobility becomes the key to survival in harder fights as sometimes BETA will spawn with a blue glow; these enemies are stronger, sturdier, and much more aggressive than the normal enemies, and if you can't maneuver out of their way, you're gonna have a bad time.

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Visually, the game is okay. It doesn't look great for 2021 standards, but it looks fine for a budget game. The environments look pretty plain and empty, and the blood looks a bit silly as rather than truly spraying from sliced enemies, a splatter animation kind of sits in the air for a second, but it's not that jarring in my opinion. The BETA and TSF models look pretty good, and it's clear that's where most of the attention was focused with the visuals. That's what I would hope, too, as that's what you'll be looking at most of the time - the herd of enemies and your TSF. Unfortunately, while the visuals might be okay, the audio department is more of a disappointment. The English voice acting is rough ranging from passable to outright atrocious depending on the character, and there's no option to use Japanese voices. Most of the music is from the original VN, so that's rock-solid as I've always loved the background music there, but some of it is either so average that I blocked it out of my memory or is painfully stock-sounding background music. Outside of some dialogue narrative scenes, most of the music just doesn't feel epic enough to accompany the war that you're fighting.

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Project MIKHAIL is definitely rough. A lot of that roughness will definitely get worked out before the full release, but some of it - the voice acting, the sub-par visual fidelity, and the meh music - are unfortunately probably not going anywhere. That's a shame, too, because there's a really fun game beneath that, but it's likely that only Muv-Luv fans will be able to look past the roughness and find that fun game, and this really could have been the series' chance to expand the fanbase in the West. I'm kind of torn on whether to recommend this one. For Muv-Luv fans, it's absolutely a must-play. For folks new to series, though, I'm torn because it would definitely spoil major plot points in Alternative and ruin the impact of that series, but it's also a genre much more approachable to most people than visual novels. If you're not totally turned off by the idea of visual novels, read the core trilogy before playing this, but if you're the type of gamer who is just never going to play a visual novel no matter what, then go ahead and give this game a shot. It's pretty inexpensive, and it's fun if you can get past the jank.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Sun Jan 02, 2022 8:07 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC

I had originally hoped for this to be my last game of 2021; I figured Ultima VII Part 2 would be of similar length as Part 1, when it was much longer, so this got bumped to 2022. And man, the year is not off to a good start. Underworld Ascendant is a Kickstarter funded spiritual successor to the Ultima Underworld games, with several members of the original team coming back for this one. So I figured there was a good pedigree here. But unfortunately, like Might No 9 this ended up being a guy trying to revisit his glory days and finding himself in over his head with modern technology.

The game is a first person RPG set in the Stygian Abyss again, although it bears little resemblance to the environs of the first game. While I wouldn't expect it to be a shot for shot recreation, this game also doesn't really have any of the same connections. The backstory pulls from Greek mythology, with the main goal to be stopping the awakening of Typhon, sealed at the bottom of the Abyss, with references to Zeus being unable to kill him and the various locales and special items referencing Greek deities. About the only thing really carried forward is the Lizardfolk, as they serve as your allies who run the town that serves as your base came.

The game structure involves you working your way down through the various levels until you get to Typhon's prison. To get to the next level you'll need a key, and these keys are required for the end game sequence. On each level you are tasked to do two or more main quests, with the final quest being getting the key to the next level. You get these quests from a camp with a portal back to the Lizardfolk village for you to do shopping and buying skills. This is where the first bit of "holy shit modern games are hard to make" comes in. Rather than the various different quests of the original game, here quests fall into one of three forms: get an item, kill certain enemies, or destroy a bone pillar that shoots magic and steal its heart. After finishing a floor you then gain access to random quests for the three factions, which reward money and influence, and are of those same three types. With enough influence you can join a faction (can only join one), which gives you access to some high tier gear. Except that gear can also be got from a special NPC you'll meet when you're still hopeful about the game, before you realize how shallow it is. And the factions? They only appear as quest text and lore; you never actually encounter them. So even though there's supposed to be dwarves and elves and shamblers you never see evidence of them.

