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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:01 pm

  1. Blaster Master Zero -- Switch
  2. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! -- DS
  3. Steamworld Dig -- Switch
  4. King of Dragons -- Switch
  5. Steamworld Dig 2 -- Switch
  6. River City: Tokyo Rumble -- 3DS
  7. Kirby: Planet Robobot -- 3DS

Kirby: Planet Robobot -- 3DS

Robobot is the second most-recent mainline title in the venerable Kirby series, and the last to appear on 3DS. It is not a particularly hard game, though it definitely features a few difficult moments, and can be challenging if you're looking for all the little extras and collectibles. There are 5 worlds of normal stages each and then a 6th area which is an extended series of boss fights (and I do mean extended). The boss of each world is unlocked by Code Cubes which are scattered throughout levels. Most levels have 3 cubes hidden about, and you need increasing numbers to fight each boss. You can fight most bosses with only a minimal number of cubes collected, at worst 7 (I think). But if you collect all the cubes you unlock special EX levels which have, you guessed it, even more Code Cubes to find. There are also lots of stickers hidden throughout the world you can collect to attach to your robot suit.

Why is Kirby messing about with Code Cubes and robot suits? Because a giant spaceship has invaded his planet and appears to be siphoning off natural resources and converting the local fauna and flora to machines, ala Eggman. Many of the enemies you fight are altered or mechanized versions of the standard enemies Kirby normally faces. Periodically you have the opportunity to don a mech suit, which lets you outright destroy many stage hazards and makes short work of normal enemies. The suit can also scan enemies and take on their powers much as Kirby does, and the various powers it can adopt play into a large number of puzzle elements across various stages. The mech suit can also manipulate screws and nuts throughout levels to reshape them or alter interactive stage elements. Level design can be a bit samey in places, but rarely does the action FEEL samey. There's always some new take on what's going on. And thanks to the mechanization of the bosses, the few times you encounter an old boss or miniboss, they can feel QUITE different and have many new attacks and maneuvers.

This game is very attractive. Let's get that out of the way. It looks great and sounds great. Everything is very well animated, extremely colorful, and features varied effects throughout. The music is also very spiced up renditions of the traditional tunes you know and love, as with every Kirby iteration. Now let's talk about the 3DS elements of this game. While 3D was useful in River City: Tokyo Rumble, it wasn't very impressive. It was just kinda there and made lining up with your enemies easier. In Kirby: Planet Robobot, the 3D is quite impressive. Many stages have a foreground and a background, and stars take you between them. There are also lots of hazards that you really need 3D to properly avoid. This would be a show stopper for me, except it turns out my greatest fear about the 3DS never materialized. While I have always thought the idea of glasses-free 3D was a neat trick, I was certain I would never want to use it, and avoided picking up a 3DS because of that. When the 2DS came out the only thing stopping me was that I had so much else to play. So now that I have a proper New 3DS, how do I play it? With 3D cranked all the way up. This cheap parlor trick is suddenly super effective against Maru. And Robobot, particularly, knows how to make that parlor trick look very pretty.

If there is a complaint I have, it's that the final boss battles can start to drag. There's just too much boss going on. The final boss has like 6 phases. They do try to mix it up, but boss fatigue sets in. They needed a couple more platformer or puzzle segments in-between to help create some down-time.

Still, for anyone who has a fondness for Kirby and likes the 3DS, this game is a strong recommended.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:08 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2019 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018
* indicates a repeat

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *

42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)

This is a game I've had bad blood with for a looong time, and I've made no secret about it on this site before. I was so excited to hear about getting another turn-based Paper Mario game after Super Paper Mario was more of an action game, that I was probably never going to like this when I played it 7 years ago. It is not at all trying to be a revival of the gameplay style of the first two Paper Mario games, and is doing something else entirely. What spurred my desire to give it another try, in fact, was when I was researching online after playing Paper Mario Color Splash. I was reading the Wikipedia page for this game and saw that the game's director, when asked if it was an RPG before the game was out, denied that it was and insisted it was an action/adventure game. The game had positive reviews at the time, and I know that even some people on this site have spoken positively about it before (I think it was Sarge?), so I knew there was definitely some enjoyment that could be found here. I already knew that it was a bad RPG, so this time I went in looking for a good action/adventure game, and that's pleasantly what I found. I looked as much as I could for hidden stuff, but I didn't do all 8 super flags. It took me a little over 21 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game.

