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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:33 pm

PartridgeSenpai wrote:Dunno if the game was just a lot harder than I remember, or if Mallow and Bowser are just a terrible team combonation, or if the Japanese version is harder than the US version, but the end game was definitely harder than I remember. I still enjoyed it either way though. A nice nostalgic trip down memory lane with a foreign-language twist~

Mallow + Bowser is hard mode. You lack Peach's excellent healing and Geno's excellent damage.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:57 pm

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)
19. Blood: Cryptic Passage (PC)(FPS)
20. Blood: Post Mortem (PC)(FPS)

21. Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
22. Shadow Warrior: Twin Dragon (PC)(FPS)
23. Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)(FPS)

24. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)(FPS)
25. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)(FPS)

26. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC)(RPG)

I've been wanting to play this game since it came out back in 2004. It's a buggy title that drained the developer and killed them off. The company that produced the original source material, White Wolf, also went defunct and exists in name only, though that was due to self-inflicted stupidity in 2018. I enjoyed White Wolf stuff from nearly 20 years ago, but after looking at how they ended with a whimper and why, I'm pretty happy I got out of that scene entirely.

But onto the game. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is an RPG with a mouthful of a name. The game is Bloodlines, and it's based on the Vampire: The Masquerade role playing game. In particular, I believe it's second edition, though I could be off about this. Either way, it's from the era I prefer, where the Nosferatu were ugly bastards and the Malkavians were playable, because yes, this changed. Why do you think I quit playing? Anyway, in the world of V:TM, the supernatural exists, vampires are organized into clans with differing powers, and they're all political nightmares vying to constantly one-up each other for some kind of dominance that will inevitably get them to all kill each other, because when you're practically immortal, guess who has nothing better to do than bicker?

The game starts with you getting the option of choosing your clan or taking a test. I took the test and ended up a Nosferatu, which was my first choice anyway. I know what I like. Nosferatu are hideous but stealthy, capable of physical prowess to help them survive, and the masters of secrets. Basically, if you can know it, a Nosferatu does, and he might be sharing it on his secret section of the Internet with his buddies and laughing at you. For some reason, many of them dress like gimps in V:TM-B, but then again the game always did think it was too edgy for its own good. I'd rather have been given a Hawaiian shirt.

Well, you create your character, find out you've just been sired against orders in Camarilla law (vampire government), but a different government group, the Anarchs, protest, so you get spared. Then the third political group, the Sabbat, show up, and everyone bugs out. You get stuck working for the local prince in LA, and he's from a clan known for pumping out political pricks. Great. As the game progresses, you'll come across other supernatural elements, including ghosts, werewolves, Chinese vampires, and a variety of clans, but safe to say, the only person who is ever on your side in V:TM is you, so try to watch your ass.

To play, you get quests. How you resolve them is up to you. Some clans are better at talking, others at sneaking, others at fighting. As a Nosferatu, you have to sneak, which some people don't like. Those people don't understand the joys of crawling through a sewer, feeding on rats, and freaking everyone else out because your face looks like the inside of a moldy barf bag. As you wrap up quests, you then get experience points, which are spent in growing amounts to upgrade various stats, skills, and powers. Want to get better at hacking computers? Either boost the skill related to hacking or the stat that governs it and something else. Focus on the stats for how you want to play, though I always recommend some survivability because words only get you so far, and it ain't much. Nosferatus don't have this as a viable option because you get no Appearance score since you're butt ugly, so hey, we can power game. It's a win-win.

At the start of the game, I could handle myself well enough, though a shotgun still hurts. By the end, I could walk around and lockpick doors while completely invisible, punch a gargoyle to death, hack any system, and slaughter pretty much anything with a spray of gunfire. You better believe I played the way I wanted to, and I got my sneak so high, I was literally walking around openly in the streets without a problem by the time I was halfway through.

