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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by isiolia Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:31 am

1. DKC Returns (3DS)
2. √ Letter (PS4)
3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PC)
4. Spec Ops: The Line (PC)
5. Fire Emblem Heroes (Android)
6. Gears of War Ultimate Edition (Xbox One)
7. Onechanbara Z2 Chaos (PS4)

Thoughts (spoiled due to potentially NSFW screenshots)
Z2 Chaos is the latest in the Onechanbara series, which got its start as part of the Simple series of games from D3 - a long-standing budget series that mostly has basic sports or board game titles. It's also where the Earth Defense Force series originated. In a very real sense, it's a video game analog to a B-movie franchise. The U.S. has only gotten a few of the games, which I own as well, but have only really played the first level or so of.

That to say, anyone coming into this game expecting a masterpiece is setting themselves up for disappointment. It's low budget cheese, and revels in it. There's technically a story about warring Vampiric and Baneful Blood clans, and then teaming up to help an anti-zombie organization and other threats and... well...
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Someone at Tamsoft framed this and put it on their wall. Pretty Sure.

Mostly, this series sells itself on how the heroines dress...aaaand that's about it.

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It's all about practicality.

Gameplay itself is the same combo-centric hack and slash that seems to permeate Japanese games at this point. Sometimes to great extent, like the best Platinum games. Sometimes far less so, like when Platinum games just needs to pay rent. Onechanbara kinda starts at that low end, and then gets worse. It's not the worst I've seen, or even beaten. I beat X-Blades, the main benefit of which is that I can always look at a game and say, well, it's better than X-Blades.

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The actual hack and slash is okay, with some highlights. There's a fair bit to unlock, and after the intro section, you actually have all four women to switch between. Like a Capcom vs. game, the characters you aren't using regen health, up to a point. So, you get both a lot more survivability, and a lot more variety in play since you get plenty of opportunity to use all of their weapons. While it's not possible to do all the time, you can frequently have the others come out under AI control to help kill stuff, though they can also wind up taking damage that way too.

Level design, on the other hand, is mostly a steaming pile. It's mostly just corridors or arenas comprised of stock-looking assets that would have looked lazy on Dreamcast, much less PS4. It is budget, yes, but MSRP on this one wasn't quite at the bottom of the barrel either.

The middle section of the game comes across the best, in my opinion. In that, you have five destinations to tackle in any order, all of which have a unique look, enemy types, and bosses. They also have a lot of fodder enemies that make sense for one or two of the areas and not elsewhere...yet show up all over.
Then you get the actual big bad show up, and are treated to several levels that are essentially endurance matches in copy/pasted, generic environments. Kind of like they had some aspirations for making a grander game, then took a cop-out method to pad it out (and it's still only maybe a six hour game or so).

Story sections, such as they are, are largely done in a motion comic style that...mostly just uses the headshots anyway.

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I left English voice acting on, though Japanese is apparently an option too. I wasn't exactly worried about nuances in translation, and the VAs seemed like they were having fun. Other than the general lack of clothing, appropriate or otherwise, there's really not much in the way of sexual content, other than jabs about boobs.
Given that the entire speaking cast is women, technically, this means Onechanbara Z2 Chaos passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.

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I repeat, flying colors.


That said, if you do happen to want to play without mostly-uncovered asses hanging out and such, you do have the option to dress them all in the schoolgirl outfits. Or go the other route, and have them straddling a banana with strawberries on their nips (if you redeem the CE code, I didn't, because I wanted them to stay classy 8) ).
In that vein, there's actually a fair bit of clothing and accessories to unlock, if you want to complete challenges. I didn't really care, but, if for some reason you want to play the game repeatedly there's stuff to get by doing so.