But how about the rest of the gameplay? Well, it's pretty basic. You can equip a variety of weapons which deal damage when swung, but none of them indicate how much damage they do. You have to make assumptions based on their selling price for what is better. You can cast magic, and this is the most interesting system, as it uses a formulaic system of stringing together runes. Runes fall into one of two categories: nouns and verbs. So if you put together Mend and Person, that's a healing spell. If you use Destroy and Spirit, that's a spell that damages undead. With the right skill you can unlock alternate meanings for some runes, which let you make spells act at range, or increase the power. There are also idiomatic spells, which have an effect not fully tied to their runes, but still inspired by it (so it isn't completely off the wall). This was an actual decent iteration on how Ultima Underworld's rune spells worked, but in practice most of the possible spells aren't worth using. Beyond magic, you can manipulate objects in the world. Your standard physics engine stuff, including being able to shoot arrows at levers to hit them at a distance or beyond a grate. All wooden objects are flammable and breakable, so locked wooden doors are not an impediment. And there's buggy chains which can be used to climb and swing, and that's where the first of the physics engine weirdness hits. There's a stealth system where enemies may or may not see you based on lighting and noise, and you can put out some but not all light sources with water arrows or douse fire spells.

But here's the thing, all of these systems end up being not worth engaging with outside of when necessary, because of the basic quests and the fact that the only way you progress is by getting skill points. You get skill points not through standard experience, but by completing optional sidequests and getting achievements. There's a long list of things to do, like jumping 15 yards, or dealing 10000 magic damage (again, no damage numbers to give you an idea of how insane this might be), all of them give you a skill point. You can spend those on a skill tree which is split into combat, magic, and stealth, and much of it is locked. Various skills will unlock over time as you complete quests, and completing quests also advances a doom meter (but there is a way to pull it back, and if you just blast through the main quests it's a complete non issue). And about a quarter of those achievements are "use a particular skill" which will cost 3 skill points to unlock. So it's really more of a refund for a skill you already were going to get. It quickly became apparent to me that it was better to just dash to whatever my objective was, rather than trying to really interact with the world because the rewards weren't there.

Another way the game falls short is the dearth of enemy types. The primary enemy which makes up 75% of what you'll face is skeletons, who might have bows. As time goes on they might get additional combat moves or the ability to inflict status ailments on hit. But they are severely weak to circle strafing. The second and third most common enemies are evil lizardfolk and some sort of headless monster, both of which are skeletons with a different paint job and just as vulnerable to circle strafing. The final two enemies don't even move. One is an evil tree that, when aroused, lashes out with its branches. The other is a bone pillar that does nothing until provoked, then casts magic at you. It can only really be taken out at range, as it has an aoe it does to melee attackers, and killing one lets you get an orb that can be used to lower water in certain spots to get to a secret. Again, rarely worth engaging with unless it's for a main quest objective.

Overall, Underworld Ascendant is a study in mediocrity. There's just nothing worth recommending about it, but it isn't offensive. It's a pale imitation of what came before and it's clear the team (which was quite small, according to the credits) had no idea what they were getting into with trying to make a full 3D "fuck around in a dungeon" simulator like the original games. Maybe with another year of development and starting with a much larger team they could have pulled something off, but I wouldn't count on it. The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games from Bethesda are the proper successors to what Ultima Underworld pioneered.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Jan 03, 2022 11:09 pm

1. Space Warrior (Switch)

Space Warrior is a budget shmup that is a whopping $4.99 in the eShop when it isn’t on sale. Moreover, while it’s not exactly a mobile port, it is mostly based on a mobile game (i.e., Space Warrior: The Story), and it incorporates a lot of mobile shmup mechanics. Specifically, simply beating a level is not enough to advance. Rather, progress depends on meeting certain goals, such as defeating a set number of enemies in a single run, collecting a certain amount of coins, defeating the boss, etc. Each level also has three difficulties, and you can’t really advance unless you meet all of the goals on every difficulty. When I noticed that one of the goals on the first level was “die three times,” my eyes almost rolled out of my head, and my expectations hit the floor.

