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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:16 pm

MrPopo wrote:
while it’s title indicates that it’s a sequel, it really feels more like a side story (which, I believe, was the developer’s original intent).

Yeah, as I understand it Code Veronica was supposed to be RE 3.


Thats interesting, I did not know that. I am currently playing RE5 and the loading screens tell the history of resident evil, they constantly allude to code veronica and never mention anything about the events in RE3.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:12 pm

HEY! Nemesis got...one S.T.A.R.S. member...
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:14 pm

And in fairness, Chris was nowhere near Raccoon City, so he only had three targets at the time.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:51 pm

Prfsnl_gmr, nice review of RE3. I actually never owned it for PS1, but would like to pick it up. I might try to play through the original RE2 again later this year, and maybe finally track down and try RE3 after that.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by CFFJR Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:24 pm

You know if Capcom continues on the remake train, I'd like to see them do Code Veronica.

I love the original, would be neat to have it updated.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:51 pm

  1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch)
  2. Joe and Mac 2 (SNES via Switch Online)
  3. Stardew Valley (Switch) - New
  4. Cosmic Star Heroine (Switch) - New
Joe and Mac 2
I beat this shortly after Bloodstained, so I'm going back in time in my memory, but there were somethings that stood out. This game looks and sounds worse than the original Joe and Mac, and it harder in an annoyingly cheap way. The worst example is the last level which features a boss rush with no life refills, and the last boss hits hard. I had to save state my way through the gauntlet. It also has an overworld map that is pointless since the levels are all pretty linear in terms of how you advance and play them. This is a pretty basic platformer trying to pretend to be something more than it is. It does not stick the landing. I don't think if you enjoyed the first one you'll naturally enjoy this one.

Not recommended.

Stardew Valley
I have been told this is a lot like classic Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. I have only played a little GC Animal Crossing, so this is largely a new experience for me. I sank a TON of time into this game. It's overwhelming at first, trying to balance money in and money out by way of farming (planting, watering, and harvesting, and then also trying to fit in socializing with the villagers, foraging, gathering materials like wood and stone, combat, and also your energy levels. If you don't learn to compartmentalize and prioritize you're a goner. Some people find this very relaxing, but I actually found it pretty tense. Fun, but not at all relaxing. There's a point in the game at which you can consider it beaten but still do and play a lot more, and I played past that point quite a bit. I went about 50% past the "beaten" point in the game before finally feeling like I'd done all I wanted to do. There are some tasks left undone and nooks left unexplored, but I'm satisfied. The characters in the village with you are all quite interesting, and some of them quite flawed, but with a lovable core, even those you might be tempted to write off as damaged goods. The world is also quite strange. It seems so normal, but then it's also so not. Very personality-filled game. If this kind of micro-management seems like it might be up your alley, you'll probably love it.

Recommended.

*You can probably play this game in a relaxed way if you just decide certain game elements aren't as important to you as others, or once you reach a kind of equilibrium state. I apparently lack this skill.

Cosmic Star Heroine
This is a western-made J-style RPG that is often compared to Chrono Trigger. That comparison is both very apt and also very misleading. The graphics are nice, with character designs pretty decent and very nice backgrounds. The music is pretty darn good. The gameplay is relatively fast (most of the time). The game also has a variety of challenge options so you can experience the game on your terms.

But let me break this out a bit. Mechanically speaking, the game is mostly pretty fantastic. Combats are not random, but set encounters on the map, some of which you can avoid, much like Chrono Trigger. But rather than having any kind of active battle system, this is purely turn-based (thank goodness). Each character has 8 ability slots and will eventually have far more abilities you can assign to those slots, meaning your battle-to-battle ability set is customizable. Abilities can be single attacks, multiple attacks, or even radius attacks that hurt enemies within a certain proximity (sort of Chrono-like). There are also healing and defensive abilities. You also have 3 or 4 shared item slots, also customizable, usable by any character once per battle. Items are never "used up", only tapped out for a particular battle. Each character may also have a small number of spells from their equipped defensive item, usable once per battle. When it is your turn in combat you choose an ability, item, or spell to use and that slot becomes "used". Abilities can be recharged, making them usable again. So if a battle drags on long enough that you have used 6 of your 8 abilities on a character and none of the remaining abilities would really be helpful or relevant, you can use your always-present 8th ability to recharge your ability slots, opening them back up for use. Most actions also build Style, which increases your damage and effectiveness (up to 100%). You can build up to 300% style, and style can be expended through special Burst abilities that are boosted by the amount of style you have and which is subsequently drained to zero. But enemies also accrue Style, so they become more dangerous as a battle drags on. You also enter Hyper every few turns (varies by character), which amplifies whatever ability you use that turn.