Overall, really not essential gaming. It's not a terrible way to relax and just button mash, since most of it isn't very hard...but with easily half the game just being a slog, there's certainly better out there for that.
...but, it's still better than X-Blades. >_>b
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:49 am

It was mostly technical. There's a handful of glitches where they can bug the physics but nothing like the Wind Waker run where they finish the game in 3 hours thanks to a glitch that lets you swim at super speed and effectively teleport from island to island.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:18 pm

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7. Traps n' Gemstones | Android | platformer | 2014 | 3.45hrs | 7/10

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In an ancient pyramid, precious relics have been stolen, and their keeper Bedouins imprisoned. It's up to you, as an Indiana Jones wannabe, to return the relics, free the Bedouins, and defeat myriad monsters as you uncover secrets galore. Indeed, Traps n' Gemstones is a cute little platformer available on smartphones. It comes across as a kinder gentler La-Mulana, with a strong focus on exploration and key acquiring, versus say hardcore combat or taking down tough bosses. You'll whip, jump, and shoot your way through all manner of booby traps and baddies, all while utilizing your greatest frenemy; the less than ideal in-game map. Nice clean graphics, a polished presentation, and concise touch control make this snack-sized metroidvania easy to recommend to genre fans.
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:08 pm

I dig the graphics.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:49 pm

Xeogred wrote:I dig the graphics.

I forgot to mention there is a Steam PC port. I also forgot to link the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_zwlvfZf7k

I think you and Sarge would probably enjoy it.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:50 pm

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
2. Gyromite (NES)
3. Lucy -The Eternity She Wished For- (Steam)
4. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
5. Radical Dreamers (SNES)
6. Video Games 1 (TI-99/4A)
7. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
8. Exile (TurboGrafx CD)
9. Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (TurboGrafx CD)
10. Xak (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
11. Xak II (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
12. Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)
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In my last post here, about Xak I・II, I described the game as an entertaining and competent homage to Ys Book I & II. Neutopia, on the others hand, is directly modeled after a different game, The Legend of Zelda, and ventures more into "rip-off" territory.

See, the protagonist of Neutopia is a young man tasked with saving a princess from some "supreme evil" type villain. To reach said foe he must first break a "seal" by collecting some MacGuffin objects scattered around in labyrinths. Movement is screen-to-screen and there are alternating overworld and dungeon sections. Advice is doled out occasionally, generally by wise old sage men and women. A sword is permanently affixed to one action button, whilst the other can be remapped to accommodate various secondary items. Dungeons conclude with a boss and a permanent health upgrade. Navigation of said dungeons is done by aid of a map and compass. Hidden passages can be bombed, and keys must be found to open locked doors. As this is not a "true" action-RRG, enemies do not relinquish experience points upon defeat but instead surrender money. This should all sound very familiar.
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There are some noticeable differences here though. First of all, Neutopia is presented in glorious 16-bit. The game is bright and colorful and gives off that late 80s Hudson Soft vibe. Everyone's got a big head and bosses are more cute than intimidating. The music is alright. There are a few tracks I really dig, and by "a few" I mean literally three. The title screen theme is incredible but is only about 25 seconds long and doesn't even have the courtesy to loop. Call it the "Neutopia jingle." Controls are adequate but not perfect. There's a nice "bounce" sensation when hitting enemies, though the hit detection itself is questionable at times.
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Instead of one huge overworld here there are four smaller ones, all connected by a central shrine. They're based on the four elements: earth, fire, air, water. Exploring these overworlds is the highlight of the game. Though far from detailed they're designed well and the crisp clean color palettes really pop. Unfortunately the developers missed a chance to craft some really neat thematic dungeons. Instead they're all same-y looking stone "mazes." Navigating these is pretty simple, the only occasional "puzzle" being a block-pushing sequence or figuring out which wall to bomb.

Neutopia lacks the shops of Zelda. The only thing to spend money on is HP-restoring potions which is a bit of bummer. Remember how in Zelda you could go on a scavenger hunt and become an absolute beast before even setting foot in the first dungeon? No opportunities like that here, as everything is extremely sequential.
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There also aren't too many secondary weapons. In fact, there's one. A fire rod can be obtained early in the game and it's absolutely essential as the hero of Neutopia lacks Link's lazer sword. The rod's strength and range is based on HP, which is a nice touch, and it can be fired diagonally as well. I have no idea if bombs can be used offensively (whatever the case it's impractical and never necessary).