First of all, I will address my chief complaint with the game my last time through it: The game is a bad RPG. Very specifically, battles are a complete waste of time, because there is no reward for doing them other than money, and money isn't that important. Like Color Splash would kinda continue, you have a limited supply of battle stickers, and those stickers are your ability to fight. Getting into battles just drains your sticker supply and means you have less to use in boss encounters. It's a pretty terrible set up for an RPG, but a fairly typical one for an action/adventure game. Having to deal with avoiding enemies to conserve resources and not expecting rewards greater than what you put in is nothing out of the ordinary for an action/adventure game, and approaching the game that way genuinely changed my mind about what I'd previously seen as its biggest flaw.

While on the topic of the battle system, I'll continue on it here. So like Color Splash would continue to do, you can find all sorts of stickers with varying effects. You can find different kinds of jump and hammer moves as well as special ones like a raccoon tail or a frog suit that let you dodge attacks in a specific way. In addition, you also have Things (non-paper objects, like a vacuum or a pair of scissors) that you can find in the world and have turned into more powerful stickers that can easily win you a normal encounter or also serve as solutions to environmental puzzles or boss weaknesses. Color Splash generally improves on this system, but does actually have some steps back in terms of design.

Where Color Splash just has every battle card you find be part of a larger deck of cards, Sticker Star has a sticker album. More powerful stickers, particularly Thing stickers, are physically larger in the sticker album, so you need to consider just how much you'd rather have a more powerful arsenal or one that will last longer. In addition to that, having 2-8 pages of stickers to sort through is simply faster to sort through than shuffling back and forth between a deck of 50 battle cards. Lastly, where Color Splash has a requirement to use a boss' weakness to defeat them (they're invulnerable unless the proper thing is used on them at the correct time), Sticker Star doesn't have this stipulation most of the time. There are some boss fights that are effectively impossible without the boss' weakness being exploited (and some that require a counter move like the raccoon tail to even hurt them at all), but a surprising amount of them can just be brute-forced through with enough healing and proper use of action commands. It's not necessarily a better design, per se, but it's nice to have the option.

The main reason it isn't outright a better design relates to how Sticker Star is, at the end of the day, an all-around inferior game to Color Splash. The main reason that not being forced to use a boss' weakness to beat them is nice is because you only have environmental hints as to what a boss' weakness is in the first place, where Color Splash has a character who will give you big hints as to which Things you should have prepared for the next area you'll go to so you don't hit a road block. I surprisingly never had to look up which Thing I needed to solve a certain puzzle, but part of that is down to dumb luck and part of it is also down to just remembering the solution from my first attempt through this game (where I got like 3/4ths of the way through the game, apparently). However, I did still run into places where I needed to totally backtrack out of a level in order to go back and get a smattering of Thing stickers that were likely solutions to the puzzle I'd come across. This all wraps up into a larger problem of the game generally not respecting your time, as the battles still feel like wastes of time because they can take so long (longer than just a Super Mario-esque Goomba-stomp takes, at least) and have very little reward.

Something that does shine quite well is the presentation. Particularly the music, which isn't quite as overall great as Color Splash, but is still a damn fine selection of tunes. The paper-craft design of the world is also leaned into a bit, particularly with characters picking up objects and crumpling them up like paper, but it (once again) isn't leaned into as an aesthetic quite as hard as Color Splash would do it. The only real issue that I had was because of not playing in 3D (I only have a 2DS XL to play Japanese games on), there were two or three spots where not having 3D depth made a jump more awkward to make than it should've been.

Finally you have the writing, which is not as bad as I remember, but still comes off as a pale imitation of Color Splash after that game's writing is so good. The game has a lot of larger plot elements that go on to be reused and refined in Color Splash. You have a single new partner who is your constant companion throughout the game and they teach you to do the game's key mechanics, you'll occasionally lose your companion and have to deal with how to fight without them, and even the final battle has a very similar set-up to how your partner will help you fight. The more linear, stage-based world design is even started in this game and continued in the next (even though this game is far more linear in its approach to things). But overall, Kirsti just comes off as a less funny and endearing Huey, as she doesn't have nearly as much dialogue, and just as much of it is about giving you instructions as it is about making humorous commentary on the current situation. The pacing of the dialogue is much more in line with a typical Mario & Luigi game (fairly large spans of no dialogue interspersed with NPCs who talk a decent bit) rather than the almost VN-esque text frequencies of Color Splash. The dialogue is funny, but there just isn't enough of it. Heck, Bowser is in this game and literally doesn't have a single spoken line of dialogue.

