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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:14 am

These posts always make me think I need a few more NGPC games...
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:00 pm

I wish when the NGPC ultimately failed that more of the games had been retooled for GBA or DS.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:47 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2018 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017
* indicates a repeat

1-20


21-40

41. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass DLC (Switch)
42. Battle Block Theater (Xbox 360) *
43. Magicka (Steam) *

44. La-Mulana 2 (Steam)

Watching a let's play of La-Mulana was one of my first introductions to gaming on the internet outside of the AVGN. When I just happened to look at Kickstarter, one of the last times I ever did, and saw a post of La-Mulana 2, I thought it had to be a joke. It turned out to be completely legit, and 3 years later we finally got it, right at the beginning of this August. I waited to play it not just because I wanted to wait for bugs to be polished out (of which there were apparently very few; mostly balance changes from the looks of things), but to wait for other people to beat it and post guides about it because, knowing La-Mulana 1, I knew there was no way that I was gonna be able to solve the whole sequel by myself. I was very right! After 27 hours of playing, I finally conceded and started using the wiki. EVEN THEN, it took me a little over 45 hours to completely beat the game. I played through on hard mode (effectively meaning many more late game enemies in earlier areas and all bosses have double health and do double or triple damage), and got all the achievements (to unlock the fun extra outfits :D ) but for beating every boss without using subweapons (because as in the first game, you'd have to be absolutely insanely good at the game to do that on even normal mode :P ).

La-Mulana is a 2D action adventure game in the mold of old MSX games such as Castlevania and Galius Maze (mostly Galius Maze). It's all about exploring a giant series of ruins, reading slabs and talking to natives to learn about puzzles, and fighting tough enemies and tougher bosses. It's a serious combination of mental and reflex power, and the sequel is largely more of the same with some significant changes and upgrades. The most obvious change, of course, is a whole new set of ruins to explore full of all new puzzles, enemies, and bosses to conquer! But there are more nuanced changes as well, of course.

Mechanically, there are some immediately noticeable changes from the original. The game has been brought into the 21st century by not only allowing you to duck but also to jump onto ladders! (You can't jump off them though). Although the weapons, subweapons, and even nearly all the extra passive items are taken from the first game, these additions make the game play very differently from the first (especially once you get the item that enhances "weapon technique" so you swing faster but also up and down-facing slashes). The way enemies and pots respawn has also been slightly changed to be both proximity and time based, so if you leave a room and immediately re-enter it, the enemies won't necessarily respawn like they did in the first game. The other REALLY nice improvement from the first game is that you can buy an item fairly early on that gives all mini-boss and boss enemies a health bar at the top of the screen, and that thing is SO nice to have :lol: .

The presentation has also received a significant upgrade. The remake of the original freeware game (which was made to look like an MSX game) was originally designed for Wiiware, and the graphics look it. La-Mulana 2's spritework is a significant upgrade on every front, and the higher resolution really shows its strengths here. The music is all good, but I would say that it's biggest fault is constantly reminding me of the music in the first game which I have a lot more nostalgia for. All great music: I just like the first game's music more :P .

The story is a LOT more lore-based now than the first game. Where the first game revolved more around a slow discovery of the truth of the ruins, this game kinda follows something similar, but the cat is already out of the bag in regards to the twist from the first game. This means that, at least as far as I can remember from the first game, there are a fair few more puzzles that focus on talking to an NPC to get a task, doing the task, and reporting back to that NPC once it's done.

Speaking of that, the overall comparison of this game to the first, to me, is that this is the superior game. The original game had a lot of holdovers from the original's remake, mostly in its puzzles and map design, that had tried to recreate more vindictive elements of older MSX adventure games. La-Mulana 2 is certainly a longer game, but it's also just far more fun to play to me because it is just generally not as mean and cryptic. La-Mulana 1, at least the opening, is far more about taking things section-by-section, one level at a time, so things get very confusing when later on puzzles span the entire length of the ruins and you need to readjust your brain completely. 2 starts expanding things immediately out of the gate, and also gives you the App to record NPC dialogue and signs you read right at the starting village, so you can immediately start taking note of suspicious or confusing things you read to use in later puzzles.

