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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:08 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Original Blaster Master has some terribly designed stages with awful combat. It just isn't fun. Wish it had used the bump system.

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prfsnl_gmr wrote:The complete lack of a save or password feature, coupled with extremely limited continues is my primary complaint with Blaster Master. Considering its age, the game is relatively well-designed; it controls well; and it still looks and sounds good. Some of the later bosses are insanely difficult without fully-powered weapons, however, and having to beat it in one sitting is just unforgivable. I finally beat it using save states - saving after I defeated each boss - and I don't ever see myself getting through it I one sitting on original hardware. (I have beaten Battletoads, and that is another brilliant NES game that would have been greatly improved by a password feature...and the bump system, of course.)

I love its brutality. When I think of Hell, I picture (and hear) level 8 from Blaster Master.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by noiseredux Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:12 pm

MrPopo wrote:I mentally insert that to the end of every comment Bone makes on a video game.


Not just video games...
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by isiolia Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:37 pm

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)
8. Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
9. Nioh (PS4)
10. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
11. Dark Souls III: The Ringed City (PC)

The Ringed City is the second piece of DLC for Dark Souls III, and effectively the last (announced) of the series. I think EU and JP regions are getting all-inclusive discs for Dark Souls III next month, but I don't think it's announced for the US (we similarly never got the complete Bloodborne disc).

I picked up my New Game game on PC to play this, and I think I added around 8-9 hours of playtime to it with some fairly comprehensive exploration and taking down the four bosses present.

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A rare arrow-free moment.

Generally speaking, this DLC is fairly comparable to the size/scope of one of the DLCs for Dark Souls II. Getting to the new areas is simple, but getting far into them is rough - whether constantly respawning mobs or one of a couple types that will flood the area with projectiles if they see you, it was slow going for me at first. Thankfully, there are some tricks to them, but initially I was pretty frustrated.

Once I got past that initial wall, there was a good bit of cool stuff to find. Many of the staple rings have +3 versions hidden around, and Fashion Souls is in full swing (Desert Sorceress set is back :lol: ), and there's some good lore and questlines to be found.

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You just know that'll break if you touch it...I'mma touch it...

Despite the patch that added the DLC effectively nerfing the weapon I had been using on that game until now (Barbed Sword, because Bleed was OP) I was still able to stick with it for nearly everything.
The bosses added seem to tick almost every box for what fans wanted to see. You have...

- Fight against two similar bosses that sees the second killed revived into a more powerful version, which is different depending on the kill order. Like the baby of the Gargoyles fight and O&S.

- Fight that may pit you against a member of the new covenant (if online, if you play offline, like me, you fight an NPC). The summoning period seems masked better than the Demon's Souls fight that does this...but the helper mobs are kind of annoying.

- Optional fight against a dragon that has just, so much HP and defense...I swapped weapons for this since having reach is good. I managed to cut the questline for it short though, which mostly meant I had no option for NPC help :/

- Final boss that's probably a combination of Artorias and Orphan of Kos.

While I may have been saying otherwise at the time, objectively, they're all pretty fair (if challenging) fights.
There are also a number of NPC invader types that (like in DS2) appear whether or not you're Embered and drop some nice items.

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At least he does stay on the ground a lot more than other dragons in the series...

While there are references to plenty of things for the series as a whole, mostly, The Ringed City continues the side-story started in Ashes of Ariandel. It doesn't have a complete conclusion, but then again, little in Dark Souls tends to.

Overall, it's a solid entry, albeit probably still a touch short of the bar set by Artorias of the Abyss or The Old Hunters. I think the combination of the two DLCs rounds Dark Souls III out well though, and the final boss encounter does bookend the series nicely.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:19 pm

Sarge wrote:- Overhead levels not fun: Fixed.

This especially. I didn't enjoy the overhead levels at all in the original, totally loved them in the remake.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:40 pm

isiolia wrote:Overall, it's a solid entry, albeit probably still a touch short of the bar set by Artorias of the Abyss or The Old Hunters. I think the combination of the two DLCs rounds Dark Souls III out well though, and the final boss encounter does bookend the series nicely.

Looks amazing but... do people really regard Artorias of the Abyss that highly? I know it touches on some critically good story bits, I loved the Giant guy NPC, but level design wise it wasn't that great to me. You get another forest, some boring caves with the weird (laziest?) ghost enemy things, and some other area I think I can barely even remember. And naturally I played this way before I got around to DS2 and its DLC, then Bloodborne... frankly I think they blow Artorias of the Abyss out of the water tenfold. Whenever I get around to replaying Dark Souls 1 I don't think I'll bother doing the DLC another time through.