As you progress, you'll have to face an overarching plot about a possible ancient vampire in a sarcophagus that may bring about the end of the world. The three political factions fight about it, and you end up ultimately having to choose based on your actions which side you'll go for. Of course I went for myself, so the game ended with me murdering the heads of two factions and giving the third the finger. Good times. Also, I'm boning a psychotic Malkavian club owner (Malkies are crazy), and I got a nice pad in the sewer, so I guess victory really is mine. However, I could have also made different decisions that would have led to considerably different results, such as getting a ghoul, saving both of the Malkie club owner's personalities, or even helping oust the douchebag prince of the local Camarilla in favor of a different guy...a guy who is far more dangerous than the dominating political punching bag with perfect hair who was in charge. Yeah, that option could be cool. Or terrifying. I'm not sure which.

Since there are options, some folks feel it necessary to play the game a few times as different clans, since clans like the Nosferatu, Malkavian, and magic-using Tremere have very different experiences from the other clans. You know what, I'm good. I did things how I wanted, and I don't see myself wanting to change how I handled it at all.

Good times.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:40 am

MrPopo wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:Dunno if the game was just a lot harder than I remember, or if Mallow and Bowser are just a terrible team combonation, or if the Japanese version is harder than the US version, but the end game was definitely harder than I remember. I still enjoyed it either way though. A nice nostalgic trip down memory lane with a foreign-language twist~

Mallow + Bowser is hard mode. You lack Peach's excellent healing and Geno's excellent damage.


Yeahhh, that was kinda the feeling I was getting. They were basically constantly dead because Bowser is confusingly enough more of a glass cannon than a tank, and Mallow just kinda sucks at everything and instantly dies XD. If I didn't have the lazy shell for Mario there was no way I could've won XP
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:02 am

Good reviews dudes. You guys are playing the weird shit I'm into.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:39 am

When I played through V:tM-B I did Malkavian with high speech. That is a pretty trippy experience with lots of great writing.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:27 am

marurun wrote:When I played through V:tM-B I did Malkavian with high speech. That is a pretty trippy experience with lots of great writing.

Yeah, Malkavian runs are how several of my friends played it the first time, and they raved about how well it was handled. I'm not as into the Cat in the Hat pimp look, but I always did enjoy Malkies, so maybe some day I'll go back and do that.

And Bone, I'm now playing something else I know you'll love. No, I don't mean Men of Valor either.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:03 pm

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)
19. Blood: Cryptic Passage (PC)(FPS)
20. Blood: Post Mortem (PC)(FPS)

21. Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
22. Shadow Warrior: Twin Dragon (PC)(FPS)
23. Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)(FPS)

24. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)(FPS)
25. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)(FPS)

26. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC)(RPG)
27. Men of Valor (PC)(FPS)

Men of Valor is a first person shooter released in 2004 and set in the Vietnam War. It excels in some areas, such as giving a sense of place and the changing state of warfare. It also fails utterly in quality design, and technical issues plague it like a European village in the 1300s. As much as I want to like the game, it's so problematic that I struggle to possibly recommend it, even to die hard FPS fans.

What do I mean? Well, the intro video never played for me; I got used to listening for the sound effects to know when to start the game. The resolution also caused innumerable problems just starting the game, so any time I'd begin, I'd have to do a regular routine of keyboard shortcuts to eventually get it into a window. That was just start up. Other problems include audio lines that would repeat, problems with character models, and events not trigger as necessary. This happened during the final level at the most frustrating point, and it soured the entire experience.

What it gets right is showing the change in tactics, the evolution of weapons, the background music, the changing attitudes of the soldiers, and so forth. Since you are playing a black soldier named Dean, the questions of racism and the American Civil Rights movement do come up from curious Vietnamese, while your thoughts on various soldiers is influenced by how they react to your skin color. The game also isn't shy about death, and it does not glorify it, instead demanding that Dean harden himself and simply accept it. The ending is unfortunately sappy and hurts a lot, but everything up to the second half of the return to Khe Sahn level is good.