A somewhat common complaint I've seen about this game online is that the overall story is lacking, but I honestly believe that that barely matters. Paper Mario has never been a series that benefited significantly from a story that tried significantly to talk about larger points of the human condition. Super Paper Mario arguably has one of the more serious overall themes of grappling with one's own existential mortality, but no one holds that up as the shining pinnacle of the series. The most memorable parts of it have related to the humor and the character found throughout the world, and this game does a good job of continuing that, as does Color Splash in improving upon it further. This game having a fairly fluffy and silly approach to its storytelling is a valid observation, but I don't believe it's a complaint any more meaningful than complaining that the Mario platformer games don't have enough social commentary in them.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Approached the right way, there is a decent amount of fun to be had with this game. Playing it after Color Splash certainly made its shortcomings stand out all the more, but none of its flaws make the experience totally worthless. I still believe it's the worst Paper Mario game, but it's not by nearly as much of a margin as I believed previously, and it is far from a bad game. If you can find it for $10 like I did, then it is a fine game to hop in and out of at your own pace.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:11 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 50
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (5 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4
33. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - Wii U - June 8
34. Dark Savior - Saturn - June 12


July (12 Games Beaten)
35. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim - Switch - June 7
36. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dragonborn - Switch - June 7
37. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dawnguard - Switch - June 7
38. Tiny Troopers - Switch - July 8
39. Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops - Switch - July 8
40. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS - July 10
41. Super Robot Wars T - Switch - July 13
42. Super Mario Maker 2 - Switch - July 13
43. Command and Conquer - Saturn - July 16
44. Command and Conquer: Covert Operations - PC - July 16
45. Super Neptunia RPG - PlayStation 4 - July 18
46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19


August (4 Games Beaten)
47. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch - August 10
48. Wolfenstein Youngblood - Xbox One - August 24
49. Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem - DS - August 27
50. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PlayStation 4 - August 31


50. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PlayStation 4 - August 31

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Metal Wolf Chaos is a bit of an odd story in the history of gaming. It's a game that was released fairly late in the life of the original Xbox - a system that only really saw success in the United States - about an American vice president who ousts the president in a coup, it takes place almost exclusively in the United States, it's voice entirely in English, and yet was only released in Japan. Everything about this game screams "American release" if not a release exclusive to North America, but it never saw a release outside of Japan....UNTIL NOW.

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The game starts with you, playing as the president of the United States, fleeing a large coup force from the White House. Fortunately, the president has his own personal mecha mobile armor, Metal Wolf complete with the presidential seal and massive armament of weaponry. You have to fight your way through the White House lawn, into an underground escape tunnel, and to Air Force One to escape to the west coast where you begin your one-man war to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. It's weird how much the coup forces and treasonous vice president remind me of Trump. You know, if Trump were at all competent or even moderately intelligent. They describe Metal Wolf and the budding resistance as a "great evil" and a threat to American freedom and justice. It's eerie.

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The game plays as an admittedly rather clunky third person shooter. You have a SUPER limited boost ability (technically it lasts a good while, but it starts draining your health after a couple seconds), but other than that, you're pretty much just trudging through the levels on foot. You can have two weapons equipped at a time unless you're using a sniper cannon or multimissile launcher as those require both hands. There is a part or two that require a little bit of platforming above some instant-death pits, and since there are no checkpoints, death means doing the entire level over again (as I found out when I got knocked into a pit with the boss of a level almost dead), and the controls are NOT conducive of platforming, so that's not tight at all, but by and large, the controls are workable, and the game's campy tongue-in-cheek humor makes it worth playing through.

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With its visuals as with its controls, Metal Wolf Chaos shows its age. This is not a remake or a remaster; this is a straight re-release with no real changes made aside from translated menus and upscaling to modern resolutions. The textures are the same, and the frame rate is still 30 fps. Personally, I'd have liked to see a bit of polish on the aging textures and polygons or at least a frame rate bump to 60 fps, but the game is still perfectly playable and enjoyable, and at $30, it's a fair asking price.