Can't wait to jump back into DS3 though. I'm not sure if I'll do a new character for the DLC or not. What run did you play them on? I got the platinum so I'm on NG++ or something I think. I did that with Bloodborne and its DLC which made it Dante Must Die hard. Everything killed me in two hits.
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by isiolia Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:02 am

Far as I've seen DS1 DLC is pretty well regarded still, but YMMV. More for the bosses and lore than the actual areas though, certainly. I think it also basically adds a new set of magic too. The Old Hunters is still probably tops overall.
To me, the DS2 DLC is just more hit and miss. There are good aspects to them all, but all three have at least one boss that's just terrible in some way, plus some long/annoying runs back to some.

I haven't really done NG+ or further outside of Bloodborne (and even that was fairly minimal NG+). Half tempted to try it sometime, but haven't yet. While I have played through DS3 a couple times, it was once on PS4 and then once on PC. I think this DLC I started at level 103 and ended at 111 or so (I think From provided level 125 characters for press demos).
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:28 am

1. Pokémon Moon - 3DS
2. Tony Hawk's Underground - GCN
3. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising - PC
4. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II: Retribution - PC
5. Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness - PSP
6. X-Wing: Imperial Pursuit - PC
7. Star Wars Republic Commando - PC
8. X-Wing: B-Wing - PC
9. Blazing Lazers - TG-16
10. Tales of Xillia 2 - PS3
11. Shining Force CD: Shining Force Gaiden - Sega CD
12. MUSHA - Genesis
13. Sonic CD - Sega CD
14. Final Fantasy Legend III - GB
15. Tales of Zestiria - PS3
16. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Switch
17. Horizon Zero Dawn - PS4
18. Tales of Berseria - PS4
19. Battlefield 1 - PC
20. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil - PC
21. Mass Effect Andromeda - PC

Alright, finished this in time for Persona 5 on Tuesday. And that looks to be my last game in this major cluster of titles, so hopefully I'll be able to make some more progress on some of the older games. But on to the Andromeda retrospective!

Mass Effect Andromeda's story starts in between ME1 and 2, though that's all in flashback. The actual controllable parts start 634 years after that point, with your ark having just reached the Heleus cluster in the Andromeda galaxy. Four arks were part of the first wave; human, turian, salarian, and asari. There was also a Citadel stand-in called the Nexus to act as a home base for the arks and the overall colonization effort. The Heleus cluster is a group of stars orbiting around a massive black hole, and it leads to a lot of space sky porn throughout the explorations. In fact, I'd be willing to say that the focus of the art budget was to make space look amazing, and it succeeds there.

Things start off with your ark running into a weird energy tendril that gets dubbed The Scourge, and your attempted planetfall on what was supposed to be a habitable world ends up discovering a piece of shit landscape and some hostile aliens. Some shit goes down, your dad gets killed, and you have to take his place as the Pathfinder for the humans. You're basically supposed to be the trailblazer and troubleshooter, leading the colonization effort and something shooting stuff. Things escalate from there, but by the end you will have successfully created a foothold for the races of the Milky Way in this little corner of Andromeda.

Gameplay-wise they've actually managed to pull back in some of the RPG elements that had been trimmed back in ME2 and 3, but it still maintains the general feel of the latter two's combat. One noticeable change is that the cover system is not so much the Gears rigid style; rather when you get behind a chest high wall you auto crouch and you can move in and out as needed. In fact, the game seems to emphasize mobility more, with a high jump, lateral dash, and a powerful melee (Vanguard is even the melee spec and it was incredibly effective; basically the Knight Enchanter from Inquisition). Gear goes back to ME1 levels of depth, though only for the main character. You get four armor slots, up to four weapon slots, and each one can be filled with equipment that comes in various levels and can have mods to customize with. You can also craft gear, which gives you the option of applying enhancements (so you can create a nice piece of +biotic damage gear for example). It keeps you looting and staying on top of your resource gathering and all the weapons feel very different, letting you pick what fits your playstyle best.

In terms of character advancement your squadmates all have three powers and two passive trees (one offense, one defense), each of which has six levels of unlocks. The unlocks branch off for ranks 4-6 into choices for each tier. Your character gets a staggering amount of flexibility; you can put points in combat, biotic, or tech, and each one has 6+ powers and several passives to enhance various pieces. This all ties in to the profile system. While you do pick a class at the very start, that merely sets your initial profile. There is a profile for every combination of focus, so three for single tree spec, three for dual tree spec, and one for jack of all trades. These profiles level up based on how many skill points are in the associated trees (and the multi-tree specs naturally require less in each tree). Leveling up a profile increases its inherent bonuses. As an example, the Vanguard Profile increases melee damage and reduces biotic cooldowns and causes your melee strikes to restore shields, while the Engineer profile boosts tech damage and gives you a bot that follows you around to give you additional bonuses and can detonate to destroy enemy shields. The most important thing is you can switch profiles at any point, and can save up to four sets of preconfigured selections of a profile and the three active skills. Switching profiles puts all your abilities on cooldown, but they all recharge quickly enough. So an example of what you can do is you can start off encounters with an Infiltrator profile and the tactical cloak skill, do some sniping, then switch to your Vanguard and use charge to jump in and melee some fools. By the end of the game I had Vanguard maxed and a good amount of points in the tech tree, so you don't need to worry about "wasting" points; instead pick things that sound good and experiment.