The battle system does have some flaws, however. The game tells you which stats are supposed to affect which kinds of attacks, but the terminology used is pretty general, so there are several cases where it can be very difficult to figure out how to improve the efficacy of certain attacks or effects. The combat system also has a lot going on between Style and Hyper and how status effects work, and while they're loosely explained, the explanation isn't really good enough once you hit mid to late game. You'll end up having to look on-line if you want to really be impactful.

The game also has distinct characters with interesting personalities. But this part of the game is also where it sort of falls down. There are big things afoot in the world, but events and important character decisions feel really rushed. The game wants to be a brisk RPG, but it's telling a story and using characters that really want more time to properly tell. So basically, the designers achieved making a brisk and fun RPG, but you'll end up wondering how on earth characters decided to make critical decisions with very little lead-in. This also robs some of the characters of their potency, because you can see that they are intended to be shaped by the events of the game, but the way the events are presented they just don't have the proper impact. Basically, they paired too much potential for depth and seriousness with too brisk a pace of storytelling. The combat comes very close to experiencing this same problem. There's a lot of complexity but it is sometimes treated a tad to cavalierly. Fortunately, the combat came off a lot better than the storytelling.

Overall, this is a relatively quick RPG to play, with combat that balances speed with complexity really well (once you figure out how stuff works). The story has a lot of promise and managed to be fun thanks to the interesting character personalities and despite the interesting world which seems sort of rushed over at times. In fact, this is the way in which this game is not at all like Chrono Trigger. The world feels like it has more depth and world building behind it, despite the rushed pace.

Highly recommended for JRPG fans, especially fans with no time for a 100 hour jaunt.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:56 pm

(^ everyone click one page back to read maureadreun's post)

It seems like there's a group here that feels compelled to play the Joe & Mac games and then exclaim "meh" with great force. Why are we doing this??
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:57 pm

Because the games SHOULD be good; cavemen fighting dinosaurs sounds awesome.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:28 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:(^ everyone click one page back to read maureadreun's post)

It seems like there's a group here that feels compelled to play the Joe & Mac games and then exclaim "meh" with great force. Why are we doing this??


I really enjoyed the first Joe and Mac game. It was, believe it or not, a defining early SNES title for me, on account of the great sound and music, colorful graphics, and decent gameplay. I was hoping the second would be awesome, too. It was not. End of story.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:33 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)

29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *

And so ends my re-journey through the mainline Ape Escape games. This, like 2, was one I rented and played a decent bit as a kid, and didn't remember being quite as good as 2, but still being very good. While there is a fair bit in 3 that is more "different" from 2 than outright "better", there is also a lot here that is plain better. It took me around 8 hours to complete the Japanese version of the game and capture every monkey.

Ape Escape 3 is the most colorful and wacky of the mainline games, continuing the pace that 2 set down, and that extends into the story. Specter, the evil mastermind monkey from the previous two games, has escaped once again and is using the Freaky Monkey Five and his legion of monkeys (over 400 to capture this time around!) to try and take over the world. But this time, he's got an ace up his sleeve: a human accomplice! Dr. Tomouki (which is a fairly amazing pun that also is nearly a real name "tomo" being "friend" and "uki" being the sound a monkey makes in Japanese) is the delightfully camp, afro-sporting human scientist aiding Specter in his plot to turn all of humanity into hapless couch potatoes by brainwashing them with immensely inane monkey-based television programming. It's up to the series new heroes (the other ones having been couch potato'd), twins Satoru and Sayaka and their super scientist mother, to stop him!

Each level takes the form of a TV show the monkeys are filming on location somewhere, and you're capturing enough of them to shut down their broadcasts, while each member of the Freaky Monkey Five guard a transmission tower you need to beat them to destroy. This gives all sorts of opportunity (which the game takes in spades) for all sorts of pop culture parodies for the kind of shows the monkeys are making, from their horror show "Monday the 16th" to their hotspring documentary to their Star Wars parody (complete, of course, with Darth Vader monkey to fight). All of the silliness, from the main characters to Specter to the Freaky Monkey Five to the absolutely wonderful Dr. Tomouki, has been cranked up to 11, and it's all in a way I absolutely adore. Even the music is a significant improvement, and I'd go as far as to say that 3 has better music than even the first game. The only real downside is that the game hits some significant framerate problems in certain stages due to how much is going on, but that luckily doesn't affect the actual gameplay much (certainly not as badly as the first game's slowdown harms its gameplay).