That final level is really bad. While the game never shied away from jungle combat and hiding enemies in bushes, apparently bamboo is bullet proof except for key points that the AI knows how to shoot through. Make it through, and hopefully you won't keep dying in ambushes before making it to the next checkpoint. Generally, the checkpoints weren't in bad spots...until that final level. Then they became sparse, and that's a problem. This game will sometimes use invisible enemies outside of the map to shoot at you if you veer off course, so yeah, limited checkpoints is a huge problem if you're not playing the game the way the game wants you to play it.

I talked a lot about this game in the Summer Challenge thread for this year while also emphasizing that it is not a classic, and having now beat it, I can confirm: not now, nor ever will this be a classic. It's more of a curiosity than anything else, but there are numerous other FPS I'd recommend over it. Though if you ask me for FPS set in Vietnam...well, that's already such a small list, you're kinda stuck with this.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:37 pm

@Elkin: I played dark savior at its release when I was in high school, I remember really liking the game but I'm sure it has aged terribly.

@senpai: I just beat Mario RPG for the first time very recently, I couldn't even imagine beating the last boss without peaches healing abilities. I actually did use Mallow for a good portion of the game but he is definitely lackluster in just about every area.

Games Beaten:

81. Double Dragon 2 (nes)
82. Punch out (wii)

Punch out:

I love the punch out series and if I could ask Nintendo for one switch game it would be a new punch out game. Every game in the series is amazing and while most people acknowledge the first 2 games as classics I feel like the wii version flies under the radar.

The game follows the basic structure of the other games. There are 3 circuits and each circuit has 4 boxers in it with the exception of the final circuit that has 5 boxers. All of the boxers, except for 1, are taken from the old games, but each one of them has been given a tremendous amount of personality and new movesets making every fighter feel fresh. The game does an absolutely amazing job of feeling completely new while also invoking strong feelings of nostalgia. There are tons of little nods to the old game, stuff like von kaiser crying mommy and trembling before the star punch, 2nd bald bull needing to be knocked down with a star punch, don flamenco still being weak to the left right combo, and tons more. However, despite the familarity this game will never give you that "been there done that" feeling that is common amongst these kinds of updates.

The fighting mechanics in this game are what you would expect. You can dodge to both sides, duck, block, throw punches to the head and body, and acquire star punches. What this game does differently than the old games is you can acquire up to 3 star punches, but rather than have 3 punches, you only have one punch that will increase in power depending on how many stars you have. If you get hit at any time while holding a star(s) you will lose all of your stars, so saving stars is risky but many fighters can be instantly ko'd with a properly timed 3 star punch so it is worth the risk.

The fighting style of each boxer forces you to learn all their moves and respond accordingly, giving each fight a tremendous amount of depth. In the old games you can pretty much dodge all the basic attacks of each boxer just by swaying to one side and only had to learn what to do when the boxer pulled out a special. Here that is no longer the case, some boxers will delay certain punches meaning if you dodge immediately you will return from your dodge just in time to get punched, other boxers require you to dodge to certain sides, some require you counter punch. On top of all this there is an incredible amount of depth to this game and if you want to be mystified go watch a speed run of this game to see what is possible.

In a nod to the old arcade games once you do capture the title you have to fight every boxer again in order to defend your title. These 2nd batch of fighters ratchets the difficulty up to 11 and expect to lose multiple times trying to learn their patterns and weaknesses, and yes, even glass joe is likely to beat you in this mode. The challenge of the title defense mode is great, and you will feel great about yourself when you finally overcome each opponent.

If I have one complaint about the game is that towards the very end of the game it is almost mandatory to memorize some of the patterns rather than react. In particular soda popinski and bald bulls 2nd fight are insanely difficult. Soda for example, is a momentum based fight. Each time you dodge his attacks consecutively you get to punch him one extra time when he is stunned. So the first punch you dodge gets you 2 punches, the 2nd gets you 3, etc etc. To compensate for this he punches faster and faster and it becomes literally impossible to react to his moves, and thats just not me saying that, the world record holder for all 3 punch out games has said that even he can't react to soda when he gets going. If at any time you take a hit the number of punches you can get off on him, goes back down to 2. As a result of this the whole fight just boiled down to memorizing his exact pattern and preemptively dodging, if one hit was taken, I would have to restart the fight and try again. It was just hard for the wrong reasons, bald bulls title defense was even harder but for slightly different(albeit just as annoying) reasons.