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Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a game that Americans (or at least a few of us...the weird ones) have been wanting to play for fifteen years, but aside from emulation or importing (and then bypassing the Xbox's region lock), it's been out of our reach. At long last, we have available to us a game that truly does let us MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, and this time without the concentration camps or catastrophic tariffs! Truthfully, Metal Wolf Chaos isn't an amazing game especially by today's standards, but it's a solid game for those who just want a fun, goofy robot blasting time. I'd recommend giving it a play for sure.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:42 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 51
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (5 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4
33. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - Wii U - June 8
34. Dark Savior - Saturn - June 12


July (12 Games Beaten)
35. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim - Switch - June 7
36. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dragonborn - Switch - June 7
37. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dawnguard - Switch - June 7
38. Tiny Troopers - Switch - July 8
39. Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops - Switch - July 8
40. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS - July 10
41. Super Robot Wars T - Switch - July 13
42. Super Mario Maker 2 - Switch - July 13
43. Command and Conquer - Saturn - July 16
44. Command and Conquer: Covert Operations - PC - July 16
45. Super Neptunia RPG - PlayStation 4 - July 18
46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19


August (5 Games Beaten)
47. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch - August 10
48. Wolfenstein Youngblood - Xbox One - August 24
49. Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem - DS - August 27
50. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PlayStation 4 - August 31
51. Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles - SNES - August 31


51. Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles - SNES - August 31

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Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles, more commonly known simply as "BS Fire Emblem," was a short series of four maps taking place in the two years preceding the events of the first Fire Emblem game that were available only via the Satellaview satellite download service in Japan. Because of the limited time workings of the Satellaview broadcasts, it's a serious pain in the ass to find a working ROM of these four maps, but with enough stubborn determination, it can be done. If you don't feel like dealing with that stubborn determination, however, you can also play them on the (sadly Japan exclusive) Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem on DS.

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Because these were intended as bonus challenge maps, they're significantly more difficult than your normal Fire Emblem maps. These are basically late game challenge right from the get go. Compound that with the fact that you don't have the benefit of having a whole game to train up characters' experience and stockpile some better weapons, and yeah, you're in for some challenge. Patience, careful strategy, and the favor of the RNG gods are absolutely required for success here. Visually, they look pretty much exactly like the other three Fire Emblem games that saw release on the Super Nintendo, so expect that level of sprite detail.

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The first map has you play as Princess Nyna and a small handful of loyal knights as they struggle to escape from Archanea Palace when it falls to Dolhr's troops. The second map sees Minerva team up with her enemy, Hardin, and save a village near Aurelis from attacking bandits (although Minerva doesn't know that the man she's working with is Hardin). In the third map, Lena and Rickard, accompany by Castor and Navarre, sneak past Dolhr's soldiers into Archanea's palace and look what treasure they can. The fourth and final map show Nyna's escape into Aurelis with the help of Grust's famed General Camus just prior to the events of the first game.

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BS Fire Emblem is a nice ride if you want a good challenge that really pushes you to plan carefully (but mainly be freakishly lucky), but unless you're a hardcore Fire Emblem fan, there's nothing here really worth seeking out. If you want a brutal challenge, just play Fire Emblem: Fates - Conquest. If you want to flex your SNES muscles, play the cheap and easy to find Mystery of the Emblem or Genealogy of the Holy War. With how much of a pain it is just to find a working ROM let alone one in English, if you REALLY want to play through these maps, you're way better of playing the versions included with New Mystery of the Emblem. It's a solid little map pack, but there just isn't a whole lot if incentive to jump through the hoops required to play it on original hardware or a SNES emulator.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:47 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 52
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (5 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4
33. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - Wii U - June 8
34. Dark Savior - Saturn - June 12


July (12 Games Beaten)
35. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim - Switch - June 7
36. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dragonborn - Switch - June 7
37. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dawnguard - Switch - June 7
38. Tiny Troopers - Switch - July 8
39. Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops - Switch - July 8
40. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS - July 10
41. Super Robot Wars T - Switch - July 13
42. Super Mario Maker 2 - Switch - July 13
43. Command and Conquer - Saturn - July 16
44. Command and Conquer: Covert Operations - PC - July 16
45. Super Neptunia RPG - PlayStation 4 - July 18
46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19