Still, I ended up having a pretty good time with the game. First, and the first thing you’ll notice, Space Warrior looks fantastic. The brightly colored, detailed levels and enemies look as good, if not better, than the latest releases in established shmup series. The graphics really are quite impressive, and while I don’t think eye-popping graphics are really necessary for the genre, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them. Second, the gameplay is really quite simple, which is fine for someone, like me, who likes, but doesn’t love the genre. You just dodge bullets, collect power-ups, and shoot stuff. There can be a little strategy to collecting the power ups, but most of the gameplay is just moving your ship around the screen to blow stuff up (and avoid getting blown up!). I am sure shmup aficionados would scoff at it, but I, for one, appreciated the game’s simplicity.

Moreover, the fact that the game forced me to play its levels multiple times made me, in a strange way, appreciate it a bit more and spend a bit more time with it. Unlike an arcade port, I couldn’t just credit feed my way to the end, but at the same time, I didn’t experience the frustration associated with starting a game from scratch because I ran out of continues. I also didn’t have to beat the game in a single sitting; so, I could play it at a more leisurely pace. Better, I could usually complete all of the objectives needed to advance the first or second time I cleared a level successfully, and if I wanted, I had the option to “buy” completion with coins I collected during gameplay. (The coins are never in short supply, and in addition to spending them to complete objectives, you can also use them to buy new ships, to upgrade your ships, or to skip to a level’s halfway point.) In short, a gameplay mechanic at which I scoffed initially ended up causing me to enjoy the game a bit more.

A few other points: The music was generally good, if a bit repetitive. (The game could have used 3-4 more tracks.). The game also has a really interesting level where you have to tow an alien object back up to your base, which limits your ability, somewhat, to love about the screen. It was a cool mechanic that only appeared once, but it added some variety to the gameplay. Finally, the boss fights were all a lot fun, but disappointingly, the game ends rather abruptly once you beat the last boss. (There isn’t any sort of ending cinematic at all.)

Overall, I ended up enjoying Space Warrior quite a bit. I am definitely satisfied with my purchase, and I’d not hesitate to recommend it to less-hardcore shmup fans.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Nemoide Mon Jan 03, 2022 11:38 pm

I'm going to make more of an effort to post in this thread than I have in years past:
1. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

I started this game something like two and a half years ago and was not expecting to finally beat it today. I only got the bad/fake end and didn't complete all the challenges but I have to say: I don't care, I saw the credits roll and I'm saying I'm done for now.
I've got really mixed feelings about this game. As a kart racer, it's got a really fun core. I like the characters, the graphical style is fun, and the race tracks are varied with the three different vehicles. But it unfortunately has the stink of being a British collect-athon all over it. Once you finish a race, you end up having to play through it again but this time collecting a bunch of coins hidden around the track while still winning the race. Plus there are secret keys in some races that unlock bonus challenges that allow you to collect parts of an extra amulet that does... something. It's kind of frustrating and requires replaying races multiple times just to figure out where the collectibles are. In the hub world you collect balloons, gold trophies, parts of a Wizpig amulet, and parts of a T.T. amulet, then IN races you're collecting silver coins and hidden keys, to not even touch on the items you actually USE in game. It's all a bit too much IMO, but it certainly pads out the experience since the game would otherwise be something like 12 races long.

On the whole, I had more fun than frustration. But by a very narrow margin.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Ack Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:44 pm

1. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Action Adventure)

For those of you who don't know, I got into anime in the mid-1990s and had a love affair that lasted roughly a decade, starting with realizing shows I was watching like Robotech were part of a larger art form and eventually leading to passing bootleg VHS tapes of Ghost in the Shell around among friends. The Sci-Fi Channel was still using the Saturn logo at the time and used to show anime late on the weekends, and so I would stay up way too late to find out whatever they were going to broadcast, be it OVAs of New Dominion Tank Police, Green Legend, Armitage: Poly-Matrix, and so on. During one of these late nights, they showed the first three episodes of the Record of Lodoss War OVA, and I was instantly hooked. I eventually managed to track down the complete set, first in VHS and later in DVD form, and I have been a fan ever since.