The gameplay itself is very familiar from the previous two games, but has been modified in a way to further tighten up the gameplay improvements introduced in 2 as well as add a new gimmick entirely. You're still going from stage to stage, using your tools to fight and catch monkeys, but thankfully the incredible bloat of tools in the 2nd game has been massively trimmed back down to a far more manageable 8 (down from the like 14 or 15 in 2). The number of monkeys you need to catch in each stage has been pumped up a fair bit though, and their frequency within the stages (not nearly as many droughts with no monkeys to fight like 2 has in its later stages) as well as their natural ability to avoid your net have also been increased. The level design is significantly better as a result, leading to stages that are often smaller compared to its predecessor, but more content-dense and overall difficult due to just how good the monkeys are at avoiding capture. Even normal enemies are a bit more complicated this time around, as Dr. Tomouki's little robot minions all have turnkeys on them somewhere that you can aim for to do far more damage than a normal body hit.

To even the odds in your favor a bit, the game gives you its most noticeable change to the gameplay of the previous two entries: transformations! By holding down both R buttons, you can initiate a transformation into a super form that you can use for about 30 seconds (or longer if you keep getting powerups to fill your meter more). You unlock more and more transformations as you progress through the game for a grand total of 9, and while there is certainly a power curve as you go along (the 8th being the best and the 9th being a secret finding tool), they all have some kind of special ability (either combat or mobility-wise) that gives them their own sense of usefulness. Each of the two twins even has their own (admittedly predictably gendered) cosmetic version of each costume, like how Satoru has his Fantasy Knight and Sayaka has her Fantasy Witch.

This is sorta where the game hits its stumbling blocks. It can feel at times, particularly as you progress through the game, that the power difference between your normal form and the transformations is too significant. Fighting enemies, especially monkeys, is really difficult as your normal form, particularly with how good their auto-dodges are (not to mention if they hit you hard enough they can steal your tools!), but your transformations are often enough to totally wipe the floor with them. While I would say that the bosses in this game are overall a little better than the ones in 2, if you fight them with the appropriate transformation, you can really trivialize most of the fights difficulty-wise (although they're still quite fun even then).

Beyond that, there are some other presentation issues the game has that serve to harm the overall experience. The twins are effectively entirely similar with the one exception that Sayaka, the girl, is basically an easy mode the game doesn't tell you about. Certain monkeys will see her and be so struck by her that they fall in love and sit on the ground harmlessly waiting to be captured. Ignoring the fact that she's a 4th grader and that this is still a relatively small number of the overall monkeys in the game (less than 10%), it's still a handicap that Satoru doesn't receive in any form, and it's a bad way to make the game de facto easier for people who wanna play as the girl character (presumably from the perspective of the game's developers, girls :/).

Then there's also the fact of how all of the personalities are cranked up in their silliness, and that also goes for Monkey Yellow, whose queer-coded creepiness has been further worsened to make him an outright child predator with how he gives Satoru (a 4th grader) the choice of fighting him or going on a date with him before his boss fight. These are by no means a deal-breaker for me for the game, and Sony had the good sense to remove that Monkey Yellow thing from the English version at least in part (he gives Satoru the choice of fighting him or "being [his] personal chef forever and ever"), it's still something that erk'd me enough that I can't not mention it here.

The last thing I'll mention is the side games in Ape Escape 3. All 3 games have 3 unlockable fairly substantial mini-games you can unlock through the course of the game, but Ape Escape 3 has something really special: Mesal Gear Solid. It's an official crossover with Konami (as MGS3 got its own Ape Escape-based mini-game) where you play as Pipo Snake, guided on your tactical espionage mission by Solid Snake himself (all as a favor for the professor of Ape Escape from his "high school buddy" Colonel Campbell X3). It's a really solid and quite substantial (although obviously very silly) side mode that does a good job of replicating the feel of the first two MGS games but using assets and enemies from Ape Escape 3 that you unlock after beating the main game. It's a really neat historical curiosity, as well as likely the tricky licensing reason that has led to Ape Escape 3 never joining its sister games on PSN, if I had to guess (and also likely why the series never got a trilogy release on PS3 like basically every other major Sony IP did last generation).

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Warts and all, Ape Escape 3 is still the best the franchise ever got. While it's certainly a shame that the series never really continued after this, and that Ape Escape 3 is really only playable these days on this original PS2 release, it's still a platformer that has weathered the test of time really well, and is still loads of fun. If you like 3D platformers and don't mind needing to probably shell out a decent bit for the physical release of this, then this is a game that's a no-brainer to pick up and give a whirl.
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