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jamesbuc
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by jamesbuc Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:18 am

Exhuminator wrote:This is such a cool hidden gem of a game on the system. I admire that you not only played it, but finished it. Here's another hidden gem if you're still in the mood for such PS2 quirkiness:
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Never heard of that one, giving a look confirms what I thought, its one title that didn't make it over to Europe. It does look like the sort of thing I would snap up given the chance.

At the moment I'm pushing my way through the weirdness that is Maken Shao: Demon Sword (Ps2) and trying hard not to hurl the controller through a window after repeated deaths thanks to me mucking up attacks repeatedly.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:24 am

jamesbuc wrote:Never heard of that one, giving a look confirms what I thought, its one title that didn't make it over to Europe.

If it makes you feel better, Maken Shao: Demon Sword (PS2) didn't come to the USA. I had to import my copy from the UK a few years back.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Ack Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:35 am

1. Metal Slug (MVS)(Run and Gun)
2. Puzzle Link (NGPC)(Puzzle)
3. Illusion of Gaia (SNES)(RPG)
4. Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War (PC)(Strategy)
5. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (PC)(RPG)

Shadowrun: Dragonfall continues on with Harebrained Schemes' triumphant return to the Shadowrun universe, a fusion of cyberpunk sprawl and high fantasy adventure. While not a direct sequel, Dragonfall initially saw life as a DLC campaign in Shadowrun Returns, but it proved popular enough to break out and build into its own full game. Instead, the events of Dragonfall go on in the same year as Returns, though events of the Returns campaign are only loosely referred to. That's fine though, as each Shadowrun game serves to further the overall narrative of what has happened to metahuman society in the decades following the Awakening while still providing individual narratives for a single or handful of characters in vastly different places within that society. Case in point, Returns is set in the Seattle of 2054, while Dragonfall is set in 2054's anarchic Berlin.

The Berlin of 2054 is a divided city consisting of numerous kiez, or districts, that exist in an anarchic system called the Flux State, or F-State. Dragonfall focuses on the experiences of a team of shadowrunners who live in one such kiez, the Kreuzbasar, where they interact with their neighbors and shopkeepers to help keep things running. Each kiez is different, so some are run by megacorporations, while others are wastelands controlled by roving gangs or mainly consist of civilization trapped within sewers. Unfortunately for you, the game starts off with a bang, as a job goes sour and your friend Monica gets fried. Ultimately you will end up taking jobs to pay off a massive debt, tangling with an AI, and making decisions regarding a dragon. As always, there are conspiracies upon conspiracies that you will only give a cursory glance, and so much is left open to build that sense that the world is continuing no matter what you do. Yet you're a small and important piece of that world too, a cog in a whole society that may or may not work without you.

While Returns kept you solo for a fair bit(meaning you pretty much had to be built for combat from the get go), Dragonfall gives you a crew immediately. There is Eiger, a former spec ops troll and weapons specialist; Deitrich, an aging punk rocker who can use magic; Glory, quiet former satanist with more hardware put into her than a blender; and eventually a few other obtainable characters, including Blitz, a nova-hot decker who thinks he is far, far better than he is but really doesn't have anything better to do. Each of these characters has a backstory that can be explored or shut down depending upon your desire. There is an unfortunate downside to all of this though; while you had to go full tank to survive in Returns, the crew you're given in Dragonfall pretty much covers your bases and makes it the obvious choice to once again go full tank. But the game rewards variety by giving you unique interactions depending on your character stats consistently throughout. I spent most of my game kicking myself for picking an etiquette I thought would be hardly used, only to suddenly use it to make a crucial different in one major job that would have been considerably tougher had I not.

As for the world, other citizens of the Kreuzbasar have jobs for you, needs, hopes, and desires. Some you know, and some you never see but only communicate with via the Matrix or a hidden drop point. By the end of it, you'll have made some wonderful friends...some of which end up dead as a result of your ongoing mission to figure out what the hell went wrong and how Monica got herself whacked. Dragonfall consistently gives you moral choices that look bad, making you go against your word or hurting you for doing the "right thing." It's perhaps best to see the world in shades of grey, including your character, because sometimes the best option is to break your promises.