Story-wise the game has a very different tone from the ME trilogy. Your goal first and foremost is to ensure that the colonists under your charge can start a home. While there is a big bad who you eventually defeat in the last mission he is not the driving force behind the storyline; at most he seeks something you seek as well to use for destruction rather than your benevolent purpose. You spend a lot of time NOT fighting his minions and instead engaging in diplomacy and exploration. When you do standard open world faffing about quests they actually feel like reasonable things to do, because they further that overall goal of making the colonies succeed.

Your crew I found to be quite endearing. They're all enjoyable to be around (though I found one required the loyalty mission to really shine) and there's a lot of great crew to crew dialog both in mission and on the ship. A lot of the writing time and talent went into fleshing out the crew and I hope we get to see them all again in the sequel (and not scattered about like ME2). One thing the game does is they have lots of little side quests that basically consist of "go to this place off ship and interact and bond with a crewmember". It's little touches like that which I really enjoyed. Not all of the writing is as good, unfortunately; there were several quests where we reached an expected end point, but too quickly. As in, the quest ends with me convincing someone that they were wrong to do some bad stuff, but they give in too quickly on your point. It's not enough to ruin things, but there is some unevenness.

The last thing to touch on is the technical stuff. Yes, the facial animations are approximately the same quality as ME1's. What makes this a bit more jarring is that the eyeballs are actually very animated and active; the problem being the eyelids don't have as much life. So it does stick out a bit. Again, not enough to ruin. I found loading times to be quite snappy (much much better than Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn) and the main technical issues I ran into were a couple throwaway NPCs missing textures, a couple instances in combat of enemy models not rendering (thank god for Charge's auto home), and one instance of the game losing track of my position and teleporting me 200 yards back the way I came when I tried to use Charge to start a round of combat. That said, I'm running the PC version, and anecdotally I've been hearing that it's much more stable than the PS4 version (and the latter was what tended to be the review copy). It definitely doesn't have the bucket of bugs a Bethesda game has, and I think in a game like this some graphical deficiencies can be overlooked.

The game took me 60 hours to get through and I ended at level 58. I definitely enjoyed my time with the game and I really hope there is a sequel (there were some obvious sequel hooks).
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:31 am

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17. Liberation Maiden | 3DS | shmup | 2012 | 1hrs 10mns | 7/10

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Part of Level-5's initial 3DS Guild01 collection, Liberation Maiden was produced by Grasshopper Manufacture and directed by Goichi Suda. It's kind of like what would happen if you mixed Suda's fictional anime "Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly" with Omega Boost. You play the part of a female Japanese president who pilots a flying mech in order to defend Japan from robotic enemy forces. As the president you work with the JSDF to coordinate defensive strategy (just blow everything up really). You do so by flying all over the country taking out enemy strongholds from an overhead perspective, using lock-on weapons and evasive maneuvers. Flight control uses the L trigger and circle pad, while aiming and firing is done with the touchscreen. The plot is given weight by animated cutscenes and nice voice acting. Graphics are so-so, not amazing but the 3D effect works fairly well here. Music's nice but there's just a handful of tracks.

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Despite the decent concept and high studio/director pedigree, there's really not much to Liberation Maiden. The game becomes very repetitious extraordinarily quickly, but it's easily beatable on normal difficulty. Some of the special moves require obnoxious abuse of the touchscreen, likely a prank by the infamous jokester Suda-san himself. The core gameplay is very simple, but this is basically a shmup so fair's fair. I suppose as an early eShop title you could do a lot worse than Liberation Maiden. The game ends on a cliffhanger so I assume there were intentions to make a sequel, but it looks like that'll never happen. There's plenty of dreck far worse than Liberation Maiden on the 3DS eShop, so if you're a shmup fan here's a decent way to spend an hour of your life.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:45 am

Exhuminator wrote:Despite the decent concept and high studio/director pedigree, there's really not much to Liberation Maiden.