That's not to say that La-Mulana 2 is an easy game by any measure (the hard mode only affects combat, not puzzles, and puzzles were what I got stuck on time and again XP ). The 2nd and 3rd bosses were SO hard I thought I was sequence breaking (nope, they were just really hard :P ). That's like nearly ALL of La-Mulana 1 though, so I'd say the boss design is just generally more fun and less vindictive than the first, even if a good portion of that may just be that they have a health bar so you can see how well you're doing against them.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. If mind-bending puzzles and tough action adventure combat and platforming are your jam, you cannot go wrong with La-Mulana 2. The game does spoil the plot of the first game more or less entirely, but none of its puzzles. As the first game's plot is such a backseat to the bosses and puzzles, this is an excellent primer to the original game's remake if you've ever thought of playing that. Even if you never beat it, I got more than enough out of the first 27 hours I could actually figure out myself to justify the 15 bucks I spent on it. This is a sequel that is largely more of the same on the surface, but all the more nuanced improvements make this an overall fantastic improvement on the original :D
Last edited by PartridgeSenpai on Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by pook99 Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:24 pm

I hated the first la-mulana with a burning passion, it is actually one of my least favorite games of all time, although the mechanics were solid the puzzles and exploration were so cryptic I could not have fun with it at all. Based on your review, it sounds like I would not really enjoy the sequel either, thanks for such a detailed review.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:47 pm

pook99 wrote:I hated the first la-mulana with a burning passion, it is actually one of my least favorite games of all time, although the mechanics were solid the puzzles and exploration were so cryptic I could not have fun with it at all. Based on your review, it sounds like I would not really enjoy the sequel either, thanks for such a detailed review.


Yeah, it's very much a series I could understand someone absolutely not enjoying at all. It does cater to a fairly specific niche of gamer in terms of how it handles its somewhat Metroid-y game design, so I could never fault someone for taking fairly legitimate grievance with its less than conventional controls and puzzle design when it's such an odd-ball among the many other great indie-Metroidvanias out there atm.
But for those who want the kind of experience it provides, it's one of the best around in my book~
Glad to hear my review was helpful ^w^
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:24 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2018 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017
* indicates a repeat

1-20


21-40

41. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass DLC (Switch)
42. Battle Block Theater (Xbox 360) *
43. Magicka (Steam) *
44. La-Mulana 2 (Steam)

45. Yooka-Laylee (Steam)

Yooka-Laylee was a game I backed the Kickstarter for and was fairly excited about, but then, as I do with all the Kickstarter games I back, wasn't quite in the mood to play it when it came out :P . It was toted as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie made by many of the same team who made the originals, but it received VERY mixed reviews upon release (like, not just middling, usually either stunning or condemning ones). I finally got around to beating it yesterday, and it was about as mediocre as I'd heard it was. I went into it with an open mind, very ready to enjoy it, but while the writing is often quite funny and the world and character designs are aesthetically right on the money, there are some core design decisions that are just fundamentally bad. It took me around 11 hours to beat getting juuust over 100 Pagies. I wanted to get them all at first, but I didn't even play the final world because I was so ready for the game to just be over XP

The game controls just fine. I never had any problems getting Yooka and Laylee to go where I wanted them to or go where I wanted them to go because of how they move. The bigger problem here is the camera and world design. The levels have a very unpolished feel to them that comes mostly from how basically ALL terrain is climbable if it has an edge, meaning you can go tons of places, sometimes entirely around puzzles, with even the slightest look-around. This is absolutely ruined at the end of the game where they give you the power of nearly unrestricted anywhere-flying, like Banjo-Kazooie had in its early prototypes, but they couldn't get balanced properly so they took out, and it ruins this game just like it would've ruined that one. The engine feels very ill-designed for a game like this with how caught on the tight scenery the camera can get and how easily scale-able EVERYTHING you can see is. The way the flying effectively destroys the rest of the game's jumping puzzles is just a cherry on the sundae on top of the other worst design choice: World expansion.

Instead of having 10 worlds, Yooka-Laylee has 5 that you expand after first unlocking them. Roughly half of the collectibles in each world are stuck behind this expansion that expands the map and makes everything bigger, but this mechanic just plain sucks. New quills (the notes of this games) or Pagies will be sometimes where the old world already existed, meaning you effectively need to retrace your steps around the ENTIRE world to make sure you haven't missed anything. Put this on top of how the first 3 worlds have several areas you absolutely can't get to without moves from later worlds, and combine that with the flying you get after world 4 before world 5, and you have a game that just feels absurdly unbalanced in its puzzles and design at times. If you play the puzzles as intended they're often good fun, but the game makes it so easy to just go around the intended solution that it almost feels like a waste of time to do that.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Yooka-Laylee is a fine game, but it really never gets exceptional on any respect that would make it very easily recommendable. It's basically all of Rare's collectathon's on the N64 boiled down into a mish-mash of good flair and questionable design choices, so while you could certainly enjoy it if you really like those kinds of games, you'll probably get some enjoyment out of Yooka-Laylee. Otherwise, you're probably better off playing any of Rare's old collectathons and re-enjoying them, because even DK 64 has more polish in its world design than Yooka-Laylee.
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muppetrat
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by muppetrat Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:21 am