Beyond this exploration of characters through dialogue, Dragonfall also uses a turn-based tactical combat system, where each character receives a set number of actions each turn and can be maneuvered around into or out of cover or use a variety of weapons, items, or spells to kill enemies, buff allies, or reload their weapons for a renewed assault. At its core, the Dragonfall combat system is essentially the same as Shadowrun Returns, so if you have experience with Returns you'll know what you're in for. If there is one thing I would have appreciate, it would be a reset button for the last action, because I occasionally found I would click the space next to an enemy and move out of cover into danger instead of taking the much needed shot. This is maddening when it happens, because a single mishap in combat like that can mean the difference between life or death in a mission. Thankfully though it didn't happen too often, and when it did, I immediately would go into damage control, doing my damnedest to pull that character back while everyone else kicked the shit out of whoever went after them.

Unfortunately, Dragonfall has its share of other problems. A couple of times I had the game hang during loading, and clicking on people or things to interact with them would occasionally just not work the first couple of times I tried. There are also times when sprites will flicker, and I noticed a couple of spots of lag. Most of this isn't game breaking, just annoying, but there is one particular bug that has gotten some notoriety among the game's fans. The Apex Rising bug has become somewhat legendary, both because it can ruin a game during one of the longest fights of the game, and because the problem has persisted despite Harebrained Schemes repeated attempts to fix it. Late in the game there is a mission called Apex Rising which involves a long fight to either destroy or free an AI. Quicksaving at any point during this fight will eventually lead the game to stop allowing the player to interact with the world, causes the UI to vanish, and prevents the player from saving when it happens. This is particularly notable because Apex Rising is one of the few fights of this length that doesn't autosave during any point, forcing the player to go through a long dialogue tree, perform a quick Matrix run, and then go directly into a minimum 10-turn combat(most combats are over in under 5 turns). It's also a fight against an infinite number of enemies, requiring the player to endure until a specific event occurs...not a pleasant experience. I actually consider this one of the hardest fights of the game. And the developer knows about it. There are patch notes from over two years ago in beta where they tried to take care of it. Unfortunately it appears at this time that HBS has given up, so this bug will likely always be there.

Well, there you have it: both the good and the bad. Yet despite the few bad things, the good so heavily outweighs it that I genuinely don't mind. I loved Dragonfall, even more than I loved Returns, which I adored. These are games worth playing by any fan of RPGs, and they are challenging but user-friendly enough to appeal. If you're interested in Dragonfall, definitely play Returns first of course. But play both. They're worth it.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:23 pm

Glad to see you enjoyed it. Hong Kong is an even more refined experience than Dragonfall, and when you get around to playing it I think you'll enjoy it as well.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:25 pm

January:
1) Bonk's Adventure (NES)
2) Little Samson
3) Holy Diver
4) Holy Diver (legit!)
5) Mitsume Ga Tooru
6) TMNT II: The Arcade Game (NES)
7) Mighty Final Fight
8] Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
9) Monster In My Pocket
10) Battle of Olympus
11) Gunstar Heroes (repeat)
12) Dragon Age: Inquisition
13) Dragon Age: Inquisition - Trespasser
14) Captain America and the Avengers (NES)
15) StarTropics
16) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (save states)
17) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (legit)
18) Crisis Force
19) Esper Dream 2
20) Felix the Cat
21) Moon Crystal
22) Panic Restaurant
23) Frankenstein (NES)
24) Crystalis
25) Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu

February:
26) Killer Instinct (GB)
27) Mashin Hero Wataru Gaiden
28) Sly Spy (Arcade)
29) The Red Star (unreleased XBOX, also on PS2)
30) Adventure Island 4
31) Cocoron
32) Batman: Arkham Knight
33) Xeodrifter (Vita)
34) Doom 2
35) Brandish: The Dark Revenant
36) Magical Pop'n
37) The Ninja Warriors (SNES)
38) Phantasy Star (SMS)
39) Phantasy Star III
40) Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
41) Brandish: The Dark Revenant (Dela Mode)

So, as mentioned before, I took down Brandish: TDR as Dela. That brings its own set of challenges... and as Exhuminator pointed out before, its own rewards as well; the many intervening years have given a bit more to work with on game design.