August (5 Games Beaten)
47. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch - August 10
48. Wolfenstein Youngblood - Xbox One - August 24
49. Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem - DS - August 27
50. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PlayStation 4 - August 31
51. Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles - SNES - August 31


September (1 Game Beaten)
52. Golf Story - Switch - September 2


52. Golf Story - Switch - September 2

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Golf Story is a unique sort of game especially in today's gaming landscape. It's a sports game - golf, specifically, as the name suggests - but it's a story drive sports RPG. That's what's relatively unusual about it. That sounds to may like a bit of a tough thing to pull off, but I gotta admit, Golf Story did it superbly. I never thought I'd find a sports game with a compelling story let alone one that also has well done RPG mechanics, but lo and behold, here it is, and it's a Switch exclusive, no less.

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You play as some dude who decides to be a professional golfer to make his presumably dead dad proud of him...or something. The "why" of his little quest wasn't explained as thoroughly as I might have liked, but regardless of why, he heads back to his old childhood golf course to work on his game and start working his way up to the pro tour. His first step on this road to golfing betterment is to convince the old man serving as the course's official coach to give him lessons.

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So the actual gameplay is pretty reminiscent of Earthbound to me if you swap out the JRPG combat with golf matches and challenges. Some characters will have you hit a ball into a certain area X number of times, some folks will have you sink a series of challenge holes, some will flat out challenge you to a best-5-out-of-9 match, but it's all about golf. When you finish a challenge or play a round of golf on your own, you're rewarded with experience and money. When you level up, you can upgrade stats like your power, accuracy, etc. With the money, you can buy better clubs from the various courses' pro shops to get bonuses like higher loft, lower loft, a farther drive, etc.

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As far as golf mechanics go, it's not as intensely simulator-esque as some of the more realistic golf games are. You still have to take wind and slope into account, but it's not nearly as brutal as some of the Tiger Woods PGA games can be with wind and slope. There are a handful of different golf courses in the game most of which culminate in a tournament. To win the tournament, you have place first; second or third place finishes don't cut it, and not even tying for first is good enough. For most of them, this isn't too tough. That changes when you get to the professional tournament at the end of the game. That one is BRUTAL. You have to average par at the MINIMUM on each hole, and these holes don't play around. Narrow fairways surrounded by water, high winds, obnoxious slopes, and merciless AI opponents all make it so that you have ZERO margin for error in this tournament. At this point in the game, it honestly started feeling more frustrating than fun which is a total 180 to how the game had felt to me up until this point.

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Visually, the game takes a retro aesthetic with an even-more-retro looking mini game called "Galf." I know a lot of folks really seemed to enjoy that minigame, but it just felt like a mediocre NES game to me. Like, why would I want to play a bad golf game within a good golf game? I'd rather just keep playing the good golf game. But hey, it's there if subpar minigames are your cup of tea. The music is a really nice touch, though. It's lively and cheerful in the bright courses, foreboding on the haunted themed course, and intense when you're trying to sink a putt on the green. The whole soundtrack sounds great and perfectly fits the action and atmosphere of the game. The game has a couple of bugs, most noticeably an issue I encountered a couple times (mainly on the last course) where my ball would land on what was clearly a bridge or fairway but splash as if it had hit water and count as if I had landed in a water hazard. Super annoying on a course that's already REALLY tough, but it wasn't a common issue, so it's workable.

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Golf Story was a definite surprise hit for me. From the reviews, I knew it would be good, but since I'm not a sports person in general and ESPECIALLY not a golf person, I really wasn't sure how I'd feel about it going in. I found myself unable to put down the controller, though, as I had to see what the next course would be like, who the next opponent would be, how difficult the next challenge would be. If you're into golf games or a Switch enthusiast, you NEED to check this game out given that it's exclusive to Nintendo's console/handheld hybrid juggernaut, but even if you're just somewhat curious about a story driven sports game like I was, it's totally worth checking out. I promise that you won't regret it.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:54 am

Have you played Mario Golf for the GBC? From your review, it appears that Golf Story is very, very similar. Mario Golf, however, has the benefit of being designed by Camelot Software Planning, however, and is completely amazing. (Who knew RPGs and Golf games blended together so well?)
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:57 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Have you played Mario Golf for the GBC? From your review, it appears that Golf Story is very, very similar. Mario Golf, however, has the benefit of being designed by Camelot Software Planning, however, and is completely amazing. (Who knew RPGs and Golf games blended together so well?)