There's a lot more text and dialogue here compared to Zelda, but it's all pretty rough. NPCs have way too much to say and you're forced into a conversation if you enter a room where one resides. Old men and women literally say things like "I am an old man" or "I am an old woman" as if this wasn't apparent. And the dialogue never changes regardless of game progression. There's a man guarding the second dungeon who says something like "I cannot let you pass as you lack the fire rod" - regardless of whether or not you have it.
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What Neutopia lacks - and what Zelda has in spades - is atmosphere. Zelda's overworld feels huge, littered with secret items and cryptic dwellings. The dungeons are tough, creepy, and claustrophobic. Enemies are aggressive and terrifying. Items are meaningful and revered. These elements are all missing in Neutopia. It's hyper-linear with low static difficulty. It's characterized by a simplistic straightforward flow, with little room or reason for exploration.
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In anything though, Neutopia is a "fun" game without any egregious flaws. There really aren't too many "Zelda clones" and anyone who enjoys that formula should find something worthwhile in this little TurboChip.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:59 pm

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
2. Gyromite (NES)
3. Lucy -The Eternity She Wished For- (Steam)
4. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
5. Radical Dreamers (SNES)
6. Video Games 1 (TI-99/4A)
7. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
8. Exile (TurboGrafx CD)
9. Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (TurboGrafx CD)
10. Xak (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
11. Xak II (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
12. Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)
13. Captain Silver (Sega Master System)
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Ya know, I've always loved the Sega Master System. It's got a great library of first-party titles (some original, some arcade ports) is is home to what is arguably the best 8-bit JRPG ever conceived: Phantasy Star. But it's hard for me to deny that the NES wipes the floor with the SMS, and one reason for this is fairly obvious: the SMS is severely lacking in third-party support. One non-Sega game that slipped through the cracks, so to speak, was Captain Silver. Originally a Data East arcade game, it was ported to the Master System in 1998. Curiously enough, a Japan-only Famicom port appeared at the end of the same year.

See that box art above. Captain Silver is actually that ghostly looking dude and the game's villain. The protagonist, the human being with the unbuttoned shirt and ample junk, is named Jack. Apparently he wants the treasure of the departed Captain Silver. That kind of makes Jack a thieving asshole, no?
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So, this is an "action-platformer" but don't expect any fast and furious swordplay à la Ninja Gaiden. Captain Silver is more akin to Ghosts 'n Goblins: slow, hard, meticulous, and memorization-based.
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Jack is equipped with a sword. It's range is surprisingly good: a large arc that can hit enemies dropping from above. There are items to collect in each stage, but fairies are the most important. These grant Jack the ability to launch projectiles. By collecting several fairies he eventually gains a "spread gun" type ability. Unfortunately, this is a one-hit death game with upgrades vanishing upon loss of life. The inherent difficulty is compounded by the fact that Jack's jumping skills are atrocious and the last two stages rely on him making several tricky leaps. And of course this is one of those SMS games with ass backwards controls (to use NES terms, B is jump and A is attack).
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There are only four stages total. I've read that the European game has more but I'm okay with never playing them. Stages two and four end with boss battles that are tedious and poorly-programmed. Visuals are pretty weak overall - it's not nearly as colorful and pretty as most SMS games - and I can't recall a single lick of music save for the irritating jingle that plays as each stage is introduced.

This is just a painfully mediocre game (hence the painfully mediocre review). It's lacking in the pacing, craftsmanship, and pizzazz that made so many action-platformers of the era memorable experiences. It's extremely short as well; I suppose there are worse ways to kill fifteen minutes.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:08 pm

Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 14

January (10 Games Beaten)
1. Persona 4 Arena - Playstation 3 - January 1
2. Chrono Trigger - SNES - January 7
3. Ys: The Vanished Omens - Master System - January 8
4. MUSHA - Genesis - January 10
5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11
6. Ys I - TurboGrafx-CD - January 13
7. Ys II - TurboGrafx-CD - January 14
8. Dragon Quest Builders - PlayStation 4 - January 23
9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. School Girl/Zombie Hunter - PlayStation 4 - January 29


February (4 Game Beaten)
11. Fire Emblem Heroes - Android - February 3
12. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Wii U - February 5
13. Dante's Inferno - PlayStation 3 - February 7
14. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - DS - February 11


14. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - DS - February 11

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Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a game that is a definite work of art. Love it or hate it, that can't be denied. I had a very rocky relationship with this game during my playthrough. It took me several weeks to get through what really shouldn't be a terribly long game. My problem, which I'll explain later, was that it was simultaneously one of the most interested and least exciting games I've ever played. It's artistic af, though.