Which brings me to Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth. This is the second time I have played through it; the first was pretty much immediate upon its Steam release, but the game was technically incomplete. The developers decided to come back with additional bestiaries and achievements, and this time I decided it be best to step up to the challenge and really complete the game. I have seen what it has to offer me, and what it does is fun...if not exactly new.

DiWL is a Metroidvania with pixel art very similar to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In fact, DiWL pulls so heavily from SotN and other Castlevanias of that style that it's tough to separate it from a pack with a lot of fantastic games. The two things it has going are the IP and an Ikaruga-esque dual element system that you must rapidly swap between to negate difficult terrain, traps, and enemy attacks, as well as swap between different forms of mobility that can and will save your sweet bacon. This being said, it's not all that challenging of a game, with the difficulty more packed into trying to find a save point when exploring a new area and memorizing the bosses' attack patterns.

The game is not particularly expansive. I cleared it with all weapons, bows, monsters, magic, and 100% of the map in roughly 10 hours this time through (including spending time having to grind for cash to buy all the weapons in the shop, get the highest rank possible in the archery minigame, and get to the point I could clear the first phase of the final boss battle without being hit at all), and while I had played before, the last time I touched it was probably 9 months ago. There isn't anything that really feels new. In fact, despite a little backtracking for secrets, the game is extremely linear. Enemies are unique to each area, but there are generally only 10 or so to learn per section, so you figure out how to adapt to them all.

If you want something incredibly challenging, this isn't it, though it offers more meat than a game like Gato Roboto. That said, it also costs $16, which you may or may not feel is justified. It was about $11 when it was in Steam's Early Access, and that was when I picked it up. I definitely feel I have gotten my money's worth, though you may not. But it's a Record of Lodoss War game developed with the intention of hyping a book series that was releasing in Japan, and considering how much RoLW content has made it over to the US, particularly for video games, I was pretty happy with what I got compared to previous offerings. I'm looking at you, Dreamcast game. Seriously, it's sitting right next to me.

Bottom line, I like it. It isn't flawless, but I have history with it, so it appeals to me. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Markies Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:37 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2022!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS3)

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I beat Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on the Sony Playstation 3 this evening!

Final Fantasy X is my favorite game of all time. So, when they announced a HD Remaster of the game which included all of the International content, I seriously debated picking up a PS3 just to play the game. I decided not to, but I did pre-order the game just to have as a collectible. Several years go by and I begin planning on my Backloggery after I beat it. I knew that I wanted to increase my console count and the PS3 was going to be one of them. Thankfully, I stumbled across a barely used Slim Model at a store and brought that home with me. After my friend reminded me of old purchase, I then added it to my Backloggery. Since it was my only PS3 games, it became a part of my Final Countdown to beating my Backlog.

It would be impossible for me to review Final Fantasy X. It is my favorite video game of all time and one of my favorite things of all time. Whenever I play Final Fantasy X, I feel like I am home again and that I feel warmth all around me. It really is an addiction when I start playing again. And of course, I love Final Fantasy X-2. It used to be a huge guilty pleasure of mine, but I now just admit that I love the game. I used to spend so many hours grinding while watching streams. So, instead of a review, let me go over the changes to the games.

Final Fantasy X: I think their is a graphical update, but I can't tell because I was playing in SD on a CRT. I do know they made Yuna's hair darker, which was weird. The main change is that you can use the expert Sphere Grid and fight the Dark Aeons along with some harder Bosses. The Expert Sphere is much smaller and you don't get as many nodes. The Dark Aeons and extra bosses are also incredibly hard, almost breaking the game. There are small choices that you don't have anymore. Also and more importantly, the music is changed and I don't care for it. It's too much and the previous soundtrack was perfect.

Final Fantasy X-2: A new dressphere is given to you at the beginning. There is a new extra dungeon along with a bestiary that you can use to recruit fiends. Besides that, its pretty much the same game.