Outside of that the wii version of punch out is probably the best in the series. The fighters are loaded with personality(I dare you to try not to laugh at how ludicrous macho man is), there is more fights here than in any other punch out game, it is the hardest game in the series, the deepest game in the series, and even has achievements for each boxer. A definite must play game, now nintendo just needs to do a super punch out on the switch.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:55 am

1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch

Timespinner is an indie Metroidvania that heavily draws from the Castlevania side of the house, specifically Order of Ecclesia. The title comes from the main character's ability to manipulate time. The basic premise is that the main character belongs to a clan of people who guard an artifact known as the Timespinner. This artifact allows them to send people back in time, changing the timeline. Since this is powerful, they seek to guard it from those who would abuse it, and so far only use it to go back and prevent a threat to the Timespinner. The game opens with the main character needing to activate it to stop an evil empire from claiming it. However, something goes wrong and instead of transporting to the past you transport to another planet. However, in the bargain you gain the ability to freeze time temporarily. This mainly gets used in two ways. The first is to defend yourself; you can't hurt enemies while time is frozen but they can't hurt you either. The second is for platforming; you can jump on frozen enemies and large projectiles and can use that to get to new locations (sometimes as a requirement to progress). This second half ends up being slightly underutilized; it happens just infrequently enough that you can forget about it and get momentarily stuck before you remember "oh yeah, time platforming".

Aside from that, the game is basically Order of Ecclesia if the pre-end castle maps were all stitched together. You have a SotN style menu and character stats and can equip yourself with an orb in each hand; these then are used to attack with and manifest in various attack forms. Some are thrown forward, some conjure flame, and some turn into swords. Unlike OoE, it does not cost a resource to use them and you attack with each one in sequence, rather than one button for each hand. Since you can equip the same orb to each hand it pretty much is always better to just double up. Midway through the game you get the ability to have orb sets, which give you up to three sets. In addition to your main orbs you can also equip an amulet, which lets you cast a spell for MP, and a ring, which gives a passive benefit. One interesting thing the game does is have each amulet and ring be tied to an orb; this means you need that orb to craft them in the first place and their power scales with the strength of the orb (orbs level up as you use them). This encourages you to find a few that you like and stick with them, as the level effects are just apparent enough that you want to not just spread the levels out across them.

Level design-wise, the game is more straightforward; you'll have ledges you can't get to until you unlock some mobility options, and some doors that need keys. There isn't as much verticality as there is in SotN; like I said, it's more like the various OoE maps were stitched together, and a zoomed out view shows the game map as being very long and not very tall. Environments are all serviceable, but they don't get into some of the really interesting stuff that the gothic Castlevania style gets into. Everything is more grounded.

One thing you might notice if you start to research this game and go into a comments section/forum is that almost every major character (including the protagonist) is LGBTQ. For the most part it's treated very matter of factly; where in another game you might have a quest to hook up two NPCs who are too shy to ask each other out, in this game they both are men instead of being opposite sex. There's two instances that are a bit more talking at you; the first is when a trans character mentions her realization of her gender dysphoria, and it comes out similar to Krem from Dragon Age: Inquisition. The second is during a short story segment where the main character is referred to as lesbian in a joking fashion and she corrects the speaker that she is bi, with a quick "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have assumed" in response. Absolutely no one in the game sees any of this as anything but normal, so for the most part it all comes off as showing a world where people can just be who they are. It's an interesting choice, because it isn't really a theme of the game.