Mario Golf GBC rules. TBH, I had watched videos of Golf Story and I was like "eh, I'll just stick w/ Mario Golf."
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:10 pm

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)
34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)
44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
45. Cally's Caves 3 (Steam)
46. Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet (Steam)
47. Contra (NES)
48. Arcade Archives: Vs. Super Mario Bros. (Switch eShop)
49. Arcade Archives: Moon Cresta (Switch eShop)
50. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Caveman Ninja (Switch eShop)
51. Ice Hockey (Atari 2600)
52. Indy 500 (Atari 2600)
53. Video Olympics (Atari 2600)
54. Fast Eddie (Atari 2600)

55. Muv-Luv (Steam)
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Well, this was an interesting experience.

I'm not one to typically play a massive branching-path visual novel (though perhaps now I am?), but the hype for this one was too strong, the allure too irresistible. Not only is Muv-Luv a visual novel that's garnered massive critical acclaim, but its sequel, Muv-Luv Alternative, is hailed by many (including the internet's Visual Novel Database) as being the greatest VN of all time. Some high praise for games that are (seemingly) about a bunch of anime schoolgirls. Muv-Luv was developed by an outfit called âge, and initially released in Japan as a PC title in 2003. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports eventually followed. The game was finally localized (along with its sequel) thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, seeing English releases on Steam and the PlayStation Vita.

Every great game series needs to be defined by some confusing nomenclature, Muv-Luv being no exception. Though ostensibly a "trilogy" the mainline Muv-Luv series consists of a duo of games. However, Muv-Luv is split into two discrete "arcs" known as Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited. The Steam release requires these be played in order, and familiarity with the events contained within is (apparently) needed to fully appreciate Alternative (the second game, and "part three").
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Muv-Luv Extra is a slice of life tale. A high school comedy about a young man named Shirogane Takeru and his lady friends. Takeru happens to live next door to his childhood buddy Kagami Sumika, whom he can converse with nightly through their adjacent bedroom windows. One fall morning, Takeru wakes up next to a mysterious young woman in his bed. Named Mitsurugi Meiya, she is apparently heir to a massive fortune, and immediately insists she's destined to be Takeru's lover. She's also moving in and has used her vast fortune to send Takeru's parents away on a vacation. This is all much to the chagrin of Sumika, who has had unrequited feelings for the man for some time. There are some peripheral classmates as well: three gals and the suspiciously androgynous Mikoto. Rounding out the cast are some disturbingly attractive classroom teachers: one who moonlights as a cosplayer, the other a physics instructor conducting vague mysterious experiments.

The writing is of mixed quality, but mostly good (and superbly localized). Extra is a quirky little romp that doesn't take itself particularly seriously. I found myself chuckling frequently at some of the more ridiculous scenarios (like Meiya quickly and casually turning Takeru's house into a giant sprawling complex) and the absurd retro gaming references (Takeru bemoans the death of the "Dreamcost" on more than one occasion). Extra is at its best when flowing naturally. The banter between the various classmates is ever-charming, and it's hard to not become attached to these kids as they meander through the fall and winter of senior year.

And then there's the "romance." Yes, dating sims are and were popular in Japan, and much of Extra is focused on Takeru's potential relationship with a given young lady. The writing is at its weakest during these one-on-one "dates." For starters, Takeru is a bratty little twerp through the bulk of Extra, making the idea of him as womanizer downright implausible. And these encapsulated love stories feel rushed and harried; two teenagers who spend some casual time together both simultaneously realize they're in love. Cue the smooching!
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Oh dear, I have to talk about those "h-scenes" don't I? Or not! Though present in the original Japanese PC version, they've been excised for this Steam release. Though I'm typically opposed to heavy censorship via localization, I have no real issue with never seeing any of these individuals naked. Be aware that this is still very much an M-rated game. The sexy time dialogue remains intact (in all its painful clumsiness) with the naughty bits swapped out for a "lights out" black screen or an extended still of a preceding scene.