It's hard for me to judge these games, but I still loved these games. I think the PS2 versions are perfect and I would play them over this, but I like the new stuff added that makes playing the game worthwhile.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:44 pm

I find that X-2 has two problems. The first is marketing; the way the game was presented really makes it seem like this frivolous adventure, when the underlying story is more about world reconstruction and the dress sphere system involves a good amount of choice and leads to interesting battles. The other is in structure. The first time I played the game I just followed the story missions and quickly got in over my head. The idea that you need to intentionally spend time going to all the other areas every single chapter to do content and get leveled up is just not a great system, in my opinion, especially since they don't give you a "hey, you probably want to do this" signpost. Compare with an open world game like Morrowind, where you are both told "you should faff around a bit before doing the next story quest" and "by the way, good places to faff about are at these various organizations". And then on top of that you add in some of the arcane missable content requirements and it impacts the game beyond the surface level.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Markies Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:00 pm

See, I've played through FFX-2 like five or six times and I always do absolutely everything. Even on this playthrough when I was trying to do it quickly, I ended up with a 94% complete. Unless you really know how to abuse the battle system, which is my favorite part, then it would be smart to do everything just as a reason to grab some extra levels. So, I have never thought of the game as a "Go Anywhere At Any Time" game. It's always been a game about doing every area for all of the Chapters.

But, I agree with you on the part about missing one little thing and that screws you over throughout the game. I forgot to talk to one person through all the Chapters, so I skipped out on a Garment Grid. However, there is a New Game Plus and that is the easiest way to get 100% in the game as there is more than 100% worth of content in the game. If you really want to do everything, following a FAQ or Strategy Guide is a must.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Sat Jan 08, 2022 9:46 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3

In between sessions of Ni no Kuni I remembered that I was near the end of this Castlevania game, so I decided to give it a few runs before dinner. I had indeed remembered correctly, and after a couple tries (half of which was remembering how the game handles) I was able to finish off Dracula. There's still several DLC levels I haven't beaten, but maybe that'll be something to come to later on, as they don't necessarily add a lot.

Harmony of Despair is the multiplayer focused entry that came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The gimmick is that you and some of your friends can pick from the various Casltevania protagonists and all join together in a big level, collecting loot, defeating enemies, and beating the boss. Like the standard post-SotN Casltevania games you have a variety of equipment you can use, but it doesn't have levels, so your progression comes from loot, the best of which drops off of bosses at a low rate. As a result, you'll find yourself grinding the couple of levels over and over for the boss drops so you have enough strength to make it through the later stages.

The base roster is all the primary playable characters from the DS games plus Alucard, and they all handle the same as their original (although Charlotte gains a new spell absorption mechanic for gaining spells). So they all have double jumps, back dashes, Shanoa has Magnes, Soma absorbs souls, Shanoa can steal glyphs, etc. The DLC adds in Julius, Yoko, Richter, Maria, Simon, and Getsu Fuma (the last of which is not Casltevania, but an old Konami game). Each character has a variety of gear they can use and much of the gear is character specific (or gender specific), so grinding on one character doesn't do much to improve another character.

The stages are large, with a winding path from one end to the other but fitting within an overall box that is the screen. You can actually zoom the camera all the way out so everything fits within the screen, though that view is really only good for route planning. You can zoom in to a playable level, or you can use a midway point between the two which could be potentially useful in multiplayer. Some of the levels feature switches that allow you to progress faster or do alternate routes if you are multiplayer, but if you're singleplayer you have to go through things the normal way. The game has six stages and five DLC stages.

Overall it's a pretty average experience. It's weird that they removed experience but still kept in grinding, as you definitely will need to get boss drops in order to have the necessary higher tier weapons/spells/armor to make it through later levels. The game also caps your healing items equipped at once, so you can't just spam health to get through bosses. As a single player game it's entirely skippable, as there's no actual story and it isn't as good of a moment-to-moment experience as the games the characters are from. It might be fun as multiplayer, though.
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