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Hotel Dusk is 1/3 puzzle game and 2/3 mystery novel. You play as Kyle Hyde, a somewhat cynical man who left the NYPD under less-than-glamorous circumstances to become a traveling salesman out west, although your employer also has you do work on the same finding things. What things? All things. We should have Hyde look for Hillary's e-mails and the hundreds of thousands of Democratic voter registrations that up and vanished last year. -political salt intensifies- ANYWAY. You get sent to Hotel Dusk to find some shit, and all of a sudden, every coincidence in the universe happens. Or is it coincidence?

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As you play, you'll start to unravel numerous seemingly unrelated mysteries, all the while discovering that they actually tie in to one another in some way. The writing is truly brilliant, and that's definitely the game's strong point. Even if you don't care for the gameplay, you need to stick around for the writing (even if it takes you a while like it did for me). The art style is also extremely unique and really fits the game. The (mostly) monochrome design of the characters gives the whole game a very 20th Century noire feel that fits the theme of the narrative perfectly. While most of the music is fairly forgettable in my opinion, two songs in particular REALLY stand out - the music that plays during the recap quiz at the end of chapter and the music when you're asking a character extremely plot-centric questions (denoted by red question marks on the top screen as opposed to the yellow question marks of ancillary questions or the white question marks of the miscellaneous questions). Those two tunes in particular are extremely catchy and will almost without fail get stuck in your head.

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My biggest complaint with the game is the pacing. I found myself feeling utterly unmotivated to continue playing, and I think the issue was the pacing. I didn't just get bored with all the dialogue; that was actually my favorite part, and I'm a huge fan of pure visual novels besides. What lost my interest was the wandering around and puzzle solving. Some of the puzzles were pretty cool, but overall, they didn't interest me that much. I'm not going to say that the game would have been better as a straight visual novel, but I do think the game would have benefitted from a slightly brisker pace or more thought provoking puzzles. Truly, though, those complaints are rooted more in my personal tastes than any actual design flaws.

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I'm not saying too much about this game so as to avoid the risk of accidentally spoiling anything, but if you like mystery stories or laid back puzzle adventures, I'd suggest checking this one out. The narrative is truly stellar, and while I found myself getting bored with the gameplay, at no point did I ever get bored with the story. I always wanted to know what happened next. The cast of characters you meet are all well drawn and have their own interesting and cryptic back stories all of which are strands of a larger mystery you must unravel. I wasn't as enamored with this game as some, but it definitely told a damn good story, and that's the single most important thing in my book.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:12 pm

ElkinFencer10 wrote:I'm not going to say that the game would have been better as a straight visual novel


I know nothing about this particular game, but I do think certain specific adventure games would have benefited had they instead been developed as click-a-thon kinetic visual novels. Sometimes this is the best way to tell a good story, and poorly implemented "puzzles" and "branching paths" do nothing but drag an otherwise decent game into tedium.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:38 pm

Many of Hotel Dusks puzzles were simple sure, but this game utilized the DS in extremely creative ways to get the utmost out of the DS hardware. I mean there's even a puzzle in there based on the angle-view contrast of the LCD itself.

Big congrats to sticking it out and finishing Hotel Dusk, Elkin. You should give the sequel a try someday ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Wind ... _Cape_West ). It has a much more linear flow, less wandering, and more difficult puzzles. I'm glad you enjoyed the dialogue. Of any video game I've ever played, Hotel Dusk had the most believable NPCs and NPC conversation I've seen. I really did feel like I was talking to real people, and not just flipping through an amateur hour script (as most games are).
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