Winning favor with a girl requires Takeru and the player follow a specific route by choosing strategically from the pop-up choices that occasionally appear. It's actually not that difficult, in fact the game makes it supremely intuitive. Simply interact with, and show affection towards, one character consistently and that's who Takeru ultimately ends up with. Sumika and Meiya are clearly the canonical choices; in fact it is these routes that must be completed before Muv-Luv Unlimited can be accessed. Some players may be inclined to simply move on to Unlimited after the two aforementioned routes, which is arguably the wisest choice. A completionist to the end, I played through the Tamase, Ayamine, and Sakaki routes to their conclusions, finding them (eventually become) painfully long-winded in comparison. There are also some gag endings, which are actually more difficult to discover, as they essentially require Takeru act upon capricious decisions in just the "right" way.
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The game is absolutely gorgeous. These are some of the best character designs seen in a popular visual novel, with so much attention to detail paid to individual facial expressions and animations. And there's a surprising amount of animation indeed, including one black & white "manga" sequence as well as some occasional hilarious "chibi" cutscenes that punctuate the game's more farcical moments. The girls are all beautiful, of course -- the Sumika character is so stupidly adorable (both in appearance and action) that I felt pangs of guilt when showing affection to anyone else. As for the soundtrack: it lays waste to even the best console titles of the era. Catchier than it has any right to be, it's the perfect backdrop for the amazing visuals. Hitting up the post-game galley and jukebox is absolutely required.

The reward for finishing Muv-Luv Extra is an entrance into the world of Muv-Luv Unlimited. Though this "part two" retains many of the same characters, backgrounds, and musical selections, its plot heads off in a completely different and unexpected direction. While Extra was focused on character-building, the priority of Unlimited is world-building. A different sort of world, that is. Takeru wakes up one morning to find his neighborhood in ruins, a broken-down mecha lying among the waste. He heads out looking for answers, only to be detained by soldiers. After a meeting with Yuuko, his physics teacher turned government scientist, Takeru soon learns that the events he's experiencing are not unfolding after those of Extra, but rather simultaneously. He's entered some sort of parallel timeline, something that Yuuko is oddly and calmly able to explain.
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Takeru soon reunites with his friends. None of which have any memories of him, but all retain the personalities ascribed to them in Extra. As far as that mecha goes, it turns out the citizens of this new world are at war with a strange alien menace known as BETA. The mechas are the humans' instruments of war, piloted by elite soldiers. Takeru's old school is now a sort of military installation, and the bulk of Unlimited is dedicated to the training of Takeru and company.

With many innocent lives on the line, the plot of Unlimited is more intense than that of Extra, upping the amount of terse and serious dialogue. Of course, the harem hijinks aren't entirely gone, and there's still plenty of silliness to be had. The emotional stakes are higher overall, and the Takeru character is shown to transform ever-so-slowly, gradually shedding his crass nature that characterized so much of the first installment. He begins Unlimited timid and unsure of how to proceed within the horrifying world he's been thrust into. With time he gains confidence, empathy, and a modicum of charm. I went from desperately wishing the game starred a blank slate character and/or featured third-person narration, to finding Takeru the most sympathetic of the whole crew. His evolution comes off as sincere and steady, rather than a slapdash contrived epiphany. It's a testament to how the human condition is modified by duress, and the final two hours of Muv-Luv Unlimited showcase some of the best VN storytelling, period. There are some great (and strange) meta moments to Unlimited, which delicately plays with the parallel worlds theory, going so far as to hint at the true nature of all those Extra routes. Speaking of routes, they work differently this time around. Choices matter less throughout the game, with Takeru more or less "choosing" a partner at the end. Is it a cop-out, or is this somehow consistent with the overall Muv-Luv mystery, to finally be revealed in Alternative? As of now, I certainly don't know.

With all routes considered, the entire Muv-Luv experience takes about forty hours to traverse. If I were to play a random isolated twenty-minute demo of Muv-Luv, I'm not sure I'd be taken by it. But experienced as a whole, I'm pretty stunned. Not just by how the story unfolds, but by how it ultimately "ends." There's no contrived "cliffhanger" seen at the tail end of Unlimited, but I've never seen a game that demands the player invest in the sequel like Muv-Luv does. It's pretty much impossible to stop at this point. Sure, I played the game but my God was I played as well.

(P.S. Sumika = best girl.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:34 pm

Cash-money-on-the-table level post.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:03 pm

Bone's winnin' those Big Boy Points.
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