Games Beaten in 2018, well 2018 was a busy year for me I end up beating only few games but I think I might start going for Speedruns i don't know :)
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:13 pm

1. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
2. Wonder Girl: the Dragon's Trap (Switch)
3. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS)

I have dabbled in a few JRPGs in recent years, but it's been almost a decade since I've really been able to commit to one. I was able to commit to this. Let's talk about why.

Dragon Quest IV is an RPG that tells the story of a number of different characters across 5 chapters, with each of the first 4 chapters featuring a new character or set of characters starting out at level 1 and working their way up. Then, in chapter 5, all the characters come together and the rest of the game plays out. Now, you might be thinking, it's awfully boring to play so much of the game at low levels, but it's actually done very well. Each beginning chapter has a different protagonist/protagonists with different goals, exploring different parts of the world. The developers even varied the enemies just enough that you don't end up constantly pounding on the same set of foes. These early chapters are tuned very well so that you don't get completely overwhelmed, and they provide a really good introduction to all the events going on in the world as well as the varied character personalities. In addition, one character has some rather unique mechanics that make his chapter feel quite different. Yes indeed, this is the game that introduces Torneko. The localizers also went bonkers with varied accents, so sometimes the text can actually be a tad difficult to comprehend, but despite being over-the-top, it does lend a lot of personality to the localization.

Once everyone gets together in chapter 5, a chapter which is appropriately much longer than any of the previous ones, the world opens up quite a bit. But it does mean it's easier to get stuck not knowing where you should go next. I admit to checking an FAQ at a couple junctures, but overall I was actually pretty impressed that I had to check as infrequently as I did. As long as you are exploring and remembering what folks tell you, you'll eventually uncover most of what you need to do and find on your own. My primary complaint about chapter 5 is that when you wander into dungeons it can be hard to keep your characters all leveled up, and it won't be clear who you'll want in your endgame party until you've leveled up most of your characters enough to unlock their higher-level spells and abilities. Basically, on the overworld and in a couple key dungeons, you have your party of 4 characters and everyone else follows along in a wagon. When you get EXP from battles, everyone gets EXP. But when you go down into most dungeons, the wagon doesn't come with you, so only your active party members level up. But once you decide who your favorite team is, you won't really have to mess with the other characters again, because most of their individual stories fall away, or at least become more abstract or distant, once you get focused on the central plot. If there's a flaw in this it's that the villain has deeply personal reasons for his actions and, while the game explains this, it doesn't really carry quite the emotional gravitas I feel it should given the events it presents.

The game's graphics are pretty good. The world is 3D, and the battle backgrounds are 3D, but the enemies and characters are all 2D. And the enemies have FANTASTIC animations for their attacks. Very fluid and very attractive. This is a really high-quality remake of the Famicom/NES original. Additionally, the soundtrack is effectively a DS sound system remake of the orchestral adaptation of the original tunes. For a decade or so I owned the symphonic soundtrack album for DQ4, so I'm very familiar with those tunes, much moreso than the NES originals, and hearing those adapted to closely in the DS version was great. The title screen isn't even a DS sound system version. It's just a digital recording of the symphonic fanfare. So the auditory experience is really the highlight, along with the enemy animations.

There are a few complaints. One is the difficulty leveling up everyone in the party enough to see their strengths, though this is eased somewhat by the traditional DQ inclusion of metal slimes, which do a lot to make grinding less painful. The other is about some of the character stereotypes. Of course all the women in the party, including the tomboy, wear dresses and robes while the men wear armor. Of course two of the three female characters are dancers out for revenge. Good lord, those old JRPG tropes...

Still, the game ultimately proves to be a good distillation of JRPG goodness without too much of the bad. The grinding wasn't too painful, and combat was fun without being either too simple or too complicated. I clocked in at just over 30 hours. I haven't attempted any of the remake-exclusive 6th chapter. I considered the end of chapter 5 and the credits roll essentially complete. Highly recommended.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:22 pm

marurun wrote:Of course two of the three female characters are dancers out for revenge.

Minea is a fortune teller out for revenge.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:50 pm

MrPopo wrote:
marurun wrote:Of course two of the three female characters are dancers out for revenge.

Minea is a fortune teller out for revenge.


I thought she was also a dancer.
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