The best way to think of Dela's stages are as if the original game was designed to be even more sadistic. The game pulls out all the stops, and I'm glad I didn't wait too long after finishing Ares mode, because I'd have likely been too rusty to pull it off. Some of the puzzles are really, really cool. Using Dela also changes things up, as she's a bit more spell-oriented. You can beef up her melee, but she's got a pretty large windup, so there are a few enemies where you're going to want to either use magic or dance a lot to keep from getting hit. Well, "dance", 'cause lack of mobility is one of the central tenets of Brandish.

Not sure how much to talk about or not, but I think the worst two rooms for me were the boulder room (especially because I wanted 100%) and the pit rooms where they are constantly cycling. Oof. The dark floor isn't actually quite so bad, since it's not absolutely pitch black, just mostly. You can still slide through. There's also a bit of a troll move with some optional doors that require money to open towards the very end. The last boss wasn't that hard, mainly because I spent a little time grinding up my magic resistance. :)

All in all, if you like rogue-likes, or methodical dungeon crawlers, this one will definitely appeal. Heck, they usually aren't my cup-o'-tea, and I enjoyed the mess out of this one. I totally got my $10 out of this one (it's normally $20, by the way).

(Oh, final stats, took me 9:34 for 100%. I got a rating of "well-traveled spellcaster".)
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:29 pm

Sarge wrote:the pit rooms where they are constantly cycling

Yep, those right there were the only parts of Dela mode I truly did not care for.
Sarge wrote:Heck, they usually aren't my cup-o'-tea, and I enjoyed the mess out of this one.

So glad to hear it, now play KF4 and revel in perfection! :P
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:31 pm

Dirty little secret... I did obtain a *ahem* copy, but I haven't gone far into it. I'm gonna need a break from some dungeon crawlin' right now. ;)
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Ack Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:40 pm

MrPopo wrote:Glad to see you enjoyed it. Hong Kong is an even more refined experience than Dragonfall, and when you get around to playing it I think you'll enjoy it as well.


I'm hoping to get to HK later this year actually, but I want to take a break and cleanse the palate with something else for a bit. Definitely looking forward to it though.
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elricorico
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by elricorico Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:25 pm

1. SSX 3 (oXbox)
2. Mario Kart DS (NDS)
3. Fairune (Android)
4. Streets of Rage (Gen)
5. Amplitude (PS2)
6. Kirby's Dream Land (GB)

7. Crash Team Racing (PS)


This is a game that I'd wanted to play for quite a while, but kept putting it off until I could find a legitimate copy for a reasonable price. When the Flea Market solved that for me a few weeks ago I started at it. Unfortunately half way through it started hanging on one particular loading screen. A resurfacing didn't solve the problem so I cracked and played this on my modded PS3.

I rolled the credits this morning with a minimal completion. I found myself liking the game a lot and yet really noticing it's age. The tracks and environments look fine, but the PS1 really showed it's limits when it came to 3D characters.

The racing is fun. You can get moving really fast with the various boosting techniques and the physics are looser than Mario Kart games, which gives it a distinct feel, but not so loose that it feels broken. Races are generally challenging, but not frustrating (though the bosses are a little cheap, they are all very beatable with some effort).

I feel like if I had played this game back when it was released it would sit high on my list of favourite games. Having played it more than 15 years later, I still think it beats almost every other "non-Mario" kart racing games. If you like the genre and you haven't tried this (like me about a month ago) you really owe it to yourself. I'll likely be going back to play through the time-trial type challenges but probably not much of the collecting challenges.

Seven games beaten this year on seven distinct platforms so far. I've enjoyed the variety.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:46 pm

Yeah, CTR has always been considered quite excellent. It's also pretty impressive-looking for a PSX kart racer. Not surprising, of course, given Naughty Dog's rep for pushing systems to the limit.
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