That's unfortunate, especially since the first half of the review makes it sound like a sequel to Metal Wolf Chaos.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by ElkinFencer10 Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:37 pm

Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 29

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 (12 Games 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
15. Persona 4: Dancing All Night - Vita - February 12
16. Sniper Elite 4 - PlayStation 4 - February 17
17. Pony Quest - NES - February 19
18. Halo Wars 2 - Xbox One - February 22
19. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions - PlayStation Portable - February 24
20. Hotline Miami - PlayStation 4 - February 26
21. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light - Famicom - February 27
22. Bad Dudes - NES - February 28


March (6 Games Beaten)
23. Root Letter - PlayStation 4 - March 2
24. Vroom in the Night Sky - Switch - March 10
25. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Switch - March 17
26. Super Bomberman R - Switch - March 18
27. Super Mario Run - Android - March 24
28. I Am Setsuna - Switch - March 24


April (1 Game Beaten)
29. Mass Effect: Andromeda - PlayStation 4 - April 1


29. Mass Effect: Andromeda - PlayStation 4 - April 1

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Rarely do games have as much to live up to as Mass Effect: Andromeda. The original Mass Effect trilogy - especially the second and third games - are truly legendary hallmarks for the sci-fi western RPG, and even with Mass Effect 3's controversial ending, Andromeda had some pretty damn big shoes to fill. So, does it succeed in living up to the legacy of its predecessors? Well, not quite, but it comes damn close, and it makes up for its shortcomings by letting you make Ryder far uglier than Shepard could ever have hoped to be.

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The premise of this game is that you're on an ark with 100,000 other humans who've been in a cryogenic sleep for the past 600 years traveling at 11 time the speed of light to reach and Andromeda Galaxy and establish colonies for the Citadel races. Except you hit a giant wall of space heroin and your ship gets slightly rekt. I played as the intrepid Bhutseks Ryder, the male half of the Ryder twins, on a quest to defeat the nefarious Kett, bring viability to attempted human/salarian/asari/turian/krogan colonies, and overall save the Helius Cluster.

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One of the first negatives that one will likely notice is the sharp decline in overall writing quality since the original three Mass Effect games. The dialogue, character development, and overall plot aren't nearly as well written as the first three games. There is, however, a silver lining - Ryder's character, in my opinion, is MUCH better than Shepards, and the replacement of Paragon/Renegade options for Emotional/Logical/Casual/Formal dialogue choices makes dialogue much more interesting (and hilarious if you choose Casual at every opportunity like I did). Ryder's relentless snark really makes the game for me. And it's not as if the writing is god awful, but it's really not. Compared to your average game, the writing is still pretty good; it just doesn't compare particularly well with its downright legendary pedigree.

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In addition to the decline in writing quality, Andromeda - at least on PS4 - is extraordinarily buggy. Rarely do these bugs interfere much with gameplay, but there was one time that I fell through the bottom of my ship and into space, and there were a handful of times when an objective didn't spawn, forcing me to save and reload. Out of a probably 40 hour playthrough, however, that's really not too bad. The biggest issues were bizarre NPC movement, extremely finicky dialogue prompt detection, and random slowdown - all annoying, but none gamebreaking, though for what it's worth, my roommate was playing on PC and seemed to experience FAR fewer bugs.. The combat balances it all out, anyway; it's absolutely incredible. Smooth as butter, for real. It makes Mass Effect 3's combat look "meh" in comparison, especially with the weapon customization options. I crafted a minigun that fired about 10 grenades per second with a magazine of 244 rounds, a pistol that fired a shotgun-like spread of seven sticky grenades, an automatic shotgun, an electric asari sword, and a sniper rifle that could punch through metal walls and rocks. Oh, and my hand was a flamethrower. Broken? Yeah, maybe a little. Awesome? You bet your ass.

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The Mako also makes a spiritual return as the Nomad. Fortunately, however, this vehicle is actually possible to control, and I came to enjoy driving it around, running over Kett and driving up mountains Skyrim-style. No cannon, unfortunately, but the upgrade options and maneuverability more than make up for that, especially with how rugged the thing's shields are. The only time I ever had the shields deplete was when I accidentally drove through a pond of sulfuric acid. Oops.

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So let's talk about Andromeda's elephant in the room - the facial animations. There's been a LOT of shit online about this, and it's...definitely all true. The faces are weird as shit. I think it's the eyes, though. The eyes are EXTREMELY lifelike with the random little ticks and twitches, but the rest of the faces don't have similar unconscious habits. That discrepancy leads to some hardcore uncanny valley. The graphical quality is stunning, but the faces are definitely awkward. There are also some instances (at least on PS4) where the mouths don't quite sync up to the voices and - on one particularly unsettling occasion talking to my twin - one character's mouth moves for EVERY character's dialogue, no matter who's speaking. Creepy but hilarious.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn't quite live up its heritage, but given the shoes it had to fill, it did a damn good job. The freedom the games give you is incredible, and the planets you have to explore are unique and diverse. A little more QA, specifically on console releases, would have been nice, and I do wish a little more TLC had been given to the script writing, but the game is absolutely phenomenal overall. Not quite a masterpiece but a definite testament to Bioware's quality as a development studio.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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