My one complaint is the game is definitely on the easy side. Once you get a few bosses in you'll realize that your power has increased faster than enemy power and you can just face tank bosses and mostly ignore their mechanics, and this includes the last boss. On particularly "challenging" bosses you have to burn some healing items, but the main reason to dodge attacks becomes avoiding hitstun, rather than avoiding damage. Of course, there's always the Nightmare mode (or Nightmare level 1 if you need it harder) if you want to go and have a more challenging run, but I would have liked to see the middle difficulty require more effort (I can't imagine what the easy difficulty is like).
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:48 am

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)
19. Blood: Cryptic Passage (PC)(FPS)
20. Blood: Post Mortem (PC)(FPS)

21. Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
22. Shadow Warrior: Twin Dragon (PC)(FPS)
23. Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)(FPS)

24. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)(FPS)
25. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)(FPS)

26. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC)(RPG)
27. Men of Valor (PC)(FPS)
28. Ultima III: Exodus (PC)(FPS)
29. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space (PC)(Point and Click)


Ultima III: Exodus

This wraps up the original trilogy of Ultima for me. The early games are rough and rudimentary in design, trying to give expansive worlds and incredible ideas while limited by technology levels as well as controls and UIs that hadn't been refined by time. Still, gotta start somewhere, and Ultima is the basis for just about every RPG to follow, so respect and reverence is warranted.

Ultima III introduces party mechanics as well as tactics-based combat. In these early days, concepts like escaping combat weren't yet integrated, so problems can arise if you don't want to fight, but the basics are still an ingenious leap from the previous Ultima II. Magic can also be devastating in combat but requires understanding the controls and memorization, so expect it will take a lot of trial and error if you don't use one of the numerous guides found throughout the Internet.

The world of Ultima III has seen significant change from previous versions, yet once again the wide expanse is more for exploring and creating your own adventure than wrapping up the relatively simple storyline. What you are required to do in early Ultimas is usually considerably less than what you can do. In this particular case, you just have to get the four Marks, the four Keys, exotic weapons and armor, and then take on Exodus.

Of course, learning where all of this is will facilitate said exploration, some of which requires you find a pirate ship. If you're unlucky, like I am, pirates will often refuse to spawn. This artificial barrier to progress soured my view of the game immensely, unfortunately. Why the old vehicle shops of previous games were cut is beyond me.

The penultimate battle is also a let down. Exodus is a computer, and your final "fight" actually consists of submitting punch cards in consoles in a specific order. After that, you get a text ending that is consistent with the game's era of release but doesn't provide much satisfaction nowadays. Still, Ultima was always more about the adventure.

Ultima III has some interesting mods to look into, though they have problems. Some include visual upgrades, and one entertaining mod reshapes the game world to be that of Ultima I. Sadly, I could not get these to work. There are also save game editors, though while toying around with these, I discovered they can be crash prone when trying to generate the exotic weapons or ships you need for the game. Your mileage may vary.

My final opinion is that Ultima I is the best game of the original trilogy, but Ultima III is superior to Ultima II.

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space

I picked this up thinking it would have some heavy FPS elements, and while it does have a couple of FPS moments...I was misinformed. This is a first person point and click adventure that happens to involve a shotgun in two scenes. It's also clunky and suffers point and click logic, so it's got other problems.

What do I mean by clunky? Well, you're gonna spend a lot of time trying to navigate the menus of objects and trying to do things like combine stuff that can't easily be combined. Some inventory items have little to no use, and I found the controls unintuitive. To make matters worse, occasionally new mechanics will be introduced for two minutes and then dropped forever. In one area, I had to rest my arms while climbing. It took me numerous attempts before I figured out what the game wanted me to do.

Thankfully, the game is fair with checkpoints. Every time you enter a room, the game saves. Control taken away during a video? Checkpoint. You can also save on your own at any time. Also, the game won't let you advance without grabbing key items, so while it won't always tell you want you're looking for, you'll know you can't miss out.

There are other problems, like some annoying puzzle design and voice acting that sounds lazy. I wanted to like Albedo more than I did. Such a shame.
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